Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More on "Tusko" #1

SAVE2895, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

As John Herriott mentioned, Tusko's original name was "Ned", here he is seen with "Mena" on the M.L. Clark & Sons Shows in 1921 in Hartford, Arkansas, having just completed the walk from the previous town.
I have a picture of him doing the "bottle-walk" while on this show but alas it eludes me.

1901- Great Syndicate Shows
1902- Great Eastern Shows (W.F. Smith)
1903-21 M.L. Clark Wagon Show (Trained by Don Leon)
1921-31 Al G. Barnes Circus (Sold to "Sleepy" Gray and George Lewis early in 1931)

Tusko"s statistics in August of 1932 were:
14,000 lbs. and 10' 2" at the shoulder
17 " circumference of tusks
65" circumference of feet
2' 9" distance between eyes
18' 11" body length
(Died June 10, 1933 at the Seattle Zoo)


johnny said...

The way the collar chains are hanging makes you wonder, who was chained to who? Obviously either one or both had a little Jack Rabbit in them.

Harry Kingston said...

Thank you for sharing with us those great photos of Tusko and Black Diamond.
When Al G. Barnes Circus got Tusko he looks alot better as his large head is very impressive.
On transporting these 2 large elephants they had a railroad car I think that had a drop frame and a canvas top???? If the car had a canvas top what kept both of these massive elephants from tearing up the top????
Would anyone happen to have a photo of this car and willing to explain about it.
I know when Jimmy Silverlake brought King Tusk to my house this was a damn big elephant. I felt like a midget standing by that elephant
Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

There's a photo of the railroad car that housed and hauled Tusko and other elephants on page 79 or "Trains of the Circus, 1872-1956." Others are in Bandwagon and White Tops articles about the Barnes show in the 1920s. It was also photographed rusting away in Sarasota after 1938. The drop frame arrangement, providing a lowered center floor between the trucks, is clearly seen. The center of the roof does have an unusual construction, with some sort of framing over the well. Perhaps it provided a frame for a canvas cover? It's not clear that the roof walk boards extended over this construction. Another side view indicates that they do not, which may have been prudent if there was indeed a section of canvas roof over the center area.

Some aspects of animal enclosures were not always tested by their occupants. The ceiling in Gargantua's cage was only thin plywood, perforated with a multitude of holes and used as the lower face of the air plenum that distributed the conditioned air to his living space. The gorilla could readily have torn it off the roof framing and proceed to demolish the entire roof, had he been so inclined or intrigued to do so.

Anonymous said...

If Tusko was prone to examining and destroying the interior space of the car transporting him, the designers of his special vehicle may have intentionally provided a readily replaceable canvas section to deal with his destructive tendencies. While he could have penetrated the cover by applied force, there was no framing that he could grasp except around the outside edge. One problem with a canvas roof section would have been glowing cinders discharged by the steam locomotive pulling the train. They were the cause of a number of wagon and car fires on show trains. Perhaps a post-1938 photo taken at Sarasota will reveal the secret of the roof panel construction?

Harry Kingston said...

Thank you so much for the great answer to my question on Tusko's rail car.

Anonymous said...

King tusk at your house ?
was that on the approved RBBB route ?

Harry Kingston said...

Yes this really happened.
King Tusk made a stop at my house and was in my front yard.
I knew Jimmy Silverlake aka Timberlake as well as the rest of the family for many years.
Jimmy Called me from Lafayette, Louisiana and said can we make a water and feed stop at your house.
I said hell yes real quick.
So on the way they came. I called all 3 tv stations and the local paper. We were on all 3 station and made the front page of the local paper and Ringling was playing Houston, Texas.
King Tusk was in my front yard and the neighbors loved it and he took a large plug of my green Texas grass and that was fine. Jimmy played hell getting him back in the truck as he did not want to leave that yard.
My wife Dianne and I had I pictures taken with him and that was our Christmas card for that year. All the circus fans that got our cards loved it.
The local number one tv station anchor said on the air that the circus made a house call at the Kingston's.
It was a thrill of a life time to see that large elephant in my front yard.
The 3 trucks Ringling had took up over 150 feet. David Polk was in the other rig.
And this is the truth and no B S that King Tusk was really in my front yard thanks to a great animal man Jimmy Silverlake.