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Message Archive: Messages 251 - 300

300. Buffalo Bill, October 17, 2004 - How to find information on Ringling Circus about the business men of the circus? I had a picture of my grandfather with Buffalo Bill in dress suits. They may have been in England in the early 1900's. Thanks, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 18, 2004 - "Ringling:The Florida Years 1911-1936," By David C. Weeks (UPF/University Press of Florida, Gainesville,1993). This book was commissioned by the John and Mable Ringling Museum and was 10 years in the making. "Big Top Boss: John Ringling North and the Circus," By David Lewis Hammarstrom. University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 1992. Combined, these two books cover nearly half-a-century of the Ringling dynasty. Another book that comes to mind is "The Circus Kings". As for William Frederic Cody's BUFFALO BILL WILD WEST, it returned to the United States after closing at Croydon, England on October 31, 1892. The show returned in 1902 where it played London from December 26 through April 4th, 1903. It remained in Europe until 1906. Unless your grandfather visited the show during the last week of December 1902, the probability tends to indicate that the picture of him with Buffalo Bill was in 1903. Giovanni Iuliani.

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299. Circus, 1930s Depression, October 17, 2004 - I am looking for information about the circus during the 1930's depression. I am writing a script with a group of 8th graders and they have established as the theme of the script a circus that went through the crash of 1929 and a transformation into a circus going from some affluence into a decline and a rebirth. I am interested in anything you can send me as to historical truth, and detail as to characters and visual look of that circus. I hope you can help me. I am an arts educator in the San Francisco area of California and am having trouble finding information on this subject via the internet. I hope to hear from you. Thank you so much. Sheila Lopez, Director of childrens' theatre and developmental theatre work, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 18, 2004 - Contrary to most businesses, the circus and the motion picture industry did very well during the depression. People had idle time on their hands and sought more distractions. Since almost all major circuses belong to the Ringlings, some where eliminated. Joseph T. Bradbury's THE GUMPERTZ ERA covers 5 years (1933-1937) in the life of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Published in WHITE TOPS, the official publication of Circus Fans of America. Part 1 (1933) issue 6, 1974. Part 2 (1933-34), issue 1, 1975. Part 3 (1935-36) issue 2, 1975. Part 4 (1937) issue 3, 1975. Mr. Bradbury gives a very detailed account of the way the Greatest Show On Earth was like during the 1930's. Then there is a smaller scale mud show. This is a circus that moves with trucks and trailers. 30-50 people trying to survive the hard times. Away from big city centers there is nothing but slim pickings for a little circus. Shell Bros. Circus (1929-1936) would be the ideal model for your project. A public library that have access to THE BILLBOARD microfilms for those years will answer your needs. However, be prepared to search through many weekly issues. Giovanni Iuliani.
    Reply: October 18, 2004 - You should be able to get copies of Bradbury's White Tops articles from the Parkinson library at Circus World Museum, The citation information for Bradbury's articles is listed in the White Tops index on this website. J. Griffin.
    Reply: 11 May, 2005 - circurs Kludsky - family story in Vienna/Austria
    I found your website by google and hope i could help you a little. My English is not good, I'm German. Regards Manfred Wildner
    Reply: 06 February, 2006 - Just a bit of information. An old friend of mine who passed away, said he went to school (1st. grade) in Peru Indiana with the great composer Cole Porter. One parent was a Cole from the circus and the other a Porter. Stanley Adams,

298. Circus, circa 1904, October 17, 2004 - I am writing a novel which opens at a Circus of the Grotesque in @1904 in Central Park, New York. I was wondering if anyone might be able to help me in my researches on the subject - I am just starting out and based in London England. I need to know if any such circuses visited New York at that time, what their names were, who was part of the show (individals who made up the technical aspect of the Circus, the acts themselves etc.), what it looked like, how many people involved etc. Any help most greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance. Kind regards, Harry Whitehead, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 18, 2004 - Tod Browning's 1932 classic horror film "FREAKS" gives a false impression, that there was such a thing as a "freak" circus. Instead, what that movies fails to provide is the other performers that made up that European circus. As the prologue and epilogue indicate, the crowd is inside the sideshow tent where the prodigies are displayed. Then there is Ray Bradbury's allegory "SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES", a movie (1983) about a sinister carnival's visit to a small American town. Just like this movie, the novel you wish to write, concerning the Circus of the Grotesque, is a fantasy of something that never existed. However, if you delve into the repertoire of the Grand Guignol you will find a Paris sight that was famous for over 100 years in the presentation of the grotesque. Giovanni Iuliani.

297. Gustav Hummerston, October 17, 2004 - Can you help help me with any information on Gustav Hummerston? He performed as The Great Bouget, I believe. He was performing in the Blackpool Tower circus the same time as Charlie Cairoli. Prior to this he traveled the world with his parents and a circus even performing for the Tsar of Russia. His parents were also circus performers, his mother's name was Cardinali and she came from an Italian family, his father was German. I believe Gustav was born in Torino, Italy in aprox 1890 and he died in 1963 in Parkstone, Dorset, England in his 70's> I have been told that the Cardinalis once owned the circus in Paris, any tips on finding information would be greatly appreciated, many thanks, sharon firetto, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 18, 2004 - Are you sure dad Hummerston was German, because Hummerston is a British fairground name, it's much more likely that his father was English? Victor Hugo Cardinali is present day director of Cirque Cardinali (he was also in the jury for the 2003 Golden Clowns at Monaco) which also performs in France but is originally Portugese as are most circus Cardinali's, where there are sevaral Cardinali circuses still. There was an Italian Circo Cardinali in the twenties, director Gianfranco Cardinali, home base Ancona. Natasha Gerson.
    Reply: November 05, 2004 - To be complete: From the Galloper, John Turnerin 'Twentieth Century Circus People, 1901-1950' (Lingdales Press, Formby, 2003). GUS BOURGET Clown. Born in France, a member of the Italian Cardinal family, born and bred in the circus. In his early days was an acrobat, a member of the Haydas Troupe, run by his step-father. Travelled the world, with the Bourget Troupe, speaking five languages. Noted with Chapman's stage circus, touring in 1933, described as an eccentric comedian with a juggling act. Still with Chapman's, starting out in 1934, teamed with Ali, in a humpsti-bumpsti act. Later in 1934 was at the Winter Gardens circus, Cleethorpes. With Rosaire's Royal Empire Circus, Woolwich, in 1935, billed as the Great Bourget, returning to Chapman's later in the year. In 1936, with Chapman's 'Here Comes the Circus', played an act with several pythons. At one time partnered by Hugo Darty. Performed with his wife, a former Tiller girl, as "Fred and May". Jimmy Bourget appeared in about 1942. Natasha Gerson.

296. Capt. Engerer, October 17, 2004 - Do you have any information on Capt. Engerer (1938)? Many thanks, Adele Engerer, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 19, 2004 - Hello Adele Engerer, Yes, I have some info on Capt. Engerer. He was my Uncle, and I had the luck to travel with him and his lion act in the years 1939, 1944 and 1945. It was the WPA circus in 1939, The Wallace Bros. circus in 1943 or 1944 New England States. Then the Clyde Beatty/Tom Mix Show in 1945 in the Southern State's. He was billed as the Worlds only one arm lion trainer, had a great act and a great showman untill his death in 1964 when the lions killed him. Sincerely, Frederick Engerer,

    Reply: 30 August, 2006 - Hello, enjoyed your article. I was born (1934) in Saginaw, MI. my great g-pa came from Germany. Bavaria I believe. He bought a farm in Bay City, MI. a Lutheran German community. Are we cousins? Currently working on the family history. Reply if you wish? Allen Engerer Granbury, TX

    Reply: 13 May 2008 - Hi, My name is Cathy Schenone. My grandfather was Albert Ravenna. He was a photographer for the NY World Telegram and Sun. He was sent on assignment to photograph your Uncle and his lion act. I have a magazine clipping (Editor & Publisher, 3/13/1948) and original photograph of Santania, one of his lions. The article is about NY photographers describing their most exciting jobs. I will quote it for you. If you would like a copy of these feel free to write back.
          "Little did I know when I was sent out to Oceanside LI in August 1943, to photograph a one armed lion trainer that I was to wind up a virtual Daniel in the lion's den. I found the bars so close together that I had to go into the cage.
          A pretty picture we made - the captain (Captain Ernest Engerer, who had had his left arm bitten off at the elbow by a lion) and I and five lionesses and two huge dogs. The dogs were there in case the cats got out of hand. The only other protection the captain had was an eight-foot pronged rod and bull whip.
          While I stood there raattling my shutters, the captain lined the lionesses up, with two of them on a pedestal in front of the cage and three on one in the back. Then he set two pedestals about 10 feet apart, picked up a hoop and singled out the appropriately named Satania, an anti social beast if I ever saw one. Santania was new in the cage. She had killed her former trainer.
          Captain Enderer coaxed her onto on of the pedestals and held up the hoop for her to jump through. But Santania wouldn't cooperate. She just snarled and stood there. The captain pleaded with her, even threatened her. Suddenly, Santania made a swipe at the captain. Her claw caught in his thumb, ripping it clear to the bone. The captain stuck his thumb into his mouth, very quickly. (Later I learned it was to keep the smell of blood from the lions. There'd have been no picture if they had smelled blood. And no Ravenna!)
          The trainer as quickly took the pronged rod from under his artificial arm. Keeping it pointed at Satania, he inched his way to me. Together we backed 15 feet to the door. We rushed to a doctor's office, where the captain's thumb was stiched. And then guess where we went! That's right - back to the cage! He had to show those cats he wasn't afraid of them. Of course, he wanted to let me get my pictures too. Which by now I could have done nicely without.
          Which of us was crazier, I don't know, but I did go into the cage the second time. The captain soon showed them who was boss. The lionesses went through their paces and I got my pictures. If this wasn't my most exciting assignment, it'll do till another comes along. It's things like this that make a guy wonder why he ever left Vermont."

295. Dick Magraw, lion act, October 17, 2004 - What ever happened to Dick Magraw? He was trained by Mable Stark and worked the Lion act at the St Louis Zoo in the 50's. Did he ever work in a circus? Respond to this message
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - Dick McGraw was at the St. Louis Zoo from the 1958 season through 1962. He originally worked with the George Frazier small mixed cat but developed a lion and tiger act that he presented for his last years at the Zoo. Those animals were later worked by Jules Jacot and sold to Carson and Barnes in 1970. McGraw came to the Zoo from Jungleland in Thousand Oaks, CA. In The Wild Animal Trainer in America Roger Smith mentions working with McGraw at Jungleland in 1965. Jungleland would place cat acts on various shows so McGraw probably performed on some circuses. The last I heard was that he was in the construction business in the 1970s. Jim Alexander.

294. John Robinson's Big Shows, October 17, 2004 - Having found a heart with "John Robinson's Big Shows" on it, it has sparked my curiosity. Do you know what year was the last to any shows with John's name? Thanks, Don Henderson, RXTHER@AOL.COM. Respond to this message
    Reply: October 19, 2004 - The route cards issued for the John Robinson's 10 Big Shows used the title of 10 Big Shows for the years 1905 to 1917. If you have a heart, it is most likely a piece of horse harness that was used in the street parade, and the parades ended about 1920. The title John Robinson's Circus was used from 1918 to 1930. Ted Bowman Route Collection, Detroit, Michigan.

293. Traveling Sideshow circus, October 15, 2004 - I am doing research on Sideshow Circus/carnivals and although I have found alot info. on the language and certain performers, I have found nothing on the actual life in a traveling Sideshow circus. From how they lived in the wagons as they were traveling to their next destination. Where they travelled to. What was their life like behind the scene during the duration of their stay in each place. I am doing specific research on Sideshow circuses from the 1880's to the early 1900's Can you help, or give me any resources on where I may find such information. Thank you. D. Respond to this message
    Reply: October 17, 2004 - While there never was a sideshow circus, circus sideshows have existed before the 1880's. P.T. Barnum's American Museum was a popular New York attraction. Harold Schechter, author of "The Hum Bug" (2001) (Pocket Books, New York, 2001). The novel concerns an investigation done by Edgar Allan Poe and P.T. Barnum in 1844. While the story is pure fiction the description of the museum is well researched. "Sprangle" (1987) (Forge/A Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. Book,New York) is also a well researched story who's author, Gary Jennings, devoted a decade in writing this epic novel of the 1860's. Ward Hall, Al Stencell, Tod Robbins, James Taylor, Chris Fellner, John Robinson, Bob Blackman and Mike Martin are sideshow historians knowlegeble in the evolution of this particular form of entertainment. While the circus presented sideshow acts as part of an annex attraction, many freaks where exhibited as a individual exhibit (known in carnival parlance as a "Single 'O"). When 10 "Single 'O's where put together they became a "10-in-1". The National Geographic BOOK OF THE CIRCUS - a compendium of articles relating to circus life, will give you a pretty good idea as to actual life in a circus (that includes sideshow performers). As the author of ARCHIVES OF HUMAN PRODIGIES (A unpublished trilogy) I can assure you that the subject of sideshows can be very controversial. Since people paid to see human curiosities, the sideshow management would insist that the prodigies keep out of sight. The contemporary sideshow is now related to carnival "geek" shows (i.e. eating worms and insects, torture demonstrations, etc.) while the traditional sideshow presented freaks of nature and conservative acts such as fire eating, knife throwing, sword swallowing, illustrated humans (tattoo), etc. As mentioned in Q. 259, contact Sideshow Central at or for further details. Giovanni Iuliani.
    Reply: November 14, 2004 - I have compiled the history of sword swallowing and about 500 photos of sword swallowers from the early 1800s to date at: Dan Meyer.

292. Agnes Lake, CHS 2000, October 13, 2004 - Is it possible to ge a transcript of the presentation "Agnes Lake: farmer's daughter to circus star" by Linda Fisher that was given at the 2000 Circus Historical Society convention? Respond to this message
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - I believe that Dr. Fisher is now working in the Washington, D. C. area, or perhaps the local adjacent area in Virginia. You'd need to establish contact with her for a copy of her paper. Try searching via Fred Dahlinger.

291. Sells & Gray, October 13, 2004 - We have found a Sells and Gray Circus poster which says it is was the 62nd annual tour. Any ideas on what the date of this poster might be? Respond to this message
    Reply: October 15, 2004 - Sells'Circus was first established in 1891 by William "Willie" Sells. In 1900 the original proprietor's partner was James H. Gray and became Sells & Gray Circus. Determining the year of the 62nd edition would depend on either the initial enterprise or the latest. This means it can be either 1953 or 1962. However, an actual picture of the posters can reveal if it's a stock print or original art work, Furthermore, if a day and date is available, it is possible to determine a specific year. While the Ringling Bros. Circus begins with Yankee Robinson in 1884, they combine with Barnum & Bailey in 1919, and now claim their 134th edition in 2004. Giovanni Iuliani.
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - Bill Elbirn wrote a nice article about the 1962 Sells & Gray 3 Ring Circus in Bandwagon, July-August 1962, pages 18-19. Within one photo you can see the legend "62nd Annual Tour." RBBB's editions are tied to the Barnum circus origin of 1871. Fred Dahlinger.
    Reply: December 28, 2004 - My father told me stories of Sells' Circus, being my great grandfather Sell. In addition, my grandmother rode bareback on the circus pony around the ring. I was told that Sells' Circus sold and was absorbed by Ringling Brothers. I am searching for any more info regarding my grandmother Winona Cell (bareback rider).

290. Krauss/Krause Greater Shows, October 11, 2004 - My name is Jill Griffin and I'm looking for information on Krauss or Krause Greater Shows, information, pictures and things. It was owned by my great uncle Benjamin Krause or Krauss. If anyone knows anything email me at Respond to this message
    Reply: October 18, 2004 - Is there any relation to Willy/Willi Krauss, the stunt aviator of the twenties turned MC and his Keith shows together with Tom Mix? Would think there was some connection Can send you a photo scan of both advertised at the Majestic Theatre, Little Rock, AK in july of 1928. Natasha Gerson,
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - I'm pretty sure that this was a railroad carnival, not a circus. McKennon's Pictorial History of the American Carnival lists a Krause Greater Shows, fl. 1911-1935. I don't think that Ben Krause or his show have been written up by any historian. Information would be found in weekly issues of Billboard and New York Clipper. Fred Dahlinger.

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289. Pallenberg, Bear act, October 11, 2004 - My name is Robert Perry from the Perry circus family in Australia. In the 1950s our family was with Wirths circus in Australia. And we had a great bear act from the USA Emil Pallenberg. He had two kids about my age, Billy & Kathy. Would anyone know their whereabouts in the USA? Robert Perry, South Australia, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 26, 2004 - To Whom It May Concern: I am responding to your request about contacting the children of Emil Pallenberg. I may be of assistance. Please advise what you would like know and for what reason. Take care, Emil,

    Reply: 29 May, 2006 - I have a wonder Pallenberg bears poster from the turn-of-the-century and would love more info. about this family of trainers and their history! Thanks!

    Reply: 23 June, 2006 - Emil Pallenber was married to my great aunt (my grandmother's sister), the two children were from her first husband who was killed in world war two. I saw them perform with their bears many times and spent time with them after they quit the circus at their home north of San Antonio, Texas. I can provide a few more details on Emil and much more on his wife (Inez). They are both now deceased. dennis

    Reply: 20 July, 2006 - My name is Harry Pallenberg. I am wondering if there is any relation to the Pallenberg Bears. My Grandparents lived in Rome.

    Reply: 21 Mar 2008 - I have a framed 1916 Barnum & Bailey poster of the Pallenberg Bear Act - with Pallenberg portrait and bears on skates. Let me know if interested.

    Reply: 24 Dec 2009 - My dad is Billy. I am very interested in the time he travelled across Australia during his 9th grade year. Any information is appreciated. Lana

    Reply: 10 Mar 2012 - I have been searching my adoption and found that Emil Pallenberg Jr. was 14 and living in the home my birth mother was adopted into. She was five and a half months at this time. The year was 1930, Conn. I am curious about that life, and why he was living with this family? It might help as to where my birth mother came from? Thanks for any information of any literature/pictures you can direct me to. Thank you, Bette Levine

288. Ringling Bros., 10 October, 2004 - I am trying to find out if the 107th or the 108th edition of Ringling Bros. came to denver in Sept. 1978. I was in a parade for some kind of celebration that they were having but I cant remember what it was all about. I think it was a marrage between two little people. Does any one have any information on this, please help. Jeff Whitfield. Respond to this message
    Reply: October 11, 2004 - The 108th edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus came to Denver, Colorado in 1978. It was the blue unit and played Thu., Oct. 5 - Sun., Oct. 15. Michu - The Smallest Man In The World was featured in a production titled Underwater Extravaganza. This included a segment called Poseidon's Procession where "They gather ... To Greet their Small Guests! A Little King And Queen Of Neptune's Kingdom Are Crowned." Among the little people where Sandor & Elizabeth. Sandor will play in one of the television movies "Barnum" (Burt Lancaster) or"P.T. BARNUM" (Beau Bridges). Giovanni Iuliani.
    Reply: October 12, 2004 - Sandor & Elizabeth were part of the LE Barnes Circus 2001. Sandor was in Barnum" (Burt Lancaster). They were great to work with. I learned a lot of circus history from them.

    Reply: 31 August, 2006 - Any recent info on Sandor and Elizibeth smallest performing couple. They were friends of my late brother, would love to get in contact with them. Thank you, Rhonda. P.S I have a picture of them that they autographed

    Reply: 07 May 2013 - I recently met Sandor and we have become friends. I would like to talk with anyone who knew him. He seems to be a little down on his luck. Sincerely, Gary Corsair,

287. Hoxie's Great American Circus, October 09, 2004 - I am looking for information about Hoxie's Great American Circus. My husband traveled with the circus when he was a starry eyed teen, looking for photo opps for his photography portfolio. Unfortunately the pictures were destroyed in a house fire. . . I would really like to find posters, signs, anything really, that I might be able to purchase for him. It was a huge part of his life and I have heard many amazing stories of his adventure. Any information about where to look or who to contact would be greatly appreciated. Lisa, Respond to this message
    Reply: 10 October, 2004 - Two sources where there is a catch of photographs on Hoxie's Great American Circus is Fred Plowedge's book "MUD SHOW: A Circus Season", Harecourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1975. And also an article published in the National Geographic. Giovanni Iuliani.
    Reply: October 17, 2004 - "MUD SHOW" was writen about Hoxie Bros. Circus. The Hoxie Great American was produced by Alan C. Hill & Hoxie Tucker. There is nothing in "Mud Show" as it was written long before the Great American came around. To the person seeking info contact me direct & maybe I can help as I was on both shows & might know your husband. E-Mail me at (corrected Oct. 23).
    Reply: October 23, 2004 - To the person who said email him. I did and it did not deliver. My email address is I look forward to getting more information about Hoxie's Great American.
    Reply: November 12, 2004 - You should be able to acquire some show ephemera (posters, etc.) via internet auction sites. There was also coverage of the show in an issue of National Geographic.
    Reply: 24 January, 2006 - Am also interested in finding any info from people who may have worked in Hoxie Brother's Circus when I traveled with them back in 76 - 77. I worked with Leo Entwistle with the elephants. Michael Cicere was the lion trainer then. John Hall was Ringmaster, if I remember correctly. Johnny Walker was on animal crew. He later married Laura Herriott. Laura's dad ran a small circus also. Our mess tent cook was called Shorty. Would love to hear from people I worked with and anyone that might remember me. They called me 'Birdman' back then. I joined the circus when it came through my home town Manassas, Va. back in September of 76. Ron Robey,
    Reply: 24 January, 2006 - In 1976-77 John Hall was the manager of Hoxie Bros, Phil Chandler was the ringmaster. I am married to his daughter Lauren, also my brother Joe Eddie Fairchild was the drummer bandleader, Roger Boyd had the sideshow, Diaz sisters juggling-unicycles, Jose Diaz electrician, Tom Sink - popcorn the clown, elephants as I remember - Bonnie, Hazel, Janet Kelly, Stacy, Hoxie, Irene, could go on and on. Bobby Fairchild,

    Reply: 08 Jun 2012 - I was with Hoxies from winter quarters in N Miami 75, Bill Hill was boss, Theresa ran concessions, Johny from New Orleans was big top boss. My name is Doug, I was cotton candy man all season. I joined with Chet, the junkman. We called him Gumby cause the elephant man punched him early one morning for not loading the elephant tubs. Rainey was the cook. Our job was setting up the entrance, our joints, and siding on big top. Johny and I used to tie the rings and lash the tent pieces together. We left winters quarters, hopped up the coast to N. Carolina then jumped to N.J., N.Y. Penn., Ohio, West Virginia and back to NC. And thats where I jumped off and went home. I'll never forget the mud show! It was great fun, a lot of work and met some wonderful folks. I've often wondered what became of Teresa, Bill's daughter, Allens sister.

286. Bailey (Virginia) Elephants, October 07, 2004 - I grew up on the site of the old Bailey Farm in Northern Virginia, now known as Bailey's Cross Roads. I have the copies of the deeds and proof of the relationship of P.T. Barnum to the Bailey Family. They are the Bailey's or the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus. My question is: Were can I find proof that the Bailey family keep Elephants at their farm (plantation) in Virginia as local lore has it. Thanks, Edward R. FitzGerald. Respond to this message
    Reply: October 09, 2004 - I'm not a historian, but I am a elephant buff. In which county in Virginia is Bailey's Cross Roads? What is the nearest town or city? Perhaps if elephants were kept there,an incident, such as the herd becoming loose or an elephant attacking a keeper, may have been reported in the local paper at one time.
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - The Bailey of RBBB fame was James A. Bailey, who wasn't really a Bailey at all. So, this is a different Bailey with the Virginia connection. James A. Bailey's heritage is revealed in Arthur Saxon's paper on the man in Bandwagon. Check the index. Fred Dahlinger.
    Reply: 29 September, 2005 - Bailey's Cross Raod is about 7 miles south of Washingotn DC in the County of Fairfax. James Biley was the adopted son and if memory serves me correctly of Lewis Bailey. James was from Chicago area and later took the name of Bailey. He went on to hook up with old P.T. Barnum in the 1870's. Edward R. FitzGerald

285. Jumbo's Palace Car, October 07, 2004 - Would anyone one what became of the "Jumbo Palace Car", the customized railway van that P.T Barnum had specially built by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, to transport his giant elephant Jumbo across America in 1882? Reportly the van was: 40 feet in length, 18.5 ft height, wt. 14 tonnes, mounted on 2 six-wheeled bogies, with two huge double doors and painted in red and gold. It would be interesting to know the exact dimensions of the inside of the railway van, as there appears to be conflicting information about the height of the inside compartment that contained Jumbo. Two elephant keepers with the Barnum circus at the time, William Blackburne stated it was 11 feet high inside, but George Bates stated it was 12 feet high. This could be a clue as to Jumbo's true height as it was reported Jumbo stood anywhere between 10'9" and 11'6", before his demise in St. Thomas, Ontario Canada in September 1885. Respond to this message
    Reply: October 12, 2004 - The Jumbo rail car rotted down in the Bridgeport, CT winter quarters. Fred Pfening.
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - See Bandwagon, May-June 1984, pages 32-34. Fred Dahlinger.
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - A determination of the permissible railroad clearances of 1882-1885 would establish the maximum limits of the Jumbo car. Master Car Builder Association publications, Railway Gazette or other similar sources might provide the necessary data. As I recall, the show never went west of the Mississippi River or south of the Ohio River during those years (save for a trip one year to Iowa and Kansas), likely because of travel clearance limitations. In the case of Jumbo research, one should be careful to differentiate between media releases and publications, personal testimony and later secondary and tertiary accounts. Fred Dahlinger.

284. Oscar Lowanda, Moe Aron, October 04, 2004 - I am seeking information about Oscar Lowanda, he was a famous bareback rider with the Hanneford family riding act, in the years 1937 to the early 1940's. Also information about Moe Aron, he had a clown act, where he stacked up 5 or 6 tables and climbed to the top of them, and then rolled off them. Moe Aron's act also was in the same time frame. If anyone has any info, such as how long they stayed active in show business or about their retirement, or family members, please contact me. Thank you, Frederick O. Engerer,, California. Respond to this message
    Reply: October 05, 2004 - Moe Aron in the same time frame? I only know one act such as you describe and that would have been Harry Ritley, climbing on top of a stack of tables, swaying and falling off. Are you sure you don't have to acts mixed up? Natasha Gerson.

    Reply: 20 September, 2006 - I am also looking for info on a Table and Chair balancing act, I have seen footage of from 1949. Tee performer (unknown) stacked 3 tables and 5-6 chairs, doin handstands on the chairs and ballancing back on the hine legs. Footage was from Jim Wood's Circus in Culver City, Ca. Winter of 1949. Can anyone help? Tom Holbrook

283. Charlie Hackett, October 04, 2004 - I'm tring to find out information about a woman named Charlie Hackett, who was a ringmaster/ringmistress in the circus, and I believe was the first woman ringmaster in the U.S. and she had her voice surgically lowered. Who was the woman on the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," riding the circus elephant, I believe that might be Charlie Hackett. I'd like to see pics of her or articles and can't find anything on her. Please help. Thank you, Alek, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 07, 2004 - There as been an American woman ringmistress before Charlie Hackett. Insofar as the 2004 movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is concerned, a search of the full cast and crew failed to yield Charlie Hackett. The only person named Charlie is writer Charlie Kaufman. Giovanni Iuliani.
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - Circus producer George Hubler of Dayton, OH likely knows Ms. Hackett and how one might contact her. Anonymous.
    Reply: 06 March, 2005 - I know Charlie personally. Please respond with what information you would like to know, and I'll forward it on to her. Due to her privacy wishes, I cannot send you personal information on her without her permission.

    Reply: 12 Jan 2008 - She is on youtube

282. Elle Carvel, October 04, 2004 - Message removed at request of sender.

281. Carson's American circus, October 03, 2004 - My Mother worked for Carson's American circus in India in the 1920's. Some of the other people in the circus at that time were Douglas Fairbanks, Tom Mix, Wallace Berry, William S. Harte and Joe Thunderface. Do you have any info on this circus? Sincerely, Don McDowall, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 04, 2004 - The Frank T. Hopkins tale of a 3,000 miles race across the burning sands of Arabia with his mustang HIDALGO was the subject of a Walt Disney movie. However, I believe that the Carson American Circus tour in the 1920's will make an excellent follow-up to that very entertaining motion picture. Imagine Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., a very busy Hollywood star of the silent era, leaving the silver screen to tour with an unknown circus in India. Then maybe it's his son Junior who takes off to join the circus while still a youth (he was born in 1909). Then, there is Thomas Hezekia Mix (better known as Tom Mix) who also joined the India circus tour while making a streak of 336 films in a career that spans from 1910 to 1935. He likes the circus so much that he gets his own. Veteran actor Wallace Berry, with a string of 220 movies to his credit, also joins the Carson American Circus. Fact is he already did work as a elephant groom when he was 16 years old with the Ringling Bros, Circus in 1902. He quit after 2 years because a leopard clawed his arm. William S. Hart was one of the first Western Hero of the silver screen. And then, there is Joe Thunderfoot, a young California boxer, who died during a fight with Frankie Weber. There is a painting of the Lords Last Supper where the Saints are replaced with famous movie actors. Another painting is about actors such as Bogard, Brando, Monroe, Dean, etc., all sitting at a diner. I don't know if you have a sense of humor but your mother must have known Frank T. Hopkins. Giovanni Iuliani.
    Reply: 03 October, 2005 - I just saw your post. I am researching on the life of Joseph Thunderface who died in Singapore in 1934. He was buried in the local cemetary (Bidadari) which was redeveloped last year. His was one of the many unclaimed graves. Do you have any pictures or background story to this young boxer who died so far away from home? Regards, sohkiak chang
    Reply: 03 October, 2005 - Syracuse (NY) Herald, September 22, 1934. Thunderface, Boxer, Dies of Ring Injury. Singapore. Sept. 22. Joseph Thunderface, American Indian boxer, died today after being knocked out in a prize fight by Frank Weber. Thunderface was the son of Chief Thunderface, who came to Singapore with a rodeo show. Chief Thunderface was an Indian performer in the entertainment world. Unsure from the above if Joseph or Chief Thunderface came to Singapore with a rodeo show. The Chief could be the M. J. Thunderface, who adopted a Joseph Thunderface befoe 1922? Chief Thunderface seemed to "adopt" a lot of people, lived to a very old age. Good luck in your search. J. Griffin

    Reply: 24 Feb 2009 - Chief Thunderface was the father of Kickboxer Thunderface who died in the ring in Singapore. I am the granddaughter of Chied Thunderface, my father is Blue Sky who was born in Burma and came with my grandparents during the late 1930/s after WWII broke out. Since my grandfather is from the US, he thought it was best to bring the family back home and settled in Los Angeles, CA, Jeanie

280. Flying Oaks, October 03, 2004 - Searching for any information on the Flying Oaks. This trapeze act was made up of 3 men, John Oaks, Woodrow Davis and Wilbur King. The family story is that the catcher failed to catch John Oaks and he fell to his death, sometime in the 30's or early 40's. We have an old poster of the Flying Oaks but it is badly damaged. Thank you. Cheryl, Respond to this message

    Reply: 30 Nov 2015 - My grandfather was Woodrow Davis of the Flying Oakes. Is there any other info on the last performance? ahutchinson

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279. Dicinoski/Decenoski, Australia, October 03, 2004 - Does anyone have any information on the Dicinoski or Decenoski circus performers in Australia - performing from 1873 to 1917? Respond to this message
    Reply: October 22, 2004 - The "Wonder of Wirth's" circus book by Australia's Jim Fogarty has a story about the Decenoski who were withs and the Ridge Circus. Pearl Dicinoski passed away at home on 14th Dec. 1999 at age 98. Robert Perry Australia.
    Reply: October 24, 2004 - There is a two page story on the Decenoski family in Jim Fogarty's book the Wonderful World of Wirths Circus Australia. Robert Perry.

278. Motorcycle rider, B&B, October 02, 2004 - I am looking for information on the motorcycle rider that rode the edge of the barrells in the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Any information you could provide would be very helpful. Respond to this message
    Reply: October 02, 2004 - You might want to give a name (stage or real) and/or a year or year range. J. Griffin
    Reply: October 23, 2004 - Billed as 'the Edge of the Barrel Devil' and working for various circuses from the early thirties until the middle fifties, approx. was Babe Fischer, born Herman A. Fischer in 1910. After that he turned to motorcycle fasttrack racing and other stuntwork. Nevertheless, he lived to be older than ninety, marrying for the second time in his late eighties. Natasha Gerson.

277. 1930 circus personnel, NYC, October 01, 2004 - Ledger Ephemera find which might be of use to someone? Staying at the Brandt Hotel and Boarding House, 325 W 42 Street, apt 548, New York on 18 sept 1930 were:

George King, 35, vaudeville performer,
Lois Brothers, 21, vaudeville performer
Leon Jesse, Vaudeville performer
Edward Graber, 24 Circus Laborer
John Muck, 40, Circus Laborer
Merlin Hinkle, Circus Clown
Thomas Murphree, 32, Circus Clown
Thomas Murphree, jr, 6

at apt 554
Jesse Keen from Missouri vaudeville performer
James Tubb Theatre Co manager

at apt 566
Charles, Helen and George Clark, Hippodrome Gymnasts

Natasha Gerson. Respond to this message

    Reply: October 02, 2004 - Vaudeville was still going strong in 1930 since talking pictures where a novelty. Circuits such as the Orpheum kept entertainers busy traveling throughout the country. The tented circus season was nearing the end in the month of September. However ledger ephemera for May would concern many circus performers starting the new RBBB season. Giovanni Iuliani.

276. Vivian, bareback rider, September 28, 2004 - Looking for photo of bareback rider named Vivian in the RBBB circus sometime between 1900 and 1945, Respond to this message

275. Andrews, Hagenbeck-Wallace, September 26, 2004 - Is there a list somewhere that gives the names of performers that were with The Hagenbeck and Wallace Circus? My great-grandparents were with the circus between the latter 1800s to the early 1900s. On one playbill it lists their names as the Aldeans a gymnast act. Their family name is Andrews, Joseph and Sarah Ann. They originated in England. How do I contact the Circus Friends of Great Britain? Thank you Respond to this message
    Reply: September 26, 2004 - Circus Friends Association of Great Britain,
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - The timing will not be earlier than 1907, when Hagenbeck-Wallace was created, nor later than 1938, the last year it toured. It's an American show, no presence in Great Britain at any time, unless someone used the title without permission. Fred Dahlinger.

274. Rudy Bros. poster, September 26, 2004 - I have a Rudy Bros. circus poster from San Diego, Balboa Stadium. The Stadium is no longer in existence. The dates on the poster are Sat., Sept. 28 and Sun., Sept. 29 and was sponsored by the San Diego Jaycees. Can anyone tell me what year the circus appeared in San Diego? I'm trying to date the poster. Thanks for any assistance anyone can provide. Rea Douglas, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 28, 2004 - The Rudy Bros. Circus was based out of South San Gabriel, Ca. Rudi Jacobi, the proprietor, ran the show from 1950 to 1976. Then it returns in operation from 1988 for another 6 years. In 1919, President Wilson delivered a speech at the Stadium in San Diego. The Stadium was re-named Balboa in 1920 and continued it's existence until 1998. Determining the year Rudy Bros. Circus played Balboa Stadium can be achieved by scrutinizing San Diego newspapers of 1957, 1963, 1974 and 1985. These are the years when September 28 falls on a Saturday. Giovanni Iuliani.

273. Circus 1950s, September 26, 2004 - My name is Nikki and I am researching what life was like growing up in the circus in the 1950's for a play that I am in. Any info. you may have would be very helpful. Nikki, Respond to this message

272. World's West Wonder Show, September 26, 2004 - I was wondering if you have any information or know where I can obtain circus memoribilia for World's West Wonder Show (Frank West). Thank you. Ursula Pendziwater, upendzi@comcastnet. Respond to this message
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - Frank West's outfit was a railroad carnival, fl. 1922-1940. It served as the basis for the later Dailey Bros. Circus. At one time he had some back end shows that had fronts made from Spellman's U. S. Motorized Circus truck tableau bodies. Albert Conover marketed a set of photos of the show years ago, but they're no longer available from him or elsewhere, except as a collection might become available. Basic data is in Joe McKennon's book, Pictorial History of the American Carnival. A few words and images about it are in the Circus Magazine, that consolidated circus/carnival publication of the late 1920s-early 1930s. The best source, though it would take time to peruse, are the weekly issues of Billboard. West died, age 80, at Norfolk, VA October 2, 1968. His widow and sister survived him. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: November 23, 2004 - Frank and Mary West were my grandparents, (tech. great uncle and aunt, they raised my father). I have very little memoribilia, a few pictures and some movies my dad took as a young boy. How did you become interested in my grandfathers circus? Tracy O'Brien Workman, VA,

271. Minnie Lee, September 26, 2004 - My family history is that my father's grandmother, Minnie Lee toured with the Barnum and Baily circus shortly after its inception. She was billed as the most beautiful woman on earth and there were apparently posters. Our family would appreciate any information. Respond to this message

270. Cole Bros, Indiana, September 26, 2004 - I am from Rochester, Indiana and am told that The Cole Bros. Circus with Clyde Beatty wintered there in the 1930's-1940's? Does anyone have information about their time in Rochester? Or guidance on where to look? Thanks. Jo Ann Nichols, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 11, 2004 - Hi Jo Ann--You might check out the resources at the Rochester Public Library, The Rochester Sentinel (newspaper) and also The Fulton County Museum. I'm currently searching for info on the Lambertis (Willi & Clara)- circus performers who used to live in the house I now own. Good luck, Sharon, Another Rochester, IN resident,
    Reply: October 13, 2004 - You might Google the Cole Bros Circus internet listing and search for "Fulton County Indiana." There you'll find excerpts from the Fulton County Handbook on the Clyde Beatty, Cole Bros Circus history when it was headquartered in Rochester, Indiana from 1935 to 1940. The history, consisting mostly of clippings from the Rochester News-Sentinal of that period, was prepared by Wendell C. and John Tombaugh. Wendell was identified as the performer who portrayed "Buffalo Bill" in the Cole Bros aftershow (a nice trick since Col. William "Buffalo Bill" Cody had died in 1917). I highly recommend this lengthy account to any Cole Bros. devotee. Even for circus historians who are well aware of the fate of this version of Cole Bros, the handbook excerpt reads like a nonfiction book. The site also has been updated as recently as 2000 with other trivia about performers. Lane Talburt,
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - There's Joe Bradbury's entire series about Cole in Rochester in Bandwagon in the 1960s, check the index. Joe also wrote one article about the quarters itself, and their use 1935-1940. Fred Dahlinger.

269. Barton Brothers Circus, September 22, 2004 - Barton Brothers Circus, Southeast PA circa 1900-1945. Any information, pictures, performers, etc. would be most appreciated. Respond to this message
    Reply: September 23, 2004 - Barton Brothers: Indoor Shrine-like circus consisting of some 30 people and menangerie. Manager in 1926 Frank L West. In 1925 they had elephant Rosie in the program, that was also shown in the Elk circus in NY year before. Advertising in the Bridgeport Telegram in April 25 with the caption of 'Riding into Barnum's town today!' Natasha Gerson.

    Reply: 04 Sep 2010 - Hello my father’s brother was Billy Barton the aerialist. Do you have information on him? They never knew each other. Thanks, Lorrie Hukkanen (Barton)

268. Felix Morales, Margaret Barton, September 22, 2004 - I am seeking any information on Felix Morales and/or Margaret Barton who I understand were high wire performers for Ringling Brothers during the years of 1920 and 1929. Any information about their performance/routine would be appreciated. Respond to this message
    Reply: September 23, 2004 - I don't know about 20-29 and Ringlings, others would know more about that? But the Felix Morales Troupe were listed in various winter Shrines and Elk Circuses, some charity shows etc. in the 20's. the Elks charity circus boasts their '25000$' production in the State Armory of Middletown NY in Nov 1924 with the Famous Felix Morales Troupe headlining in 'Daring sensational Slides for life', along with several performers that would in the circus season been have seen at RinglingsB&B that year. 1936-1941 sees the Felix Morales troupe advertised with the Polack Bros. Circus. Natasha Gerson.
    Reply: 22 March, 2005 - I did a google search on my grandfather and came up with your question. Are you still interested in Felix Morales? I can help some (he was never on the Ringling Show) or I could put you in touch with my Dad. He has a copy of all the shows Papa performed with. Anne McCollum,

    Reply: 15 May 2012 - Do you have any info on Margaret Barton? I'm looking for an Emma Margaret Barton, born Philly abt. 1858. She was a a 2nd great grandmother of mine and the story in the family is that she ran away from her husband to the theatre or similar after the birth of their only child, my great grandfather. Thanx! Babs Deacon

267. Circus, Grand Junction, IA, September 22, 2004 - I have a wooden box that has a partial name and circus design on the side. I can make out some of the letters. part of it reads "Grand Junction, Iowa. can anyone help me with the name of the circus. Ruby, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 26, 2004 - What a circus and a insurance company have in common is that they are both a printers best friend. They are the biggest purchasers of printed matter such as posters, heralds, leaflets, tickets and contracts. In other words they sell an intangible product. With insurance it's piece of mind. With the circus it's entertainment. Consequently, the only things tangible are the programs and souvenirs. There is no reason for a circus to carry a product in a wood crate that arbors it's logo. I remember a giant size cola soft drink bottle named JUMBO. Since the time P.T. Barnum brought the famous elephant over from the London Zoo it's name became designated anything that was out of normal proportion. Contless household products where named JUMBO and chances are that the Grand Junction, Iowa crate held a product of sorts with a circus theme. Back in the 1930's Wheaties-the Breakfast of Champions featured circus performers and animal trainers. Giovanni Iuliani.

266. Jane Devere, Bearded Lady, September 21, 2004 - I am looking for information on Jane Devere. She was a Bearded lady who exhibited with Sells Brothers Circus, Campbell Brothers Circus and the Yankee Robinson Show. I have basic biographic info but I'm looking for more. Kristin Redmon, Respond to this message
    Reply: 14 February, 2005 - I just read your message, and wondered if you might be able to help me. I am looking for information on Daintrie Edwin Trevo De Vere. Daintree is an area in Queensland, Australia, so he may have added that. I am inquiring for a fellow de Vere researcher, and she said she was always told, that he came from a Circus family. As I am unable to find a Birth for him here, I thought maybe he came from overseas. Thanking you for your time. Best Wishes, Roslyn Dunning, Australia,

265. Bosco Circus, September 20, 2004 - I am trying to find some information on Bosco Circus, it was owned in the early 1900's by my great grandfather in Montreal. All I know at this time is that he eventually sold all his rights to Barnum and Bailey and to this day they still have his original Carrosel in their circus. I would like to obtain some pictures if any when the circus was still called the Bosco Circus. Could you please let me know where I might obtain some of this memorabilia. Thanks, Diane, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 20, 2004 - Robert L. Parkinson, Directory of American Circuses 1793-200, Baraboo, WI: Circus World Museum, 2002, p. 60. C. H. Bosco's Show 1901-1903, C. H. Bosco, proprietor. J. Griffin.
    Reply: September 23, 2004 - Robert L. Parkinson reveals it's existence in the Directory of American Circuses 1793-2000 on p, 60. Mention of Poole & Boscoe's Circus on p. 59 includes a reference that it is a Canadian circus in USA. After searching Montreal English and French newspapers for the months of May through September, there was no mention of Poole & Boscoe's Circus or Bosco Circus. It would appear that C.H. Bosco did not play his home town in 1901, 1902 and 1903. However, Ms Diana, who's great grandfather owned the circus, mentions that he sold all his rights to Barnum & Bailey. Furthermore, that to this day BB still have his original carrosel(sic) in their circus. James Bailey was in Europe for 5 years and returned after the 1902 season. Just why he would purchase Bosco Circus, whose itinerary is almost impossible to track down, is questionable. Then there is the Carrousel. Can we imagine a circus with a Merry-Go-Round? Perhaps Bosco Circus played on a midway along with other attractions. However, a search of Joe McKennon's A Pictorial History of the American Carnival fails to mention a carnival under that name. Giovanni Iuliani.

    Reply: 24 January, 2006 - There was also a Circus Bosco in Europe, in Holland. Hereby an article in a local journey (in Dutch) The owner was one of my pedigrees met vriendelijke groeten. Jan Ophof

    Reply: 21 Oct 2007 - I can supply photos and information on Bosco Circus as I am the granddaughter of the original owner. You can reach me at

    Reply: 16 Feb 2016 - I am the great grand-daughter of Bosco the ringmaster and co proprietor of the Pool and Bosco circus which was an English circus that definitely toured Ireland in and around 1913. I think the Bosco circus must be a different beast. If you have any information on my ancestor's circus please say!

264. Joan Vivian Larue, flyer, September 20, 2004 - I am looking for pictures and info on a flyer named Joan Vivian Larue. Her married name was Eade. It would have been in the twenties and thirties. I understand that she held a record for one arm rotation at one time. Carolyn Eade Scheel, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 23, 2004 - In order to hold a record in the twenties or thirties for arm swing rotation she would have had to top Lillian Leitzl's hundred and forty right? I never heard of LL record's having been broken ever, and who would have done so would have surely earned much acclaim, so although I'm sorry I can't tell you anymore about Joan Larue I can only offer the info that this record can only be a myth. Natasha Gerson.

    Reply: 15 Dec 2007 - She was my mother and I have the documents from the year 1929. carolyn scheel,

263. Concessioner, butcher, September 19, 2004 - I have a question as to why a concessioner is called a butcher, at the circus. Is there a historic reason or story? Michelle, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 19, 2004 - Here's what Joe McKennon has to say about it in Circus Lingo - "Candy Butcher: Concession salesman who sells concession items on the circus seats before and during a performance. The story is that the first person to do this was the animal meat butcher on the Old John Robinson Show sometime before the Civil War. He was so successful, he was able to quit his job as meat butcher. When others started selling items on the seats they were called butchers also. When the new railroads allowed men to sell confections and newspapers on their trains they were also called butchers, 'news butchers.'" J. Griffin.
    Reply: September 19, 2004 - Joe McKennon's definition of "Candy Butcher" in Circus Lingo about a concession salesman who sells to the crowd is exact. The Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language defines "Candy Butcher" as selling confections and newspapers on trains. As for being attributed to a butcher hired between 1856 and 1860 on the John Robinson Circus, it is a matter of conjecture. Hawking merchandise such as candies, peanuts, drinks, etc., is like butchering meat. Cutting a carcass into pieces and putting it on a tray. We must consider that before the advent of pink lemonade and cotton candy they did sell sausages at the circus. The etymology for salesman in the 19th Century was "Drummer" which gave us the expression "To drum-up business." Appropriating a word to give it a different meaning is part of the American tradition in the use of slang. Giovanni Iuliani.

262. Anna Robinson, John Holtum, September 17, 2004 - Has anyone ever heard of an Anna Robinson (who had a legion of trained Pekinese) or a John Holtum also known as "the cannon ball king" (he was a strong man) the only program I have is from 1878 in Manchester England. Respond to this message
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - I saw your message on the Circus Historical Society's web site regarding your search for information on John Holtum, The Cannon King. I cannot say that I know much about him, but I thought you would like to know that I shall be featuring an engraving of him on my Footlight Notes web site ( for the week ending 16 April 2005, on the page devoted to minor players and variety acts. Best wishes, John Culme,
    Reply: 17 May, 2005 - I saw your message on the Circus Historical Society's web site regarding your search for information on John Holtum, The Cannon King. My brother has done some research on him since we are related in some way (I think). Please write me at I will be more than happy to give you more information. Paul
    Reply: 25 August, 2005 - Hi - found your email on the circus website. I'm sorry I don't know the people you are asking about but in your message you say you have a programme from 1878 at Manchester of a circus. Could you please look in the programme and tell me if there is a Jane Hanneford or an Alf Rossella in the programme. Thank you for your trouble. Joyce Jackson

    Reply: 17 May, 2006 - I was looking for information on John Holtum and came across your question. I am (I believe) a descendent of John (and related to Paul who also answered). Did you ever get the information? In a Danish newspaper article it said that Anne Robinson, a circus rider and John were married. If you have found anything else please let me know too. Thanks very much. Jessica Holtum-Schwier

    Reply: 30 Jan 2011 - Hello, My name is Erik Aberg and I am trying to find information about John Holtum. Any help would be very appreciated! Contact: erik (at)

261. Gidi's, September 17, 2004 - I am sure someone out there in 'circus land' can help with this query. I have a very sweet 6'' toy circus cart made of lithographed balsa wood carrying three little plaster circus folk and being pulled by two plastic horses. The cardboard stand says 'GIDI'S'. I presume this is the name of the circus and my query is does anyone know the origins of this circus and what dates they would have made toys like this? I am not asking for a valutation, just information. I have tried to research this name but have come up with nothing on the net. I would be very grateful if anyone can help. Thanks a lot. Phillipa Sillitoe, Liverpool, UK, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 19, 2004 - There is an abundance of circus toys dating back to the 19th Century. Many American toy manufacturers used steel and wood. The Gibbs Mfg. Co. made the No. 53 "Pony Circus" Wagon, an exceptionally attractive toy. Strongly constructed with wheels, sides, legs and all moving parts made of metal. length, 14 inches. Height, 7 inches. 50c RETAIL. This was the price listed in the 1910 catalogue. However, I consider the Schoenhut Company of Philadelphia who made the Humpty Dumpty Toy Circus as the greatest. Germany is also a major contributor to toys. A summary search did not reveal a manufacturer under the name Gidi. I suspect it is a assumed name just like the "Pony Circus" or "Humpty Dumpty". You must search through books such as American Antique Toys, A Connoisseur's Guide to Antique Toys. Another venue would be a reputable antique dealer familiar with antique toys. The two plastic horses you mention tend to indicate a more modern period. Discovering the initial use of nonmetallic compounds in the manufacture of toys would help in your research. Giovanni Iuliani.

    Reply: 26 November, 2006 - Hello, I found your question on the net while I was looking for info on a horse and cart I have Gidi's, it sounds similar to yours but mine has only one horse, did you manage to get any more info on your item if so can you please share it with me as have come to a dead end looking. Regards, Georgina

    Reply: 30 March, 2007 - Hello Phillipa, Like you I have a toy model labelled Gidi`s, and have been unable to find much about it! Mine is on a small shallow lithographed cardboard stand 6X3 in and is a plastic horse pulling a very decorated cart with driver. The horse is decorated too and has a plume of feathers decoration. Its in good condition as its had a plastic lid over it. I am a retired antique dealer and am getting old stock out for sale at our local Easter Fairn and thought it was time it went! Im across in the IOM! Sounds like the one that Georgiana e. mailed you about on the web.? Have you got any more info that would be useful to me? Hopefully soon, as its nearly Easter! Regards Pauline

260. Animal trainer, lions/tigers, September 17, 2004 - I'm a writer for Outside Magazine. I'm currently writing a nonfiction book that's not about the circus, but does include a (real life) character who studied for a few months with a Romanian animal trainer in Sarasota, Florida in 1979 or 1980. The trainer, a man, worked with lions and/or tigers. My character doesn't have the greatest recall - she can't remember the trainer's name. I'm wondering if anyone fluent in circus history might be able to suggest the name of a likely candidate? Thank you! Bruce Barcott, Outside Magazine, Seattle, Respond to this message
    Reply: October 04, 2004 - I read your request regarding the name of an animal trainer for your nonfiction story. I was thinking in doing the same, but I never wrote a book, and don't know even how to start!! I have loads of true stories about my uncle "Captain Ernest Engerer" the worlds only one arm lion trainer, in fact he had winter quarters down in Florida. He was killed by the cats in 1964, doing a small show in North Carolina. Last month the Circus museum sent me two old newspaper articles about him, one was dated 1939 and it told about him being clawed the the lions while working with the WPA circus, and the other article was from 1964 when the lions killed him. You can get get copies by contacting "White Tops", part of the musem operation. Myself I traveled with him in 1944 & 45, during school vacation time, I was 14 and 15 years old. So I also have a few stories to add, as I was billed as the youngest bareback stunt rider [ I doubt if that was true], as you know show business, somtimes exaggerates the truth!!! Also to add to the story his son Ernest Engerer was the youngest lion trainer in the world at that time ,THIS IS THE TRUTH, he is 84 years old now and lives on Long Island, NY. I am 75 now, got out of the show business at 16 years of age ended up being a Safety Engineer. Had a hell of a lot fun traveling with my Uncle in the Circus, [ every kids dream ] his son got drated in WW 11, came home and got a job with the Post Office for 45 years, and getting his ass bit by dogs delivering mail, a lot safer then fighting lions!!! So if I can help in any way, please contact me. Sincerely, Frederick O. Engerer,, Vista, Ca.
    Reply: October 24, 2004 - Perhaps you might mean the legendary trainer Dr. Josip Marcan. He had a couple male Lions and Tigers for years, then bred the white tigers and eventually stopped using the lions. His acts have been on the Ringling show, the Beatty show and Shrine dates for years now. He is a licensed veterinarian originally from Yugoslavia. He is alive and well living in The Florida panhandle. Bob Cline -

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259. Tarver Texas Giant, September 14, 2004 - I am trying to pinpoint a date when a circus traveled to Almonte, Ontario in Canada. It may have been the Ringling Brothers, probably between 1900-1940. None of the older locals can remember any circus in their time. Tried the local fairground which has had fairs since 1890's, but no luck. My other route is to go through the local papers archives, which could take a while (paper around since that time period also). My reason for the interest is a ring I found while metal detecting. It has engraved on it "J,G, Tarver Texas Giant" and is quite large, about 1 1/2 " in diameter. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Respond to this message
    Reply: September 14, 2004 - If you haven't done this, do a Google search for Tarver +"Texas Giant" (and variations) you will find some of the information you are seeking. A quick look indicates that the rings may have been widely distributed and the one you found may not have orginated from a circus visit to to Almonte. JG
    Reply: September 17, 2004 - John Robinson of Sideshow Central can help you in your quest. I remember Johann K. Peterson, the Icelandic Giant, who sold giant rings as a souvenir. There is a definitive record of the Tarver Texas Giant. Contact Sideshow Central (Preserving the Past, Promoting the Future of Sideshow) at or Giovanni Iuliani.
    Reply: October 07, 2004 - The presence of a giant ring does not mean that the circus came to town but most likely it was that the person who obtained it went to the circus. You need to know that no large circus is going to play Almonte (population 4,600 in 2000), so what was the population in 1920?. The normal routing that was followed was used by the 1920 Hagenbeck Wallace Show - they ran to Kingston, then Ottawa and then up to Montreal. At that time circuses would play Ottawa and run excursions, either by train of interurban to the outlying towns. It is a better bet that the person commuted to a larger circus in Ottawa and obtained the ring. By the way J.G. Tarver was listed as a giant in the 1922 Hagenbeck-Wallace Side Show, and he may have been there in 1920. Ted Bowman Route Collection, Detroit, Michigan.
    Reply: 31 May, 2005 - The circus that the Texas Giant appeared in was Cole Bros. Circus. They toured southern Ontario around 1930 and travelled across to Michigan. One of George Tarver's ring (Texas Giant) is what you have. Regards Jeannette

258. Polish circus, Hunt Bros circus, September 14, 2004 - My parents met in 1930 in a Polish Circus where they both were performing. The name started with a "K". The only polish circus that I could find with a K is Zirkus Kharkov. Any help - please! I'm looking for pictures, anything, Hunt Brothers Circus 1958. Thanks in advance. Alexander Hahnl, Londonderry, NH (Formerly of the "The Hanel troop with Jancy the midget" bar & iron jaw act), Respond to this message
    Reply: September 17, 2004 - I'm not sure, but a suggestion is it's possible you mean the OLD Cyrk Korona (1928-1936) Not to be confused with the present day Korona (which has nothing to do with it). Novotny & Niemeczka family, with a grand Polish circus tradition, owned the circus as one of the manifestations of 'Cyrk Harry', when after that it changed it name yet again, shortly as always due to debts and financial troubles, to 'Atlanty' this time, before coming to a respectable but grinding halt with the German invasion. In the present day its direct descendant (same family) would be Circus Zalewski. To be contacted at: Agencja Artystyczna Zalewski ul Anielewicza 25/89 01026 Warsaw Poland. (email unfortunately does not work). Natasha Gerson.
    Reply: September 23, 2004 - Isn't it only the circus where a more than 45 year old billing can make you grin? Polish, did you say, sir Hahnl? Quite. The Hanel Troope with their sensational horizontal bar act, with Hunt Bros Circus was advertised in the Salisbury times of 4/28/58 as 'from Africa'!!!! Natasha Gerson.
    Reply: October 11, 2004 - Krause or Krauss greater shows. If you think this might be it contact me at My family owned this circus.
    Reply: 26 July, 2005 - Ah, a Polish circus stating with a "K". I don't know of any. I do know of an Hungarian Circus that started with a "K". It traveled in Italy during the 1920's. I think the name was "Circus Karoly". It soon went to Switzerland and went bankrupt. Sincerely, Your "brother" Erny Karoly
    Reply: 27 November, 2005 - I do have some pictures of the Hunt Bros Circus that my Father took and I think it was in the 50's era. My father belonged to the Circus fans of America (Tent 41) in Hagerstown, MD. Sonny

    Reply: 04 Apr 2010 - I read with interest one of the replies to your question. My name is Ingrid Vass – nee Herrgott whose family owned the old Cyrk Korona. Seeing that my parents who were both performers are now dead I would like to find cousins and have contact with them. I would also like someone who knows anything about the Old Cyrk Korona to let me know as I know very little about the history of this well-known circus family. I believe the present Cyrk Korona has nothing to do with the Herrgott family in any way. My email address is:

    Reply: 08 Jul 2010 - Responding to SONNY, you wrote; "Reply: 27 November, 2005 - I do have some pictures of the Hunt Bros Circus that my Father took and I think it was in the 50's era. My father belonged to the Circus fans of America (Tent 41) in Hagerstown, MD. Sonny", But didn't give me a way to contact you, though almost 5 years have passed can you or anyone reading this tell me how to get in touch with you (SONNY)? Please contact me at

257. Roberts Bros. Circus, September 13, 2004 - I am trying to locate the Roberts Bros. Circus. The Earl family ran it but I have been unable to contact them. I have booked dates with them every 2-3 years but was unable to find them last Feb. Thanks, Joe, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 14, 2004 - Roberts Brother's folded three years ago after its owner died. With the Cole Bros. show out of the picture for the last few years, no other circus has taken it's place throughout New England, particularly in southern and central Maine. Imagine, summers in vast, well populated areas of New England with no circuses. BFL.
    Reply: 01 December, 2005 - I saw your query on, but I never can figure out how to send mail by Outlook. I recently visited a tourist attraction near where I live in Florida (Fort Myers), called The Shell Factory. It's a combination strip mall/amusement park/zoo. Parked just outside the petting zoo gate was an old circus car with Roberts Bros. Circus written on the side. I'm trying to find out something about the circus, and wonder if it's the same Roberts Bros. from New England that you speak of? Maybe they spent the off-season in Florida, as many troupes did? Dayna,
    Reply: 26 December, 2005 - Roberts Brothers Circus closed. Bob and Doris Earl, the owners, passed away, but Bobby and Teresa Earl are members of Showfolks of Sarasota and someone affiliated with that organization should be able to help you. I know the Earls live in Sarasota and are surely in the phone book. Hope this helps. Bunni

    Reply: 17 February, 2006 - I was with Roberts Brothers for 12 years as a member of the Earl family. They have indeed closed. Jeff & Leanne Earl and Bobby & Theresa Earl live in Sarasota, where the office was, the winter quarters were in Arcadia. I am not an expert, but I do know something about the show and the family. Shirley

256. Clowns - Llata, Marianis, Barios, September 13, 2004 - I'm interested in buying any VHS or DVD with either the performances of clowns Rudi Llata, Marianis or Barios. In case of availability, please let me have further information. Jorge, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Respond to this message

255. Clown costume, September 10, 2004 - My name is Chris Eldredge aka "dum-dum." I am a clown in North Alabama. I am going to be taking part in the broadway musical "Hello Dolly" put on by my school - Ars Nova School of the Arts - in Huntsville, Al. The show is placed in the late 1800's to early 1900's. Among other parts, my daughter and I will be filling in as extras during the Parade scene. I am having a hard time researching possible costume ideas of that era. Do you think you could possibly help me. The show is in November, but I need to have our costumes completed at least three weeks prior to the show. Can you help me please. Thanks, Chris Eldredge, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 12, 2004 - One of the most representative movie ever made about the circus at the dawn of the 20th century was Charlie Chaplin's The Circus (1928). Pricilla Mooseburger (, former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown, can supply you with the appropriate clown costumes. Giovanni Iuliani.

254. Antonio Giarratana, variety and circus, September 10, 2004 - Variety and circus artist Antonio Giarratana. The family of Antonio Giarratana, possibly German/ Sicilian, possibly emigrated to the United States somewhere between 1937 and 1942, from either Potsdam or Leipzig, Germany, might be interested in some papers in the files of an old (east) German variety theatre recently acquired. In the file are papers to the details of his Opel truck (on payment from a garage in Potsdam) regarding someone from the theatre driving into it and him claiming from the theatres insurance but also in a flaming correspondence with the theatre's direction over his refusal to join any kind of Third Reich organisation in order to secure employment,and his assurance therein that the only 'hails' from his mouth would be Hail Mary's! I would like to know what Antionio Giarratana actually did as a 1940 card refers to his seeking permission to make use of a 'Fernsehapparat', which can only translate as of a television, so I really wonder what it was! Natasha Gerson, Respond to this message

253. Austin Bros. Circus, September 08, 2004 - Do you have information on a circus by the name of The Austin Bros. Circus? They wintered in Colorado, & my parents were worked with them in the late 1920s & early 1930s. My parents are both deceased, & I don't personally know of anyone to get this information from. I would love to learn more about this circus. My father (E.W. "Sonney" Tice) was their wrestler & strongman under the name The Kansas Kid. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Donna Carnall, Respond to this message
    Reply: November 01, 2004 - There's an article about the Austin Bros. Circus of 1945 in Bandwagon. Fred Dahlinger.

252. Frank Evans, September 04, 2004 - Frank Evans Bailey circus. I am looking for information, photos posters on Frank Evans and his tightrope on a unicycle playing a violin act. Respond to this message

    Reply: 23 May 2010 - I might have a picture of him doing his act. Do you still want it? Gary.

251. Viennese circuses, September 04, 2004 - I've been searching the web for any information regarding Viennese circuses of the turn of the century. Can you point me to relevant sites or other sources of information? I was particularly interested in a fellow called Klutsky, who would have been an acrobat, and possibly a circus owner. Thank you, Andrea Pluhar, MA, Respond to this message
    Reply: September 10, 2004 - Again, a d and a t thing, but this one is easy. You mean Kludsky, not Klutsky. Originally Czech, caught up in Hungaro-Austrian circus and making Vienna (Wien) their base around 1885. Always closely related to Czech circus Humberto. And certainly circus owners! Founder was Antonín Kludský (1826-1895) who also started the zoo at Brno, CZ, as a winterquarters for circus animals which is still is today, Antonin followed by Karl Kludsky (17. 12. 1864 + 8. 8. 1927) and his son Karl Kludsky II (3. 7. 1891 + 29. 11. 1967), but there where/are loads more Kludsky's working in all circus disciplines. Current family a.o. Karl und Rudolf Kludsky. And David Kludsky (horses) and Karl Kludsky working here in Europe with his elephant still. Yvonne Kruse (née Kludsky) lives in Spain, I believe. A very famous European circus family and you should find an abundance of information on them online under their correct name, and you can always contact the Viennese main Library at where Gerda Barth should be able to help you further on the geneology of the Kludky's and Austrian/ Czech/ Hungarian circus families. Natasha Gerson,
    Reply: 11 May, 2005 - I have am very interested in the Circus Kludsky. Have been looking for someone with the same interest. I know they had a lot of elephants and were a pretty large circus at one time. Do you know where I could find more information on this circus? Thank you, J. A. Kucera

    Reply: 30 September, 2006 - I am interested in the story of Kludszky family. At summer I have started a picture story about the hungarian circus life and my camera found the Kludszky family as the most clear representatives of circus life. They work as acrobats in Hungary without real contacts with their origins in CZ or Austria (but in the home legends they are really proud of their forefather). I made a little article for The Budapest Sun, but I'm not ready with the whole story ( ArticleId={FD22A9D5AB2946DCA2122FE9468BE6F7}&From=News). My mail: Gergely Rónai, photographer

    Reply: 01 October, 2006 - 24 posters and photographs on Kludsky on kantoordeloor,

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