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Brand-Name Breeds: Creatures Who've Made It Big in Commercials

July 16, 1987

CHAUNCEY, THE COUGAR

The Lincoln-Mercury big cat appeared in TV commercials from 1973 to 1981. Chauncey, who was owned by two California professional animal trainers, was the car's official mascot although other cougars sometimes appeared in the television commercials. Chauncey died in 1979 and the cougar campaign continued until 1982 when a youngster was mauled by a promotional cougar hired in the Pittsburgh area.

CHARLIE, THE TUNA

The animated, second-rate fish who's forever trying to trick fishermen into catching him has appeared in Star-Kist Tuna TV commercials from 1961 to the present. Charlie's voice was that of Herschel Bernardi's until the actor's death last year. Now a similar voice speaks for Charlie, who is used to being told, "Sorry, Charlie," or "But Charlie, they don't want tunas with good taste, they want tunas that taste good."

MORRIS, THE CAT

The finicky feline in 9-Lives cat food commercials has been making television appearances since 1969. Owned by Star-Kist Foods, of which 9-Lives is a subsidiary, the present Morris, found in an animal shelter in New England, took over after the original, from a Chicago shelter, died in 1978 at the age of 17. Known for their snooty looks when confronted with other cat-food brands, both Morrises were once alley cats.

SYDNEY, THE KOALA

Qantas Airlines' koala bear, who hates Qantas for bringing too many tourists to Australia, has appeared in television commercials for 25 years. A spokesperson for the airline says nobody is sure whether the current Sydney is the third or fourth Sydney because the marsupials are retired before they get too old ("after they get older, they're not as cute"). Sydney lives at Featherdale, an animal sanctuary outside Sydney.

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