Friday, September 14, 2007

Wally Ross (From Daryl Hoffman)


unknown, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Mr. Ross was probably the best all around animal trainer I ever knew.
He started out as a kid with Cole & Walters Circus and when the elephant man blew he just started working the act. The same thing happened in 1953 with Wallace & Clark Circus, when the trainer that came with the Cole Show bulls that Luke Anderson had hired took off, Wally jumped in and again finished out the season.
When Luke sold "Gentry Babe" to Gene Holter, Wally went along and became an official California guy and before long was doing movie work with an incredible variety of animals.
I knew him best from his days at Jungleland when I would camp there with the Polack elephants however people over East might remember him when he was in charge of the elephants with Vargas where he was the original trainer of "Colonel Joe".
I was told that at one time he was employed by the US Navy to train porpoises.
Maybe Roger Smith could tell us what elephant this is and who the people might be.

Buckles

5 comments:

Jim A. said...

Wally Ross and Morris Wintermantel worked with the Navy's marine mammal program in its early days. Their work with a dolphin named "Tuffy" is legendary. Wally told me the Navy had hired a group of PhD's to train animals. He said they could write reports and "sound like space pilots" but couldn't get the animals to do anything. Wally and Mo came from working sea lions in California amusement parks and knew how to get results.

I met him when he was on Vargas and I was starting out with sea lions. He was encouraging and helpful with training and show advice -- a nice, and talented man.

Anonymous said...

Wally had the Vargas herd when I first went there in 1974. He and Bones Craig were always a pleasure to deal with when we needed work bulls for the big top. Colonel Joe was known as Dillinger back then, and I remember the African Kora had a habit of turning in circles as she left the menagerie tent and headed for the big top. The big top was a 160' x 310', built by O'Henry, we were constantly repairing it as the cables were cut the wrong length.
Erik Jaeger

Anonymous said...

first time i was in the vargas show Wally was the elephant boss and i was his groom and what a pleasure to have being around him . years later we ran into each other in california doing studio work he was living in Thousand Oaks he intruduce me to a senior elephant gent name Charly Franks if there is any one out there that can shine a light on who was and what shows he work ? CleanRaul

Anonymous said...

first time i was in the vargas show Wally was the elephant boss and i was his groom and what a pleasure to have being around him . years later we ran into each other in california doing studio work he was living in Thousand Oaks he intruduce me to a senior elephant gent name Charly Franks if there is any one out there that can shine a light on who was and what shows he work ? CleanRaul

Roger Smith said...

The elephant here is Bimbo, the one Arky handled for the CIRCUS BOY television series. Photos of Arky with her show the distinctive left ear and the same tusks. I believe the people in the howdy are from 2oth Century-Fox, but I can't name them. Wally left to train seals for the Navy during my time there, but returned to Jungleland after a relatively short time.