Elephant Story: Jumbo and P.T. Barnum Under the Big Top
The newspapers called him "Overshadowing Monarch Mastodon," "Behemoth of Holy Writ" and "Prodigious Mountain." He was the main event at the greatest show on earth: Jumbo, at around 6-1/2 tons and almost 12 feet tall, the biggest elephant anyone had ever seen. Jumbo's mere presence in the Barnum, Bailey and Hutchinson circus guaranteed an additional $3,000 a day in box office receipts. More of an exhibit than a performer, Jumbo was simply paraded around the three rings. But still the people came, just to marvel at the size of this monster pachyderm. This work traces Jumbo's capture in East Africa, his life in the London Zoo, the controversy over his sale for $10,000 to American showman P.T. Barnum, his journey across the Atlantic, his life as the most famous attraction in Barnum's circus, and his tragic death in a railway accident in Canada in 1885.
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