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Iowa Time Machine: Zoo Show - May 26, 1967

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On May 26, 1967 Des Moines newspapers carried the first ads for “The Zoo Show” with Zoo Director Bob Elgin and KRNT host Bill Riley. Running on Saturday’s at 12:30 p.m., the show featured animal guests from the Des Moines Children’s Zoo (now Blank Park Zoo).

After Elgin brought animals on several KRNT programs, the station decided area viewers might enjoy a weekly show. A fan favorite, “Brucie Tiger,” appeared on “The Zoo Show.” In a memorable moment the tiger unexpectedly jumped up to place his paws on Riley’s shoulders, startling the host with the playful gesture. 

Each episode featured different animals, and some like “Jackie Jaguar” went on to appear on other shows as well. Elgin once took the big cat to Chicago for an appearance on “The Regis Philbin Show,” as well as to stops in Canada and St. Louis.

The popular program ran from 1967 through 1975. The show successfully drew in audiences and helped to introduce many Iowans to animals they later went on to meet in visits to the Des Moines Children’s Zoo. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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