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Frank Buck
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Animal Expert
    (March 17, 1884-March 25, 1950)
    Born in Gainesville, Texas
    Animal collector for zoos and circuses
    Over the years captured (among other critters) 49 elephants, 60 tigers, 63 leopards, 52 orangutans, 90 pythons, 15 king cobras and 15 crocodiles
    Wrote 'Bring 'Em Back Alive' (1930), 'Wild Cargo' (1932), 'Fang and Claw' (1935) and 'On Jungle Trails' (1936)
    Appeared in the movies 'Bring 'Em Back Alive' (1932), 'Jungle Cavalcade' (1941), 'Tiger Fangs' (1943) and 'Africa Screams' (1949)
    Starred in the 15-part serial 'Jungle Menace' (1937)
    He dropped out of school in the 7th grade.
    He won the money for his first overseas trip in a poker game.
    He was married three times, divorced twice.
    After their divorce, his second wife told reporters, 'As long as I live, I don't want to see any animals wilder or bigger than a kitten.'
    He caused a controversy when he signed a contract to appear with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (1938) and refused to join the American Federation of Actors, declaring that he was 'a scientist, not an actor' -- even though he had already appeared in Hollywood films. (Eventually the union granted him a special dispensation to work with the circus without registering as an actor.)
    He worked in the days before tranquilizer darts, so he had to build snares and traps that would capture animals without injuring them.
    He would accompany the animals aboard ship to ensure they were well treated.
    He refused to sell animals to anyone with a less than stellar reputation for proper animal care.
    He lost his fortune in the 1929 stock market crash, but recovered through sales of his memoirs and movie appearances.
    He said his favorite of the books he wrote was the elementary school reader 'On Jungle Trails': 'Wherever I go, children mention this book to me and tell me how much they learned about animals and the jungle from it.'
    Over two million people visited the jungle camp he set up for the Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago (1933).

Credit: C. Fishel

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