“Elephants, a Partial History,” is a six-part series I researched, wrote, and filmed in the studio of our public access TV station. Then, with Miles and Jay, two interns from UMass we worked more than a year to create six chapter videos for my Patreon page. I have linked three here in this post.
Chapter One is “Meeting Behemoth,” about elephants in early history and the western imagination.
Chapter Two is “The Birth of the American Circus”
Hacheliah Bailey bought an elephant in 1805 from a stockyard in New York City (!!!), intending to make her a farm animal to plow his fields. By the time he got Bet home to his farm up the Hudson River, he knew it was a terrible idea. Instead, he became the “father of the American Circus,” touring Bet so a very curious American public could meet an elephant.
Chapter Two tells stories of Bet and the most famous American circus elephants of the 19th century: Columbus, Hannibal, and Romeo and Juliet.
In Chapter Three, “PT Barnum and Jumbo” we meet the iconic showman and his most famous elephant. Jumbo was a young African elephant taken to Europe after his mother was killed. He became the toast of London before Barnum brought him to America where he was all the rage, enthralling tens of thousands at a time. “Jumbo” wasn’t jumbo until Jumbo. And then he died a tragic sudden death.
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