Sunday, May 14, 2006

Perl Souder #4

This is Perl Souder posing with an 8-act in Baraboo. Souder's last year with the show was 1908 and the next few years after his departure they suffered a series of elephant stampedes. So bad in 1909 a number of elephants were left on the train for long periods of time and in 1910 eight elephants were returned to Baraboo early in the season.
I came across a letter my father had written in response to information that Mr. Souder had eventually died in an Insane Asylum. His response was "That's odd, most elephant men start out that way."


Anonymous said...

When did head pieces become part of the show. Also Elephant Empresses and dressing the elephants in blankets, etc.

Anonymous said...

ringling just had another baby born

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation announces birth of 20th Asian elephant calf

Anonymous said...

If Ken was smart, he'd locate the best trainer around, drag him out of retirement and put together one big and spectaclular act with all the punks - big power tricks, etc. I could be the last time we'd ever see a big act again. Anyone up for the job?

Buckles said...

I am guessing that head pieces and ladies in the ring started in the 1870's. However in 1920 when my dad worked as a menagerie hand with RBBB the elephant acts had neither.
The lead elephant in each act had a leather strap around her neck from which a mount strap was attatched.
What few mounts made were done by the herd woker.
Also there was no long mount, at the conclusion of the acts the elephants would exit the rings and line up on the back track while 10 more entered and lined up with them. On command, 25 elephants did hind leg stands facing the front side and that was it.
At night elephants wore their collar chains during the ring and the men wore their civilian pants rather than their uniform trousers so that when they exited the back door all they had to do was hand their caps and tunics to the wardrobe department while on the run.
From that point all that remained was to add the remaining elephants, couple them up, pick up the lanterns and they were off to the train.
If it was nearby, it was conceiable they might have the elephants loaded and be ensconced in a nearby bar well before the performance was over.

Anonymous said...

DAS KOMICH BAUERN This is name I put on large wooden signs at our country place. I had t-shirts with this printed on them. When we got our power bill it was addressed to: DAS KOMICH BAUERN. This is German for THE FUNNY FARM. Just thought I would share this with the blog since we are having transmission problems today.