June 10, 2011
It all started when Bill Green brought his young daughter Liz, then 9, from their New England home to a Pet Store in Lower Manhattan in 1953.
They had her look at puppies and kittens before bringing the elephant into the room! At that time, Queenie was 6 months old and weighed in at a mere 250 pounds
Liz, now Liz Dane, living in Concord, NH, took one look at Queenie and told her dad, '”that's what I want,” The fami- ly brought the Thailand-born elephant home, where they trained her for circus tricks, including the one that would make her famous, water-skiing.
At the very beginning, Bill Green, had Queenie performing in his exotic animal shows in Fairlee, Vermont. A farm known as “The Rare Bird and Animal Farm,” but always mentioned by Bill to others as the “Experimental Game Farm.”
Bill actually had a wide variety of animals on the farm. From Apes to Zebras, he had them all.
Fresh from the Farm 4H
North Country Saddle 4H Club of Grafton County, NH has started their second fair project: coaster sets.
Every fair entry is judged in the North Haverhill Fair in July with a fair theme of “fresh from the farm.” With that in mind the wood came from our property. Thanks to Craig Bixby from C & B Woodworking, of Rumney for cutting us the wooden disks.
With logs cut into disks, we used recycled wall paper samples as pictures on them. Once again with the theme in mind, some girls used apple patterns, flowers or even fish. In the end, each one of them could have a unique coaster set! They used Mod Podge to Decoupage their designs onto the disks, and gave them a finished shine.
I am looking forward to our next meeting and our Open Starter Horse Trials June 25th.
We hope to be very active this 4-H year. Come and join 4-H, make new friends and learn new things!
Reported by Kristen Buckley, 4H Youth Leader Picture of Jessie Berman, Youth Leader by Kristen Buckley
Queenie and Liz worked up and down the East Coast, doing lots of shows.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Queenie joined a show put on by the late water-skiing hall-of-famer Jim Rusing. She performed with Dane and Rusing's wife, Marj. The main attraction for years was the water-skiing elephant.
Queenie became famous. She appeared on "The
Show" as Ernie Kovacs' guest and on "I've Got a Secret." She performed for fairs, Republican Party rallies, military bases and amusement parks all over the place. When Mercury Motors settled on a new slogan -"pulls an elephant, runs on peanuts"- Queenie was the model.
Bill died in 1965 and Liz’s fam- ily kept the elephant for a cou- ple more years, before deciding to sell her to an elephant per- formance team based in Michigan in 1967. She joined Circus Gatti in 1981 and per- formed for another 20 years before retiring to
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Famous Elephant With Local Ties, Dies At Age 58___________ Continued from page A1
Liz had lost track of her child- hood elephant friend until a desire to find out what had hap- pened to Queenie led her to search for her, and in 2005, Liz left her Concord, NH home to fly to Georgia to reunite with Queenie at Wild Adventures.
Dane had told a reporter, "She remembered me!” Queenie had grown apprehensive of strangers, so when Liz first got to Wild
approached the elephant area, and was separated from the ele- phants by a railroad tie and a cable of fence, as they weren't sure what she would do. Yet, amazingly, she showed signs of recognition!
Liz then stated that when they saw it was safe for her to go into the enclosure, Queenie put her trunk on my face and on my arm, and soon she appeared content and was rumbling, which is kind of like an ele- phant's version of a cat purring.
"You hear an elephant never forgets, well, It's true,” Liz had stated, finding out first hand.
Liz had returned to see Queenie every year since the initial meet- ing back in 2005, remaking a connection not many can claim - visiting a childhood pet so many years later.
Yes, everyone loved Queenie, especially Liz. After all, Liz had been Queenie’s first trainer.
Wild Adventures had noted in one of their several interviews that Queenie had a powerful effect on many park employees and visitors through the years.
An official at Wild Adventures made the following statement:
“We are comforted by the fact that we were able to give her a great place to live out the rest of her life and are thankful for the time we were able to share her with our guests and our team members, she will be missed.”
So, for an elephant that was brought home in the back of a car, with a bale of hay, who started her performing debut in a little town called Fairlee, Vermont, it was a long, healthy and very popular career. She was able to share her talents and touch the hearts of many folks throughout the world.
She will be remembered for many different things, to many different people, but to many, she will always be remembered as Queenie, the Water Skiing Elephant.
Rest in peace now Queenie and make sure you put on a good show for all who are with you!
(Publisher’s Note: I would like to thank friend, John Green for providing the information to research this story. You see, John, a resident of Warren, NH is the Grandson of Bill Green and Nephew of Elisabeth “Liz” Dane. Thanks John!)
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