Hand written on reverse "Kid Johnson's Mountain Lion when about 18 months old. Captured near Glacier Park Mont. March 1925. Now at Manhattan Mont. Showing a hold up stunt" and dated Feb. 11th 1926.
A powerful and rich photograph. Folks who collect pictures are often bitten and smitten briefly...an image is found, obtained, enjoyed and filed. Something about this one makes it an exception. Was there love and respect between the two, or a relationship based on something else? Cats are hard to train, and Kid Johnson seems a proud, loving trainer. On the other hand, we ourselves have been "trained" by now to believe animals belong in the wild, but who is to say here? Who captured who? I suspect life was difficult for all living creatures in Montana in 1926, be one collared or not. It was probably a "hold-up" stunt as Kid Johnson would feign a weapon and direct the performer to "stick-em-up." Did Kid take the time to lay out the canvas backdrop, or the photographer. Were they performing on a street corner for coins, or was the star performer taken out specifically for the photo shoot. Six months before this photo was taken, Manhattan, Montana was struck by an earthquake which damaged half the town's few structures. Manhattan thrived producing Malt until prohibition in 1916...I do not know how either event affected Kid and his pet, if at all. The town today has some 1500 inhabitants. Dig further and you will find the well-known "Real Food for Real People" advertising campaign was filmed there. I don't think that would surprise the folks at PETA.
Real Photo Postcard 1926. Collection Jim Linderman