When Ruth Harkness became a widow in 1936, the majority of her wealthy husbands estate went to his stepmother. Harness was left with $20,000, which in 1936 wasnt exactly small potatoes. What she chose to do with that inheritance serves as the premise for the film China: The Panda Adventure showing at the IMAX, Saturday. Harkness husband Bill had died of throat cancer in Shanghai while on an expedition to find a giant panda. She decided, despite no experience hunting or engaging with wild animals, to resume her late husbands mission, no small feat for a woman bogged down by prohibition-era sexism. When she came back to America, she brought along a 9-week-old baby panda, which she called Su Lin and which ended up in the Brooklyn zoo. The Panda Adventure is inspired by Ruths journey and the autobiography that followed a couple years later in 1938, called The Lady and the Panda.
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Enjoy the film at the Blockbuster IMAX Theater at the Museum of Discovery and Science (401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale) through June 19. Just dont let it inspire you to jump in zoo cages. That fluffy black and white ball of joy could easily kill you. Tickets start at $7. Visit mods.org/imax.
June 11-19, 2009