Thursday, March 12, 2009

For Richard Reynolds--Goliath/ Colossus?

Posted below are Richard Reynolds statements about Goliath/Colossus, Ringlings Elephant seal. The animals kept in the old menageries and their housing/caging has been one of my greatest interests as far as circus history is concerned. I didn't realize there were two Elephant seals until reading Richards comments. There were a couple of more questions asked of Richard, that he likely didn't see, and I would like to "reask" them in the quest for knowledge. The first question in regards to the filtration system used. Richard mentioned "sand" put on the floor to aid in getting out of the pool, and I wonder what kind of havoc that played with the filtration system, as it had to have gotten in the water. Or was the filtration system of the day the old, "dump and fill", that Jim Alexander mentioned in a past thread was the system used in zoo's for sea lion exhibits, in the old day's? The stench/smell in the summer time had to be terrible. I can't imagine a source of clean refill water being readily available. The second question asked was, "what was the purpose of the sloped floor in Goliaths parade wagon(second photo from the bottom)?" Was it to make him "appear" bigger, or was it to make him comfortable raising up, as the photo below show's him "proped" up with blocks? Or is that Colossus? Thank you, Richard.

When Goliath did this turn on the hippodrome track at the last evening show, he rolled out of the big top and straight to his special car #34 on the 3rd section. In the AM and between shows he was kept in a tent in the back yard. It had a portable canvas bathing pool.

The only exception to that procedure was if the rail siding was right on or adjacent to the lot. e.g. Atlanta. Then he would go to and from his special rail car between shows.

Goliath’s special rail car was equipped with a shallow pool and sandy beach, i.e., a dry floor area which was covered with sand so he could clamber out of the water. His keeper rode in a compartment in one end of the car.

When #34 was first used in 1928 the sloshing water and movements of the huge animal made the car unstable. This caused several derailments. That seems to have been corrected for 1929 et seq.

I believe the elephant seal in this Atwell photo is the first "Goliath" - -the one they had on show in 1928-29. He died in Sarasota and they went to his substitute Colossus for 1930-31 [He went to Sells Floto for '32].

Colossus was also advertised as Goliath, since they already had all that paper on hand. He does not seem to have been quite as large as the original Goliath.

The Sarasota newpaper for 1930 had a very excellent, detailed write up about the trouble they had getting Colossus out of his pen on St Armand's key. He had to clamber into the truck and be hauled to quarters so as to board his special rail car. He had been enjoying the "beach" for some two years and did not want to give up that comfort.

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