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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: A CROCODILE IN A PRESTON,LANCASHIRE,ORCHESTRA PIT


“It`s that time again,when I loose my friends,go walk about, I`ve turned crypto-weird from pressure!” (with apologies to the  song writer of `Come Home` by James)


And the weirdness is this story titled CROCODILE FELL INTO PRESTON ORCHESTRA PIT in the Lancashire Daily Post of February 17th 1942:

An eight-foot crocodile, infuriated by a fall into the orchestra pit, its jaws gnashing and its tail lashing about smashing musical instruments and stands, provided an entirely unreleased thrill for the second house audience at the Preston Palace Theatre last night.

The crocodile one of six used by Koringa in her female fakir act is named Goebbels and, like his namesake, appears to be very keen on “putting himself over.”

He generally makes a bee line for the front of the stage but Koringa, whose mastery of the wild animals is remarkable, has always managed to haul him back. Last night was the exception.

Members of the audience, instead of being frightened crowded towards the orchestra. That was rather a foolish thing to do when one considers those saw like teeth, but steps have been taken to prevent any recurrence of the escape.

Mr Percy B Broadhead junior, Mr E Birns of the Palace management and Mr Leon Pollock one of the proprietors of the show all told a “Lancashire Daily Post” reporter that safety measures would be completed before tonight`s performance.

                                                                                        ON WITH THE SHOW

Koringa herself was down in the orchestra like a flash. While the musicians stood on their chairs or beat a hasty retreat she went after her rebellious pet, dragged him through the orchestra door, under the stage, up the steps and onto the stage again. There she “smacked” him and sent him off to his tank in disgrace.

The audience cheered her – and then she went on with the show as if nothing untoward had happened

Luckily there was no personal injury. The only “casualties” were a broken cello, a badly bent trombone and a damaged drum. All the same the musicians had a considerable scare.

Mr H.H. Charlesworth, the musical director, said that in a very long experience he had never had such an exciting few minutes. (1)


1. Lancashire Daily Post 17/2/1942


CROCODILE ROCK          ELTON JOHN     (Had to be, hadn`t it?!)  

 I remember when rock was young
Me and Suzie had so much fun
Holding hands and skimming stones
Had an old gold Chevy and a place of my own
But the biggest kick I ever got
Was doing a thing called the Crocodile Rock
While the other kids were Rocking Round the Clock
We were hopping and bopping to the Crocodile Rock…

And it`s good bye from Sir Elton and goodbye from Dr Devo. Good bye!

2 comments:

BobSkinn said...

Koringa had an interesting career in the music hall, and I suspect that the occasional "escaping" croc was part of the act, adding to the excitement and bringing useful publicity. Some decades before "Mlle. Paula" did an almost similar act.
I read an interesting snippet somewhere that Koringa had taken one of her crocodiles for a swim in Loch Ness when in Scotland.
There are lavish posters of Koringa viewable via Google, and also an early newsreel of her in action with her crocs on stage.

BobSkinn said...

Koringa's swim in Loch Ness with one of her crocodiles was reported in Dundee Courier of 23 august 1938, p. 7:
"KORINGA'S CROC. TRIES LOCH NESS monster keeps under There was another monster in Loch Ness yesterday. Koringa, the female fakir, who is appearing in Bertram Mills' circus at Inverness, took her 160-year-old crocodile to the loch. The crocodile had bathe, and seemed to enjoy the somewhat cold waters. Then it went back to the circus. Koringa, who hypnotises serpents and crocodiles in her act, was disappointed she did not see the real monster. "