1918-24 Extensive traveling with parents in Europe, Mediterranean, and around North Atlantic.
1924-27 Two annual trips by ship or car to Europe and North Africa, collecting animals.
1927-29 Extended trip around the world alone, collecting animals for the British Museum; via Egypt, India, Ceylon, Malaya, Indonesian Islands, New Guinea, Indochina-China, north China, Japan, Tahiti and South Pacific, Hawaii, and the United States.
1929-32 Cambridge University, with three summer vacation collecting trips to East Mediterranean area and North Africa. Winter research at Marine Biological Laboratories, and at sea out of Plymouth, England.
1932-33 Leader of the Percy Sladen Expedition to the Cameroon, West Africa, on behalf of the British Museum, the Royal Society of London, Cambridge University, University College, London, and other Institutions.
1933-35 Research at London University, Collecting trip to the High Atlas, Morocco.
1936-37 Collecting trip to West Indies; invited by Trinidadian Government to
investigate Human Rabies carried by Bats; collecting expedition to Haiti.
1938 Leader of Scientific Expedition to Dutch Guiana (Surinam).
1939-40 Expedition to Jamaica, British Honduras, and Mexico. Faunal Survey and preparation of Game Laws for British Honduras and Botanical Survey of Country. Specialized collecting in Mexico for British Museum (Natural History) and Chicago Natural History Museum.
RG: You went on your first expedition in 1927.
ITS: That is correct, yes.
RG: You had been traveling quite a bit previously, ever since you were five, as a matter-of-fact.
ITS: Yes, with my parents I traveled. My father went to East Africa, and I traveled with my mother while she looked after some youngsters—well, they were older than me. They belonged to my Godfather, whose wife had just died.
He was a remarkable man. He had this 800-ton “yacht.” He was Marconi’s partner, and with him he was the first to step the Atlantic with radio. They did it with a fellow called Sarnoff, now General Sarnoff, the president of RCA and NBC. [General Sarnoff died in 1972]
RG: I thought I’d heard of him somewhere before.
ITS: He was a young man, sixteen years old, and he was doing the “table-tapping” for the Trans-Atlantic cable on Nantucket Island. He was in America and Marconi was one-third across the Atlantic in his boat [called the "Electra"]. My Godfather, in his boat [the Surf] was two-thirds across, and then they had another young fellow, a captain in France. In 1911, the year of my birth, was the first time they crossed the Atlantic by radio—by “stepping it over.” My Godfather’s name was James McKelvie.
Although Ivan often mentioned that radio was "stepped over the Atlantic" in the year of his birth, and was rather precise about how it was done and who was involved, this particular incident is not recorded in the history books. What historians do tell us follows the following chronology: In 1896 Guglielmo Marconi transmitted a signal a distance of two miles. In 1899, he sent a message 32 miles across the English Channel. His first triumphant demonstration of a transatlantic radiotelegraph occurred on December 12, 1901 at 12:30 P.M. Atlantic Standard Time. At that moment it is claimed that Marconi heard the Morse-code letter “S” (three 'dots') transmitted by John A. Fleming from Poldhu, Cornwall, on England’s Lizard peninsula, at Land’s End, 2,170 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Marconi and his assistant, George Kemp, at a receiver on Signal Hill in St. John's, Newfoundland. The signal was captured by an aerial device suspended from a kite.
Note that this transmission was done in "one shot" completely across the Atlantic, rather than "stepping it across" from one ship to another. Perhaps Sanderson got the year wrong, and was referring to an earlier experiment, with the "stepped" transmission occurring in early 1901 instead of 1911. As it happens, many of today's radio experts doubt that the equipment Marconi used could have bridged the entire Atlantic Ocean in one shot with a signal. At the time, theorists friendly to Marconi tried to explain his alleged success in terms of unusual atmospheric phenomena. In early 1902, Arthur Kennelly theorized that perhaps Marconi had some signal reflected off an ionized layer in the upper atmosphere in what we now call the ionosphere.
Later, England's Oliver Heaviside, best known for having tidied up James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic field equations, agreed with the Kennelly theory. Most experts followed, and came to believe that the spark-gap transmitters used by Marconi's team must have generated signals with some High Frequency components that "bounced" off of the ionosphere. However, at the time, no one could prove that the signal had traveled in such a manner, since ionospheric "skip" propagation was just barely a theory and no one knew how to calculate signal path losses. Indeed, it was not until 1911 that Louis W. Austin derived the first formula for radio propagation from experimental data in the kilometer wavelength range taken during daytime hours. Austin, working for the Naval Wireless Telegraphic Laboratory, accounted for propagation anomalies in his observations as being due to absorption of radio signals in the ionized layer of the atmosphere. In a later, 1913 paper, he explained that nighttime signals are of increased strength and travel farther because of their reflection from an ionized layer that is less uniform during the day. Today, experts would note that lower frequencies are propagated through horizontally stratified media (atmospheric layers and the Earth) primarily in a "waveguide" mode instead of a bouncing "ray" mode, even though the ionosphere "sky wave" is often interpreted as an ionospheric reflection for a particular ray path.
Therefore, ironically, Sanderson's perhaps incorrect account of "stepping" a signal across the Atlantic actually makes more sense than Marconi's. The receivers of pre-1912 "spark gap" radio systems were basically unamplified dectectors. A spark transmitter had a range of about 600 feet with a 1/2 inch coil, about 100 miles with a 15 inch spark coil, and ships at sea with 5 kilowatt transmitters might be able to send signals about 500 miles.
Later, on October 21, 1915, the first experimental transatlantic radiotelephone speech communication was made. Using the new vacuum tube-based transmitters and receivers, AT&T and Western Electric conducted radiotelephony tests from NAA, the U.S. Navy station in Arlington, Virginia. These culminated in B. Webb of AT&T talking to Lt. Colonel Ferries of the French Government using relay points in Canada and at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In fact, Webb's voice was heard as far away as Honolulu, Hawaii. Perhaps more important from a commercial standpoint, music as well as voice was transmitted.
ITS: Now in those days they didn’t have oil for ships, all coal. He [James McKelvie] was in charge of all fuel for the Allies during World War I. He had stone quarries in the eastern Mediterranean and way up in the Arctic.
ITS: When I was a kid, I worked as a deck hand on his boat. So I just traveled, since I was a little tiny pithy, you know, a real kid. Then, around about the age of nine, he put me on a Norwegian whaling ship as a cabin boy for a year. We went all over the North Atlantic catching whales. [Ivan's experiences on the whaling ship would result years later in his writing the book, "Follow the Whale."] Then I was—well you see, in Scotland a man becomes of age when he is fourteen years old.
ITS: And girls at sixteen. You can sign title deeds, you can get married without your parent’s permission, you can have a drink if you want, you can fight, you can become a captain of a ship, and you can get a driving license. So when I was about fifteen I got a driving license and then I used to go off alone, wandering all over Europe and all the way down to Palestine, and such. During my schooling at Eton College [1924-1927] I averaged about two trips a year by ship or car to Europe and North Africa, where I would collect animals.
Then, I finished my final examinations at Eton College. You have to get five credits so you can go on to a University, you see, otherwise you’re “out.” Once I got those under my belt a year and a half early, I then took off and I went around the world for eighteen months wandering around collecting rats for the British Museum. That was my first expedition.
RG: On behalf of the British Museum and the Royal Linnean Society?
ITS: No, not that time Richard, the first time I went simply for the British Museum and I financed the trip myself. I was just a youngster, you know? I was beginning to learn something about how to catch these animals and skin them, you know, for scientific purposes.
During this trip I went to Egypt. I had my seventeenth birthday on the top of the Great Pyramid, and oooooo was it cold! My guide had taken me up—it was during what they call Ramadan, which is the Holy Islamic week when they have to fast, and are not allowed to eat until sundown. And of course, Mohammedians are not allowed to drink anyhow. But he had a bottle of something very strong under his burnoose, and he took me up like a tourist—he was a guide, a special guide—to the top of the pyramid.
RG: 481 feet.
ITS: Yeah, and those stones seem twenty feet high, and you can only get up where they are broken. We got to the top and he—well, I didn’t know he had this bottle under his burnoose—he was dead drunk! A terrific storm then came on us, and it was cold brother, because this is in the end of January. He couldn’t find his way down, and then he went to sleep!
RG: He couldn’t find his way down?
ITS: No, he was absolutely “out” because he was not used to drinking, and he had been fasting all day, you see. We climbed this great thing and I didn’t know how to get down, and there’s this fellow snoring away down there. We did get down the next day when the sun came out and it got warmer.
Then I went on, let me see—I might as well tell you now because–[Ivan never finished that sentence. Later I thought perhaps he knew even then of his fate, but his second wife Sabina assured me that he uttered these words long before he had the first symptoms of the brain tumor, and so was just saying “I might as well tell you know because I’m an old man now”]
I went from there to Aden and then to Ceylon, then to India, to Padang, Malaya, and then on to Indonesia where I spent nearly a year going all over the islands: Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Lombok, Flores, Timor, Bali—before it was discovered by the tourists—up to Indo-China and went to Siagon. I met a young Chinese fellow there my age and we walked all the way to Canton—nearly a thousand miles—where he came from.
RG: You walked a thousand miles?
ITS: Walked it all. And then I went from there to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Shanghai, Shanghai to Peking, Peking to Aben, Aben back to Shanghai. Then I took a boat over to Japan. My other godfather was Japanese, so I spent some time [six months] with him and his family.
Ivan Sanderson's Japanese godfather was Baron Kishichirō Ōkura (1882–1963). (The Japanese place the family name first: Ōkura Kishichirō.) He studied at Trinity College Cambridge from 1903 to 1906, but did not graduate from Cambridge University. He was the eldest son of the great Baron Okura Kihachiro (1837-1928) the peasant entrepreneur who started with a grocery store and built up the Okura-gumi and founded the giant Okura zaibatsu (family trust), and who at the time of his death controlled 63 firms (hotels, theatres, steamships, shoe factories, breweries, etc.) in China and Japan, not to mention the Okura Shogyo Gakko which in 1949 became Tokyo Keizai University (Tokyo University of Economics). The young Okura, something of a playboy, was the first Japanese racing car driver in history, having competed in the first ever car race held at Brooklands in Surrey, England, on July 6, 1907 (he came in second place). He was instrumental in introducing the automobile to Japan. He was the President of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, and the Okura luxury hotel chain still exists. Ōkura Kishichirō is perhaps best known these days as a great patron of the strategic board game of Go (called igo in Japanese), having helped establish the Nihon Ki-in or Japanese Go Association in 1924. Ivan would say of him: "After World War II, he was the only Japanese industrialist who was cleared by the General MacArthur government of war crimes. Baron Okura was allowed to reopen his plants shortly after the war ended." What Ivan didn't say was that the MacArthur government soon dismantled the imposing zaibatsu into separate, associated companies.
ITS: I got mixed up in a revolution and had to get out real quick on a Japanese fishing boat. Then I went to Tahiti, Samoa, Hawaii, and then I came to the United States of America.
Ivan appears to have this sequence backward—Japan was his actual departure point for America. Official passenger records indicate that an 18-year-old Ivan Sanderson departed Yokohama, Japan on the ship, Siberia Maru, and arrived in San Francisco on 8 June 1929, with his ultimate destination listed as England.
ITS: All of my fiendish friends said: “You’re crazy. What do you want to go to America for?” America to them was something “ugh.” However, I came here and had a wonderful time. I had just a little money left. I met a young American on the boat—he was the only other white man on the Japanese boat that I arrived in San Francisco on.
How’s the “pips” doing? [He looks at the flickering volume light on my tape recorder] Everything all right?
RG: Fine, fine.
ITS: The sound level is good, huh? I can pitch it up if you want me to, because I’m used to radio and television and I can talk like the Dickens! [Ivan spoke those words with all the finesse and eloquence of a foghorn, and just about as loudly.]
So, I arrived in San Francisco with this young fellow, and his father suddenly gave him the great car of those days— it was called the Blackhawk-Stutz [Americans called it the Stutz-Blackhawk]. It was all sort of streamlined. Today it would be a super-Ferrari. Then the father told this young man, who was about my age, “Now you have to go to South America.” It was for the business—in those days his family manufactured pianos. His name was Henry Sawyer.
Henry had to get rid of this beautiful car, so I said: “I’ll give you all the money I’ve got for the car.” As it turns out, I got the car, and he went off to South America. I got it for a song. Now I had no money whatsoever and I went down to Hollywood. I had some letters of introduction to the English film stars.
They took me in and were very nice but they pulled my leg one day. They asked me to go in my car to a big hotel to pick up a girl. They gave me a slip of paper with some name. So I went and I picked her up. She had dark glasses on, she didn’t talk, she had spots all over her face, and she was very rude. I drove her down to the beach club at Venice and I delivered her. It was a big party with Ben Blue and a lot of the “old people” who were film stars before your father was born.
RG: Ha. Really?
ITS: No really, I’m going back now to the silent days.
Then they all started laughing. Finally I got one guy who I knew and I asked: “What are you all laughing at?” He said: “Don’t you know who that was you brought down here?” I said: “Well, she was damn rude. She never spoke a word, she was very grumpy, and she’s terribly ugly.” He said: “That’s Greta Garbo.” Greta Garbo! Do you remember the great Greta Garbo?
RG: Yes, Greta Garbo! So that was the rude little tyrant, eh?
ITS: It was a funny thing, yeah. Oh she was an enormous string bean. She was taller than I was and I’m six-foot.
Then I got a terrific third-degree sunburn because I didn’t realize how hot the sun was in California. Uhh, I nearly died.
RG: That deadly California sun, eh?
ITS: Whew! We were out playing sort of a ball game and going in and out of the saltwater and all that. I recovered though, they put me in a hospital. I was peeling and had blisters all over.
A lot more things happened to me in L.A. Then I went off in my car and got a job in an oil well in Oklahoma. It was the first big oil well they had ever sunk in Oklahoma. There I made enough money to get to the East Coast, where I visited some friends: A girl who had been at school with me in Switzerland and her family, who were living in Virginia.
Then I came up to New York. I sold the car, bought my boat passes and I got back to England. I had 800 dollars more money than when I left England eighteen months before! That was the first trip.
As he said later to a reporter in April 1951:
"I had enough money to buy a car," he said, "so I bought a Black Hawk Stutz and drove through 32 states, I sailed back to England with exactly twice the amount of money I had when I landed."
While driving across the United States, he worked at many odd jobs.
Having arrived in the U.S. on June 8, 1929, he again entered the us on July 1, 1929 at the port of Lewiston, New York, which accesses Lake Ontario. Ivan appears to have made a short side-trip up into Canada.
RG: It seems that almost all of your expeditions around the world have occurred during the 1930s, haven’t they?
ITS: Well, you see Richard, when I got back in 1929 after that trip, I went to Cambridge University and I did my three years. During my three summer vacations I used to go, well, I went to Morocco once, and I also went to the Near East. In the winters I used to go on ships doing biological research at sea out of Plymouth, England, so that got me around a bit.
After I left Cambridge I organized the Percy Sladen Expedition—that would be 1931—to the British Cameroons of West Africa. That’s the one I went on for the Linnean Society, Cambridge, Oxford, University College, Professor J. P. Hill, the Royal Geographic Society, and some other organizations.
RG: You were the youngest member ever elected to the Linnean Society, as I understand.
ITS: That’s correct, yes. Do most people realize what the Linnean Society is?
RG: I don’t think so; you had better tell them.
ITS: Well, in 1780 there was a Swede by the name of Carl von Linnea. He took the Latin form of his name, Linneaus. He was the first person to classify animals and plants. All animals and plants are now classified on what’s called the Linnean system, in which they use a generic name, in Latin with a capital letter, then the specific name with a small letter. Like you have Musca domestica, the Housefly. Before that, the naming of animals was a mess.
RG: I can imagine.
ITS: There were all different languages, and one person would call it the Bottle-nosed fly, and the next person would call it something else. He straightened it all out. Then they founded Linnean Societies in France, Sweden, England, America, and one other country. They are the stuffiest, the most precise of all scientific societies in the fields of zoology and botany.
RG: So I’ve heard.
ITS: You have to be elected—I think there are twenty people who cast black balls, you know? If there is one black ball cast, you don’t get in. It’s not like when you send in ten bucks and join a “scientific society” today, you see. I was actually the youngest ever elected by the whole board in the British Linnean Society.
That time I went to West Africa, I traveled with two friends. We were there for a year, and I got 100,000 specimens.
RG: 100,000! On your 1936-1937 expedition to Surinam, you collected only 20,000.
ITS: That’s right. Well, let me get this thing straight. I went to West Africa from 1932 to 33, then I worked at the London University where we worked on my specimens. I sorted them all and got some research going. Then I got married to Alma here 36 years ago.
ITS: 36 yes. Isn’t that frightful? Same girl too! Well, cheer up.
RG: She was originally from the island of Madagascar, wasn’t she?
ITS: Yes, but she was educated in England, where we met.
Ivan Sanderson's first wife, Alma Viola Guillaume de Veil (after her death, Ivan gave the original spelling as "Alma'a Vioreta Guillaume de Veil"), was supposedly born in Madagascar on 26 September 1909 and died 18 January 1972. Actually, some of Ivan's friends have confesdsed that he completely made up an exotic, fanciful past for Alma. She appears to have actually been born Alma Viola Williams in Omaha, Nebraska to a barber named John J. Williams from Louisiana, and a dressmaker, Anna Williams from Missouri. ("William" in French is "Guillaume," which explains how Ivan came up with the fake name for her.) The Williams family spent the 1920s living in Chicago on Wentworth Avenue. Moreover, Ivan said that he married Alma on 18 February 1934, though records in England indicate that he registered his marriage to an Alma Viola Williams in London on 10 April 1935. From conversations with Ivan's friends Eddie Schoenenberger and Vlado Gettig, Ivan met Alma in Switzerland and had to marry her immediately (18 February 1934) for diplomatic / legal reasons. This must have infuriated his imposing mother Stella, and so the marriage was again solemnized in England on 10 April 1935. Click here to see Ivan and Alma's British marriage certificate. How a black child from Chicago in the 1920s became fluent in French, graduated from the University of the Sorbonne and worked as an scientist's assistant at the University of Grenoble, then where met and married Ivan in Switzerland, remains a mystery at the moment. (Indeed, I have yet to discover any evidence that she ever even visited the University of the Sorbonne or Grenoble.)
ITS: We later went to Morocco again, this time on a collecting trip up into the High Atlas Mountains, and we also finished work on our African specimens. After that was all finished, we then went to the West Indies.
To be a bit more specific, the newlyweds left England two days prior to Christmas, 1936, and went to Jamaica on a sort of honeymoon. Ivan, nevertheless, kept his trusty collecting case with him. It was during this time that they breezed through the West Indies as well. In February, the collecting case was full to the brim, and the two lovers had now arrived in Trinidad.
Becoming entranced with the dazzling array of fauna and flora there on the island, a decision was made to live for a time (two months, as it turned out) in a tent at the very zenith of the Government reserve—a reserve which not only covers most of the northern mountain range there, but was also uninhabited at the time, having rarely been penetrated (except for an occasional hunter) in all of the centuries prior to Ivan’s coming. Assisting them in this venture was a native of the island by the name of Vernon Dixon Capriata, who Ivan claimed was “the best hunter in the New World.”
Thus, Alma’s “honeymoon” had now been expanded and somewhat modified so as to include her second jungle experience with her mate—one of a number of exploits that would take place over the following decade. While in Trinidad…
ITS: We ended up doing a Job for the Naval Department on the island of Trinidad, on rabies carried by bats.
RG: Yes, you mentioned something about that in your book, The Dynasty of Abu.
ITS: Yes, I mention it in there, but I told the full story in a book called Caribbean Treasure. When we got out of the jungle and back to civilization on the coast, we found a letter from the British Museum asking me if I would go back to Haiti—I had been there before—where there were some very strange animals which had not been found for many years. We got them, having reached Haiti in May from Trinadad via Curaco. There, in 1937, my wife and I met a young Englishman who’d been brought up in Haiti, of all places. He was the airport manager there. He just quit his business and joined us. He was with me for seven years.
That man’s name was Frederick G. Allsop. A How Fred met and later joined Ivan and Alma is something of a story in itself.
It seems that after the couple landed in Haiti (after a bout with fever on the way over in the boat), Ivan desired some form of transportation to get him from his residence (several mud-and-wattle houses with thatched roofs in a village known as Pont Beudet) to the great plain surrounding his village and also up into the magnificent mountain ranges beyond. In a yard, Ivan came across a huge, abandoned 1923 Rolls-Royce. It was the only Rolls in Haiti, and for that matter, it was the only Rolls that had ever been in Haiti. Ivan’s British background got the better of him psychologically, and he convinced himself that he could not do without the Rolls. He inquired as to the cost of the luxurious vehicle.
“Fifty dollars,” came a native’s reply.
Thinking that he had outwitted the owner, who obviously did not appreciate or understand the value of this little gem of the Empire, Ivan gladly handed over the fifty dollars.
Then a problem arose. The car would not run, and Ivan was not particularly adept at servicing engines. Caveat Emptor.
It was just at this time that they met Fred Allsop, a blond Englishman who had been born in London, was something of a naturalist himself, could speak both English and the native tongue, and could fix engines of all kinds. (Indeed, at the time he was also doing some work as an auto mechanic.) Ivan liked the latter qualification the most, so Fred was employed to keep the Rolls running.
Ivan had heard tales of a pine forest up in the mountains, so he sat down and planned a little excursion that would settle the matter. Fred, being on a vacation and having nothing better to do, tagged along in his Ford. This little motorcade discovered a road (rising some 8000 feet in 25 miles) that passed over the top of the mountain range between the two major peaks. They pressed on.
Sure enough, an hour later, a “breeze that I shall never forget blew down upon us,” as Ivan later wrote in Caribbean Treasure. Everyone got out of their cars to make sure that they were actually seeing a wonderous, “aromatic” pine forest that stretched out for miles before them.
Fred became so interested and enthused over Ivan and Alma’s zoological pursuits, that he immediately cut all ties with his job and joined the two explorers/collectors. After his seven years of traveling with the Sandersons, Fred was put in charge of the United States Rubber Company’s concerns in the West Indies. He ended up as an agent for the Haitian-American Sugar Company, located in Port-au-Prince.
The one especially noticeable feature of Fred was his scowl. To have Frederick G. Allsop scowl at you was a terrifying experience, as I understand. Still, he probably deserves a biography. Just around the time he met the Sandersons, Allsop became friends with Katherine Dunham (22 June 1909 – 21 May 2006), the famous black American dancer, choreographer, songwriter, author, educator and activist who was trained as an anthropologst. While doing graduate work in 1935-1936, Dunham was awarded Travel Fellowships from the Julius Rosenwald and Guggenheim Foundations to conduct an ethnographic study of the dance forms of the Caribbean, particularly as manifested in the Vodun of Haiti. (Vodun—a.k.a. Vodoun, Vaudun, Voudou, Voodoo, Sevi Lwa—is commonly called Voodoo by the public. The name is traceable to an African word for "spirit".) According to Dunham's biographer, Ruth Beckford (Katherine Dunham, a Biography. New York: Marcell Dekker, 1979, p. 82): "The first step of her [Dunham's] vaudun initiation, referred to as lavé tetê, took place during her early research in Haiti in the late thirties and was arranged by Dunham's long-time friends, Doe Reeser and Fred Allsop. The preparations for the lavé tetê took months...."
A few days after the pine forest trip, Ivan received word from America that his book, Animal Treasure (dealing with his adventures in Africa) had won world-wide acclaim and had become a Book-of-the-Month selection. The royalties from this first book of Ivan’s were used to fund a side-trip to Surinam, where the group did even more collecting, exploring, and animal studies:
ITS: Then the British Museum asked me if I would go back to Trinidad from Haiti for something else, which we did. Then we went back to England and I organized an expedition to Surinam, which you mentioned before.
We all then went to Surinam in late 1937. We got to the capital, Paramaribo, in January ‘38, stayed there a couple of months, then did some collecting out in the jungle for a year. Well, not quite a year; we left a short while before Christmas.
As a result, this prolonged Caribbean expedition yielded thousands of specimens and “original data” that was later turned into a number of scientific papers which proved to be imperative in supplementing knowledge in zoological fields. The events of this last expedition had also been carefully recorded by Ivan, and it gave him the incentive to produce another book, Caribbean Treasure, which was published by Viking Press in November, 1939, and became an even bigger success than its precursor, Animal Treasure. You can still pick up a copy of it, for the paperback publishers bought the rights when the hardcover sales finally dropped in the 1950s, and they have kept it in print all of these years. (As we shall see in another chapter, many of Ivan’s books are of great longevity.)
The Jungle's Got Talent
Not many people realize this, but Ivan Sanderson and his wife Alma were great dancers, at least until Ivan got arthritis. They had picked up all sorts of dances in their visits to foreign cities, and when they weren't in the jungle capturing wildlife, they were "moonlighting" by performing exotic dance routines in local nightclubs! A sort of "Fred & Ginger go to Paramaribo" kind of thing.