Thursday, September 1, 2016

In 1945, a unicorn came to Ambridge

During the first week of September 1945, a traveling exhibit of rare and odd animals came to Ambridge, and the unicorn surely had to be the rarest of all.

An ad for the show featured a beautiful, classic unicorn as depicted in folklore, with a horse-like head and a large horn on its forehead. Wow! And skeptics say they didn't exist. It looks pretty happy too. Of course "It's real. It's alive!!" Who would want to see a fake or dead unicorn?!

Animal Oddities Exhibit ad
Daily Times
September 3, 1945

Although whoever sketched the unicorn for the announcement below, featuring the rare creature, did an awful job! Why, the unicorn almost looks like an ox or bull with a single horn, nose-ring included.

Animal Oddities announcement
Daily Times
September 4, 1945

Still, rest assured, exhibit-goers would see the unicorn of myth. From the announcement:
Among the unique animals to be shown is the Unicorn, which dates back to the wanderings of the barbaric tribes before civilization. The single-horned animal, shown here, is greatly sought after for its wonderous powers of magic and medicinal values. The miraculous horn is always described as growing on the brow of a "beast so glorious, so virtuous, so beautiful that heaven granted the earth only one specimen at a time."

Now would an ox or bull fit that description? No!

Although there was only one unicorn on earth in September 1945, if you came to the field at 17th and Merchant Sts. in Ambridge, you could see it! Only 25¢ (plus tax) for adults; 10¢ (plus tax) for kids!

If the magical unicorn wasn't enough, there were 100 more "living curiosities" in the exhibit, including Belgian Bob, the world's largest living horse.  And Nebcurhah, "The 3000-year-old man from the Valley of the Kings in Egypt." No mention of he was still living or not.

Animal Oddities Exhibit ad
Daily Times
September 6, 1945

Lest you think that the ads might be making stuff up about the animals in the exhibit, here's  a photo of Lone Star, the world's largest living steer.

Lone Star
World's Largest Living Steer
Daily Times
September 5, 1945

The text under the photos said:
Beaver Countians will have the opportunity of viewing, "Lone Star" (pictured above) world's largest living steer, 9 feet tall and weighing around 3,000 pounds, showing with "Animal Oddities" exhibit, on transcontinental tour with the earth's strangest living oddities, now located on the showgrounds at 17th and Merchant streets, Ambridge.
   This unusual exhibit is on display through Sunday, September 9th in a large tent, and included in the oddities is the world's largest living horse measuring 19 1/2 hands, along with 100 other rare animals.
   Included in the exhibit are strange animals featured in "Believe It or Not", by Robert Ripley.
Surely, if Lone Star was that big, the unicorn was real!

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