IN his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in this world, David Ellis has enjoyed hundreds of odd-ball photos coming across his desk over a lifetime of travel and writing, including these.
That’s Alfred Hitchcock serving tea in 1958 to Leo, the lion mascot for MGM Studios, and the company’s seventh logo lion since the first opened his mouth in an apparent roar on silent-movie screens in 1917.
Today Leo still makes separate roars for every one of MGM’s new-release movies, TV shows and cartoons, 58 years after taking up the role in 1957.
And No, David says, that’s not a tram driver stopping to take a trunk call. Rather he’s feeding his morning tea apple to an elephant named Mae West, a regular sight in 1936 on Gray’s Inn Road in Central London between performances in a circus in nearby Holborn.
Finally, for months in the mid-1970s this man, Nikolai Machulyak fed seal meat and condensed milk several times a week to a wild polar bear and her cubs he found malnourished in the snow in Russia. After initially chasing him during first encounters, the bear slowly accepted his approaches and food offerings… with one of the cubs regularly playing with his leg while he fed its mother.
Mother and cubs eventually returned to health with Mr Machulyak’s help, and one day simply disappeared into the surrounding forest… but sadly, despite polar bears being protected in Russia, and not fearing humans, the mother was shot dead by a hunter a couple of years later.