Monday, June 4, 2012

For Radar--Denny

 This picture was taken in March 1963. It was sent to me from Bangkok a month before she arrived.

I originally imported her to sell. I advertised her and had all kinds of calls. Everyone was interested until I told them she was a bottle baby. I was stuck with her. The best thing that ever happened to me.  Murray Hill Blogspot.


Murray Hill's Blog Spot: Cat Girl and Denny


Ryan Easley said...

Thanks Wade. Do you know who this Charlie Kelton fellow is?

Wade G. Burck said...

A civic leader, apparently. Not much more than that, plus former Treasurer of the Vermont State Fair Board.


Ryan Easley said...

Thanks Wade. I just found your other post calling me out on this elephant back in January:

Bob Cline has three elephants relating to this topic as well. Asian male Diamond and Asian females Shirley and Mitzie have the following listing by his records:

1969 - Owned By Mr. Kelton in Vermont
1970 - with Remo Cristiani
1971 - Owned By Mr. Kelton in Vermont

Remo and Irene Cristiani had four elephants (Sheba, Shirley, Diamond and Mitzi) in 1970 on a rented pasture in Sarasota, Florida.

I have found the following words in a snippet from the Boston Globe, 10/01/1967:

"TRUMPETING--Shirley, the resident elephant at the Kelton Stock Farm, White River Junction, Vt., trumpets happily in the roominess of her private pasture."

I wonder if Shirley is the same elephant and Mr. Kelton renamed 'Denny' after his wife 'Shirley?'

Here is a picture of Shirley with Carl Kelton in 1967, the year after he bought Denny from Murray Hill:

Larry Records told us Kelton had "a baby elephant" and later acquired Santa's Land in Putney, Vermont, with the intention of bringing two elephants in (possibly Tommy Hannefords?) By his wording, it seems this purchase was after Kelton's car dealership money problems of the 1980s. I think Santa's Land was at one point in conjunction with the Southwick's family from Massachusetts.

Ryan Easley said...

New updates regarding Kelton:

The Amusement Business First Elephant Census (05/31/1969) lists with Carl Kelton, White River Jct., Vt., the elephants Shirley, Missie and Diamond with trainer Remo Cristiani.

Digging more into the research of Bob Cline, it appears Missie / Mitzie was the animal imported by Gene Holter in 1967 and was leased to Kelton before returning to California in 1975. Yes, this is the same "infamous" Missie of Hawthorn status.

A separate note in the article states:
"Carl Kelton of New Hampshire, an automotive dealer, assembled three bulls, one of them on a straight trade with Gene Holter for a truck tractor."

Toby Styles told me last year this elephant was Diamond, imported for Expo67 in Montreal, Canada, by Holter, "traded to an individual in the northeast for a GMC diesel tractor."

On Buckles Blog there is discussion about these animals and Cristiani:

One winter in Calif. at Sid Kellner's place, some Federal Marshall's came in wanting to know if they could use our facility to house some elephants they had just impounded. It's a complicated story concerning the people you mentioned [Kelton]. I advised Sid no to get involved and he didn't. //Buckles Woodcock

From a fading memory; I met a gent I believe had a GM dealership who had three punks working on some show I was visiting. Also he was driving a new GM astro cab. I think that would have been the ones Remo had. Remo was on the Don Francisco dates I mentioned in 1968 on our way to Portland OR for the Circus Maximus opening. The next time I saw Remo he had four in his herd. Where did the other three end up? //JC Hall

According to my files, in 1968 Remo only had one elephant "Sheba" however in 1969-70 he added three from Kelton "Shirley", "Mitzi" and "Diamond" (a male).
Later after the issue of ownership was cleared up, Remo again had only "Sheba" but by 1972 he was back up to 3 having added "Shaunzi" and "Dino" (another male). //Buckles Woodcock

Wade, do you know all this and you are just jerking me around? If so, there are plenty of other things to be found if you were not sending me on wild goose chases :)

Wade G. Burck said...

First of all, what makes "Yes, this is the same "infamous" Missie of Hawthorn status," Misty, actually "infamous" of Hawthorn status?" Because that was the last place she was at before going to Tennessee? She was "infamous" long before going to Hawthorn, when she flipped the jeep, and killed the Safari ranger inside out in California. What do you think? Might how an animal was handled early on, and by whom have any bearing on how it behaved as an adult, as I have always speculated?


Ryan Easley said...

Yes, it was a reference to her last location before Tenessee, similar to how it seems Lots is referenced as a Hawthorn elephant and not a Milwaukee elephant. Misty's reputation as a dangerous elephar ended with her parting shot to Cuneo, didn't ya know? (Referencing her biography at

I agree with the early handling theory, though I hope you are not using this to support a PTSD theory :)

It seems Cueno, throughout the 70s to 80s, almost became a 'Mexico' of sorts for problem elephants. What do you think?

I am still interested if 'Shirley' was originally 'Denny.' If so, the origins of the three Kelton elephants have been traced to their importers.

Wade G. Burck said...

"PTSD" is just a lot of nonsense in an effort to humanize or make them seem more human like emotionally, so as to keep the coffers full, by humans providing funds.
It was more like the late 80's early 90's that Hawthorn really became "Mexico North." There was a lot of poor advise and counsel to the head of the operation, in an effort to let him build their dreams. If you had watched the situation closely, particularly with an animal like Mike/Tyke the end result was inevitable from a mile away. The "bull barn" was built with a small pen for one bull and a small "shift pen" to put him in to clean his pen. Those enclosure's built to house one elephant, eventually housed 4. It went from a bad idea to a worse idea in a decade.
There is a good possibility Shirley was originally Denny. If we knew what "It's a complicated story concerning the people you mentioned" was it would help out a lot.
You did well, and I wasn't jerking you around. How different was Kelton from a Bobby Moore? In, spend a lot of money, then out, with the elephants the residual left overs. You need to learn when doing "show biz elephant research" you are best advised to take of the rose colored glasses before you start. That way it is easier to stay away from "jackpots" and concentrate on the fact's. It is likely to be a nasty trip. "We were our own worst enemy," was penned for the elephant fraternity from the mid 50's up through the Arthur Jones imports, coming to a head with the Hawthorn seizure's.


Wade G. Burck said...

Any word on the "snafu" on the database in regards to Col. Joe?


Tim said...

I am Charlie Kelton's son-in-law and notice many people put forth unsubstantiated assertions purporting to be factual. I always wondered what ever became of Remo and Irene? Larry Records apparently doesn't know what he is talking about.

Unknown said...

To anyone still on this thread I can confirm that Shirley is indeed Denny.