Paul T. Gilbert

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the stories: Snake CharmerArthur Borella, ClownThe Flying WardsReporter in TightsElephant TrainerTight WireDress Rehearsal

snake charmer

It was a strange world in which I found myself... Opposite me on a platform was Tik Tak the Aztek, his head about the size of a grapefruit. To his left, Tom Tom, the fat boy, a mountain of human flesh. Seated in a rocking chair was Bo-Bo, the educated chimpanzee, proof positive of the Darwinian theory and the descent of man. Laurella of the revolving head, Koo Koo, the bird girl. Chick, the African bushman, who according to the lurid banner at the entrance of the "kid show," improves his idle moments by stalking lions with a blow-gun. A brass band thumping out a jazzy tune while a black-face minstrel did a shuffle.

The announcement, over the platform on which I stood read: Mlle. Cleo—Wonderful Snake Performance. The banner outside proclaimed her a sort of modern Eve, a huge green serpent coiled around her neck whispering his wicked secrets into her ear. And I—Pauly of the circus—was to share the honors with madamoiselle today! (read the whole article)

photo: Mlle. Cleo and Prof. Gilbert (of The Evening Post) in their wonderful snake performance at the Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey circus. Old Doc Paul is "working" with Satan, the black python, the sacred snake of India, while Mlle. Cleo—who is really Peggy from Paris, the illusion girl—is handling a reticulated python. Satan weighs ninety-eight pounds, but, according to the "charmer," is as harmless as a dove.