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Lions That Have

Become Famous

throughout the years

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Famous Lions on TV and Lions in the Movies

Leo The Lion

Leo the Lion

The MGM lion mascot seen at the beginning of every MGM feature
film.  Leo first roared July 31, 1928 for the debut of the movie White
Shadows of the South Seas. The roar was heard via a phonograph record
since it was a silent movie. The MGM lion logo was created in 1916 for the
Goldwyn Pictures Corporation by advertising executive Howard

The logo was based on the Columbia University fight song Roar,
Lion, Roar.

In 1924, when Goldwyn merged with Metro and Louis B. Mayer, the
lion logo became the trademark for the new company. Over the years a
number of lions have portrayed Leo including Slats, Jackie and Tanner.


Elsa was a lion cub whose mother was shot by Kenyan Game Warden
George Adamson in 1956. His wife, Joy, hand-reared the new-born
cub. When the cub was 27 months old, she was set free in the game
reserve. The Adamsons spent a year training Elsa to hunt.

In 1959she mated with a wild lion and gave birth to three cubs. When
they were six weeks old she started to bring them back to the
Adamson's camp even though she was living as a wild lioness.
Unfortunately, she died prematurely of a parasitic infection, and
the Adamsons took the cubs to the safety of the Serengeti game

Elsa was made famous by the book Born Free in 1960. There
followed two films, one in 1965 and a sequel in 1972. Many other
books have also been written about Elsa, and the rearing of a
cheetah and a leopard by the Adamsons also.

Clarence The Cross-Eyed Lion

Clarence The Cross Eyed Lion

Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion was a silly looking lion seen on the
adventure series Daktari, from 1966-69. Clarence lived at the
Wameru Study Center for Animal Behavior in East Africa run by Dr.
Marsh Tracy and his daughter/assistant Paula Tracy.

Clarence the lion and Judy the Chimpanzee were their two pets. Judy
loved to climb onto the back of Clarence and grab a free ride.
Clarence's temperament was so mild that he once "hatched" 12 ostrich
chicks in one episode.

Ivan Tors first discovered Clarence at Africa, USA, an affection
training compound located in Soledad Canyon near Los Angeles.
Born cross-eyed, Clarence's strange physical condition inspired
Ivan Tors to create the MGM feature film Clarence the Cross-Eyed
Lion (1965) and the spin-off series Daktari. When the audience
saw what Clarence saw, it was in double vision. Reportedly,
Clarence was very good with children. Another not so friendly
lion named Leo doubled for Clarence in some scenes. He was used
only for the snarling scenes and general scenes which didn't
involve close proximity with humans. Leo had come to Africa USA
from a family in Utah. His ferocity was due in part to the
mistreatment he received from former owners who reportedly beat
him with a stick.

The Cowardly Lion

The Cowardly Lion

The Cowardly Lion is probably the most famous lion in television
culture outside of the MGM Film mascot. The Cowardly Lion was
created by Lyman Frank Baum and featured in his book The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).

As the book story goes, the lion was a coward, and afraid of his own shadow.
He traveled to the Emerald Kingdom with the Scarecrow, Tin Man and
Dorothy Gale of Kansas to see if the Wizard could give him courage.
He battled the Wicked Witch and won the right to drink courage from
the Wizard's green bottle.

In the film adaptation The Wizard of Oz (1939) which has
been re-run on television over the years, actor Bert Lahr
portrayed the cowardly lion and sang his now famous rendition of
"If I Were the King of The For-r-r-r-est!" In the screen version,
the lion was awarded with a badge of courage that the Wizard
pinned to his fur. The Cowardly Lion returned to television in
the Saturday morning cartoon The Wizard of Oz  from 1990-91, an
animated adaptation of the classic story.

Read Chapter 6, The Cowardly Lion
From: "Wonderful Wizard of Oz"

Kimba the Lion

Kimba the Lion

Kimba the Lion was a powerful, rare white lion who protected his jungle
kingdom from sinister forces on the cartoon adventure Kimba, The
White Lion 1966. This 30-minute series was produced by Japanese
Mushi Corporation.

Kimba was born of wild parents but he also lived with people for some
time while he was a cub. When he returned to the wild, he had a dream
of uniting people and animals in peaceful co-existence.

Besides Kimba the Lion on the show were: the Lions: ) Leo, Eriza, Liya,
Panja, and Bubu; Tomy, a gazelle, Koko a parrot, Mandy Mandrill,
Tot the Black Leopard, Dick & Bow, both spotted Hyenas, Cheetah,
Bacchus the Hippo, Samson the Buffalo, the Mammoth Ofukurosan,
Pagoola the African Elephant, Rhinoceros-bos a Black Rhino,
Gabuga the Crocodile

Kitty Kat

Kitty Kat
Kitty Kat was a full-grown African lion on the sitcom The Addams Family,
which aired from 1964-66. Kitty Kat is the cowardly family pet of
Gomez Addams, an eccentric millionaire who lives in a
museum-like mansion. When Kitty Kat wandered through
their home, he unwittingly frightened all of the family's visitors.

Most of the lion's appearances were actually scenes
from footage of the lion walking down the main stairs or
growling into the camera. The lion was raised and trained by
animal handler, Steve Martin. On episode No. 60 "Cat Addams"
(3-11-66) an ailing Kitty Kat is examined by the doctor.

Other "pets" on the show included: Pugsley's Octopus,
Aristotle, Tristan & Isolde the two pet Piranahs, and of course


Linus The Lionhearted & Dinny Kangaroo

Linus the Lionhearted

Back before the cartoons were colored and the jungles had been tamed
by the likes of Tarzan and the Lion King, Linus the Lion-hearted
ruled a black-and-white rain forest along with his friend and
colleague, Billie the Bird.

Linus the Lion-hearted premiered on CBS-TV in September of 1964.
Linus the Lion-hearted started out as a product symbol for
General Foods' POST Crispy Critters cereal, but made the leap to big-time
television with his own show when General Foods realized how popular the
docile king of the jungle turned out to be with youngsters. Unfortunately,
Linus fell prey to his own success when, in 1969, the FCC ruled that
characters from children's shows could not appear in commercial
announcements while the program was airing.

The gentle-hearted lion attended to the needs of his animal
subjects: Rory Raccoon, Billie Bird, Sascha Grouse, Dinny Kangaroo
and mailman Loveable Truly.

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