Combining jungle adventures with slapstick comedy, Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion was an African safari for the whole family.
At the start of the film, Dr. Marsh Tracy, head of an animal behaviour research centre, travels to East Africa with his daughter Paula. While there, Dr. Tracy captures a lion whose crossed eyes have made it impossible to hunt for food.
The great cat turns out to be a real sweetie, and Paula adopts him as her own, naming him Clarence.
Dr. Tracy himself is also captured (well, his heart at least) by the lovely anthropologist Julie Harper, who is studying gorilla life. The human/animal foursome start to bond into an unorthodox family, but a band of mercenaries interrupts their happiness when they show up to poach the gorillas.
Thankfully, Clarence is still a lion at heart, and the king of the jungle gets a chance to earn his keep in the family’s defence.
Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion was only a modest success in cinemas, but the lion and his adopted family found a more welcome home on the small screen. The film served as the basis for the popular CBS television series, Daktari, which ran from 1966 to 1969.
Dr Marsh Tracy