Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN dred pounds in weight in a combination wrestling and slugging match. Sandow was afraid that these devices would frighten the lion and cow him, so he asked to try it out in a rehearsal. He needn't have worried. The mittens and mask had made the lion fighting mad and, when Sandow entered the cage, he sprang at the man. Sandow dodged, got one arm round the cat's throat and one round his middle, lifted him in the air and slung him down— hard. The lion picked himself up and rushed Sandow— came in slugging like a mean fighter. Sandow ducked his paw and hugged him breathless. The third time Sandow purposely let the beast jump on his back and then slung him forward in a kind of flying mare. It must have looked great and Ziegfeld thought he had a swell attraction. Just before the performance the lion was still feeling tough enough to snap short a three-inch post when they tried to rope him to it in order to get the mittens on him. Everybody ran but Sandow when the post broke. Sandow picked up the busted post and slammed the lion across the nose with it and dragged him into his cage. By the time they got the big cat into the tent, he'd had enough. Sandow had to goad him into springing and in two minutes' slamming round he'd got him so softened up that he was carrying the lion round on his shoulders like a sack of potatoes. In other words, no show at all. Ziegfeld never got done calling himself a fool for not making the rehearsal into the real show. 190