Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bear truth...

Ain't it great to wake up by laughing hysterically? Thanks, then, to Radio 4's Saturday Live team, who had assembled the necessary sounds to get us chuckling this morning. Although a tour around public toilets and Oirish author Marion Keyes were good value, it was Maggie Robin that had us in absolute stitches. Along with her pro-wrestler husband Andy, Maggie lived with a grizzly bear - Hercules - for 26 years. You might have seen Hercules - apparently he was the star of the Hoffmeister ads and also had a sexy grapple with James Bond in Octopussy. Sadly, Herc is no longer with us but Maggie, who referred to her 8ft 2" half ton wonder as a "person" and herself and Andy as "his mum and dad" is determined that the memory should linger. She told Fi Glover: "He liked his food from Marks & Spencer and coffee in the morning with his carnation milk and sugar and beans, bread and eggs for breakfast. He probably wouldn't have related to other bears." Probably not, given that he was apparently scared of caterpillars. But neither would other bears have related to Hercules' log cabin by the kitchen and a 45 foot swimming pool.
So, how had this happened? "When you're younger and your husband says 'I would love a grizzly bear' you just say, oh yes, that's a great idea." At which point, perhaps, the pair of them should have been sectioned. Amazingly, Maggie and Andy couldn't get hold of a Dummy's Guide to Bringing Up A Grizzly Bear. "You can't go and buy a book about how to bring up a grizzly bear. They're just not out there," Maggie explained, although if these fancy new pets catch on she would be able to write one, eh? If you need an absurd bear fix you can listen to it yourself here.
Interesting to note that Maggie played down Hercules' television, film and general media whoring antics and didn't think to mention the time he went missing in action for three weeks while filming a Kleenex commercial, resulting in a tranquiliser dart to the nether regions and a helicopter ride back to his trailer, after which, "the wrestler said he was planning to fit him with a personal radio bleeper so he could track any future disappearances." It appears that this constant pawing of the media spotlight resulted in Hercules' death: "while filming a documentary for Disney Hercules fell over, slipped a disc in his back and was crippled. His health never fully recovered and he died on 4 February 2000," says the BBC's "in context" box on the Beeb's On This Day site. RIP, poor exploited bear, I was laughing at your owners, not you.

No comments: