Coming April 2022, 326 pages, trim size: 6" x 9", illustrated: 54 b/w photographs, paperback
Written in the narrative style of authors like Erik Larson, Sharkey weaves old-time showbiz with truth-is-stranger-than-fiction history. At times funny, at times poignant, always wholly unpredictable, the story also celebrates the timeless bond between humans and animals.
My great-grandfather Mark Huling and two of his brothers trained many famous sea lions (at the time, often informally called seals). Imagine seals that sing with an orchestra, ride equestrian, and perform sketch comedy routines. Such is a glimpse into the world of Huling seals. After the three Huling brothers retired, Mark reentered the business. Then along came an unusually gifted sea lion named Sharkey. Mark fell in love with him and the two became inseperable. The result? Sharkey achieved celebrity unlike any other sea lion in the history of show business.
Sharkey starred on Broadway, appeared in a Hollywood hit movie, and worked with names like Bob Hope, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Three Stooges. He headlined with sports legends like Ted Williams, "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias, and Jackie Robinson; and he appeared on the pioneering television variety shows hosted by Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, and Ed Sullivan. With a personality larger than life, Sharkey was the highest-paid single animal act of his day.
I look forward to sharing the many wonderful and often surreal stories from the days when Huling-trained sea lions took top billing.I also look forward to hearing from you, especially from anyone lucky enough to have seen Sharkey.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for updates about the book release!
Gary Bohan Jr.