Thursday, July 28, 2005

Al G. Barnes Circus 1934/ Working in the sand

To give you an idea how fast elephants grow, this is "Minnie" and "Dolly" four years later in the center of the picture behind the man walking. Walter McClain was in charge of the 16 elephants on the show that season and he may well have them all moving the "Hippo Den" thru the sand in Seattle 5/27/34.
Some of you West Coast people may remember Minnie from the Vargas Show, she trouped with
them 1973 thru '77 and caried a lion on her back in Spec. She was eventually retired to a place in the LA area and died about 1980.


Anonymous said...

That's an geat picture. I haven't seen elephants that size in picture in long time. I have heard a lot of other people in the circus industry tell me that they feed steroids to the elephants to get them large and to be more impressive. I always thought there was no truth to that, but these pictures, the elephants are enormous. Does anyone know why the elephants are so large back in the 1930's compared to today asian and african elephants? Was it steroids? or other dieting habits?

Keep posting these great pictures.

Anonymous said...

Your exactly right Brent. My father worked as free hand for many years on the RBBB. He would always tell me stories about managers getting on trainers to get there animals larger and prettier. Even if it meant damaging the animals in the long run. Steroids was common practice among animal trainers

Anonymous said...

brent and Jaybo,

Absolutely not, the circus understood that the animals life is more important than there size. You have to remember animals are not cheap to purchase even back then.

Anonymous said...

This is silly. Steroids and growth hormones didn't exist in the 1930's outside the lab. The initial mouse model experiments in the mid-30's showed that anabolic-androgenic steroids could accellerate skeletal-muscle growth. The first medical anabolic steroid released in 1939 was used to treat hypogonadism. Steroids in feedlots didn't come along until much later, and growth hormones like rBGH are fairly recent.

Anonymous said...

Elephants got their bodys in shape the old fashion way. They worked. Now we have trucks and tractors and the elephants don't get the exercise they did back then. Ben you are too smart. I can not pronounce let alone spell those big words. Any a/r sees an animal working and they call the news papers and shout abuse. This is what has happened to the size of the elephants. Blame them.

Unknown said...

How old were Dolly and Minnie in this 1934 photo? Can I use photos from your blog for a book that my mother is trying to self publish?

Buckles said...

They were imported in i923 this would place them in their teens.
Be my guest on the picture.