Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
“The Lion’s Bride” Film
Release Date: 1914
“This Selig production was inspired by a famous painting of the era, also titled ~The Lion's Bride. Although she loves another, the daughter of an evil baron has been promised in marriage to an ancient count. With the help of the count's jester, the girl and her lover are able to elope. Interrupting the wedding, the count grabs the heroine and tosses her into a den of lions, where she presumably ends up as the "blue plate special." Her vengeful lover then kills the count, as the extras react in horror, and the canvas scenery flaps in the wind. The original The Lion's Bride was also the source for a key scene in Cecil B. DeMille's Male and Female (1919).”
~ Hal Erickson, Rovi 
At any rate, Hagenbeck's lions, lent for the purposes of a film recording Madame Destinn's acting, declined to-day to be soothed by the world-famous voice. A great crowd gathered to see Madame Destinn in the lions' den, but the beautiful aria which the film supposes her to sing, Beethovens "Kennst du das Land," was performed at a very respectful distance by the gramophone, and Madam, Destinn was promptly reminded of many inaccurate quotations of Congreve's verse when, as soon as she began to sing, the lions began to growl I noticed," said Madame Destinn, "that as soon as I began to emphasise the notes my lion started to growl. You can guess that I cut it out quickly."
A lady tamer sat down on the piano stool, obviously for the first time in her life, to act the role of accompanist, and incidently to keep an eye on the sleeping monarch, while a wiry little man from Hagenbeck's, who treated the lions just as if they had been so many rabbits or guinea-pigs, was very much on the alert, just out of the line of fire of the battery of cameras that were turned on the centre of the cage. These preparations completed, Madame Destinn stepped into the cage quite unconcernedly, and, hardly casting a glance at the animals, took up her station within two or three feet of the lion on the top of the piano. Then the signal was given, the films began to rattle, and the great singer opened her lips.
“..The song at an end, the prima donna bowed her acknowledgments to the imaginary audience for its imaginary plaudits, and now came the one feature in the performance, (says The Daily Telegraph) which appeared to arouse in her a certain amount of misgiving, for she was asked to lay her arm around Hercules's neck. Whether it was difference at the idea of taking such liberties with the king of beasts, or the thought that the maxim about sleeping dogs might apply with at least equal force to other and larger animals, at any rate, she executed the prescribed embrace with obvious signs of reluctance, and her land rested only with the gentlest possible pressure on the tawny mane. It was probably concern for the good fame of his pets which made the man from Hagenbeck's step forward and take hold of the singer's arm and, at the same time assuring her that she had no ground for uneasiness, lay it firmly right round the lion's neck…”
Disclaimer: Readers should check their sources, and not rely solely upon the information provided as being completely accurate. There may be errors or omissions in this article. To the best of my knowledge the information provided is accurate, however any further information may be revealed in the near future.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
These days with the advent of growing opposition against the use of animals performing in circuses an image like this would be frowned upon. Below is a brief summary I wrote up about the animals in this act.
Friday, December 2, 2011
|Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19350925-52-1|
Tales of a strange donkey like creature with zebra stripes had long been told in the Congo. Explorers tried to seek out the strange creature the local people called 'Okapi'. By 1901 samples of the animal's skin and bones had been bought back to England by Sir Harry Johnston who presented his findings to the Zoological Society of London
The skull was obviously not that of an equine animal, which the okapi was first supposed to be, but a ruminant.- There were no incisor teeth in the upper jaw, but they were replaced. as in all ruminants, by a fleshy pad, the remains of which still existed on the bones. Mr Oldfield Thomas, of the
His efforts to purchase a skin only resulted in procuring the striped pieces from the hind quarters, the natives neglecting all the self coloured parts, which constitute the covering of the greater part of the animal. His ultimate success in obtaining an entire skin was due to the exertions of Mr Karl Ericsson, of the
The preservation of this remarkable form from extermination was dependent on the total absence of large carnivora, and on the forest being exceedingly unhealthy, owing to which it is little visited by man. The dwarfs have no firearms, and secure the specimens that they obtain by digging large pitfalls, and killing the captured animal with spears. The forest region was apparently uninhabited until the more powerful negroes, by their persecution, necessitated its occupation, by the dwarfs.
In 1935 an Okapi was presented by the King of Belgian to the Prince of Wales. The animal was given by the Prince to the London Zoo. A living Okapi seen for the first time outside of its natural habitat in England caused a world wide sensation. News soon reached the New Zealand print media. The Evening Post reported:-
An okapi, a rare animal from
Belgian Congo, described as a cross between a giraffe, a deer, and a zebra, has arrived at the London Zoological Gardens. It is said to be the only living example of the species that has reached . England
It has been given to the gardens by the Prince of Wales, who received it as a gift from the King of the Belgians.
Officials of the gardens went to
to supervise transport. Antwerp
The okapi which was given in July to the London Zoo by the Prince of Wales, who received it as a gift from the King of the Belgians, died suddenly today.
The cause is at present unknown, but the loss is much regretted as there are only two other specimens in captivity in