After 15 Years Apart, A Trainer Visits His Old Elephant Friend. But When He Shouts Her Name… Wow!.


Huell Howser has had a storied career as an actor, TV personality, comedian, and host of “California Gold”, a travel show based in Los Angeles at KCET for California PBS. If you ask him what his favorite story is, he’ll tell you it’s the time in 1988 when he reunited 87-year-old, ex-circus trainer Charley Franks with Nita, the elephant he gave to the San Diego Zoo when he retired 15 years earlier.

Sadly, Franks passed away shortly afterward, in 1989. Nita lived on for another 20 years at the San Diego Zoo before being reunited with Charley in the great beyond in 2009. Zookeepers fondly remember her for the joy she brought to the zoo’s many visitors, even playing tug-of-war with school children – and winning every time.

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