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Thursday, 12 November 2009

My Kingpole Article

Earlier this year a series of emails and subsequent discussions on Facebook prompted my father and I to write and research on a unique but relatively short-lived wild animal act known as the "Bounce" (aka the bouncing lions or the bouncer wagon). It became a series of posts on this blog as more information came to light and eventually materialized into an article that was published in the Autumn 2009 edition of the Circus Friends Association magazine, the King Pole. I now reproduce this article below. Since the article was written my father has uncovered a photograph my Uncle Dicki performing his version of the Bounce in South Africa. As you may gather from the piece I wrote there was a degree of debate as to whether or not what my uncle performed could be considered to be a Bounce act. Dad argues that this particular photograph proves undeniably that my Uncle Dicki performed the Bounce.

Towards the end of the 19th century European circus saw the gradual decline of wild animal acts being presented inside "beastwagons" (mobile caged containers, now used on circuses just as sleeping quarters) in favour of the new caged arena style acts. However, there would be one last innovative and exciting twist in the history of the beastwagon act. This came in the form of the “Bouncer Wagon Act”, often known as the “Bouncing Lions” or, quite simply, as the “Bounce”. The act is remarkable for a few reasons. Firstly it seems to be a uniquely British invention that was never adopted outside the United Kingdom. Secondly it saw a