Friday, December 16, 2011

St. Louis Elephant Show--Floyd Smith





Who is wearing the black beret on the left? Was Jules helping with the elephant's that day?






3 comments:

Ryan "Radar" Easley said...

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

Jim A. said...

The black hat is Floyd in his motorcycle cap. Jules would have only come up to insult him. The five elephants on the stage are from the eight babies that Floyd trained in the winter of 54-55. Interesting Floyd's comment about elephants are easy to work with when they get in their 20s. That's what he was counting on with his five original elephants. He was hoping to coast thru with a well-trained act when Vierheller wanted to sell them and get the 8 babies.

Floyd Smith was a keeper when Marlin Perkins started at the Zoo in the 1920s and Perkins was close to him. One of the young staff members told Floyd that I was Perkins' nephew and that's how I got the job as a head keeper. Floyd didn't think it was so but he didn't want to take any chances. He also knew I was quite familiar with the Polack act (that inspired the "8"). He knew that I knew that his copy wasn't even close. In his last years at the Zoo he and his long-time assistant Joe Stephens had some health issues. They'd get the elephants up the ramp and on stage and send them around for a few laps while they caught their breath. The elephants pretty well called the shots, on a good day the show would rate a "C". However, in his day with the first group (worked in what is now the Grevy's zebra yard) Floyd's original five did a very creditible, professional act by even Jules' standard.

Wade G. Burck said...

Jim,
"Jules would have only come up to insult him." That's some funny stuff. It must have seemed like Showfolks on a Saturday night sometimes at St. Louis with all those folks taking shot's at each other.
I never knew you weren't "Uncle Marlin's" nephew. I had always heard you were. I suppose you also weren't the inspiration for the Jim Fowler/Stan Brock character?

Wade