Monday, July 5, 2010

Lion Trainer Jules Jacot

In 1943, Jules Jacot started work as a lion trainer at the Saint Louis Zoo. Jacot, a native of Brooklyn, NY, started out with the American circus Corporation and had made a name for himself nationally. From 1943 to 1955, Jacot's big cat acts were considered to be the best in the country.
One of Jacot's acts was The World's largest Snapping Turtle. He would coerce a lion to crawl into a turtle shell costume and then crawl across the stage on its belly, snapping all the way (the turtle costume was crafted from airplane tubing and wire mash, covered with papier-mâché).
In 1969, aged 79, Jacot was still working with lions, tigers, leopards and pumas. He suffered (a second) bite while putting his head in a lion's mouth, but asked whether he would cancel performances, Jacot just answered "ridiculous!".
Jacot, never without beret, retired in 1970, much against his will and that was the end of the Saint Louis Zoo Lion Show.

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