SCENE | The Lion Taming Cage


Photo of Pat English, a 17-year-old lion tamer in Ft. Lauderdale, by John Phillips, 1940.

"Like almost everyone else, Pat English dreamed of being famous. But two years ago she was merely a pretty 15-year-old kid at Bayside (N.Y.) High School, and the chances for fame seemed small indeed. Then one day she read an exciting account of how the great Clyde Beatty was opening a school at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for girl lion trainers. She immediately registered. Pat was one of ten girls who started the course. Eight of them quit the first time they ever saw a lion. Another quit when she saw the lions chew up a mule. Only Pat was left to learn how to use the whip, gun and kitchen chair with which lion tamers overawe their animals. On her second day alone in the cage she was almost clawed to death. Stepping backward, she fell over a block of wood. Only the prompt appearance of Beatty saved her. Today Pat is 17 and a first-rate lion trainer." —LIFE Magazine, June 22, 1940.

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September 13, 2012 by Lizzie
Tags: SCENE
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