Bruce the Ocelot - Ocelot seen on the detective drama HONEY
WEST/ABC/1965-66. Bruce Biteabit was the pet of
Honey West (Anne Francis),
a karate-kicking female private eye based in Los Angeles. During the
production of the program the irascible ocelot became snarly and squirmy
when it got too hot or tired. Anne Francis jokingly summarized her
experience working with cats by saying "If a cat is happy, it bites and
scratches; and if it is unhappy, it bites and scratches."
Ronald L. Smith
in his book "Sweethearts of '60s TV" (St. Martin's Press, 1989) reported,
"The powerful thirty-pound animal pelted Anne around with his paws,
leaving her black and blue. When he chomped on her hand and drew blood,
she had to have a tetanus shot." Similar sentiments were expressed by
Ralph Helfer, the animal trainer who provided the ocelots who played the
Bruce character on the series.
In "The Encyclopedia of TV Pets" (Rutledge
Hill Press, 2002) Helfer recalled, "Anne Francis was a sweetheart, one of
the few that didn't mind if the ocelot scratched her a little bit when it
jumped on her lap. She was real animal lover."
Besides, the South American ocelots, the producers of the show
occasionally used a smaller subspecies of ocelot called a Margay to play
the role of Bruce.
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