Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jungle Larry Comes to O’Neil - Sheffield Shopping Center – August 1957

Captain Penny and Jungle Larry (Courtesy
Most of us local Baby Boomers probably remember good ol’ Jungle Larry.

The gentleman whose real name was Lawrence Tetzlaff left a big impression on us from his appearances on the Captain Penny show on WEWS in Cleveland, and at his attraction on Safari Island at Cedar Point.

(Click here to visit the official Jungle Larry website and learn about his interesting background. Did you know that he worked for Frank “Bring ’Em Back Alive” Buck, and doubled for Johnny Weissmuller in a Tarzan film? The “History” page also reveals that Jungle Larry worked at a drugstore in Lorain after World War II.)

Anyway, here’s an ad for a personal appearance by Jungle Larry at the old O’Neil - Sheffield Shopping Center. It ran in the Lorain Journal on August 21, 1957 – 59 years ago this month.
The ad’s design is a little strange with its circus theme. (I guess the Journal’s art department didn’t have any clip art of just wild animals.) Hope the small fry didn’t go to the event expecting to see clowns!
Note the reference in the ad copy to a sidekick named Safari Jack
Safari Jack? I thought Jungle Larry’s sidekick was Safari Jane (his wife, Nancy Jane Tetzlaff).
It turns out that Safari Jane got her name thanks to Safari Jack. In a 2002 interview (here), she explained, “Before I met Larry, he had a man working for him called Safari Jack. Larry was scheduled to do a full day entertainment at a mall and the newspaper ads read Jungle Larry and Safari Jane. So the name was created before I came into the picture.”
UPDATE (December 24, 2017)
I found a mention of Larry Tetzlaff in the Log of Lorain column that ran in the September 22, 1953 Lorain Journal. It noted, “Larry Tetzlaff, owner of a snake farm near Vermilion, was speaker at assembly exercises at Lorain High School this morning, the first assembly of the 1953-54 school year, according to Principal J. F. Calta.
"He had with him a part of his collection of snakes and lizards and invited some of the students to the stage to demonstrate how to handle snakes."


Rick Kurish said...

Jungle Larry was quite the showman. When I was in elementary school in Amherst in the 1950s his appearance at school assemblies was a yearly occurrence. We eagerly anticipated his program and couldn't wait to see what exotic animals he would bring. I remember one program where he asked for several student volunteers to help display an animal that he had in a rather large box. After the students were on stage, he and his assistant pulled about an eight foot long snake from the box, and asked the students to help support the snake while he gave his talk. A couple of the students immediately decided they really didn't want to "volunteer". Great memories!

Anonymous said...

Just ran into the website when I saw "Jungle Larry." I live in naples and there is still a park / zoo run by his sons. come visit us!