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.
And check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
I am thrilled to have found your site & after all these years =
connected with a close friend, Bert Snyder = we met at
Norton AFB in the early 50’s
As I was working on a column topic for The Desert Sun = (assignment through valley org. = )
Bert actualy jumped into thought =
with his story about Princess Pat near to passing on =
and his stuntman stint in aa comedy film where he replaced the actor’s chair & Pat laid her head in his lap.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Need to sign off = with hugs!
Byrna Jean Tobey
Palm Desert, CA 92211
760 835 0754
Yay! wonderful to meet you. Please stay in touch!