Monday, July 29

Ferdinand the Beach Bull

  Did a little digging and came up with this. It would seem our grandparents' generation was easily amused...
   "Ferdinand the Bull" was first published in 1938. Munro Leaf's story of the bull that preferred sniffing flowers in the shade of a cork tree to bashing heads with his buddies in the field became an instant classic.
   Perhaps to capitalize on the book, or maybe just because it seemed like a good idea at the time, in the 1940s, Ralph "Tex" Masden- a retired movie star appearing in such gems as "The Mighty Barnum" in 1934 and "Mama's Little Pirate" in 1934- brought a live bull to Daytona Beach.
   For 25 cents, tourists could climb up the wooden stepstool onto the beast's broad back and have a souvenir photo taken, guns a-blazin' (cowboy hat optional.)
Soon other critters horned in on the bull's business. By the 1950s, folks could choose between Ferdinand, a stuffed tiger, a stuffed bear reared up on its hind legs or a live donkey named Pedro - complete with sign asking, "Can you tell which is the real jackass?"


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