Grrreetings… Welcome to the Governor's Office

Visitors to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Capitol office will notice a new conversation piece -- an 800-pound bronze statue of a grizzly bear.

The statue was added to the hallway Tuesday. Schwarzenegger bought the statue at an art gallery during his fundraising trip in Colorado.

It's not the first time Schwarzenegger has come face-to-face with a bear. In the 1970 film "Hercules in New York," Hercules (Schwarzenegger in a turtleneck) and his date are enjoying a carriage ride in Central Park when a bear (someone in a bear suit) lumbers toward the couple in a semi-threatening manner.

Before the bear can ask directions back to the Central Park Zoo, gallant Hercules leaps from the carriage and pummels him as his hysterical date screams, "Beat him up! Do something!" Apparently, she did not notice that Hercules was connecting on hammer punches to the face of one of nature's fiercest predators.

In the end, Hercules' Herculean display of strength and courage turns what could have been an awkard -- maybe even disastrous -- first date into a story they're sure to tell at the wedding reception. It also garners banner headlines in an extra edition of "The Dailiy Tribune" and springboards Hercules' career in professional wrestling.

Click the embedded video below to view the movie.

"He thought that the school kids here would get a kick out of having their picture taken in front of (the statue)," spokesman Aaron McLear told The Associated Press, adding that the governor purchased the bear with his own money.

It's an logical choice for the Capitol -- the grizzly is on the state flag and it's the official state animal. One problem: Ursus californicus is extinct in California.


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The artist said he's happy the bear has a good home, according to The Associated Press:

The artist, Steven Bennett of Greensboro, N.C., said he was wondering what Schwarzenegger planned to do with the hulking statue after he had heard from the gallery that the Republican governor had bought it.

"Tell Arnold, 'Thank you very much,'" Bennett said Tuesday when he learned of the bear's prominent new home inside the California Capitol. "And if he wants anything else, I'll be happy to make it for him."

Bennett, 55, said he does many commissioned works and particularly likes bears.

McLear said the governor bought the statue with his own money. Both he and Bennett declined to comment on the selling price.

Jump to 32:30 for Governor vs. Bear: Throwdown in Central Park.

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