Famous Lions - TV & Movies
1. The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King is a great film. Along with a great story (inspired by William Shakespeare's Hamlet), terrific animation, and an all star cast of voices, there are the lessons that are learned from this film (despite being a little rough for the younger children). Like responsibility and honor. Timon and Pumbaa start to watch the original Lion King movie, but Timon keeps insisting to fast forward to when they come in, because they weren't seen in the beginning of the story or anywhere until halfway through. Pumbaa suggests telling the audience their story, which begins before Simba's journey begins. Through this, we meet Timon's mother and Uncle Max, discover why he left his meerkat colony, where he learned Hakuna Matata, how he meets Pumbaa, and the perils they encountered while searching for their dream home.
2. Born Free (1966)
Joy Adamson and her husband, Kenya game warden George Adamson, raise Elsa, a lion cub. When Elsa approaches maturity, Joy determines she must re-educate Elsa to living in the wild so that the lioness can return to a free life.
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 reserve. 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.
3. Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion (1965)
Dr. Marsh Tracy, head of an African animal behavior center, captures an oddly placid lion whom he names Clarence. The beast's eyes as it turns out, are crossed. When Dr. Tracy and an anthropologist are kidnapped by poachers, Clarence shows his paws, jaws and claws work superbly.
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.
4. 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
5. 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.
6. The Addams Family
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 Ocotpus, Aristotle, Tristan & Isolde the two pet Piranahs, and of course "Thing"
7. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Dorothy lives on a farm in Kansas until a cyclone arrives, and picks her, her house, and her dog up and deposits them in the land of Oz. Things in Oz are strange and beatiful, but Dorothy just wants to get back home. She's helped by the Good Witch of the North, but she's also in trouble with the Wicked Witch of the West, who seeks revenge for the death of the Wicked Witch of the East, for which she blames Dorothy.
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.