A big part of The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 5 was a cult-like group on a boat celebrating the descendant of Frasier the Lion. But was the lion real?
You may be surprised to learn that the answer is yes.
In the episode, we learned that a group of lionesses refused to mate with any lion. Then an old lion named Frasier had been rescued and, surprise surprise, for some reason all the lionesses would mate with him and he fathered many, many lions. One of his descendants was on the boat with Matt, Laurie, John and Michael.
Turns out, the tale about Frasier is actually true.
Time talked about Frasier in a 2015 article here. Frasier had been with a Mexican circus and at the age of 19 (75 in human years) he was likely to die. But he was saved by the Lion Country Safari south of Los Angeles, which bought him from the circus in 1970. He looked emaciated, underweight, and weak when he was saved. But with a well-balanced diet, he took on weight and lionesses began serving him. They brought him choice foot and wouldn’t eat until he did. They mated with him after refusing younger lions as mates. He fathered 33 cubs in 16 months.
Here’s a radio story about him from 1972:
The LA Times in 2010 explained that he was nicknamed “Frasier the Sensuous Lion” and T-shirts, bumper stickers, and watches were sold with his name and likeness. Fan clubs were made in his honor and a high school renamed its teams the Frasier Lions. A film script was even written about a conspiracy to steal his lifelong virility.
Frasier, sadly, died of pneumonia in July 1972, after fathering up to 40 cubs. “I feel he loved himself to death,” one veterinarian guessed.
As an interesting side note, the National Geographic magazine issue that has been central to the storyline is from May 1972, the same year that Frasier fathered all those cubs.