Monday, October 18, 2010

For Thomas--Negus the lion

Trained by Alex Kerr for this appearance with Bertram Mills' circus, Olympia, London 1950-1951

His trainer Alex Kerr spent three or four weeks living with the lions night and day looking after them and speaking to them in a mixture of German and his own Glaswegian dialect. In this way he got to know each of the lions’ personalities and the lions became familiar with him.

It took six months of patient training to perfect Negus’s tightrope walking act. A four centimetre thick cable was laid on the ground until Negus realised it did not hurt him to walk along it.

Then day after day, tempted by pieces of meat, Negus learned to walk step by step across the rope.

Next the ropes were raised off the ground - at first by 15 centimetres and then by half a metre, and so on up to the final height of nearly two metres. On the extreme right of this picture of Negus we can see the trainer’s stick telling the Lion where to put his next step. If you look carefully you can see that Negus is focused completely on this stick.

Connie Clausen

From Wikipedia:

Connie Clausen (born Constance Clausen on June 11, 1923, in Menasha, Wisconsin, and died September 7, 1997, in New York City, was an actress, author, and literary agent.

Connie Clausen's career began in 1942 at the age of 19 when she was approached by John Ringling North on Main Street in Sarasota, Florida (then the winter quarters for Ringling Brothers Circus), who told her that her long hair would make her a perfect "Alice in Wonderland" in the following season's "fairy tale" themed grand finale. She joined the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and performed as an acrobat in an elephant act. Her experiences in the circus later provided material for her memoir "I Love You Honey, but the Season's Over" (Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1961), in which she discussed, amongst other issues, the "significant gap" between what women did within the circus ring and their treatment outside of it.

After leaving the circus, she worked as a magazine and television writer and started with MGM studios in Hollywood as Director of Special Promotions. Encouraged by an MGM studio photographer, she moved to New York to begin a career as a Conover Model and as a successful Broadway and television actress. She appeared on Broadway in "The Gambler" with Alfred Drake and appeared in hundreds of television shows and commercials in the 1950's and 1960's. She was a television spokeswoman for Beech-nut Baby Foods and Westinghouse, and was a regular featured guest on "The Doctor Spock Show" with her twin sons.

In 1971 Connie Clausen began a new career in publishing. As an assistant Vice President of Macmillan, she helped launch two of the company's best sellers, "Watership Down" and "Jonathan Livingston Seagul." In 1978 she started her own literary agency, Connie Clausen & Associates, which had a series of best sellers, including the beauty books by the photographer Francesco Scavullo, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jackson Pollock An American Saga" by Steven Naifeh and Gregory Smith, "Eat to Win", "The Rules" and many others. She was also the long-time American agent for the British author Quentin Crisp.

The role of Connie Clausen in the ITV film production of "An Englishman in New York" (a sequel to "The Naked Civil Servant") is played by the actress Swoosie Kurtz.

Constance Clausen--1943

Constance Clausen--1943

Constance Clausen--1943

Constance Clausen--1943

Casa Canestrelli--Circus Restaurant Sarasota Fla.

Has anybody ever heard of this restaurant, or know anything about it, or was it an idea that either never got off the ground, or closed shortly after opening?

What an incredible picture!!!!

Wow, I would give just about anything, to have an opportunity like this.

Courtesy of John Goodall

City's animal control officers monitor Ringling elephants

Oct. 14, 2010

They were on an elephant stakeout, deep in the city's urban heart.

The three city animal control officers stood on a grassy berm early Wednesday, their eyes cast on the long gray circus train sitting quietly in a rail yard along Chouteau Avenue.

They were waiting for the elephants to begin their two-mile walk to the Scottrade Center. But that moment was hours away.

"This sure is different," said Ron Fischer, a 13-year animal control veteran accustomed to policing the city's cats and dogs, maybe a snake or bat, too, but never a pachyderm.

Still, these officers were intent on inspecting the elephants, which belong to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, in town for seven shows through the weekend.

It was not always like this. Circus animals typically draw attention only from state and federal authorities. But just last week, Fischer and the city's seven other officers got special training to spot problems with elephants, tigers and zebras.

The class was paid for by PETA, the animal rights group that is an avowed enemy of using animals for entertainment. The class — and its unusual alliance between activists with a clear agenda and public agencies — is a new effort to give local animal control agencies across the nation greater familiarity with circus animals. Last month, Sacramento, Calif., animal control officers who took a similar class forced the Ringling circus to limit the performances of an elephant, Minyak, because of arthritis.

St. Louis officials welcomed PETA's offer of help. This was the first time the program had been tried outside California.

In recent years, scrutiny of circuses and other animal acts has grown as groups like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States publicized cases of abuse and inadequate care. Circuses have responded with greater transparency about their animals' lives. They host open houses to showcase living conditions. They stress their commitment to animal welfare.

"We're inspected everywhere. We're proud of the animal care we give," said Steve Payne, a vice president with Virginia-based Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling circus.

Last year in St. Louis, animal control officers tried to inspect the circus. But the circus train arrived hours earlier than expected, and the officers missed seeing the elephants walk to the arena, a crucial time for assessing how the giant animals are walking.

Plus, the officers had no clue what to look for, said Drew Hane, supervisor of St. Louis Animal Control and Care.

"Show me a dog or a cat, and I'll talk about it all day long," Hane said. "Asian elephants? Not so familiar."

The five-hour training class was led by Cindy Machado with the Marin Humane Society in California. She showed undercover footage of circus elephants being mistreated. She displayed a bull hook, a controversial tire iron-like device sometimes used to control elephants.

Abel Lopez, a nine-year animal control veteran, was shocked. Before taking the class, he had told his two young daughters he planned to take them to the circus. "But now, I don't want to take them," Lopez said.

About 1 p.m. Wednesday, Hane walked up to his group of blue-shirted animal control officers.

"OK, you guys ready?" he asked.

Hane, Lopez and Fischer, plus other officers who had arrived later, headed down the gravel railbed toward the elephant cars. They were armed with tiny white notepads and cameras. Hane carried a letter from the city health department, which oversees animal control, authorizing the inspection and allowing three PETA-funded elephant experts, including a veterinarian, to assist as consultants.

"They are a little concerned about the other people we brought," Hane said of the circus.

The elephants slowly emerged from the railcar, their backs dusty with straw. Several young elephants moved onto a tractor-trailer to be driven to the arena.

The six other elephants moved in a neat line. Circus workers held up a yellow ropeline on either side. Trainers with bull hooks stood in front and back. The elephants strolled. But their expansive gait meant the people had to jog to keep pace.

Lopez trotted along beside the last elephant, the largest one. He peered again and again at the elephant's front right leg. He called over the veterinarian hired by PETA, asking him whether it looked as if the animal might be favoring her knee, a potential sign of arthritis. The veterinarian, Mel Richardson, agreed. But further examination was needed.

The elephants and handlers, the animal control officers and experts, moved in a herd toward the paved expanse of Chouteau. Once off the gravel, the elephants lined up shoulder to shoulder and flipped up their paws so handlers could remove any stuck bits of gravel.

Then the elephants stepped onto the road, with police stopping traffic and astonished onlookers pulling out cameras.

The elephants walked through downtown and into the bowels of the arena. It was there that circus officials stopped the PETA experts. The experts would not be allowed to be part of any inspection. City officials and the circus hammered out a compromise. A large-animal veterinarian from the St. Louis Zoo would consult with the animal control agency instead.

"The animal rights activists, biased with an anti-circus agenda, were very objectionable to us," Payne said.

City animal control plans a full-scale inspection today to look for signs of animal cruelty or inadequate housing, Hane said. Any findings will be released immediately. And leaving nothing to chance, two animal control officers will be posted near the animals' quarters for 15 hours a day, until the circus trains depart.


Well it look's like crazy has just slipped into the world of insane. Peta giving "clinics" to animal control officers about animal cruelty. I we had been thinking we would have had Saddam Hussein give clinics on democracy, before we fitted him for a Texas Necktie. He would have done as good of a job as Peta, given he knew as much about democracy as they do about animal welfare. I trust the counterfeit St. Louis Animal Control Dept. is as vigilant when the local Budweiser hitch come's to town, as well as the many livestock shows. But maybe it is easier to keep an eye on on car full of elephants, instead of 50 or 60 stock trailers being unloaded. I must have died some time ago, and just awoke, because it seem's like elephants are the only animal alive anymore. What a "get in line, and follow the lemming in front" mentality these sad sacks have developed. If Ingrid Newkirk really wanted to help, she would activate her last will and testament immediately, by offing herself in clean way so as not to damage any leather, and have a couple of note pads made, one from her left haunch and one from her right, as "field journals" for the twit giving these clinics, and the Mayor who permit's them. As USDA has brought up the very valid issue of "qualifications," I suggest we lobby for the same standard, for peta animal welfare experts.

St. Louis officials clear Ringling circus animals for performances

Oct. 15, 2010

City animal control Thursday cleared all animals to perform in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, which is in town for seven shows at the Scottrade Center.

Animal control officers conducted a two-day inspection of the circus animals, focusing on the condition of 10 elephants, plus the circus's 10 tigers, 12 ponies, some goats, a dog and four llamas.

"All of the animals appeared to be in good general health and condition," said Drew Hane, supervisor of St. Louis Animal Control and Care.

Such inspections by local agencies are rare. Regulation of traveling animal shows is typically left to state and federal authorities. But St. Louis animal control officers — accustomed to dealing with wayward dogs and cats — recently were trained on how to evaluate the health of captive elephants.

The city's inspection began Wednesday, when animal control officers closely watched a troupe of circus elephants as they walked two miles from the circus train to the arena. The inquiry continued Thursday. City officers were assisted by Dr. Martha Weber, a St. Louis Zoo veterinarian.

Weber was hired as a city consultant on Wednesday, when circus officials objected to the city's using consultants paid for by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

On Thursday, circus officials "were very helpful and answered all of our questions," Hane said.

After Wednesday's elephant walk, animal control officers had been concerned that some elephants seemed to be moving with some difficulty. But Hane said the problems had "pretty well dissipated" Thursday and perhaps were caused by the long train ride.

The circus said it was not surprised by the city's findings.

"It confirmed everything we've been saying all along — our animals receive excellent animal care," said Steve Payne, a vice president with Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus.

Animal control officers will continue monitoring the circus animals' health, stationing staff at the circus for 15 hours a day through Sunday.

Sabine Rancy--1974

Double click to view large, if you can read French.

Alexei Sokolov

Sabine Rancy--June 24, 2010

Above is a ticket from Cirque Rancy in 1970. In 1972, Sabine's husband Dany Renz depicted on the ticket also, was kill by an elephant on the show. Any other information is appreciated.

Sabine Rancy

Monte Carlo Festival--1990

Any idea who this is on "Pegasus?"

Tamara & Valeriy Vinogradovi--1986

Russian Circus 1969

Does anyone know if this is Ludmila Kotova, above. The grey horse look's like the horse in the photo below.

Ludmila Kotova & Yuri Yermolaev

Catherine Manetti & Dany Renz

Christel Sembach Krone

You can't imagine the "presence" and "air of confidence" that Christel Sembach Krone projects when she is in the ring. That same look of "I belong here, this is my world" was projected by Christel's great friend, Herta Cuneo when she performed. I don't know if it is a "German" thing, or just the way they were raised. Neither one of those noble ladies went to Monte Carlo, just to give you an idea of how "valid" MC is for showcasing the greatest of our industry.

Geraldine Knie--1992

Barnum and Bailey Circus

Ringling Bros. "picket line."

Unknown Horse

For Rob--Emil Kio

Boy, this is sure a sweet job. I wonder where you apply for one like it. For the most part, with rare, rare exceptions, Russian women are among the most beautiful in the world.

Sacred Elephants of India--1934

Courtesy of Mike Naughton

What a wonderful, unique historic tradition the elephant is to India. I pray it is never lost, and the use of temple elephants is allowed to continue through the ages. Shutting it down because of some bleeding heart ideal of righteousness, would be akin to dismantling the Taj Mahal because you didn't think the world should have white buildings.