Lady and the Panda
Ruth Harkness - A True Life Adventure
LADY AND THE PANDA presents the extraordinary true life epic journey of Ruth Harkness, a Manhattan bohemian socialite, who in 1936 embarked from New York to China in hopes of discovering the reality of her husband’s death while he was exploring abroad. Yet instead of mourning, Ruth made the fateful decision to invest her entire life inheritance and adopt her husband's dream as her own to take on his mission.
Arriving in Hong Kong with "a whiskey soda in one hand and a lit Chesterfield in the other", with great moxie she met her match against ruthless fortune hunters and mountain bandits, foul weather and growing civil warfare in a man’s world.
As fate would have it, she was joined by the handsome Chinese mountain guide and explorer, Quentin Young, whom she recruited. Quentin, while fourteen years her junior became Ruth’s lover in a romance as torrid as it was taboo. Traveling across China bordering the mountains of Tibet, some of the most dangerous and beautiful terrain in the world, nearly impenetrable bamboo forests, perilous mountain slopes and bolder strewn passages, the adventurers raced against a traitorous rival and were constantly threatened by hordes of marauding war lords and hostile villagers. The expedition took months to complete and cost Ruth everything she had. But when shereturned from her incredible journey to America with a baby panda in her arms,she created a media storm in the western world.
Ruth Harkness and the panda cub she named "Su Lin" became an overnight sensation, the press coining the word "Pandamonium". This event was met with daily features appearing on radio, newspapers, newsreels, comic books and even cereal boxes…drawing up to 53,000 people a day at the Chicago's Brookfield Zoo including celebrities such as Shirley Temple, president Roosevelt’s son Kermit, and Helen Hayes. Yet immersed in a sea of alcohol fueled by newly found international celebrity, fine food and late night high society parties, Ruth came to a life changing self-realization.In the midst of China's war with Japan, the onset of World War II, and "Panda fever”, her quest and international popularity had in fact jeopardized these precious animals. Hundreds of explorers were encouraged to set off in search of killing and trapping panda cubs across China for a windfall of cash.
Filled with compassion, she did the unthinkable, returning her second captured panda back into the wild. For the remainder of her life she became one of the world's first renowned voices for wildlife conservation.
This epic saga of action packed adventure and romance will inspire audiences of all ages worldwide and will elevate Ruth Harkness to her rightful place alongside Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Amelia Earhart, as one of the greatest women adventurers of all time.