Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charly




I have been without internet service the past few days, and was not able to wish Charly a Happy Birthday.  Charly was often times overshadowed by GGW, as was everybody upon his arrival in the United States.  Anyone who ever had the honor of watching Charly Baumann work will understand what I mean when I say that in my opinion Charly had the greatest tiger act of my generation.  Possibly of all time, but I can't speak to what I never saw.   Absolute perfection of lights, music, presentation and behaviors. 


Jim A. said...

I agree with your comments. Charly Baumann set the standard, and it's pretty high. I saw him first in 1964 in Charlotte, NC. He worked early in the second half in the "bible" arena with the beautiful chrome and wood props that probably came from Germany. He was so smooth and in control, even when he "backed" into Kismet. As time went on the act continued to amaze with behaviors I never thought I'd see along with some classics. My favorite was the double hoop jump, together then crossing. Even sea lion guys could strive to present an act as well.

GaryHill said...

Didnt know the date, Thanks Wade. Talk about an imposing personality..being Performance Director kept him wound pretty tight but he came me a free hand and anything I needed for his tigers and Jewells lions..Loved workin with Camel John too..

Wade G. Burck said...

If you studied the "double jump" closely, as I suspect you did, being an animal trainer, the amazing thing was that the animals had two very different "personalities" and Charly was able to synchronize them.

If you recall, one animal with a calmer nature jumped on the top pedestal and paused for a moment, as the second animal with a hotter personality flew off it's seat, hit the top pedestal, and the two then went through the hoops exactly together. As a young "wanna be", as opposed to a "has been" as some would suggest :) I watched and analyzed, over and over again, his 6 tiger roll over. Being a "wanna be" I scoffed at the fact that 6 rolled over together the first time, 5 the second time, and 4 the third. Years later when I rolled 8 over I realized that I was so fortunate to learn what I did from watching Charly, and that Charly being the first ever to roll 6 tigers over didn't have the advantage that I had. He was still working it out on his own, with no one to observe, and all I had to do was "pick the slack." In my mind, greatness is based on innovation and attempting the unknown. Something lacking in most of today's animal acts. Most have fallen into a comfort zone of "same old, same old." Charly and GGW were indeed unique. The other trainer from my era who innovated was Pat Anthony, who skillfully "tricked up" the fighting act.