Pallenberg’s Bears

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Originally from Germany, Pallenberg’s Wonder Bears started off as an act that presented a wide variety of trained, exotic creatures, eventually settling on “bears only” for reasons of expense. After touring with various European circuses for about 5 years, the company arrived in the United States in 1914 and began playing American vaudeville. When America joined the war in 1917, vaudeville circuits stopped booking the act (Germans being unpopular just then), but they found work with Barnum and Bailey, with whom they remained for decades (including the period when B & B merged with Ringling Brothers). As advertised, the bears danced, roller skated, walked tightropes, rode bicycles, walked on stilts, and played musical instruments.

To find out more about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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And check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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