Terrell Jacobs, Lion Trainer Extraordinaire - Thursday, March 19, 2015

We here at the American Treasure Tour have been on a roll of late, discussing some of the colorful circus acts advertised in posters hanging in our Toy Box.  To be honest, we've enjoyed the process, and hope you have too, since we continue today with another of history's most famous lion tamers:  Terrell Jacobs.

The poster we have on display, that is also shown here, celebrates the act Jacobs performed with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the years 1938 and 1939.  The claim at the time was that Jacobs maintained control of fifty lions, tigers and leopards, all in the ring together at the same time.  (There were actually only around thirty-five animals, but who's keeping track?) Jacobs was a well-established entertainer outside of Ringling.  In fact, in a career lasting forty years (he was only 55 when he died in 1958), Jacobs worked for sixteen separate circuses and owned his own.

Perhaps Terrell Jacobs is little remembered today for his now-controversial ability to train wild animals, but he deserves respect regardless.  We are happy to help preserve his memory. 
QUESTION:  Lion taming is all but a lost art these days.  Which of the following men was a great pioneer in using a chair as a way to train the big cats?
A)  Terrell Jacobs
B)  Clyde Beatty
C)  Gunther Gebel-Williams
D)  Esther Williams
ANSWER BELOW

BRIDGING THE PAST.  On this day in 1932, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, spanning the famous harbor in the city of Sydney, Australia, opened.  You might be wondering why we are celebrating this on a blog dedicated to America and its treasures.  Well, the simple answer is because the design for Sydney's bridge was inspired by the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City - and we have a model of the Hell Gate here at the American Treasure Tour.  Okay, it may be a bit of a stretch, but we're sticking with it.

EARP.  It's a funny name, when you think about it.  Earp.  There were seven Earp sons and daughters born to Nicholas and Anne Earp, among them James, Virgil, Morgan and Warren. Today is special because it is the birthday of the most famous Earp - Wyatt.  1848 was the year, and boy-o, what a colorful guy Wyatt was to become.  He was a man of many trades - a teamster, a miner, a business owner (some of which would not make mom proud), but most famously a lawman.  I'm afraid we just don't have the space here to do justice to his story.  Learn about Mr. Earp and all the other Earps.  Earp.

QUOTE:  Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.  - Wyatt Earp

ANSWER:  D) Esther Williams.  We're kidding, of course.  She was very much a woman, which is to say, she could not possibly be the correct answer.  The real answer is B) Clyde Beatty.  His career spanned close to the same years as Jacobs, but his name is most closely associated with both his own circus and that of the Cole Brothers, when the two organizations partnered up.