King Tusk - Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Monday!  There is no better way to begin the week than to talk about the circus!  We have, in the past, explored the story of the most famous circus of all - Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  Today, we would like to talk about one of the celebrities who drew crowds as early as the 1980s - King Tusk.  

Born in India in 1947 and brought to the United States in his first year, the baby pachyderm was almost certainly saved from the tragic fate of many Asian elephants - death by the hands of poachers.  He grew up into an amazing animal:  he weighed over seven tons, was twelve-and-a-half feet tall, and ate around 150 pounds of hay a day.  His tusks alone were over six feet long and a foot around.  He was so big he couldn't fit in the traditional train cars of the circus.  He had a special tractor trailer built to help get him from city to city, where he amazed spectators.  He passed away in 2002 at Ringling's elephant retirement home located in northern Florida.  Recently, Ringling announced they are going to retire elephant shows from their circus, but we are sure those who got to see King Tusk (also known as Tommy) remember him well.
QUESTION:  Prior to King Tusk, what was the name of Ringling's most famous elephant performer?
A)  Dumbo
B)  Jumbo
C)  Jimbo
D)  Martin Scorcese

THE ANSWER IS...JEOPARDY!  Believe it or not, it was 51 years ago today that the famous television game show Jeopardy first hit the airwaves.  The host was Art Fleming, and he became closely associated with the program until 1975.  Nine years later, after Merv Griffin bought the rights to the program, he apparently asked Fleming to return, but Fleming declined, clearing the way for Alex Trebek to achieve stardom.  Now, few people even realize that the show had life before Alex.

CENTER SQUARE.  How better to celebrate the birth of Jeopardy! than to wish a very happy birthday to none other than Peter Marshall, who turns 89 today.  Marshall - born Ralph Pierre LaCock in Huntington, West Virginia - tried his hand at acting, but it was hosting Hollywood Squares from 1966 to 1981 where he made his name.  Happy birthday, Peter!  Or Ralph, if you prefer.

QUOTE:  If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything. - Peter Marshall

ANSWER:  B)  Jumbo.  The African elephant was the largest of its type ever seen in Europe and America in the 1880s.  He was the inspiration for the use of the word "jumbo" to describe something large, as well.