Circus Escapades

1913 Circus via Shorpy

Scene in a Menagerie.

A letter from Turin states that a scene of great excitement was witnessed on Feb. 7, at the menagerie in the Piazzi d’ Armi, M. Bidel, a tamer of wild beasts, had been accustomed to collect lions, lionesses, bears and hyenas in the same den with a lamb and to make them carress [sic] the latter without doing it any injury. On this occasion he had thrust the head of the little animal into the mouth of the lion, when suddenly the king of beasts was seen to close its jaws, from which blood at once flowed in abundance. The spectators were in consternation and uttered loud cries, supposing that the exhibitor himself would be devoured the next moment. Bidel, however, struck the beast a smart blow on the head with his closed hand and the dead body of the lamb fell from its mouth. The lion roared, but at the order of the tamer went sullenly to lie down at a corner of the cage. At that moment a lioness rushed on the exhibitor, but fortunately only tore the sleeve of his shirt. Bidel then retreated to another corner and ordered, by a gesture, his terrible pupil to withdraw into another compartment. They all obeyed, and the man then profited by that moment to make his escape from the cage.

[The Atlanta Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. 13 Mar 1873.]

Terrible Fate of a Lion Tamer.

The Bolton correspondent of the London Daily Echo telegraphs, under date of January 3d:

“Last night Marsarti, the lion tamer at Mangers’ Menagerie, now exhibiting in this town, was torn to pieces by the lions with whom he was performing. He struck one of the lions on the nose, slipped on to his feet and armless side, and one of the lions immediately seized him by the scalp and tore it almost off. The other lions then sprang upon him and tore off the flesh completely from the lower part of his back and thighes [sic], and inflicted serious injuries upon his chest, breaking only his right and only arm. The excitement in the show was so intense that the slide dividing the cage could not be got in. One of the lions then dragged their victim from the separate compartment back to the infuriated group, who again set upon him. The partitions were at last got up. The mangled body of the lion tamer was then recovered and taken to the infirmary, where he died in ten minutes.”

[The Atlanta Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. 27 Jan 1872.]


(Late Zoological institute.)


All who visit the Boxes can, from the opening of the doors, enter the spacious and brilliantly illuminated


Where, amidst ONE HUNDRED BEASTS AND BIRDS, of great beauty and rarity, may be seen the proud and towering GIRAFFE — the untameable BLACK TIGER — the nest of Serpents — Lions, Leopards, Panthers, Monarch Tigers, Elephants, Rhinoceros, and a “wilderness of Monkies,” [sic] and all without any extra charge!

OBSERVE — The doors will be opened at 6 o’clock, and the Public admitted to the Menagerie immediately — thus allowing an hour and a half to view the splendid Giraffe, &c. as the performance begin at half past 7.

THIS EVENING, March 9, the entertainments will commence with a Grand


Of performers of the first celebrity.

The unsurpassable SWISS BROTHERS.

H Needham’s Comic Equestrian Tale of JACK THE GIANT KILLER.

With a great variety of other entertainments.

To conclude with the greatest Trampoline in the World, embracing daring and wonderful leaps, by John Shindle, over Men, Horses, elevated objects, and


Doors open at half past 6, performances commence at half past 7 o’clock.

Boxes 50 cents — Pit 25 cents.

[The Evening Post. New York, New York. 9 Mar 1840.]

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