Friday, December 16, 2011

St. Louis Zoo Lion Show--Jules Jacot







1965





7 comments:

Jim A. said...

Two of the post cards aren't Jules Jacot's act. (The lions and leopard) They are the cat show of Mike Kostial Sr. who died in 1942. "Big Mike" was at the Zoo from 1933 until his death. Jacot came to the Zoo the first tour in 1943 until 1955. Photos of that era have bars all around the arena. He return in 1962 to work on the Lion Arena stage with a solid background. The fims show him working a group of male lions (his personal animals) and the lion-tiger group trained by Dick McGraw. His lions had some unique tricks like opening the door, that lent his style well to the Zoo. When Jules returned he was in his early 70s, a fact that made the Zoo administration nervous. Not to worry, he'd be at the Zoo 7 days a week to work with his animals. I considered it a compliment when he let me care for his animals when he took a brief trip. Quite a character.

Wade, I also hold you in high esteem and know you're not as old as myself. May I suggest you too might begin wearing a beret, befitting your stature. Just a thought.....

Wade G. Burck said...

Jim,
We can sure count on you for some great zoo history. I wasn't sure about the leopards and lions. I thought they may have been from the act of 78 animals that the lumens nixed for posterity.
Nuts on the beret. With the exception of Jules, I was of the understanding that only French poof's wore them to identify themselves to other poofs, kinda like gang colors. I will just have to ride into the sunset wearing my Charlie 1 Horse.

Wade

Wade G. Burck said...

Jim,
Why did they go to a solid back on the arena? Was that the wall that revolved? In the last picture of the barrel roll, do you know what the blue thing is that Jules is standing on "t shaped" thing in the middle?

Wade

Jim A. said...

Wade,
No idea what Jules was standing on. Never saw the show in the old arena, just a few of the tricks. As to why a solid wall? Maybe they tried to copy the Jungleland arena. It wasn't good, the door man couldn't see who he was letting in. If it hit the fan the outside guys were of no help but to call 911. There were 7 cages on either side, 4 in the front and 3 in the back. Jules said it took longer to teach the cats to shift around the building than to work in the act.

The original plan for the building was for the show to be presented behind a moat. The building would be covered with the artifical red granite bolders seen in the antelope area. Would have been quite unique, but it was expensive. The building that was was first used for the 8 baby elephants in the 1955 and 56 seasons. Dick Mc Graw then Jules presented cats thru 1969. I started the sea lion show there in 1970. This year was the last year for shows at the building. The sea lion show will move down the the Sea Lion Sound exhibit. Kyle Ulmer, the Show Mgr., was kind enough to let me work one of the sea lions for the last show. First time my son-in-law and grandkids ever saw me on stage, pretty neat.

Wade G. Burck said...

Jim,
I did not know that there were plans to do the back wall in granite or to utilize a moat. Did Jules ever express any thought's on how successful a moat would have been? I would think there would still have to be a "barrier" or something to keep them out of the moat. Jungle Larry's old rectangle arena also had a solid wall behind, with 1 by 2 foot viewing window in which to crane your neck and twist your eyes in an effort to see the animals to the far left and far right. When the animals were let in, you didn't know if they were at the chute door until they entered their cages. Just because Jungleland did it, didn't mean it was a good idea, but folks often copied the good with the bad in an effort to "be like."
I didn't realize you had done a "Back By Popular Demand Tour" at St. Louis. It must have been a treat for your family. All these years they thought you were lying. :)

Wade

vicki wehrle said...

Do any of you remember Bob Janis a St Louis Zoo employee that worked with Jules and his cats ?

Jim A. said...

Vicki,
I worked with Bob at the Zoo. Not sure if it was his first job there but he assisted Dick McGraw at the Big Cat Show and then worked with Jules Jacot. When the cat show ended he worked at the Antelope House and finished his zoo career as the Vet. Hospital keeper. I saw him about three years ago at a Zoo employee event. Jim A.