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  Home > IndexArchives > Contents > TV Animals - May 2002  
 
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This month's featured animal is

...Fred the Cockatoo

Fred  is a fourteen inch high, milk-white male cockatoo with blue eyes. He is the pet of Tony Baretta, an ex-merchant marine turned undercover police detective, who lives in a rundown apartment at the King Edward's Hotel in an unnamed city. Fred has many talents. He can lie on his back and sip booze from a bottle, and answer the telephone when it rings and say "Hello." Each time Baretta entered his apartment, Fred squawked "Freeze!" On trips outside the apartment, Fred perched on Baretta's shoulder as he walked down the street or drove in the car. To reward Fred, Baretta fed him sunflower seeds.

Baretta & Fred the Bird
Detective Baretta (Robert Blake) with his pet cockatoo Fred 
(Photo courtesy of ABC TV/Universal Pictures)

TRIVIA NOTE: Fred the bird appeared on the detective drama BARETTA/ABC/1975-78. In real life, Fred was actually called Lala (or Lalah). He got his name because he liked to repeat the phrase "La-la-la-la-la." Owned by animal trainer Ray Berwick, Lala was born in Hong Kong and found smuggled into America with a cage of chickens. He originally spoke only Chinese, but Berwick's bird was a quick study and soon learned English and a number of clever tricks like pedaling a bicycle, imitating the sound of a dog and cat, riding a scooter, running on a treadmill and saying "I love you." For the series, Lala had a bird stunt double named Weird Harold used for flying sequences (Harold died from liver illness after the first season) and two other birds called Sweetheart. Lala won a PATSY award in 1976 and again in 1977 and Photoplay magazine awarded him with a Gold Medal for being their favorite animal star. As of the 1980s, Ray Berwick featured Lala in an animal show at the Universal Studio's Tour in southern California and at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Producer's for the program initially wanted to use a Raven or myna bird, but Lala's outgoing personality and large vocabulary got him the part. Now deceased, Lala lived to be about seventy years old.



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