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Ocelots

Bruce the OcelotBruce 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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