I’d just turned off my computer last night and sat down to watch a movie when my sister Lori called. “I just sent you a link to a YouTube video you absolutely have to watch,” she said. I told her I’d just shut down my computer, but there was such urgency and excitement in her voice I agreed to boot up again.
“I didn’t even get halfway through and just burst into tears,” she said as my Mac whirred back to life. Her voice quivered a little, and I feared she’d burst again before the video even loaded. I doubted any YouTube clip could get me that choked up; it took all of 35 seconds to prove me wrong.
The video — one of several with varying lengths of footage and background music — depicts the 1972 reunion between “Christian the Lion” and two Australians, John Rendall and Anthony “Ace” Bourke, who’d purchased the young 35-pound cub in 1969 and raised him until 1971, at which time George Adamson helped them rehabilitate the then 185-pound lion into the wild African plains of Kenya. Christian had been in Africa for a year when Rendall and Bourke, who’d been informed of Christian’s successful transition, decided to pay him a visit.
By then, Christian had become the head of the pride, and Adamson warned Rendall and Bourke that Christian may not remember them. The video — an excerpt from the documentary Christian: The Lion at World’s End — tells what happened.
The video Lori sent me — shown below — has been viewed more than 10 million times and has a solid five-star rating. No wonder; almost four decades after the documentary was shot, it’s still a five-star story.