TIGER TIGER: My 25 Years with the Big Cats by Charly & Leonard A. Stevens Baumann

TIGER TIGER: My 25 Years with the Big Cats

Email this review


Tough guy, that Charly Baumann. After an early career as a child movie star in Nazi Germany, Charly joined the Big Top, and the circus proved as enticing and unpredictable as the big cats he learned to train, nurse and love. He worked many years in Europe before he and his entourage of eight Bengali tigers came to Ringling Bros. where Charly doubles as performance director--the hard part of his job. He's adamant about rejecting the old ""brute-force system"" of training the animals by terrorizing them with whips and clubs and he scores the ego-tripping showmen who pander to the crowd, Charly preaches ""mutual respect between animal and man."" No doubt he was thinking hard about that mutual respect the day he stuck his bloodied head into a tiger's mouth at the behest of the seductive Anna. The women can be more dangerous than the tigers. As Charly observes, ""something in human psychology drives females to pursue males who train wild animals."" Must be all those whips and chains: Charly's feline amours can also be a problem--a love tap from a tiger can sever a shoulder. He's even played midwife, inserting his hand into a tiger's uterus to help a difficult birth. The trainer's a likable guy, but Nero, Kismet, Assur and the rest of the tiger troupe are the prize attractions and Charly's only too happy to give their fearful symmetry center stage.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Playboy Press