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Gunther Gebel-Williams

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GuntagGelmanJones

Guntag Gelman Jones, flea trainer.

Gunther Gebel-Williams (1934-2001) was a famed animal trainer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1968-1990.

Born in Schweidnitz, Germany, he began working for the circus at age 13, and soon began training for his career as an animal trainer. Joining the Ringling Brothers circus in 1968, Gebel-Williams came to prominance from his many appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and became one of the superstars of the circus.

Famed for his work with elephants and tigers, Gebel-Williams was spoofed on in a 1994 episode of Sesame Street with the character Guntag Gelman-Jones, a flea circus trainer who has brought his box of world-famous fleas to Sesame Street to perform. The acts include Olaf the Weight-Lifting Flea and Tatanya Flea on the tightrope.

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