Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More on Student Trainers #2


From The News-Sentinel, Thursday, July 6, 1939

Atlantic City, N.J., July 6. - Clyde Beatty, of Rochester, Ind., who makes his living escaping death daily in a cage full of lions and tigers, announced here that he will open the first lion trainers school in the world on Friday.

"Lawyers and doctors have to study years before they are allowed to practice and aviators have to have an accredited amount of time in the air before they can commercialize on their knowledge," he explained, "but today all a man needs to get into a cage is courage.

"I hope to establish a definite preparatory standard because there are too many non-qualified lion tamers. But they don't last very long," he added ominousl! y.

The small, wiry, soft-spoken number one animal trainer expects at least 200 applications for admission by opening day. Of these only 10 will be selected for the eight-week training routine which, when completed, will enable them to work with lions and tigers.

Classes will be held daily in and around the huge circus cage at the end of the million dollar pier where Beatty is appearing.

Beatty, who started his career by cleaning out cages and gradually worked his way into the performing arena, said that he planned to eliminate the need for this menial work by those capable of training animals.

But unless the students have a natural talent for handling animals no amount of training will do any good, he said. The most important requisites for prospective trainers are speedy footwork, excellent eyesight, courage and the ability to think fast.

Beatty outlined the school's curriculum as follows: During the first week the students will spend their time around the cages getting acquainted with the beasts. In the second week each student will be assigned a lion which he will work with later, and spend the time observing that animal. At the start of the third week the student and Beatty will go into the cage and learn to "cue" an animal. At this point Beatty will deci! de whether the student is capable of continuing the course.

If accepted for further work, the student will continue to put the lion through his paces and during the last three weeks more animals will be added until the student is able to handle a cage full.

And if this college for big cagers works out, George A. Hamid, who controls the million dollar pier, plans to set up schools for other potential daredevils such as tight rope walkers, high divers, and auto crashers. If that develops you will have to show a diploma before a showman will permit you to risk your neck.