Monday, July 28, 2008

Pat Anthony #2


!cid_X_MA1_1217095116@aol, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

8 comments:

Jim A. said...

I think the ball-rolling tiger's name was Louie. It was Pat's opening trick after seating all 17 cats. At least on Polack the tigers came in to "the March of the Siamese Children" from the King and I. Later in the act the same tiger would roll the barrel (basically the same thing, like a sea lion guy using two different beach balls).

I can appreciate the justified esteem for Clyde Beatty. For some of us who grew up watching the Polack show Pat was one of my circus idols. He always did a great fighting act with some great tricks (remember Rita, the roll-over lioness in Jumbo). Toward the end of his career he kept firing the gun and snapping the whip even if it wasn't the style of the day. My favorite memory was during visiting with Pat after the act in St. Louis, probably late 70s. His bounce lion, who looked like she'd get him every show, rubbed in the cage front as Pat scratched her and proudly said, "she knows it's a show".

Darryl said...

Petey also rolled the ball and barrel. Pat had a pair of brother lions acquired from the Omaha zoo that he named the Omaha Brothers that he used to bounce out of the cage in the 70.s as well.

Wade G. Burck said...

Jim,
Momma was the name of the bounce lioness. I think the fact that we even knew the names of Pat's cat points to tremendous respect for him. Larry Allen Dean has his barrel, I took one look at it and said, that's Pat's barrel. The lion heads on it are the signature. I may have gone back on the road, if Pat was around to ride shotgun.
Wade Burck

Wade G. Burck said...

Darryl,
And the Omaha Brothers could "crank it up and smoke." When Pat had boot's made for me in Mexico City(I told that story in a past Pat Anthony post) I young and arrogantly asked Pat if I could "have a go at one of the Omaha Brothers, now that I have boots like yours, when we get back to the Palacio de los Deportes?" Remember how Pat's eyes used to squint and twinkle at the same time? He looked at me and with that squint/twinkle said, "Kid, you don't want to shit on your boots, until you break them in first." Oh man, was he special.
Wade Burck

Darryl said...

Great story Wade, can hear Pat now. LOL

steelarena314 said...

I have a shot like this. On Castle, in '72, this guy Mike came on the show claiming he had gotten a grant to photograph and chronicle the vanishing circus. He got off to a bad start sneaking around taking photos of us around our trucks and trailers without permission, claiming the need for spontaneity. A group of girls on the show protested to their families, and a few fathers, brothers, and uncles set Mike straight. He later proved to be OK, just a guy who needed an adjustment in Backyard etiquette.

In Calgary, he went up into the girders and tooks shots of my act similar to this one. In exchange for a dinner in a trailer and a chance for an interview, he'd give us stacks of the photos he'd taken. It was a good deal, as I have many of them today. The kicker was, with this kind of grant he wasn't required to produce anything, and he never wrote the book.

Roger Smith

steelarena314 said...

Some might take interest in Pat's big hind-walk lion, and how he was broken. Bill Johnston told me the story. When you truly care about how your animal is feeling during training, you condition him as needed. Pat got this from Chubby Guilfoyle. He and Bill hung a hook from the apex of the net rigging some 4 feet above the ground, and fixed the lion's meat on it so it wouldn't come off. He'd enter, find the feed, and sit up on his haunches to dine. Then Bill would gradually raise the cut until the lion (damn, what was his name?) was standing up on his back feet to have breakfast. This was to condition his back muscles for the hind-leg walk, providing Pat a new highlight for his act. This animal was spectacular at full length, but he was carefully strengthened for it. Mabel Stark referred to it as "gettin' 'em muscled-up."

Some of you guys out there choose up sides and remind me of this lion's name.

Jim A mentioned Rita. No one who saw her can forget her airborne rollovers. I haven't seen such spirited rollovers since. Kim Baer is a former flyer and bareback rider, and like the rest after 30 years of it, she's beat up. The time comes when the body can't do it anymore. As Rita aged, Pat and Bill were very observant of her. Rita's back was giving out, and she was respectfully retired to be remembered as among the most thrilling of big cat stars.

I might have been too forward in asking Pat how the hell he broke Rita for rollovers like that. He smiled, and sort of muttered, "Aw, that came with a Christmss card."

Roger Smith

Jim A said...

Roger,
I'll take a guess that the lion's name was "Snuffy" but I wouldn't put a wager on it. I gave a quick perusal of Bill Ballantine's "Wild Tigers and Tame Fleas" to see if the lion was mentioned in the chapter on Pat. No lion name but a nice drawing of a lion on his hind legs and Pat.