Saturday, November 30, 2013

Buy A Coke for Bear on Harbor Blvd

bear drinking coke harbor blvd
Photo of the actual bear taken in the 1950s or 60s. The man in the photo
had the last name, "McCoy", his wife donated the photo to
Janet Filbeck who in turn sent us this digitized copy.
A number of OCThen readers recall visiting a bear in a cage on Harbor Blvd (or Westminster), perhaps at a dairy in Garden Grove.  You could buy a Coke or a soda for a nickel and give it to the bear to drink.  It was a little bit of cheap amusement after a trip out to the farm fields of Garden Grove, back in the day.

It makes me wonder if Coca-Cola used this piece of history for its series of "Polar Bears drinking Coke" commercials.

In that time, it was common for businesses in the farming areas of Orange County to use caged wild animals as a way to lure families in.

Here are the comments I found regarding the Bear in the Cage...

Anonymous (July 11, 2009) - Anyone remember the bear in a cage on Harbor Blvd between Santa Ana and Costa Mesa? And the buffalo ranch. Great memories. Thanks!

Anonymous (Nov 17, 2010) - Does anyone remember bear that drank soda? It was in Orange County, I think it was on Harbor Blvd. It was in a fenced in area, and you could purchase cokes or other soda pop from a machine, and the bear would drink it for your amusement. It must have been in the early 1960's.

Doug Reeder (June 4, 2012) - Another highlight was stopping along old Harbor Blvd. on the way to the beach area to see the bear in the cage. For a nickle the bear man would give a small bottle of Coke to the bear and he would drink it holding it between his front paws.

Anonymous (Jan 6, 2013) - And the guy with the bear was Frank ( Manny ) Mc Cubbins.

Philetus (Jan 15, 2013) - The dairy on Westminster before Harbor with the zoo had a bear (or gorilla, I can't remember which) in a cage out front with a coke machine you could buy a coke and give it to the bear

Glendora Hammond (Dec 1, 2013) - That poor bear was on Harbor. He loved Orange pop and was so abused. His cage was tiny and he paced back and forth. I felt so sorry for him.

Janet Filbeck (Dec 1, 2013) - I remember the bear in front of a store on a chain. They would bring the bear from his cage in the morning and take him back later in the day. I don't remember it being in a cage during the day. We would buy it coke and it was fun as a kid watching it drink it. It was a fun memory as a kid. This is a picture of the bear being taken to the front of the store. Given to me by a friend of mine and her husband is in the back. His last name is Mc Coy. This picture was taken in the late 50's or early 60's she said.

Carole Tibbets (Dec 1, 2013) - The bear was on Harbor Blvd., next to the driving range, between Edinger and Warner. Later, Frank had a small zoo and after, he got rid of the zoo animals, he started a boarding stables, before, he moved to Oregon. I boarded my horse there for about 8 years.

Anyone with memories of this please post a comment...

1 comment:

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