Chauncey the Cougar - The sleek and powerful
snarling beast used as the mascot and "spokescat" for the Mercury Cougar,
a flashy 1967 model, two-door hardtop automobile introduced by the
Lincoln-Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company on Sept. 30, 1966.
in 1964, Chauncey was raised in a domestic setting by trainer Ted Denby
and rented from Animal World in California. Reportedly, the big cat had a
bad hip and so it couldn't jump very far but his snarl was captivating and
essential for the advertising spots.
Other cougars used in the Sign of the
Cat TV commercials were Christopher [a baby cougar supposedly Chauncey,
Jr. who replaced Chauncey when he died in 1975], Jimmy and Frisky. Frisky
was owned by George Toth who kept mountain lions and other animals on his
32 acre Cougar Hill Ranch in California.
The Cougar advertising campaign
was created by Gayle Warnock, the Public Relations Director for Ford Motor
Company and his right-hand man, Bill Peacock. Chauncey Cougar won a P.A.T.S.Y. Award in 1969.
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