Plans are being made in southeastern Minnesota to hold a welcome-home celebration for the state's biggest star.
Cody, a 1,600-pound buffalo, is back at Mike Fogel's farm near Money Creek. The 3-year-old buffalo had just completed what turned out to be a major role in a movie called "Radio Flyer," which is expected to be released around Christmas.The starring role came after Cody made a name for himself in the highly acclaimed movie, "Dances With Wolves." In that film, Cody was shot full of arrows and eventually was "killed" by the movie's star, Kevin Costner, as the animal charged toward a boy. He also appeared in other scenes. When Hollywood producers heard how cooperative Cody had been in "Dances With Wolves," they called Fogel.
A star was born.
Working with Hollywood has meant all sorts of eye-opening experiences for Fogel. For starters, it has been rewarding. Producing a Hollywood star is more rewarding financially than producing buffalo meat, which he has been doing for 13 years, he said.
But these are delicate times for those who raise or work with animals. Animal rights advocates are everywhere, and nowhere are they more passionate than in Hollywood.
Fogel said he was warned by movie officials not to mention the fate of most of the buffalo he raises on the Money Creek Buffalo Ranch. It was suggested that he not talk about the tastiness of buffalo burgers, the low cholesterol levels in buffalo roast, the tenderness of buffalo steaks.
Fogel said he empathizes with many of the goals of those involved in animal rights issues. He believes animals should be handled respectfully. In fact, he said, there were times when he thought the animals were worked too hard in "Dances With Wolves."
But Cody was handled with kid gloves in his most recent movie, Fogel said. If anything, Fogel said, he fears Cody will not like it back on the farm after the good life in Hollywood.
"I'm afraid that he's going to be in for a little shock back here," Fogel said. "I think he thinks Hollywood is the way things are supposed to be. It was 80 degrees there. There were people waiting on him. They'd bring him his hay and his sparkling water and his cookies."
The cookies - Oreos - are the key to Cody's heart, mind and obedience.
In his big moment in "Dances With Wolves," Cody is seen rumbling toward a boy who has fallen from his horse, but Cody collapses just inches away when he is shot and "killed" by Costner's character.