Thursday, May 30, 2013


My wife swears that her ratty looking, little dog actually smiles at her.
She took this picture to prove her point.

From Roger Smith

This faded newspaper photo from my boyhood albums coincides with
the one of Johnny and his mixed exotics, on Gil Gray, in the '50s.
This is when I first met the Herriotts. Gil Gray played Katy Ballpark, at
3rd and Webster, alongside the MKT tracks, in Waco, Texas. Date-
line reads September 11, 1957.

From Buckles #1

From Buckles #2

From Buckles #3

From Buckles #4

Lalea Ray, my mother in law, AKA "Mother Superior!"

From Vincent Manero #1

Hello Mr. Woodcock,

I found very interesting the comments about the Llamas and Guanacos the other day. Here are two
photos of these Camelids.

On picture one you can see a Guanaco (left) and a Llama (right) enjoying the sun on the
Circus Knie next to the Lake of Zurich. The show owns many of these Camelids that include also a big group of white
Bactrian Camels. Some are with the show and the rest stays at the Circus Knie permanent Zoo in Rapperswil.

On picture
two you can see two Vicuñas that we saw on the same day at the Zurich Zoo. The Zoo has a nice area where Llamas,
Guanacos, Vicuñas and Alpacas are displayed in adjacent exibits.

From Vincent Manero #2

From Frank Murray #1

Just a quick note of thanks for the blog. Its an oasis in a desert filled with animal rights mines.

Speaking of the desert I came across these photos of camels in the circus and thought they would make a good camel
day on the blog.


From Frank Murray #2

From Frank Murray #3

From Frank Murray #4

From Frank Murray #5

From Frank Murray #6

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chapters 9-12 #1 (From Eric Beheim)

Acting on the Cobra’s orders, native tribesmen are about run their spears through Joan, Jim and Mike.

Chapters 9-12 #2

The fast-thinking Kolu uses a native signal drum to send a message, supposedly from the Cobra, saying that Joan and her friends are NOT to be killed.

Chapters 9-12 #3

Joan and the natives are startled by the sudden appearance of a strange “devil bird,” the likes of which none of them have ever seen before.

Chapters 9-12 #4

The plane’s pilot is Stephen Hawks (William Royle), who is there in an official capacity . . . 

Chapters 9-12 #5

. . . to arrest the Cobra and Shanghai Lil.

Chapters 9-12 #6

After being made aware of Hawks’ mission, Jim, Joan and Mike agree to help him.

Chapters 9-12 #7

Realizing that the law closing in on them, the villains plot to escape into the jungle, leaving Shanghai Lil behind to take the rap.

Chapters 9-12 #8

Redmond (Joan’s evil uncle who had hired Slade back in Chapter 1 to do away with her so that he could inherit her fortune) gets what’s coming to him via a fatal encounter with a lion.

Chapters 9-12 #9

Meanwhile, as Slade is making his way through the jungle, his path is blocked by yet another lion . . .  

Chapters 9-12 #10

. . . and he is soon captured by Mike and some of Joan’s warriors.

Chapters 9-12 #11

The Cobra (who, it turns out, is also a pilot) attempts to escape using Hawks’ airplane.

Chapters 9-12 #12

Even as the plane is picking up speed for a takeoff, Jim jumps up onto the wing and plucks the master criminal from the cockpit before engaging him in fisticuffs.

Chapters 9-12 #13

By the time Mike and Hawks appear with Slade, the Cobra has been battered into submission.

Chapters 9-12 #14

With peace restored, Joan tells her people that she must leave them for a while in order to claim her inheritance. She adds that, when she returns she will be able to give them all the “good things” that she has promised.

Chapters 9-12 #15

Later, on the riverboat that is taking them on the first leg of their journey to New York, Jim and Joan (now smartly dressed in the latest western fashions) look forward to a happy future.

Chapters 9-12 #16

The JUNGLE JIM chapter summaries that have been presented here over the last few weeks have only hinted at this serial's many intrigues, chases, narrow escapes & rescues, animal action sequences, etc. For those of you who would like revisit those thrilling Satruday matinees of yesteryear, an uncut, beautifully-restored DVD version from VCI Entertainment is readily and inexpensively available. ( dealers are selling new copies for less than $9!)

Thank you for your kind attention. This concludes our performance.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

From Jim Peterson

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral
director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no
family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in
the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got
lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently
gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers
and crew left and they were eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the
side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in
place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played
out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played
like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I
wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and
started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never
seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for
twenty years.”

More on Exotic Animal Acts!

This is John's mixed act on the Gil Gray show in the 1950's.
He told me an amusing story about the time he was training another act like this at Baraboo.
The closing trick was supposed to be the two camels cushed down as seen above, while a guanaco circled the ring and leaped over them.
However  after getting up a head of steam, the guanaco, at the last second, would drop down like a runner sliding into home plate and assume the cushed position beside the two camels.
In frustration John ordered one of his grooms, an older gentleman, to lay on his back close to the camel and hold up a whip.
"But Mr. Herriott, I'm afraid he might step on me!....."No damn it, lay down there, he won't step on you!.
Around the ring he goes again and this time dives right on top of the groom and won't budge........pandemonium strikes the practice ring....camels bawling.....guanocos spitting.....the groom yelling in agony while Johnny and Frankie Braun try to drag the guanoco off the top of him!
Later after picking him up and brushing him off Jonn said those immortal words so often used by animal trainers, "See if you had done what I told you in the first place, this wouldn't have happened!"

Cirque Pinder #1 (From Vincent Manero)

Hello Mr. Woodcock,

I went yesterday to Annecy, France to visit the Cirque Pinder owned by Gilbert Edelstein.

 Gary Jahn presented a large Exotic act including Bactrian camels, a zebra, donkeys, lamas and three Fjord horses. This act was trained by Sacha Houcke a few years ago.