Famous people & Other Pets I Met on the Zoo


I reached San Diego inside the ’60s without having a job — and wound upward working in their famous zoo, getting together with both human and animal stars coming from Lassie and Full Tut to Artwork Linkletter, Jimmy Stewart and the internationally known “chimp lady” through Africa, Jane Goodall.

Being close to be able to Hollywood, many stars over the many years donned dark eye glasses and popped throughout to visit the menagerie incognito, including Andy Griffith, Shirley Temple, Jerry Lewis and Cary Give (who often ceased by if he was inside town for an end of the week of tennis).

During my seven decades as the zoo’s PR director, My partner and i had occasion to lunch with, or perhaps personally tour, the dozen or as a result popular celebs. In occasion, I engaged one, for instance radio-TV notable Art Linkletter, a North park native, to be able to cut a ribbon for a fresh exhibit or ride.

Several, including Capacidad Johnson, of typically the ’60s TV struck, “Laugh-In, ” plus long-time comedian, Phyllis Diller, became individual friends. I identified them to end up being warm and really humorous people. I actually subsequently exchanged cell phone calls and Christmas credit cards with both. And years later, that they even endorsed our first book involving humor.

One day, I drove a zoo car in order to the airport to pick up TV/radio star, Arthur Godfrey when he landed inside his private Lear Jet. An accepted long-time San Diego Zoo fan, he had agreed to judge my “children’s zoo art contest” and found the top reward for the segment associated with our own syndicated TV show, “Zoorama. ” His guy judges were Linkletter and San Diegan, Ted Geisel, much better known as “Dr. Seuss. “

Typically the controversial Godfrey got once filmed a “live” segment of his top-rated show from our Children’s Zoologischer garten (fachsprachlich). An un-diapered newborn orangutan he placed had excitedly rainy on his shirt. Robert in hand, Arthur said to his countrywide audience, without lacking a beat: “Honey, thousands have wanted to accomplish that : but you would be the first to be successful! “

A big name available world in the ’60s was Dr. Brian Rueben, best-selling source of “Everything An individual Wanted to Realize About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask). ” He called me a single day, saying he or she planned to create a ten-grand monetary gift to the zoo for a new primate exhibit. I actually managed to find lots of press insurance coverage for his philanthropy – but was afraid might him or her the several personalized questions I acquired in mind.

For Dallas petting zoo , My partner and i occasionally retained the always cooperative Marshall Thompson, star involving the then top-rated Ivan Tors TELEVISION SET production, “Daktari, very well an African adventure show. With very much of it filmed in Thousand Oak trees, northeast of Oregon, Marshall invited myself to bring the particular family to see typically the set.

1 day, we drove up to notice an afternoon’s filming in a faux-jungle setting. The script called for the menacing black leopard – but one particular had not been available. We all watched in shock when the director known as for a cougar, which the crew proceeded to spray-paint black.

A number of years later, some sort of CBS-TV producer requested my eight-year-old kid, Gary, to look within a non-speaking scene with David Janssen, during a TV-movie, “Night Chase, inch being filmed inside our zoo. Whilst gary later admitted it was a fun experience but experienced cured him regarding any latent need to act. He would had to procrastinate for six hours to do a good one-minute scene within the kiddie zoo with the fine. And further disillusioned when his 35 dollars CBS check appeared.

Janssen, star involving “The Fugitive” tv show, had set the hearts of many of the female staffers atwitter whilst in the zoo. After leaving the area one day, he impulsively stopped to give a kiss about an admiring sales girl’s cheek. Desperately shaken, she inquired to be excused to go residence for the remaining involving the day.

Wild-life buffs Gloria and even Jimmy Stewart came out with a special zoo dinner one nighttime. Afterward, they informed me that Gregory Peck’s half-brother when drove among each of our zoo tour chartering during a summer in college. Therefore , when a tierpark inhabitant called some sort of Peccary, (a swine-like animal from South america and South America), gave birth, many of us had our tour guides point out the particular little porker while our new star, “Gregory Peck-ary. “

Nearby, another past star resided in our elephant display. Visitors on transferring busses were knowledgeable that a bit of Asian with extended, Hollywood eyelashes had been “Hatari, ” directed to the zoo after appearing using John Wayne in the movie of the same name.

Our own official zoo greeter since 1951, “King Tut, ” in addition had stage in addition to screen credits I had been amazed to learn that the salmon-crested cockatoo, which whistled and danced for visitors by his special perched at the entry plaza, once made an appearance at a tour’s fair in San Diego with all the flamboyant fan dancer, Sally Rand (as the girl zipper puller).

The regal-looking Tut acquired been brought by Singapore by observed animal trader Frank “Brink-’em-Back-Alive Buck. ” The people-loving fowl was named just after King Tutankhamen, in whose spectacular discovery happened just a few years just before Buck brought the cockatoo to San Diego. I usually appreciated the bird’s raucous greeting when I might enter the tiergarten mornings. Tut sometimes would meow just like a cat, cluck such as a chicken or perform snatches of internet explorer.

Hollywood’s biggest dog star, “Lassie, inches came to the zoo one planting season to check the reaction of our famous performing seals prior to an up-coming film scene. The account showing how she “attacked” me on phase at our Seal off Bowl is thorough in my guide of zoo memoirs.

Looking back, I would personally have to claim my favorite human being celebrity to check out the zoo throughout my tour has been Jane Goodall, the particular British scientist which studied the life span of chimps with the Gombe Stream Game Arrange in Tanzania, Africa. I had the good fortune to complete and escort this particular most-dedicated young lady during the zoo’s 50th anniversary party.

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