Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Adela Smieja


This was obviously taken in Baraboo in the mid 1980's about the same time we were there with our elephants.
Twenty years earlier I was visiting Hugo Schmitt on the Ringling Show in Anaheim when Jack Joyce hurriedly came out to the elephant tent and announced that the opening animal display would would be eliminated from the next performance saying "The Lion Lady is gone!".
Ada, Klaus and his comedy lion had defected.

10 comments:

Peter said...

Just goes to show you that old "props" never die! I of course am referring to the pedastals the cats are sitting up on! Last time I worked with Ada, and Bruno, (this spring) they were still using theses great looking props! Of course the act, Bruno, Ada - all still look great too!
Pete, the Baraboobian!

Dan H said...

Peter, where did you see them, isn't Bruno on Jordan World working the same act as Judit and Juergen nerger

Anonymous said...

I heard the story about the defection second-hand several years ago. If fairly accurate, it was quite a tale of politics and circus in the Cold War days. I hope someone will be able to share it.

I first saw Ada and Klaus on RBBB in 1965. At the time she was pregnant with Bruno. She opened the show then Klaus would work the comedy lion. Charly Baumann worked in the second half. It was a huge show that before NYC would run 3.5 hours. Some of us remember how "small" the show was before Felds brought it and saved the day.

Peter said...

To dan h -
I worked with Ada, and Bruno< this Spring on the Hamid Circus South Carolina run. Previously for many years at CW(M), the Hamid show, Geore Carden, spot dates, etc.
As far as I know Ada and Bruno had put together quite a "fair route" with the educational tiger show & act. Last I knew they were still persuing that, which is not to say that Bruno isn't over on Jordan, and Ada possibly working the fairs???
Pete, the baraboobian!

Dan H said...

Thank you Pete. How did your carnival fare this summer?

Anonymous said...

I can tell you about the defection, but I'll limit what else I could tell to private correspondence, because the rest of the story of the advent of Klaudiusz and Adela, later Ada, to us at Jungleland, involves details I doubt Buckles would care to publish on his website.

I was visiting RBBB at the Sports Arena, down in LA, and noticed "Klaus" talking animatedly to Adela out behind the building. I later discovered he was talking her into the defection. Someone declared his comedy lion, "Ace", had "cage paralysis" and needed to be shot. In a frantic deal he made with Jungleland, Blaszak got Ace out to us, and I shifted him into my string. In a Dennis Rockstroh article in the July 28, 1967 issue of the Thousand Oaks News-Chronicle, I'm in the front-page photo giving Ace a chunk of meat to show he had nothing wrong with him at all. Then, Klaus, as we called him, disappeared. We figured the Communist Polish agents had dumped him in the Pacific. When he showed up, he had Adela, or Ada, and Bruno with him. They moved into the duplex attached to mine, on Crescent Way. We all went out of our way to welcome them, a gesture we all came to bitterly regret. And that is where I'll end this story.

Peter said...

For dan h -
Carnival is still out, with a BIG weekend this weekend, hopefully! One more to go after that, and a single day double booking here in Baraboo on October 14th, weather permitting.
Overall buisness is probably down 1/3 to 1/2 from last year. Between the insurance, the help, and especially the fuel, its been a "tough" year!
I'll figure it all out, in a couple of weeks, then I can cry for a few days non-stop!!!
Ah, but there's still some upcoming circus dates yet this year!!!
Pete, the Baraboobian!

Anonymous said...

I BELIEVE THAT HORSEMAN AND AT THAT TIME A BIG SHOT AT THE STUDIOS, GLENN RANDALL WAS SOME WAY PART OF THAT DEFECTION AND SUBSEQENT EVENTS. ONLY ADA KNOWS I GUESS. BUT I AM CERTAIN HE AND MOST LIKELY GEORGE EMERSON WERE INVOLVED. IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO HEAR MORE COMMENTS ON THE SUBJECT.

Buckles said...

I think Roger is referring to the death of Mabel Sark.
Parley Baer told me that since he and Ernie were close to Mable, it was his unhappy lot to be the one chosen to inform her that she was being let go from Jungleland. Parley said the reason given was that due to her advanced age they could no longer get Insurance.
Shortly afterward, Miss Stark committed suicide and Parley added "As if that wasn't bad enough, at the reading of her Will, she left us all her posessions."

Anonymous said...

Buckles is right. Parley told me that story, too, and I've read the will. Jungleland's manager, Roy Kabat, for whom Mabel had a very grudging tolerance, called Parley out to Thousand Oaks to tell him Mabel was being turned out. Parley went with her into the office for that conference, which was long dreaded by Mabel, but still came as a terrible shock. Then, Roy called me in to give me the story. Benny Bennett almost died from an operation and was still out, so I did his work for Mabel, and it fell to me to help her take care of the tigers one last time, the next morning. It was Friday, November 10, 1967, and I got Okie to help out. He and I then moved Mabel out of her dressing room, and took her belongings home. She was told she was not allowed back on the lot, even with a ticket stub. She held on another six months, but was found dead at home the following April 20th. There is far more to the story.