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By Ralph Helfer

THE fantastic thing about THE BEASTS is a chronicle of a long time Ralph Helfer spent as a Hollywood animal behaviorist, and is filled with behind–the–scenes bills of the numerous tv courses and flicks within which Helfer's animals seemed, together with Charlie's Angels and the 10 Commandments, and the celebrities he and his animals labored with akin to Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood, and Marilyn Monroe. yet this is often greater than a narrative of the recognized, either 4 and two–legged –– it is also in regards to the very important roles animals play in our lives, and what kind of much less human we might be with out them.

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Glance, i must take into consideration this. I’ll name you the next day to come, George. ” rather a lot for the glamour of Hollywood. I were doing stunts with animals — a few wild, a few household — for a couple of years. I had wrestled tigers and lions, fought bears, and dealt with cobras and rattlesnakes. This was once my lifestyles, and that i completely loved it. yet this bit approximately dressing as a girl threw me a curve. day after today, I known as George and requested him approximately as many info of the stunt task as i'll. It seemed that the filmmakers sought after the most important snake to be had to be submit in a tree, from the place it's going to assault a “jungle lady” as she handed underneath it. as soon as the snake used to be round her neck, the “girl” was once to fight with it till her “savior,” a white hunter, seemed and rescued her via pulling the snake off. even with the teasing I knew i might get, I reluctantly stated definite. paintings, in any case, was once paintings. The snake I selected was once one of many biggest, heaviest, and, primarily, meanest reptiles round. She used to be the one snake i've got ever identified that appeared extra like a warm-blooded mammal than a cold-blooded reptile. Her identify was once Consuela. She used to be a 26-foot, 255-pound, reticulated python who hated humans and could attempt to do them in any likelihood she acquired. Consuela, evidently, had no associates. She thought of every thing alive to be both nutrition or an enemy. She was once owned via a certified artist pal of mine who had used her as a version for plenty of of his sculptures. at any time when I had requested him some time past if i'll use his snake for a movie or a television spot, he had continually acknowledged no. He believed she used to be too harmful to address, and that somebody will be more likely to get harm. yet this time, after a little bit persuasion, he allowed me to take advantage of her, so long as he might be there as one of many handlers. I agreed, and we made up our minds to satisfy to debate the main points of the struggle. the following night, as prepared, I enable myself into his dimly lit studio for our assembly. round me stood quite a few items of African and Indian sculpture. The small items have been sitting on pedestals; the bigger ones, which stood 5 - 6 toes tall, rested on slabs of marble. Spotlights hung from the ceiling in each attainable attitude to seize the sculptures at their top. such a lot items have been of black ebony that my good friend had introduced again from a trip to the Makonde tribe in East Africa. They depicted the conventional and surrealistic global of that little-known and diminishing tradition. With their large, limpid eyes, elongated legs and arms, and lips curled in ache or excitement, the sculptures threw ugly shadows around the room. one of the artwork items, 4 or 5 specifically stood out: those have been massive snakes, a few in lethal, coiled positions, able to assault, others expressing the sheer great thing about the creature’s shape — its symmetrical physique mendacity upon itself, resting by itself defenses, the enormous head lording over the mountains and valleys of coils. in spite of the fact that, the paintings that inspired me such a lot of all used to be a big, freestanding sculpture of an African guy stuck within the huge coils of a major snake.

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