DISCOVERING OUR VALLEY 2011
Eventually there will be a member of The Museum Community or a college student who will write the history of Bird Wonderland in Encino (at the time Van Nuys). It's the kind of thing that I would like to do, had I the time. In the meanwhile, there are always parts of history's puzzle worth exploring, and sometimes though I am limited in time, I have to investigate..
There are many photographs of Jackie the Lion among the images donated recently to The Museum by Joan Putney. At first, I assumed the famous MGM lion in the collection belonged to the owner of Bird Wonderland Coulson Glick, but it now seems more likely that Jackie was the property of a lion tamer and performer named Mel Koontz. The lion may have been boarded at Bird Wonderland or was there just for the time when Mel Kooze worked there.
Jackie the Lion - Jungleland Thousand Oaks, California: vintage postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2011. (click on image to enlarge)
Jackie was neither the first, nor the last of the MGM lions. He was lion number 2, who ruled the film world from 1929 to the mid 1950s. He died in Thousand Oaks in 1952.