Pop! Movies - The Wizard of Oz 85th Anniversary - Cowardly Lion - #1515

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Funko Pop 1515 Cowardly Lion

The Cowardly Lion is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum.  He is depicted as an African lion, but like all animals in Oz, he can speak.

Since lions are supposed to be "The King of Beasts", the Cowardly Lion believes that his fear makes him inadequate, without understanding that courage means not a lack of fear but acting in the face of fear, which he does frequently.  Only during the aftermath of the Wizard's gift, when he is under the influence of an unknown liquid substance that the Wizard orders him to drink is he not filled with fear.  He argues that the courage from the Wizard is only temporary, although he continues to do brave deeds.  The Cowardly Lion is in fact brave, but he doubts himself.  In many scenes of the classic book and film, he shows bravery in the face of danger, similar to the Scarecrow who wants a brain even though he is the smartest one, and the Tin Man who wants a heart but cries to his detriment when he does anything remotely mean by accident and rusts himself still.

In the classic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion was a humanoid biped and played by Bert Lahr, a popular vaudeville and Broadway star, with many of Lahr's trademark mannerisms deliberately worked into the film. In this version, the liquid courage given to him by the Wizard is replaced with a medal marked "Courage".  Bert Lahr's biography, written by his son John Lahr, is entitled Notes on a Cowardly Lion.

The movie was made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which uses a lion as its mascot.  In fact, MGM even considered using their mascot for the role of the Cowardly Lion.  In the movie, the Lion walks on his hind legs instead of all four, except when he is first seen bounding out of the forest to attack Dorothy's friends.  After roaring fiercely at them on all fours, he does stand up on his hind legs.