You may have caught this video on YouTube, or seen it going around on email or FaceBook.
So many emotive emails turn out to be fake – it is refreshing to find that this one (according to Today) is apparently a true story. Just looking at the hair styles in the video places this in the early seventies! The original version was shot on 16mm film (yes, remember film?) without sound (making it easier to dub schmaltzy music over it).
It appears that “Christian” the lion was actually bought at Harrods by two Australians – Anthony Bourke and John Rendall – in 1969, kept in the basement of a London furniture store for a year and eventually repatriated to Africa, in the care of George Adamson of Born Free fame. (This came about because the actors who played Joy and George Adamson in the movie just coincidentally happened to drop in to the shop one day.)
The Today article states that the reunion shown in the video took place in 1972. The YouTube version of the video linked above also shows George Adamson.
The really amazing part of the story is a later reunion in 1974. Christian hadn’t been seen for three months, but suddenly reappeared and sat on a rock outside Adamson’s camp the night before Bourke and Rendall landed, as if waiting.
So why has this story become so popular all of a sudden – 36 years after the film was shot? It is unclear who loaded the video on to YouTube. I suspect that the only explanation is the power of a strong story, coupled to the power of social media, and a touch of heart-grabbing emotion. (It is suggested that if the story moves you, you can support the George Adamson Trust.)
Still, I guess that there are some even older stories that are still popular today…