Editor's Note: Mr. Dillenberg has been a member of C. H. S. since October, 1950. He has a Circus-Museum in Berlin which contains some 18,000 photographs, and some programmes dating back to 1822. He also has models and costumes. . . .
The winter season will soon be finished. The main attraction remains always Gilbert Houcke with his splendid tigers.
During the month of January he will train a new animal fetched from the Low Countries. Houcke hopes to be able to present this animal to the public with his other tigers at the beginning of the summer season at Bremen, where the ensemble of the Swedish Circus is engaged by the Circus Roland. The owner is Mr. Aureden, former employee of Sarrasani. Next month Mme. Trude Sarrasani, coming from Buenos Aires, will play for some weeks at Berlin, where she organized a circus with her second husband, Mr. Nemedy.
Grock has hired the circus Plotz-Althoff and will start his touring about the 20th of March at Hambourg as well as Hagenbeck will start at Kiel on the 23rd of March.
In the Russian zone of Germany there are some little circuses travelling around (about 15) as well as the circus Busch. Jacob Busch is a very serious enterprise as well as the circus Cliff Aeros with a nice show staged by a mixed show of animals, the circus Barley and last but not least the circus Alois Schickler, a circus of an average importance, which has travelled till up to date in the western zone of Germany.
I forgot to tell you that the circus Belli Bros. has purchased in England a group of F. Lions. This group belonged to the circus "Pagel" South Africa. These animals had been presented by the brother in law of Cliff Aeros, an old trainer of certain merits, but who does not succeed in presenting his animals advantageously. . . .
In June, 1901 - Roster of Gollmar Bros. & Schuman's Triple Circus and Menagerie; Gollmar Bros., Proprietors.
Chas. A. Gollmar, business manager; Walter C. Gollmar, assistant manager; Ben F. Gollmar, treasurer; Fred C. Gollmar, advance manager; Will St. Auburn, contracting agent; Ed. Jamison, advertising agent; Harry Wertz, equestrian director; George Holland, boss hostler; Chester Gruber, assistant boss hostler; Curley Kerschner, night watchman; Doc Parkhurst, boss canvasman, Frank Mitchell, assistant boss canvasman; Arthur Gates, boss props.; David Gates, boss wardrobe; Wm. Jenks, boss animal man; Tom Dailey, assistant boss; Al. Jones, chandelier man; Ed. Maher, cookhouse and candy stand; Frank Macart, manager annex; James Fitzgerald, manager concert; Prof. Dixon, leader of bond; members of bond: G. Viquesney, Fred Schudhouse, Fred Denberg, Frank Seavey, H. C. Hall, Chas. Smith, Fred Donenberg, Walter Fink, John Braham, Ed. Filip, Geo. Smith, Fred Saunders, Wm. Fraberg, Wm. Bernhard; performers included: Ed and Josie Simpson, George Parents, Ed. Guthrie and Ed. Nufold, Maud Hocum, Myrtle Willis, Wm. Adair, Ida Guthrie, Wm. Jenks, Tom Atkinson, Alpine Family, H. Wertz, E. V. Hocum, James C. Beano, Wertz and Adair, Bert Leon, Hugh Dougherty, John J. Willis, Pearl Alpine, Hattie Adair, Irene Mohler, Willis Gollmar; concert people: Alpine sisters, Dolly Davenport, Ida Guthrie, Ed. Nufold, Leon and Dougherty, and James Fitzgerald; Annex-Frank Macart, Jessie Macart, Ilma, snake charmer; Dotty Andrews, John Andrews, Renold and James Fitzgerald.
Showed in Three Separate Rings.
The many friends of Lee Inman in the music world will be surprised to learn of his marriage in Hamilton, Ohio, on the day before Easter, 1951.
After sixty-nine years a bachelor, Lee escorted Miss Dorothy Baker, Hamilton, Ohio, to the altar where they were united in holy matrimony.
Mr. Inman will be remembered as first chair cornet in the band on the Sun Bros. Circus, season 1909.
Incidently this was the first season of trouping for Charles E. Duble, well known composer of many fine band marches and other band compositions. Mr. Duble was on Sun Bros. performing under Bandmaster Charles Gerlach, where he and Mr. Inman trouped together that season.
Mr. Inman is retired from the circus life and has his own concert band with band headquarters and office at Seventh and Walnut Streets, Hamilton, Ohio.
Among the several former troupers who are members of the Inman Concert Band are Ramon and George Mettler. Ramon Mettler made his debut in the trouping music world in 1915, as bandmaster on the National Exposition Shows, opening in Covington, Kentucky. The show was operated by Steve T. Mulchay and Col. I. N. Fisk, both now deceased. Herman Wiehmier, father of the Cincinnati Reds Pitcher, Herman Wiehmier, was solo cornet in the band; and Amada Longo, formerly first chair trombone of a well known municipal band of Italy, was baritone; while Alfred Pare, later with the famous allFrench over-seas band of Ed Chenette, played French horn. The next season Bess Mettler (Mrs. Ramon Mettler) entered the band playing bass horn or tuba. She has the proud distinction of being the first lady to play in a band in the annual parade of the Cincinnati Holy Name Society.
An atmosphere of spangles and sawdust fills the band room every rehearsal night when the Duble, King, Alexander and other marches are run over. Friends of Mr. Inman and troupers passing through Hamilton are always extended a very warm welcome at band headquarters. Lee will be pleased to hear from any old friends of his trouping days. Mr. Inman is president of Local 31, American Federation of Musicians, Hamilton, Ohio.
From Peru Republican, April 20, 1951. Hobby Bandwagon, Vol. 6, No. 5 (June), 1951, p. 7.
Sitting upon the floor and knitting a sweater the famous Peru clown Otto Griebling with Ringling Circus now in New York City was found recently by Sidney Fields, who writes under the heading "Only Human" in the New York Daily Mirror, as follows:
Otto Griebling: A Grin Out of Any Grouch
Ten years ago a rabid circus fan died in Denver, and his lawyer spent the next three months hunting for a little clown. The lawyer finally caught up with the clown in Rochester, Ind., and showed him a portion of the will, which read:
"Because no one has ever made me laugh like the sad little tramp, Otto Griebling, I bequeath him my diamond ring valued at $500."
Over at the Garden the other day Otto sadly showed me the ring. This is his first year with the Ringling Circus. He's a round little man of 52 with woeful eyes, who has been in circuses for 38 years, and a clown for 31. Even experts like Emmett Kelly consider Otto a master at the serious art of clowning; and they will watch him to learn.
During his early days Otto was a trapeze man for five years, when they worked without nets. One day he fell 18 feet, and broke his leg. They said: "You're no good to us anymore," and gave him $5 and left him lying on the empty lot, crying. Four weeks later Otto was well enough to join another circus.
"Selling candy," he says. "But I was fired in five days. I happened to overcharge a lady. There's 5,000 people in the tent and I overcharge this lady. She happens to be the boss' wife."
And back in the early days he worked with Tom Mix who shot Otto in the leg during one performance. They were great friends - Tom was best man at Otto's wedding.
Unclamping The Iron Jaw
Otto has three children and two grandchildren. After he and his first wife, an "Iron Jaw" who hangs from the circus top by her teeth, were divorced three years ago, Otto married a St. Louis real estate woman.
Another friend of Otto's was Jack Dempsey. They worked together when Dempsey and Carpentier were doing exhibition bouts for the circus.
"When we went fishing once," Otto says, "I pushed Dempsey off a bridge into the water. He got mad, so I got scared and run like crazy."
Otto arrived here from Germany by way of Yokohama. His mother come here alone after his father died. His brother, Emil, now a Wall Street man, worked his way over on a boat, and his mother thought Otto could do the some thing.
"I go to Bremerhaven and get a cabin boy job. Three days out to sea I ask the other boys when we dock at Hoboken. They tell me, we're out. We're going to Yokohama. So I have to go back to Bremerhaven. But this time I take the right boat."
His mother was about to make a tailor out of him, but Otto read an ad calling for an apprentice bare-back rider. He ran off and joined the circus. His boss whipped him every day, as part of the regular instruction. One day the boss sent Otto out with a five dollar bill to get one loaf of bread and one bottle of milk. Otto had never seen that much money before. He took off, and spent the next two years logging and farming in Wisconsin. Then he read an ad in the paper about the some circus he left.
Otto went back. Before he saw the boss he bought two bottles of milk and two loaves of bread and brought them in with the right change of the late five dollars.
"He counts it very carefully and says: 'Now get to work.' He was strict, but he knocks it into me. He taught me everything, dancing, bare back riding, pantomine, juggling, the trapeze."
He never taught Otto how to be a clown. In fact, he told Otto: "Whatever you do, don't try to be funny. It's not in you." Otto says that settled it because the boss was always wrong. When Otto wanted to be right, he'd always ask the boss what to do and then do the exact opposite. So he become a clown, the unsmilingest clown in the world.
But with his studied sadness he makes a grin out of any grouch. He sits and knits in the ring, or gets his finger caught in a bottle, and manages to trip and kick himself in the mouth.
There's an apocryphal story about Otto, which he will not deny. One day his friends sent him to a psychoanalyst to find out why Otto never smiled. The analyst said:
"I know the cure. You go to the circus and see this clown, Otto Griebling. He'll make you laugh."
"Pardon me, Doctor, said Otto. "I'm Otto Griebling." The analyst sighed sadly and said: "Well, then there's nothing I can do for you."
On Oct. 29, 1901, the train bearing the Forepaugh-Sells Bros. United Shows was in a collision with a freight train near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A number of elephants escaped and, after a chose, were located and driven into Baton Rouge and corralled. None of the other animals escaped, although four cars loaded with cages were wrecked. Hobby Bandwagon, Vol. 6, No. 5 (June), 1951, p. 5.
On November 11, 1901, George E. Holland and Rose Dockrill were married at Savannah, Georgia.
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Last modified November 2005.
without written permission of the author and the Circus Historical Society, Inc.
Last modified November 2005.