Friday, August 27, 2010

From JIm Clubb








Finally, at long last, pictures of the new lions Jim Clubb has been training, including the hind leg walking male champagne(sorry Jim, but I gotta call it as I see it) lion. Our "supposed" mate, Glenn Sullivan from the Whipsnade Zoo had spent some time at Jim's compound earlier this year, and had taken photo's, but because of a bullshit promise to Jim "not to release them yet" we have had to just wait like some kind of bastard child. LOL Regardless, I am glad to finally be able to see them, and as is par for Jim Clubb, they look great. Jim relay's in an email" These lions will be joining the four males we have in Japan now, making a total of 12 lions." They will be replacing the four tigers and two ligers currently in the act.

Jim also commented on the "cover" and added additional insight on Henri Dantes, as well as relating the famous mauling that Dickie Chipperfied received from his leopards, for any folk's who might think our world "is a piece of cake:

With regard to Henri Dantes and the cover trick, I consider it to be the most dangerous trick you can do. I did it with three lionesses in the early ‘70s and decided I would never train it with any other act. When those lionesses fall on you, especially when they are in season, it knocks every bit of wind out of you. You are also completely helpless. Dantes, with male lions doing it, is quite incredible. You will note that most of the lions sit on high seats. This was to deter them from coming down when he was on the floor with the others. I met him a few times, but only in his latter life. He was very good at mixing adult animals. I saw him doing this in the menagerie at the back of Cirque d’Hivre. He was trained by Firmin Bouglion (sp?), who was obsessed with wild animal acts. Dantes was best with male lions, although I also saw him present a mixed bear act and a mixed panther act. Both of which he trained. He finished up in a small zoo, training two snow leopards, two pumas and two lynx. However, I never saw the act. Sandrine Le Bris, who presented acts for me in Japan originally worked as a groom for him.

Back to the cover trick. Dicki Chipperfield was the first to do it with small cats. He did it with two black panthers and two spotted panthers. I was there when he had the big accident in London, and was one of the ones who got him out along with John Chipperfield Snr. and Tommy Chipperfield. One of the spotted panthers was in season and the male black panther challenged him for her, just as he got them all on the floor. I remember the panther biting him in the head and shoulder from behind and then there was one big dust ball and they all grabbed him. I never actually got to him, as I was fending off the others on the way there. John Chipperfield Snr. was in the cage like a shot and had two off him immediately. Bandera, the big panther, was harder to convince to let go. However, they all went back on their seats and we walked him out. The next day I presented the second panther act we had, which consisted of six spotted panthers and one black panther. Of course, the audience thought it was the same act. We were packed for a week – 3,000 people at each show. When they announced the act and my panther came down the tunnel the audience erupted. So much so, that it unnerved the animals and we actually had to tell the audience to keep quiet.

So you can see I am not in favour of this very dangerous trick. David Tetzlaaf did it superbly. In fact, in my eyes he was the best. He also had the best of all the mixed small cat acts that I know of. I include Dick Chipperfield’s, Alfred Court’s, Gunther Williams’, Jonny De Kok’s and my own. Court’s, I believe, was the first true mixed small cat act, as Chipperfield’s only contained spotted and black panthers, as did Tetzlaaf’s. My combination was similar to Court’s. However, I had more modern tricks.


"I agree with Jim's thoughts about David Tetzlaff and his leopard act. It was magnificent, and as Jim agrees with me that the cover is the most dangerous trick ever done, you lucky readers of CircusNOSpin have witnessed a historical moment!!!!! For the first time in the annual's of wild animal training, that two trainers have agreed upon the same thing. Not once, but twice!!!!!!




15 comments:

Steve said...

Wade - I'm surprised that you have not commented on the stylised version of the fork in the last two pics. You are slipping a bit!

Wade G. Burck said...

Steve,
I am not slipping up at all. I knew either you or Casey would ask about it. It isn't to "stylized" though. It is exactly like the one that Jean Michon had made in 1976, except his was round instead of flat. Martin Lacey Jr. made one exactly like the one Michon made, except that one had a 10 foot handle.
Wade

Steve said...

OK - good to see that you are still awake!

Next - it would not be correct to refer to Jim's facility as a "compound". He has a set-up that would put many zoos to shame. A very, very impressive holding and training establishment indeed.

Freiheitsdressur said...

Wade-is the "cover" when the cats lay down on top of the trainer or vice-versa? Also, I know you brought it up in the past, but what is the fork used for? I naively assume it would be for pinning an animal, but I'm not sure. These are great pics and beautiful animals!
Thanks,
Chris

Wade G. Burck said...

Steve,
I don't know what "compound" means in Australian, but it is a word in the Colonies used to describe a great facility for keeping animals and doing a number of things with them, ie movies, circus, breeding, etc. It describes much more then a zoo, a winterquarters, or a yard. If you have a compound you have something pretty high line. Although I have never had the pleasure of seeing Jim's place, report's from every Yank(Campolongo, Dean)who has been there has been glowing.
Wade

Wade G. Burck said...

Chris,
I consider a "cover" a "cover" when the trainer lay's on the floor and the animal lay's across him in straight, organized fashion. When the trainer lay's on the animals is is a cheap lesser version of the real deal. Following in danger to a true "cover" is when the trainer lay's on some individuals, and another one or two lay on him, similar to what Proske did, and what GGW did with the leopards. I believe David Tetzlaff did a cover like this also, if I remember correctly.
The "fork" discussion ended in kinda a "draw." All I can add again, is I have seen them in many European arena's, I have been told they are for lifting an animal off of another animal or used to pin an animal down. I have never seen one used, and have only seen them placed in the arena like a prop. I have come to the conclusion they are like a loaded gun in a police mans holster. You don't hardly ever need it, but it is there close at hand if you do. But you have to know how to use it, and that is where I would be lost.
Wade

Freiheitsdressur said...

Very interesting, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Outside of the animal world, when the feds begin referring to your neighborhood as a "compound", look out, somethings going down - like Waco. Unless, of course you're a Kennedy, then your "compound" is just a haven for debauchery.

Wade G. Burck said...

Anonymous,
Adjective: having or involving two or more actions or functions.

Zoology: composed of a number of distinct individuals that are connected to form a united whole.

Wade

Anonymous said...

Oi,Burck.Glad I didn't offer photo's as mine are crap in comparison.Also to clarify 'mates' are earnt through actions of valour,kindness,friendship and being Aussie we invented it.Like a famous elephant trainer said 'We originate and others imitate'.LOL.Look forward to hearing from you.

Wade G. Burck said...

Anonymous Mate,
Who are you? LOL
Wade

Anonymous said...

Mates would know.LOL

Glenn

Anonymous said...

Good to see Uncle John L Chipperfield getting his due .... I know Jim held him in as high regard as I did. Uncle John was always on the cage door for all 3 beast acts, every show, every day and there's probably nobody else you would rather have had to come and get you, God forbid. I was there that day and remember it well, I ended up working the tunnel. Men, dust and leopards flying everywhere. Quite a thing.
Jim Stockley

Wade G. Burck said...

Jim,
Well said. There is nothing in the world more valuable to a trainer then a crack assistant/door man. The great ones are as instinctive as the actual trainer. You can't really tell someone what to do, because you don't know what will happen. There are no rehearsals or dry runs. All you can do is offer "theory training." If this happens, you do this. If that happens, you do that. There are ten things "theoretically" you can do, but only one of those things will be right at that moment. You can't tell them what the right thing is, because in a moment the situation may change, and it will be the wrong thing to do. The assistant has a nano second to make the right decision. But until it reaches meltdown and def con 3, you never know if they will react and make the right decision. A few years ago, I was involved in a situation where I was in the cage with another individual who was grabbed in the leg by a tiger and pulled to the ground. Five other tigers jumped off their seats and came after the downed man. As I was struggling to keep the other tigers back, and get the tiger off of his leg, my son Eric, in a heartbeat, without being told, rushed into the cage with me, got the tiger off of the downed man, and then drug him out the door, while I put the tigers back on their seats, and restored order("sorted them out" for you Brits, lol.) In that moment Eric made the right choice, and disregarding his own safety, reacted brilliantly. My son Adam was involved in a situation earlier this year, when a "trainer" left the cage with two tigers locked on each others throats, and he went in and restored order and got them back in to the shifting cages. Over the years, having my son's assist me, while a great comfort, it had a down side. I tended to take undue risk's, confident that they would have my back. I wasn't quite as stupid, when someone else was at the door. Other crack door men I have had over the years were my brother Michael, who went with my first white act, when it went to Knie in 1988 and Susan Lacey, whom I guess would be a door women.
Sven Christenson( leopard trainernLilliana Christenson's husband) told me years ago, "people don't think leopards are as dangerous as lions or tiger. Because of their small size they think a leopard can not kill you as easily as the big cats. That might be true, but if you get mobbed by a group of leopards they will leave you wishing you were dead.

Wade

Connie Kammerer said...

Wade nov 4 2011 Jim Clubb posted this on your site..
Animal Trainer Jim Clubb is looking for any information regarding a set of twin's which were fathered by her husband, Animal Trainer Joe Walsh. Joe and Charlotte were working for John Cuneo and the then Hawthorn Circus Corp. when Joe was killed in a traffic accident while seeing to a disabled vehicle broke down along side the freeway. Charlotte Walsh later married Animal Trainer/Zoo Director Robert Baudy. Any information or whereabouts of Joe and Charlotte's twin children would be greatly appreciated by Mr. Clubb.

Ms. Charloette Walsh is a very dear friend of mine and I would like to get him in contact with her. If he could contact me at ckamm3@gmail.com I would love to help him out.
Thank you