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!!!!!!