Saturday, March 14, 2009

Jean Michon #1 (From Buckles)


Scan10852, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Jean Michon with Klant's lions, circa 1969. From Jim Clubb's collection.

"These pictures from English Circus Magazine "King Pole", June 1996 with background by Hans-Jurgen and Rosmarie Tiede."

8 comments:

Wade G. Burck said...

We these the Klant lions that Charly Baumann mentions in his book as the first act he presented?
Wade Burck

Rob said...

Wade ,I think this is the act Jean
took over in Cirque Rancy,were the
former trainer Gerardi ,was killed by the lion Poulito in 1968.

Rob.

Wade G. Burck said...

Rob,
I thought there were 8 animals in the Cirque Rancy act that Gerardi had?
Wade

Rob said...

I know Jean presented 7 ,so guess they took the bad one out.I also counted 6 in the pic,so don't know were the other is gone.Mind you ,it's a long time ago.

Jim Clubb said...

Sorry to be late commenting on this one. These lions belonged to Klant, but were sold to Enis Togni. The show was then called Circus Heros. This is where this particular photo was taken. This was not the act Charlie Baumann first worked. They had two male lion acts at that time. However, it was the act that Michon originally worked. This was the one where he was accidentally attacked when the lion fell on him. Charlie told a different story to Michon, but I won't go into it now. They were the lions that killed Gerardi. Gerardi was an acrobat and also did a bicycle act. He took over the lions with very little rehearsal. He was a great showman and a good artiste, but not a lion trainer. The lions eventually ended up at the old Chipperfield winter quarters (which is now my premises) along with props, cage and wagon. They were sent in 1970 to the newly opened safari park in Ireland operated by the Stevenson family (Packet sp. and co.) The props hung around here for years. In fact, I used them for practice for a while until they fell apart. Michon told me they were always difficult to manage, but then tell me a male lion act that isn't! When he joined Chipperfield's in 1971 he said he hoped he would never have to work male lions again and really only wanted to specialize in tigers. He was one of the best trainers around at that time, very slow, but got good results. I owe him a lot to my early training and enjoyed his company immensely.

Wade G. Burck said...

Jim,
Thank you. As for there being two versions, that is normally the case with animal training history. The term "accidentally attacked" was even used in Las Vegas with Montacore. It was the only reason an attack ever occurred at Hawthorn, as far as I know. Was the lion taking him to safety, when Charly interfered? That happens a lot also. LOL
Wade Burck

Jim Clubb said...

Sorry I made a mistake. I just called Michon and he said the lions were not Klant's. They belonged to Enis Togni. However, the rest is correct about Gerardi.

What I meant by "accidentally attacked" was that the animal fell on Michon off the jump prop and then reacted. Charlie went in and got the lion off Michon.

In the end act pictured the lion that killed Gerardi was always a sickly lion and was also the lion that the trainer sat on the back of. Michon said he always had to give him a piece of meat first and then keep one foot on the pedestal, never take both off the ground and sit on him properly. Gerardi was reluctant to take any advice from Michon and jumped on the lion's back one day and the rest is tragic history. The lion bit him through the leg, breaking his leg and then through the chest. He died through loss of blood despite 30 people giving blood transfusions to save him.

Wade G. Burck said...

Jim,
Wow!!!! You don't know how eerily similar at story is to what happened to Horst Merkel. Almost exact except Michon was feeding the meat, and apparently Horst jumped on him to hard, and kneed him in the ribs.
Wade Burck