Sunday, October 14, 2012

Herta Klauser Cuneo And Boo Boo and Teddy Circus Circus Casino, Reno, Nevada 1969

Above and below,  Boo Boo playing Blackjack in the casino.  I can only assume John Cuneo was not to pleased with Boo Boo.  He used to begrudge Herta $5.00 to play the slot machines, and then the bear get's  his big paw in the Hawthorn pocket, and start's throwing it all away at the card tables.  I guess Boo Boo was having none of John Cuneos "the sin's of gambling" speech.  :)

Boo Boo hated costumes and refused to wear them.  The best he would accept was a hat and a ruffled collar, and in later years the collar became a large tie that clipped around his neck and extended to his hip's.  Every now and again during the show he would decide he didn't like that tie and pitch a fit until he jerked it off.  Then he was happy.   When I was assisting Herta with the bear act, the first time Boo Boo went to work on the tie, I walked over to "reprimand" him, and he let out a bear howl and whacked me three times so fast, I didn't see it coming, and jerked the tie off.  After the act, Herta told me, "if he start's taking his tie off, just let him.  He get's angry if you try to stop him."  After that I just picked it up off the floor.  A year later when we were at Marineland and Game Farm, John Cuneo had to leave for a few day's on business and the great bear trainer, James C. Hall was assisting Herta with the bear act, and Boo Boo went to work removing his tie.  I signaled to Jimmy and whispered, "Boo Boo's taking off his tie.  You better stop him."  Jimmy quickly moved(that's no lie, Jimmy moved quick in the old days) to "reprimand"  Boo Boo and Boo Boo let out a bear howl and slapped Jimmy so hard it spun him in a circle and tore the sleeve on his costume.   I just stood there grinning at him.  After the act when Jimmy started pissing at me, Herta told him, "it's your fault that you listened to him."   God I miss the "good old days........."

 The "Marilyn" these two photo's are inscribed to was Marilyn Biehl, an animal psychiatrist who was hired by Circus Circus Casino when it opened in 1968.

 None of Herta's "bear bicycles" had the handle bars "locked" into a permanent circle.  She had the skill to actually teach the bears to steer as well as pedal the bikes.   Teddy rode a figure 8 around two cones instead of just in a circle.  One year on an out door date, with the rings set up on a track around a football field, Teddy got distracted(as she looks in this picture actually) by something at the back of the ring, and instead of turning to the left for a figure 8, turned the bike straight and headed out the back of the ring.  She got about 25 foot down the asphalt track before Herta and I caught up to her and brought her back to the ring.   Boo Boo sired and Teddy gave birth to two great cub's named Winnie and Junior in 1975 or 1976.

Circus Circus opening:
At the October 18, 1968 opening which was broadcast live on the Ed Sullivan Show, the circus acts were scheduled to perform until 2:00am, but instead the excitement lasted until 6:00am, when the acts finally had to stop due to fatigue.
"It was a stupendous idea.50,000 balloons were firmly anchored, we thought, to the roof by a layer of netting.At the official ribbon cutting, the balloons were to be released.An hour before the ceremony, a camera helicopter made a practice run over the building."  Clarence Hoffman, a veteran of the Chicago Opera, opening night Ringmaster.

The Executive Producer was Al Dobritch, the Bandmasters was Bill Kirkise & Jimmy Ille, and the Ringmasters were Sandy Dobritch, Mike Martzell, and Clarence Hoffman.

Acts for opening night:
Senior Antonio - Head Balance Trapeze; Marilyn Biehl - Animal Psychiatrist; The Canestrellis - Trampoline; Mr. Coco - Chips; Elsbeth & Ray Cosmo - Clowns; De Mille - Wire; Al Dobritch - Executive Producer; The Far Fans - Flying Trapeze; Joe Gerlach - Sponge Plunge; The Gibsons - Flying Trapeze; The Hartzells - Comedic Musicians; Mike Hartzell - Ringermaster; The Hildalys - Aerial Upside Down Unicycle; The Hillarys - Flying Trapeze; Clarence Hoffman - Ringmaster; Dave Johnsen - Assistant Producer; Le Lisa - Trapeze; Lemke - Chimps; Martinez - Flying Trapeze; Norbu - Gorilla Parody; Palacios - Flying Trapeze; Peluza - Clown; Andre Prince's - Aerial Ballet; The Randels - Trampoline; Tommy Rundell - Ringmaster; Tanya - The Elephant; Vino Venito - Sword Balance.

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