Lecture: Sharkey & His Pals: When Sea Lions Were Stars of Show Business

10/23/2023 07:00 PM - 09:00 PM ET



        Sharkey & His Pals: When Sea Lions Where Stars of Show Business

           Date: Monday October 23, 2023

           Location: Homeport Barn 

           This is a FREE event!

           Program Topic:  Only one entertainer ever stole the show in a Broadway musical, worked with top Hollywood comics like the Three Stooges, appeared with sports legends like Jackie Robinson, shared the bill with music greats like Ella Fitzgerald, and performed on pioneering early television programs like the Ed Sullivan Show.

Who was this entertainer? Sharkey—a trained sea lion! Billed as “The World’s Greatest Seal,” Sharkey received his training in Kingston, New York, at a unique facility called Seal College. The success of this extraordinary animal resulted from the mutual bond between him and his loving trainer, Mark Huling, whose secret was showering Sharkey with kindness. Sharkey's sense of humor was so uncanny and spontaneous, many considered him practically human! What’s more, Sharkey and his flippered pals were part of many fascinating aspects of history, spanning both world wars, the Great Depression, and the advent of radio, talkies and television. From vaudeville to movie palaces, from bizarre nightclubs to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and more—it’s all part of this truly remarkable story!  Gary Bohan Jr. and Stephen Blauweiss bring this captivating tale to life in an anecdote-filled evening in anticipation of their forthcoming feature documentary, Sharkey and His Pals. The presentation will include rare footage and images that will amaze and delight. Funny, poignant, and wholly unpredictable: you must see it to believe it!

Gary hails from Kingston, New York, and is the great-grandson of Sharkey's trainer, Mark Huling. He is also the author of Sharkey: When Sea Lions Were Stars of Show Business, published by SUNY Press after six years of exhaustive research. Stephen is an independent filmmaker, historian and author. Twenty of his short films have aired on PBS. His other works include the feature documentary, Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal and the recently published book, The Story of Historic Kingston.