Superstars & Other Wildlife I Met on the Zoo

I found San Diego inside the ’60s with out a job – and wound up working in their particular famous zoo, meeting both human plus animal stars coming from Lassie and Ruler Tut to Skill Linkletter, Jimmy Stewart and the world-renowned “chimp lady” coming from Africa, Jane Goodall.

Being close to Hollywood, many celebrities over the decades donned dark cups and popped within to visit each of our menagerie incognito, including Andy Griffith, Shirley Temple, Jerry Lewis and Cary Grant (who often halted by when he was throughout town to get a saturday and sunday of tennis).

In the course of my seven many years as the zoo’s PR director, We had occasion to be able to lunch with, or perhaps personally tour, some sort of dozen or so popular celebs. On occasion, I employed one, like radio-TV notable Art Linkletter, a San Diego native, to cut a bow for a fresh exhibit or trip.


Several, including Ciencia Johnson, of typically the ’60s TV struck, “Laugh-In, ” and long-time comedian, Phyllis Diller, became private friends. I found them to end up being warm and honestly humorous people. We subsequently exchanged phone calls and Christmas cards with both. Plus years later, these people even endorsed my personal first book of humor.

One evening, I drove a new zoo car in order to the airport in order to pick up TV/radio star, Arthur Godfrey if he landed inside his private Lear Jet. An confessed long-time Hillcrest Tierpark fan, he previously arranged to judge my “children’s zoo fine art contest” and current the top winning prize to get a segment of our own syndicated TV show, “Zoorama. ” His other judges were Linkletter and San Diegan, Ted Geisel, much better known as “Dr. Seuss. “

The controversial Godfrey acquired once filmed a new “live” segment regarding his top-rated display from our Children’s Tierpark. An un-diapered infant orangutan he organised had excitedly rainy in the shirt. Dallas petting zoo at your fingertips, Arthur left a comment to his national audience, without lacking a beat: “Honey, thousands have wished to do that : but you are definitely the first to do well! inches

A big name in the book world in the ’60s was Dr. Brian Rueben, best-selling source of “Everything A person Wanted to Understand About Sex (But Were Afraid to be able to Ask). ” This individual called me one day, saying he planned to help to make a ten-grand charité to the tiergarten for a fresh primate exhibit. My partner and i managed to have a good amount of press insurance for his philanthropy – but seemed to be afraid might him the several personal questions I got in mind.

For unique zoo events, We occasionally retained the particular always cooperative Marshall Thompson, star associated with the then top-rated Ivan Tors TV SET production, “Daktari, very well an African journey show. With much of it recording in Thousand Oak trees, northeast of La, Marshall invited us to bring the family to see the particular set.

Eventually, we drove approximately observe an afternoon’s filming in a faux-jungle setting. The software called for a menacing black leopard – but a single had not been available. We watched in awe once the director called for a cougar, which the team proceeded to spray-paint black.

A number of years later, the CBS-TV producer requested my eight-year-old boy, Gary, appearing within a non-speaking field with David Janssen, during a TV-movie, “Night Chase, inch being filmed inside of our zoo. Whilst gary later admitted that was a fun experience but acquired cured him associated with any latent want to act. However had to wait around for six hours to do a good one-minute scene in the kiddie zoo with the take the leading role. And further disillusioned when his $35 CBS check appeared.

Janssen, star associated with “The Fugitive” tv set show, had established the hearts associated with many of each of our female staffers atwitter while in the zoo. After leaving the park 1 day, he impulsively stopped to bestow a kiss on an admiring product sales girl’s cheek. Poorly shaken, she asked to be excused to go residence for the remaining involving the day.

Wild-life buffs Gloria plus Jimmy Stewart appeared at the special zoo dinner one evening. Afterward, they advised me that Gregory Peck’s half-brother once drove among our zoo tour chartering during a summer in college. Consequently , when a zoologischer garten (fachsprachlich) inhabitant called some sort of Peccary, (a swine-like animal from Mexico and South America), gave birth, all of us had our guides point out the particular little porker while our new star, “Gregory Peck-ary. inch

Nearby, another ex – star resided inside of our elephant exhibit. Visitors on passing busses were well informed that a bit of Asian with long, Hollywood eyelashes had been “Hatari, ” directed to the tiergarten after appearing along with John Wayne within the movie of the same name.

Our own official zoo greeter since 1951, “King Tut, ” also had stage plus screen credits We had been surprised to master that typically the salmon-crested cockatoo, who else whistled and danced for visitors coming from his special positioned at the entry plaza, once appeared at a planet’s fair in San Diego with the flamboyant fan dancer, Sally Rand (as her zipper puller).

The regal-looking Tut got been brought coming from Singapore by known animal trader Frank “Brink-’em-Back-Alive Buck. inches The people-loving chicken was named after King Tutankhamen, whoever spectacular discovery occurred just a few years before Buck brought the particular cockatoo to San Diego. I enjoyed the bird’s raucous greeting when I might enter the tierpark mornings. Tut sometimes would meow just like a cat, cluck such as a chicken or sing snatches of internet explorer.

Hollywood’s biggest animal star, “Lassie, very well came to the particular zoo one springtime to check the reaction of our famous performing seals prior to an up-coming movie scene. The history showing how she “attacked” me on stage at our Close up Bowl is thorough in my guide of zoo memoirs.

Looking back, I might have to point out my favorite man celebrity to check out the zoo during my tour was Jane Goodall, typically the British scientist who studied the life span involving chimps in the Gombe Stream Game Reserve in Tanzania, Africa. I had the favorable fortune to complete and escort this kind of most-dedicated young female during the zoo’s 50th anniversary special event.