(Lion) Tamers on Tuesday

Mable Stark photo.jpg

Okay. So loyal readers of the Treasure Tour blog likely expected us to talk about a favorite song or album today. Well, it isn't happening today, because we want to highlight one of our favorite lion tamers.  We know.  This is what makes us so crazy!  Mable Stark, born in 1889 and orphaned as a teenager, actually did run of and join the circus. She realized early on that she wanted to become a lion timer, and that's exactly how she spent the better part of her life, almost sixty years! She moved from circus to circus, working for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey off and on through a career that involved many moves around the country, time overseas, and lots of terrible maulings. At one point, a lion almost ripped her leg off during a rehearsal.  Many members of her audiences witnessed numerous times as angry tigers tore at her.  But she lived for it.

Mable Stark, Lion Tamer.jpg

Mable was in a handful of movies during the 1930's, including King of the Jungle with Buster Crabbe, and I'm No Angel filling in for Mae West.  Easily the most famous female lion tamer in the nation, Mable drew crowds wherever she performed. But, in the 1950's, she found herself employed at a theme park in California called Jungleland USA.  Many famous animal personalities lived there, notably Leo the Lion (MGM's mascot) and the famous "talking" horse, Mr. Ed. Things didn't work out for Mable there, unfortunately, and she was fired in 1968, and shortly thereafter took her own life.  So yes, the story has a terrible ending, but Mable was a great example to women at a time when they were treated as second-class citizens that there was absolutely no job a man could do that a woman couldn't do just as well - maybe better!