Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Proske #6

Proske-6, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Proske and his dancing tiger Lily. During Proske’s years in America, many of his engagements were in theaters like the Roxy in New York, the Earle Theater in Washington, and in prestigious venues like Billy Rose’s Case Manana in New York. In 1939, he was featured at Frank Buck’s Jungleland exhibit at the New York World’s Fair.


Eric said...

That should read Billy Rose’s CASA Manana. It was a nightclub located at 7th Avenue & 50th Street in New York City. In his interview with Bill Ballantine that appeared in WILD TIGERS & TAME FLEAS, Clyde Beatty expressed a desire to present his act in a big Las Vegas gambling club or a night club, although he did cite some of the drawbacks including “that old tager stink.”

Roger Smith, aka R said...

The "Jungleland" title has some interesting mileage. Eric recounts Frank Buck's use of the name. Any number of smaller attractions were called Jungleland, including some pit shows on carnies. Goebel's Lion Farm opened to the public in 1926, became World Jungle Compound from 1946 to 1956, under Richards and Horne, and was re-titled Jungleland in '56 when bought by Ruman and Rogel, execs at 20th Century-Fox. This title remained until we closed in '69, but in late 1960, Clyde Beatty opened his Jungleland in North Miami, and nobody offered to sue. Beatty closed this operation in 1961. Larry Allen Dean may give us history on the last Jungleland I know of, the one late of Kissimmee, Florida.

Roger Smith said...

To see 1:01 minutes of Proske and Lily dancing, plus glimpses of other parts of his act, go to YouTube and type in "1940s Coney Island Wild Animal Acts". Unbelievably, Proske is not given name credit. It is rare to see an attendant outside dressed so similarly to the performer, but this man was Proske's life partner. I have never known his name.