Saturday, May 28, 2011

Maria Rasputin HW Program 1935

Maria Grigorievna Rasputin Soloviev - 1898 (or 1900)--1977 #1

In reply to Col. Herriott's reference to Maria Rasputin being brought
onto the 1935 Hagenbeck-Wallace show: Sam Gumpertz thought her
famous name would seriously compete in billing against Clyde Beatty's
overwhelming drawing power on the new major rival, Cole Bros. At one
point he railed, "Clyde's coming out again with forty cats?? Well, I've
got Maria Rasputin--that's right, the Mad Monk's daughter, and she'll
be in there with SEVENTY cats!!" It never quite came to that.

The bona fide daughter of the assassinated mystic, Maria married a Russian
officer, Boris Soloviev, who died in 1926. They had two daughters,
although some accounts list another five children but no subsequent
husband. She is reported to have been a cabaret dancer in Romania, then
worked a pony drill in a French circus. Film of her with these five is insuffi-
cient to judge the act. Her advent to Hagenbeck-Wallace was wildly ballyhooed,
but it quickly became clear that despite the "mesmerizing eyes" inherited from
her father, they didn't work in the cage. The woman couldn't work animals, and
her undoing was ignominious. Before she could exit gracefully, she was mauled
badly by a bear. She settled permanently in the US, and gained citizenship in 1945.
In Los Angeles, she lived on Social Security, baby-sitting fees, and by giving
Russian language instruction. She died in 1977. (Sources: The People's Almanac,
and Circus Report.)

From Roger Smith


johnny said...

Gumpertz had her on RBBB in a lessor capacity eith before or after her HW days. Belive she vworked pomies there. tanglefoot