Gay's Lion Farm
July 12, 1927
Quick, fellas, hop in the car! We gotta get out to El Monte pronto, or there won't be any of the main course left. What, you mean you call yourself a Lion and you don't want to sample a hunk of barbecued adolescent lion meat, personally prepared by the King of Beasts' best pal Charles Gay out at his Lion Farm, as part of the celebration of the charters of the El Monte and Alhambra clubs? Getouttahere! Of course you do!
Ah, don't be a stick in the mud! We'll sit at the big table in the middle of the lion cages, drink up some hooch and gnaw on a cat bone while telling dirty jokes and practicing our roars. And then, when we're all good and lit up, Gay'll bring Numa, his biggest and friendliest lion out to walk the length of the table, and we'll toast that kitty as he's never been toasted before.
That's the spirit, fellas, out we go. This is a big day for the Lions of Southern California, one we'll tell our grandkids about!
May 20, 1927
Cinema actor Gordon Standing, of noble acting stock, had played Horatio in the “Modern Hamlet” on the East Coast stage. Back East he’d starred in Lasky, Vitagraph, Inspiration and D.W. Griffith film productions. But then he got it into his head to come Out West. Though he’d been wounded several times in the Marine Corps during the Big Scrap, nothing could have prepared him for the horrors of Hollywood.
At first, all was well at Selig Zoo Studio. Standing’d been working alongside his old buddy Elmo “First Tarzan” Lincoln and a new buddy, one giant lion, in the cheapie serial “King of the Jungle.” Apparently Standing had been getting along peachy-like with his new feline friend, until Standing changed his make-up, putting on a beard, and old Leo didn’t recognize him. The maned one attacked! It took fifteen men to pull the animal off Standing, who was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital with severe bites and slashes about the neck and shoulders. King of the Jungle was no match for King of the Beasts. (Interestingly, allmovie.com would have us believe Standing was trampled by a "rampaging elephant;" perhaps they were thinking of the elephants that graced the entrance to the zoo.)
The Selig Studio had a "jungle area" in which to film, but their lions weren't of the perfoming type; the question stands, then, was the rent-a-lion that killed Standing none other than famous snarling L. B. Mayer sidekick Slats, denizen of Gay’s Lion Farm (where lions would run amok a mere sixteen months later)?