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The Way Things Were -- 07/30/2014 By Anne Weaver

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - Updated: 8:33 PM

ABOUT THE WEEK OF JULY 30, 1965, there was life in Old 790 yet. The old girl was in the Utica yards getting her journal boxes repaired. Some of the young whippersnapper diesels set too fast a pace for the 62-year-old steam engine. While they were hauling 790 somewhere between here and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the boxes burned out.

Luke Wood of Saranac Lake, a ticket agent for New York Central Railroad and a member of the group that had plans for 790's future, hoped the old engine could be fired up and make a run to Tupper Lake on her own steam.

Old 790 was to be prettied up and decked out in paint to run over an abandoned three-mile spur line from Tupper Lake to Tupper Lake Municipal Park. She would be mainly a tourist attraction. The group hoped to get the use of the 25 miles of track from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid. Then they would run regular scheduled passenger excursions and perhaps even secure a mail contract.

At BLUE MOUNTAIN, Dr. Robert Bruce Invarity, who had been director of the Adirondack Museum since its inception in 1954, was leaving in September 1965.

At INLET, there was a new Tarzan swinging through the trees, and he was only a few swings away from almost everyone in the Adirondacks. Tarzan John Zerbini, 23, an extraordinary French animal trainer, was performing for a second season at Enchanted Forest in Old Forge. Twice daily and three times on Sunday until Labor Day, he entered a small circular cage with 11 "wild, bloodthirsty" lions. Within seconds, the "king of the jungle" was transformed into a mere kitten, with a deafening roar and mammoth claws.

Performing with lions is not a job for an amateur. Onlookers view thrills, chills and excitement. Within a few short weeks, Tarzan had had two close calls. He was injured in Erie, Pa., just a week before opening at Enchanted Forest. Then, just a few days before, he was clawed by another lion, while wrestling with "Tommy," a playful two-year-old lion that weighed in at about 240 pounds. Zerbini was the first real life animal trainer to portray Tarzan.

To make the comparison even more complete, young John Zerbini was born in Africa. Besides being an exceptionally skillful trainer, he was also an accomplished aerialist. At Old Forge he lived with his wife, Jacqueline, who also performed at Enchanted Forest, and their tiny 18-month-old daughter, Patricia.

The Zerbini family (his wife and parents) had come to America in 1961. For two years they toured with Mills Bros. Circus before joining the Dobritch International Circus. Besides being hard on the Zerbini family, traveling was also a big problem for the lions. It was quite difficult, for example, to obtain 1,200 pounds of meat each week.

The Big Moose Water Ski Club had planned a tournament in August to be followed by a ski show in front of Dunn's Boat Service on Big Moose Lake. The tournament would consist of slalom, tricks and jumping events in the following divisions: Junior Boys, Boys, Mens, Veteran, Junior Girls, Girls, Women.

The 13th Annual Art Show was being held in the Chicken Wire Gallery at the Masonic Temple in Old Forge. Three prizes of $150, $100 and $75 would be awarded by a jury to artists for the most outstanding works in any medium. A popular award of $25 would be given for the work in any medium that received the greatest number of ballot votes during the show.

The Gaiety Theatre announced the following movies: "Becket" with Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole; "The Collector" with Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar, and Kenneth More; and Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau, and Frank Davis in "The Train."

The 6th and 7th Lake Improvement Association would hold its annual meeting and picnic at Sand Beach. All members and their families were invited, and part of the day's activities would be in celebration of the 26th anniversary of the group.

Also present during the afternoon celebration would be Dick Lauterbach, courtesy of Horrocks-Ibbetson of Utica, who would give demonstrations on spinning, casting etc. The association had recently published a newsletter that listed 10 projects financed by the funds obtained from dues.

Among the projects were removal of navigation obstacles from the waterways, such as rocks and stumps; donations to the Inlet ambulance fund and Inlet Hose Company; purchase and maintenance of portable firefighting equipment based at Bus Bird's and Jim Payne's; maintenance of docks, picnic facilities, and beach at Sand Beach; installation of boat speed zone signs under bridge; annual meeting and picnic; and several others.

At RAQUETTE LAKE, a 45-year-old Mohawk housewife, Mrs. Eve Mumford, was found huddled over a small campfire near Raquette Lake after being lost in the woods overnight. "I have never seen anyone who had been lost as long as she had come out of it in such good condition," said Mart Allen, the Old Forge forest ranger who found Mrs. Mumford.

"She built a little fire and a lean-to and spent a fairly comfortable night," he added. Allen said Mrs. Mumford was calm and collected when found. Garry McChesney, the Raquette Lake forest ranger, who led four other rangers, State Police and bloodhounds in the search for Mrs. Mumford said, "She was the fifth person to be lost in the area this year. It seems as though more people are getting lost in the woods than we have had in a long time." McChesney warned all vacationers in the Adirondacks never to walk in wooded areas without a map and compass.

Mrs. Mumford, a mother of three, was on vacation at Limekiln Campground, near Inlet. She left the campsite for a walk and when she did not return by dusk her husband reported her lost. She was found nearly three miles from the campsite.


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