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1/24/2013 05:35:00 AM
That's more like it, I would say about 35 cats
I read an article I think in the Bandwagon mag years ago that someone counted them and it was like 48 to 52 in this cage.The cage was about 50 feet to hold all the cats and the ring curbs had to moved out so the cage would fit in the ring.I bet Roger Smith can fill us in on all the correct details as he is the pro on this.Harry in Texas
There are not 50 cats in this picture
What is the most that you've ever seen Henry (or anyone else)
I remember hearing that there wasn't much of an act here, most of the time was spent getting the cats and the extra ones added for Madison Sq. Garden in and out.Also that John Ringling North was upset because the man working the door persisted in wearing bib overalls.He ordered Terrell to either get a uniform on him or fire him and Cap explained that once it reached a certain point, this guy was the only one that could tell them apart and where they went.
I have never seen him but there was this guy, Captain Schneider and he had a 100 lions in the ring and the only trick he did in the act was trowing chunks of meat in to the animals and watched the lions fight for it while he was standing in the middle of it. I have seen pictures of it and the floor was covered with animals. My Dad told me that Schneider lost his animals while working for an American Movie Company doing a Roman movie and a couple of extras got eaten by the lions during filming so the sued him and he lost everything. I believe that was in Italy.
Judy Jacobs Kaye visited me several times at Jungleland, and told me that for the 1939 Ringling show, her father carried 55 cats, and worked usually 52. Depending on many crucial circumstances in staging an act that size, I cannot personally be critical of counts that ranged as low at 35 for given shows, to Judy's maximum of 52. The tunnel-door man Buckles refers to was "Haywire", who not only wore bib overalls, but also drove North nuts by going barefoot. As the arena filled up, he yelled to Jacobs what cats were coming up by name, so Jacobs could position himself to drive them to seats. A letter from Jacobs's friend, Verne Sadler, told me the show carried 10cage wagons for Jacobs, each with five "dens", some with more than one animal, and thus advised me to do the math. In the Kelty we see, no, there are not 50 cats--we have no good photos of the act beyond this one to better serve history, or to do proper justice to the Lion King.
I meant to add, thank you, Harry. I only wish some day further photographic evidence for this act would turn up. Since Buckles mentioned John North's disdain, he was also still steaming from the black leopard act that fell apart in '38, which he had ballyhooed to the heights. He got a buy on them, and instead of allowing Jacobs to evaluate the animals for purchase, he ordered him to train what was paid for. Jacobs gave it a valiant try, but these particular leopards weren't holding together. I have always felt North thus slighted Jacobs on photographic documentation of the Big Act for '39, which ended their association, thus opening the door for the Court acts for 1940.
Roger,Thank you so much for your excellent answers to make it all clear about the cats.I bet JRN was hot about the black leopard act that did not come together.I have one of the posters and they were beautiful.Roger you are the answer man.Harry in Texas
DEAR BUCKLES, Just got high speed wi fi so just catching up on your outstandig blog posts. While I would not want to contradict my old friend,cat man and historian Roger Smith in regards to the Lion King I had heard several stories when I was a young appprentice at Emerson Wild Animal Frm in CT. who were good friends of Jacobs. In fact he had layed over there several weeks in the mid 50's doing Shrine, fair dates as well as early tv in NYC. They left a real heavy bared steel/iron arena behind a well as old time wooden chute, props and a whole box fulll of whips behind. The arena was painted "Spanish Blue" as the early black and white televisions (as verified by my dear friend Harry Lea Kingston a legend in Texas Television circles) would not show black paint well in the contrast on camera. The story told re: leopards was that JR North bought several black leopards cheap from Frank "Bring Em Back Alive" without regard to their potential to be in an act (as if he would know anything about such mattters) and while there was quite a pool of tigers and lions to choose from when builing a cat act there where darn few black leopards to go to to build a cage act. Leopards are no cakewalk, I got to watch one of the great Trainers of our time David Von Tetzlaff, assemble the early days of his super leopard/black panther cage back in the early 80's. Quite a nice act, a lot of hard work went into that. AS TO THE "50 Cat act" i defer to more learnerd historians such as Roger Smith, but recall STORY OF 9 OR 10 CATS Being taken out of the act after indoor dates as they were seat warmers carried in wood boxes for indoor dates and they did not have enough cage wagons for tour. MIKE CECERE
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