Friday, March 12, 2010

....Pat Anthony....

...Hamid 1964...

The wild stories of a lion tamer
HAYWARD — Lion tamer Pat Anthony
rolled up his left sleeve and quietly, thoughtfully
described his worst mauling.
It was during the winter of 1970 in Redding.
Pa., and Anthony had 18 big lions and tigers in
a cage on stage.
"it was too many animals for such a small
cage." he said. "The female lion was in heat.
She and her mate both dove on me in seconds.
They almost tore my arm off."
Anthony said he knocked the male off him
and struggled free of the female. There was a
hospital across the street, and he walked to it
in zero-degree weather.
The hospital transferred him to Chicago,
where the show was headed.
"They handed me a form to sign and I asked
what it was. They said it was a consent form
to have my arm amputated. They said I would
die from the gangrene, but I wouldn't sign.
"Then a young doctor said he wanted to try
something that had a chance in a thousand of
working. I said go ahead."
Anthony said the doctor cut the partially
healed wounds open and set up a series of
tubes to drain out the poison.
"I woke up three days later." he said.
A few days later he started sneaking out of
the hospital at night to put on his animal show
with one arm in a cast.
"They caught me on the third night."
Anthony said with an impish grin.
Anthony will be a featured performer when
Circus Vargas opens tomorrow night at the
Hayward City Center, 22292 Foothill Blvd.. for
a five-day run.
Between 1948 and 1953. Anthony appeared in
a variety of films as an animal handler and as
a stand-in for stars in mauling scenes.
He recaptured an escaped tiger in "The
Greatest Show On Earth." wrestled a wild
hyena as a stand-in for Gregory Peck in "The
Snows of Kilimanjaro." and wrestled a mountain-
lion in "River of No Return" as a standin
for Robert Mitchum.
He was in a variety.of other films, including
the Jungle Jim series as a stand-in for Johnny
Weissmuller and as a double for Victor Mature
in "Samson and Delilah."
Inspired by Clyde Beatty as a child in Ohio.
Anthony got his start in both films and animal
training at World Jungle Compound at
Thousand Oaks.
In 1954 he started circus work and has been
at it ever since.
Anthony is a robust man with curly dark
hair and a tough, steady gaze. As you might
expect, he has lots of good stories. Like the
time the tigers got loose in Memphis.
"I was working with 13 female tigers and
they all got into a fight and broke the steel
cage open." he said, with a little laugh. "Two
got out and I chased them around the building.
We caught one in the cloakroom and one in the
"Everybody was all excited. It-was like
being in another world. I collapsed for a month
after that one."
Anthony has been with Circus Vargas for
three or four years, and plans to expand his
act to 17 animals next year.
He says he has an 18-month-old Siberian
tiger named Lasky that weighs 700 pounds, is
13 feet long, and is still growing. He says he is
• training it to balance on a big ball. He says the
training has been steady but slowed somewhat
because the tiger has torn apart two of the big
balls so far.
"What the public doesn't realize is that what
they see in the ring takes years of work." he
said. "It takes a constant repetition of the
same little trick for weeks or months."
Anthony draws a distinction between his
"wild animal act" and what he calls the
"European acts" which have animals that
have been raised as pets by the trainers.
"My animals aren't pets: they aren't pampered,"
Anthony said. "I get them when
they're 18 months or 2 years old. Any John Doe
can raise a pet lion and play with it.
But to take a full-grown animal and teach it
tricks takes a little knowhow."
He says his type of animal act is a "dying
art." and he has advised his five sons to go
into other lines of work.
"My 13-year-old boy is nuts about animals,
and is always hanging around the cats when I
go home to Florida." Anthony said. "I may
give him a lion to play with, but he'll never
make a future out of it."
Anthony. 53. has worked over, 20 years with
lions and tigers, and from his observations has
decided that lions are not "the king of beasts."
For one thing, they snore.
"Lions have a reputation, partly because
they run in packs." ne said. "But tigers are
loners. In a head-to-head battle, I'd bet on the
tiger. The lion has an advantage with that
mane, so you get a mouthful of hair before you
reach his neck, but the tiger is swift and can
think. The lion has a one-track mind."
Anthony says he likes working a tent circus
better than the indoor ones.
"There's a certain atmosphere." he said.
"You don't have all the restrictions on the
animals that you have in a building. It's
something that the kids may not see again.
There aren't many tent shows left."
He says his act is unasual because he mixes
both lions and tigers and males and females in
the same tricks. He says the lions and tigers
don't like each other, and the male lions are
unpredictable when the females are around.
He carries two pistols loaded with blanks
when he's in the cage.
"They're not afraid of me." he said "You
can only push them so far. You have to have
your eyes revolving around all the time
because there's always one waiting to nail you
from behind.
"They can tell just by looking if you're
afraid. Then they've got your number."

....The Great Elephant Stampede....

The Gonzales Inquirer
April 7, 1949

Things are quiet at the Dailey Brothers circus lot, today, but for two hours late Tuesday, bedlam would have been tame by comparison.

Eighteen bulls out of the circus herd of 21 elephants went on a rampage and stampeded out the winter quarters of the circus to roar across the southeast end of Gonzales for more than two hours before all were rounded up and corralled in their barn to quiet down.

With the consent of owner Ben C. Davenport, the herd had been moved to a ravine at the far end of the old fair grounds to a heavily wooded section not far from the Guadalupe River.

The animals had been arranged to pass in a group before the camera, but they were sluggish and refused to be speeded. Davenport dispatched two cowboys, mounted on horses, to the rear of the herd and allowed them to shoot several rounds from .44 caliber pistols.

The combination of prancing horses and barking pistols frightened the herd and they started off without warning, trumpeting loudly and storming for distance in all directions.

The herd, all but one - Little Butch - was safe before sunset. It was not until many hours later that Little Butch was located in the woods, six miles out, and brought home in Davenport's Cadillac.

Two men were slightly hurt in the stampede, Rex Williams, 26, former Marine, a head elephant man with the circus, was bumped by a bull and sent flying probably 20 feet. He was cut and bruised.

Raymond Freivogal, 30, utility man, who was in front of the herd, made a leap for safety and stumbled as the elephants advanced. He fell between two logs that had been rolled into place for props, and this proved to be the lucky accident that saved his life.

The herd stormed over and past him, kicking the logs as it went by, but none tramped on Freivogal. He was bruised as the logs squeezed against him, and scratched by the bark, but was otherwise unhurt.

For two miles, the elephants scattered, singly, in pairs and in threes, and it was more than two hours later - 4:30 p.m. - before the last was rounded up by the frantically laboring circus hands.

They roared through fences knocking them down indiscriminately, and one bull tore off the porch of a small house. Letter boxes in the rural route areas also went down, among them the box of Louis H. School at State Park and one of his neighbors.

Across the Gonzales-Shiner Highway, the herd flew, some of them being captured later against the brick walls of the Gonzales Cotton Mill.

One pair suddenly smashed out of the brush land into the Shiner Road just as a tourist car, bearing Indiana plates and containing a middle-aged couple, drove along.

The goggle-eyed man at the wheel nearly cracked up when he saw the elephants charging in his direction. He drove into a ditch and the elephants passed by. Later, when he was able to regain the highway, the tourist sped into town screaming that the elephants were after him.

It was the first word in Gonzales that the elephants were on stampede. But the tourist fled the city.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

....Sad News....

....Barbara ( Debbie ) Valentine passed away at 1:40 AM on Tuesday March 9,2010 of cancer in Dallas Texas..May she RIP with the angels....

My Motto....

In case you can't read the bottom,it says
Always in the shit
Only the depth varies....

....Click on picture to enlarge....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Taronga Zoo’s newborn male Asian Elephant calf has continued to make progress overnight, under the watchful eyes of dedicated Taronga Zoo staff.

The Zoo’s Senior Veterinarian, Larry Vogelnest, said: “The calf is slowly getting stronger and is now walking around independently and has suckled from his mother, Porntip.”

“He appears to have a lot more coordination, has great control of his trunk and is shuffling around much more confidently. The calf is also very alert, a good sign considering his eventful start to life.”

“He is still not completely out of the woods but these are all very good signs and things we wanted to see happen within the first 24 hours after his incredible birth,” said Dr. Vogelnest.

Taronga Zoo, Director, Cameron Kerr, said: “The last 24 hours have certainly been remarkable.”

“The mother’s name, ‘Porntip’ means ‘eternally blessed’ in Thai, and I can tell you, all the Zoo staff certainly feel blessed at the moment. There is definitely a feeling of magic and excitement in the air.”

The elephant team reported that overnight, Porntip proved to be a wonderful mother, helping to settle the newborn down for a night time sleep before lying down close beside him.

“Porntip is also receiving a lot of attention from Thong Dee, mother to Taronga’s other Asian Elephant calf, Luk Chai. Being the first two elephants to ever give birth at Taronga they now have a shared experience to draw upon, “Cameron said.

“Importantly, the infant is taking a lot of interest in the older elephants and Australia’s first elephant calf ‘Luk Chai’ which was born last July,” said Cameron.
“I am told the calf is very curious and has been reaching out to its herdmates who have spent the night in the stalls next door.”

“Our three other females and Luk Chai even abandoned their breakfast in the paddock this morning to be with him. This is simply unheard of but they just can’t tear themselves away from the new arrival.”

“This morning, our keepers introduced the calf to ‘aunty’ Pak Boon, his mother’s closest companion. She is normally a real tomboy but this morning showed us another side to her personality, as she slowly and gently caressed the calf.”

The calf and his mother, Porntip will be staying in the warm barn today and 24 hour monitoring and care will continue for some time to come.

Taronga’s Elephants are part of Australia’s first national Conservation Breeding Program for Asian Elephants, whose numbers in the wild may have slumped to as low as 34,000 across their home countries in Asia.

....The Flying Alexanders..1961....

....Paul McCausland..Kandy and Terry Cavaretta..Rose and Fay Alexander....

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

....Baby Elephant Birth....

10 March 2010

Taronga Zoo’s young male Asian Elephant calf born at 3.27 am this morning is showing some early encouraging signs including attempting to suckle from its mother, Porntip and meeting other herdmates.

The Zoo’s Senior Veterinarian, Dr Larry Vogelnest said: “The calf has already had some contact with the other elephants in the herd, touching trunks with the older females and also the zoo’s first calf, Luk Chai, an eight-month old male.”

“The others are very excited and curious, reaching out to him with their trunks whenever he gets close.”

“Porntip is already showing signs of being an excellent mother, trying to help him suckle although he hasn’t quite managed to suckle yet. She’s in good health and has been getting to know her calf, gently touching the young animal with her trunk.”

The Birth Team has reported that in between sleeps, the calf began taking its first steps mid-morning and is moving around the birthing pen in the Elephant Barn.
Dr Vogelnest said: “We’ve been able to give him several litres of colostrum, the important first milk for newborns and we think he weighs between 90 and 100 kg.”

“Our initial impressions are that he is stockier than Luk Chai but maybe not as tall.”

The zoo’s Director Cameron Kerr this afternoon said: “The Zoo’s elephant team are focussing entirely on supporting the calf through the critical first 24 hours and we’re asking for patience and understanding while they endeavour to give the youngster its best chance of survival.”

“Advice from world elephant reproduction expert, Dr Thomas Hildebrandt of the Berlin Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Health is that such an outcome after a protracted labour has never been seen before. He said the birth will completely re-write the elephant birth text books.”

Dr Vogelnest said: “The early indications are that the calf survived the protracted labour in a coma. That unconscious state would explain the complete absence of any vital signs during all the checks and examinations we conducted during the labour and led us to believe the calf had not survived.”

Elephant Manager, Gary Miller, said: “When the keepers learned the calf had survived this morning, the looks of disbelief on our faces were quite a picture. We couldn’t believe that this could be true.”

The other elephants in the herd, Pak Boon, Tang Mo and Thong Dee, as well as the older calf, Luk Chai, have been gently caressing the newborn with their trunks, touching trunk tips and very interested in the new calf.

Dr Vogelnest said the Birth Team was taking everything moment by moment and the first 24 hours is critical to the calf’s future.

For more information contact Media Relations:
Ph: +61 2 9978 4606
Fax: +61 2 9978 4511


March 10th, 2010

Despite overwhelming evidence that her first calf had not survived a protracted labour, Taronga’s Asian Elephant Porntip delivered a male calf alive at 3.27 am today.
The Zoo’s Director, Cameron Kerr, said: “Her dedicated keepers reported the amazing news early this morning that the calf had been born and was showing signs of life to Taronga’s veterinary team who immediately rushed to the elephant barn to assist Porntip and the calf.”
“The long-standing, detailed plans were immediately put into place to support the calf in its very delicate situation.”
“Porntip is with the calf as her keepers and the veterinary team work to support them both. His health is being monitored and it is still too early to know if the calf will survive long-term.”

On Monday the birth team led by the Zoo’s Senior Veterinarian and the world-leading expert on elephant births, Dr Thomas Hildebrandt, told the media that they believed that the calf had not survived.
After six days of intensive effort by Porntip, keepers and veterinarians found none of the five vital signs that would have indicated the calf was still alive..
Dr Hildebrandt said that “should the calf be born alive, it would be a miracle”.
Mr Kerr said: “While this is incredible news, the young calf still has a long way to go. Our vets are now working to determine the possible effects of the protracted labour on the calf.”
“There are no guarantees of its long-term survival at this early stage but we hope that its birth against the odds will stand it in good stead.”
“We will provide more information on the calf’s progress as it becomes available.”
The other elephants in Taronga’s herd, Pak Boon, Tang Mo and Thong Dee, together with eight month old Luk Chai, are calm and in the barn.

.... Ursula Böttcher Video 1973 ....

....Perch Acts....

....Sister sues the !@#$ out of Ringling bro for shiva boot....


Last Updated: 10:29 AM, March 9, 2010

Posted: 3:10 AM, March 9, 2010

Step right up folks, for "The Worst Shiva on Earth!"

What was supposed to be a fond remembrance of a beloved aunt turned into a three-ring rumble when the man who runs the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had his sister forcibly tossed out of the memorial like a Flying Wallenda, court papers reveal.

That 2007 shiva sparked a $110 million federal lawsuit by the sister, Karen Feld, a Tourette's-afflicted woman who allegedly blurted out, "F - - k the rabbi" before being booted, along with her toy poodle, Campari, by security goons employed by her brother, Kenneth Feld.

Kenneth Feld is now trying to force the Long Island rabbi, Joshua Burrows, to testify in that Washington, DC, suit about what he saw -- and heard -- during the clan's clownish clash.

The Felds are children of Adele and Irvin Feld, who operated the renowned Ringling Bros. circus.

After their mom committed suicide in 1958, Kenneth and Karen grew up in their aunt Shirley Feld's apartment in Washington while their father was off running the circus.

Kenneth, known as Kenny, was groomed to take over Feld Entertainment, which operates the circus, as well as productions such as "Holiday on Ice."

Karen became a syndicated gossip columnist.

Karen and Kenny had their first legal squabble in 1984 when their dad died and Karen discovered he had cut her out of his will. Karen sued Kenny for $10 million, but later reportedly settled for less than $1 million.

When their aunt Shirley passed away in 2007 at age 92, Karen stopped by the shiva service to mourn with the family, according to her lawyer, Steven Oster.

"She belonged there," Oster said.

Kenny and his daughters hugged Karen when she arrived, according to her suit.

Soon after, Rabbi Burrows, who was then working at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in DC, gathered the family in the living room to tell "Shirley stories."

Karen became overcome with grief and left the room with Campari, who is trained to detect the signs of an oncoming seizure.

On her way to the bathroom, she claims she was grabbed by three "large, aggressive men," and beaten and dragged down the hallway, tossed into the elevator and then thrown out of the building at her brother's direction.

Karen claims she suffered a concussion, fractured ribs, torn left earlobe and a broken elbow.

But Kenny in court papers claims that Karen acted irrational during the services, saying "f - - k the rabbi."

Burrows, who now lives in Nassau County, doesn't want to testify. His lawyer, Jennifer Bougher, is trying to quash the subpoena sought last month in Brooklyn federal court.

Monday, March 08, 2010

....Emmett Kelly....

....Photo taken at Salt Lake City, 1955....

....Emmett Kelly....

....Photo taken at Salt Lake City, 1955....

....Alma Taylor 1927....

Sunday, March 07, 2010

.... Elizabeth Ayala....

....Hubert Castle Elephants..1979....

....Zetta, Peggy, Jan, Bunny, & Marie.. Gary Thomas & Sally Ashton....

....Local horse trainer traveling as circus performer....

By Fred Hiers
Staff writer

Published: Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 6:30 a.m.

Sylvia Zerbini can't remember a time when she wasn't on the road.

She calls Ocala home, but the ninth-generation circus performer seldom sees her 12-acre farm. The barns go unused, as do most of the home's appliances and furniture.

But the past week was an exception. The 42-year-old horse trainer has been able to sleep under her own roof. The circus she works for, Cavalia, has stopped in Marion County to give its 64 horses a rest between shows.

Zerbini is the product of an Algerian, animal trainer father and a French, world-class trapeze artist mother. The couple met when both worked at Mills Bros. Circus. Zerbini was born in Sarasota, but was in tow with the circus within a few months.

Zerbini began her career when she was 5, helping her father care for his animals, which included horses. At 10, she was performing on the trapeze with her mother.

Three decades later she works for what many describe as the most accomplished equestrian show on Earth: Cavalia.

Created by Cirque de Soleil co-founder Normand Latourelle, Cavalia bills itself as a multimedia equestrian performance, but includes acrobatics and aerialists of the caliber that made Cirque renowned.

It is the pinnacle of Zerbini's career.

The 11 minutes she and her 16 horses perform each show, twice on Saturdays, make the long hours of training and work worthwhile, she said.

For the past week, Cavalia's 64 horses have been resting at Peninsula Farm off U.S. 441 after their sold-out Miami shows. They will again perform in Tampa beginning Friday at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

"I've seen many shows, all kinds of shows, but when I saw Cavalia for the first time in 2004, it was the first show that made me sit back and forget everything else. It took me to a different place," Zerbini said. "From the production, to the horses to the acrobatics and the was just like no other show I had ever seen."

In 2006, Latourelle saw Zerbini's show in New York and asked her to join him on tour.

"This is exactly where I need to be. It's my life. It's all I know," Zerbini said at the Peninsula Farm while taking care of her horses.

Her 13 Arabian and three Spanish horses weigh as much as a ton, but the 120- pound, 5-foot-7 woman persuades her animals to bow, prance, pivot and follow her on stage using only a riding crop.

Zerbini is unique in that she uses mostly verbal commands and body language to guide her horses through their paces.

"The small riding crop is really just an extension of my arm," she said. "Sometimes I throw sand to get their attention...when they're distracted. Their reward is carrots backstage after the show."

When she was 11, her parents left her at home while they toured so she could decide whether she wanted the traveling circus life. Within a few weeks she was pleading to join them.

"I knew from a very young age what I wanted to do and that was to work with horses, but in a different way," she said. "I put all of my attention and love and focus on the horses."

Some of Zerbini's horses were animals former owners no longer wanted, complaining they were too difficult to work with.

The professionalism and creativity of Cavalia's performers pays off. The show has attracted 2.5 million spectators and mostly rave media reviews during its past six years. The show exhibits 12 breeds of horses from the Netherlands, France, Canada, Spain and the United States. Cavalia has performed throughout the United Staes and Europe.

The two-hour Cavalia show blends performances between horse, rider and trainer, but also adds the lavish pageantry of Cirque Du Soleil.

"I had the opportunity to bring Cirque du Soleil for the first time to Florida in 1989," said Latourelle, Cavalia founder and artistic director. "I am extremely proud to introduce a new type of show to Tampa over 20 years later. I hope that the people will embrace Cavalia's magic as much as they did two decades ago with Cirque."

The traveling company had to extend its Miami show nearly three weeks and nearly four weeks in Atlanta because of sold-out performances.

Zerbini is one of 35 artists, acrobats and riders performing under the 110-foot-high "White Big Top," which is one of eight Cavalia tents. The 26,264- square-foot tent seats 2,000 people and includes a 210-foot-wide screen for projections and special effects.

The horses have a crew of 20 people who care for them, including veterinary technicians and blacksmiths.

Zerbini said it takes a few months to a year for her horses to learn their tricks, based on the horse's nature and the difficulty of the maneuver they need to learn.

The show is attracting performers from around the world.

Marcel Dou, 30, was at the Peninsula Farm working on a new act but hasn't been hired on yet by the company.

Originally from Spain, the dancer - who also incorporates horses into his act - came to Ocala from New York.

"There are pluses and pluses and be working with Cavalia," he said. "Being around horses every day and working with them would be a dream and if they pay you to play with the horses, that's the best."

Meanwhile, Zerbini works an average of 11 hours a day with her horses. She enjoys the traveling and the new people she meets, but admits her life is mostly limited to the circus life and moves when it's time to pick up stakes.

"But I think for me that's good," she said, adding she enjoys the quiet time with her animals.

She comes home to Ocala maybe once every few months.

She doesn't know when she will retire or slow down.

She has performed throughout France, Mexico, Monte Carlo, Italy and the United States and with such venues as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

"But when I think I have it down pat...the horses teach me something I didn't know," she said.

Regardless of where she works, Zerbini said she wants to keep teaching audiences about horses.

"At least making people aware of the mentality of the horse," she said, "and the different ways of listening to the horse."

..Fred Hiers..