Ray Chandler & Rocky

Posted By on September 9, 2012

43 GALESBURG SPEEDWAY GENE HOLTER ANIMALS   late 1950s  Ray Chandler & Rocky  Ray Chandler seen here with baby Rocky. The mother and child may be the Bill Olney family. I received some interesting information from Charles Chandler, the son of Ray Chandler. In 1959 Ray was hired by Disney studio to be the head stock tender on a movie called Swiss Family Robinson. The baby elephant Rocky, along with numerous other animals such as Ostrich, Zebra and a variety bran yard critters were loaded up and shipped to the location in Trinidad. All of these animals had to be trained on location for the different parts of the movie. This was a very large production and along with Ray, other animal trainers were needed. Mel Koontz, Fess Parker and Chet Jusxyk were among the most important animal men on the production.

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Move Up Old Girl

Posted By on September 9, 2012

43.3 Gene Holter Circus at Galesburg Mich Speedway Move Up Old Girl Babe was one of the nicest elephants anyone would ever want to work with. She was on many circuses, had many handlers, and was bought and sold–I really don’t know how many times. There is one story about her that I remember well as I was there. It was the new edition of the Yankee Patterson circus in 1944. We were playing a lot that, like most, had no water available. On the corner of the lot was a gas station and a small house that sat behind it.

Dad went over to talk with the owner to see if we could buy or trade out with tickets for water. This is an event that happens all the time with circus people. I personally was not there during the conversion with Dad and the station owner, but when Dad came back to the lot we all knew that the answer was NO WATER FOR YOU CIRCUS BUMS. The guy was a real bad customer if you know what I mean. The show did have a small water truck that if you made several trips it would take care of some of the water needs.

After the show that night, it was a about that time Babe could not wait any longer. She knew where the water was and she was going to get some. Babe pulled up her stake using her chain and made a beeline to the gas station. At the back of the station there was a large water pipe–and what’s a water pipe to a thirsty elephant? She pulled up the water pipe breaking it along with others. It seemed almost like revenge–and then drank her fill.

Babe made her way back to the lot unbeknownst to anyone… Until That next morning owner of the gas station came screaming across the lot to the show office where Dad and Jimmy Woods were talking about renting a water truck. The gas station owner as banging at the office door and yelling, “somebody came over and broke, pulled, bent all my water pipes, my whole gas station house is flooded!” Evidently the station owner slept through Babe’s visit. “One of you circus people did it, I will see to it that all of you will be arrested!”

He went on and on, just about as much as my Dad told this story to everyone. Finally Dad and Jimmy calmed the man down, and without taking blame ask what had happened. As the story goes they walked over to the man’s property and discovered that every water pipe had been pulled up.

Jimmy Looked over the mess and said “Why it must have taken a Mack truck to do this,” all the while knowing it could have been Babe. She had done similar things like this before. Dad said we would sure like to help him out, understand we did not see this happen but he said he’d get some men to help repair the damage, that is if we could just get a little water. The Razzle Dazzle took hold and the fix was in. A true Jack Pot

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Babe Performing

Posted By on September 9, 2012

43.8 A drivers wife 1024x758 Babe Performing This is a trick , not a mishap. Some trainers call this trick The Lay Down. As you can see, a person lays flat on the ground and the elephant walks over and kneels down, looking like it could crush the person. It is performed to show the confidence that the trainer has in the animal. Anna Metcalf performed this trick with Babe on the 101 Wild West Show & Circus in 1945 and part of 1946. At that time Joe Metcalf was the trainer and her husband.

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Ray Chandler & Babe

Posted By on September 9, 2012

51.4 Kzoo Mich Gazette Gene Holter   Copy Ray Chandler & Babe This photo was taken by the Kalamazoo, Michigan Gazette News, mid 1950′s. Babe was a good, safe elephant and never was a problem. In this photo under Ray’s direction she performs what looks like a very dangerous trick. Babe would place her food just inches from the face of a person. Ray would perform this trick himself if he could not get a volunteer form the audience. Babe was one of the few reliable elephants of her time. Babe was bought and sold numerous times by different circuses. I know the four shows, before Gene Hotler bought her for his show. Babe’s final days were with Gene. Her age got the best of her. To this day I still have fond memories of her from when I was a kid, playing with my Babe, Dutch and Vera in the tall grass on a circus lot long ago.

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Janice Chandler

Posted By on September 9, 2012

A few days ago I got an email from Janice Chandler. She related to me some little stories about her childhood. I enjoy reading them and I thought you might too.

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Janice’s Email

Posted By on September 9, 2012

Janice Chandler stories 1024x514 Janices Email

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Neil “Shorty” Chervenak

Posted By on September 9, 2012

get attachment.aspx 3 815x1024 Neil Shorty Chervenak After Neil teamed up with Harry “Mop Head” Ross they created a wardrobe look alike, sort of a mini-me. Their make-up was the same but with one exception: Rossie had an off centered nose and wore a dog collar around his neck. This photo was most likely taken on the Ken Jenson Show or Rudy show in the mid 1960′s?

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Posted By on September 9, 2012

get atta @ Shorty Neil “Shorty” Chervenak, the last I heard he retired and was living in Oregon.  A little known fact: Neil at the age of 15 was hired by Ray Chandler. Ray basically took Neil under his wing and broke him into the business on the Gene Holter Show. Neil learned his skills well from Ray and why not… he had a good teacher.

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Chucko & Wally

Posted By on September 9, 2012

get attachment.aspx  Chucko & Wally This was a publicity shot to promote Chucko’s circus. Wally Ross and baby Marjie were an important part of this promotion. One of the sponsors of the event stands to the right with Marjie. The baby elephant I believe came a from Jungleland? The photo here was shot around 1959 or 1960?

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This Is My Mom

Posted By on September 9, 2012

Mammy  Dad2 This Is My Mom Chucko Mother1 1024x438 This Is My Mom

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