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Lion Tamer

Black and white photo of carnival midway with large painted banners with war written all over, people are crowded around the entrance which has a swinging sign over it that reads Hell's Half Acre

War Themed Sideshow, Circa 1940s

1947 was a big year for Canada’s outdoor amusement industry. With the war over, the big regional fairgrounds went through a major renewal, investing in new buildings and new designs. The public was also in the mood to party.

Black and white photo of a food concession stand, the sign says French Fries, Hamburgs and Hot Cold drinks, there are employees behind the counter with some in an all white uniform

Hamburger and French Fries Stand, Circa 1942

Bingo saw a group of private companies make $245,000 over seven days at the Pacific National Exhibition’s Happyland in Vancouver in part by relying on independent operators for shows and concessions.

The original concept of the travelling carnival in 1893 relied on this model of an amusement collective where a group of independent operators would come together to operate on a lot. They may stay together for the season, a few dates or only one stop and move onto a different route entirely. With the war over and the industry rebuilding there was great potential for these small operators.

Black and white photo of young Bingo Hauser sitting by his lion, grabbing his mane and tilting his head up slightly

Early Picture of Young Bingo with his Lion Simba, Circa 1940s

Black and white photo of young Bingo Hauser holding a monkey

Bingo at Age 19 with Monkey, Circa 1935

Black and white photo of a young Bingo Hauser bottle feeding a black bear cub

Bingo Hauser with Black Bear Cub, Circa 1950s

Hauser saw an opportunity to make money, purchased a lion cub named “Simba” and put together a lion tamer show. Over the course of the year he travelled across Canada and the United States, acquiring along the way a bear, a monkey, an alligator, and an anaconda snake; it was his own animal menagerie.