Thursday, February 23, 2006

To Richard R.

Are these the pongurs?

Now that all three Ken & Nicole units are on the road, I have had several people tell me that the
Gold Unit (Hometown) is by far the best of the three. Despite one mentioning that the teeter-board act had more mecnanics than a Ford Dealership.


Anonymous said...

Kudos to Shaz on the upgrade. It looks great

Anonymous said...

Richard Reynolds says - - Yes, I believe those are the pongurs. The time frame would be about right. That’s African bush elephant Sudan in the background. Who is the Oriental lady?

The pongurs never seemed to me to be much of a hit. As I recall, they were just staked out in the menagerie near the zebras. The last time I recorded them in the menagerie was in 1950. My notes show “three burros,” (I assume one and the same as pongurs) staked out in the middle with a lone Bactrian camel, a llama, and a mule - -no zebra.

The pongurs probably bred well, and I seem to recall there were a lot of them around the Sarasota quarters.

The pongurs were so small that in the 1938-41 time frame they traveled in the upper deck of the camel car #26. Around 1938 one end of the interior of that stock car was remodeled by adding a second level. The smallest of the lead stock went “upstairs” via an inside cleated ramp and rode there. The animals up above would have been the pongurs, perhaps the llama or two they usually carried, and maybe some ponies. Beneath them rode the zebras on the floor of the car. Zebras are not too tall at the shoulder (Grevys are the tallest) so they could fit under the overhead deck. To provide ventilation below some slots were cut into the side of the car that are readily apparent in the many photos of #26 from those years. I have never seen photographic proof of the second deck the car, but the late Harold Dunn assured me it was there. Moreover, #26 would almost have to have had double deck arrangement to haul all the lead stock as it did in that time frame.

The taller camels loaded in the other end of #26 and since they had the comfort of ventilation through the slatted upper side of the car there was no need to cut additional ventilation openings in the lower part of that end.

In 1942 (before the fire), George Smith’s files (he was RBBB’s GM) show that #26 carried 3 dromedary camels, 11 Bactrian camels, one llama, one horse, two Grevy zebras and 7 Grant and Chapman zebras, and 2 pongurs. [The Smith files are now in the Pfening archives.]

On a long hike to the lot the pongurs were so short they could not keep up with the rest of the lead stock. So, an open topped truck would sometimes be sent to fetch them at the train. There are photos of that and also a movie.

Buckles said...

The elephant man is Larry Davis and the lady is from the tight wire act that was so well received.
Can't remember their names off-hand.

Anonymous said...

Richard Reynolds adds - -

With the elephant man being Larry DAvis the photo could not have been taken after the Scranton strike in 1938. The next year, 1939, Davis was gone and Walter McClain had the elephants.

As for the Oriental lady, she must have been from either the Naitto, Yom Kam, or Uyeno troupes, all or some of which were on the 1936, 1937,and 1938 shows.

So, the photo is likely from one of those three years.