Bert Nelson (Cardbert Nelson Snyder) worked with big cats in vaudeville, circuses and films in the 20s and 30s. Nelson learned how to train large carnivores at L.A. area zoological parks like Jungleland and the Selig Zoo. During the warm seasons, he played the Ringling Bros., Hagenbeck-Wallace and Al G. Barnes shows with a large act featuring several lions and tigers. During the winter he toured big time vaudeville with an act called “Bert Nelson and His Lioness”, featuring feline partners Norma and Princess Pat. In pictures, he worked at E & R Jungle Film Company (which made wild animal films during the silent era) and as a trainer and stunt double in Tarzan movies in the 1930s. He died in 1975.
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult 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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