Circus Historical Society
Circus History Message & Discussion Board
Before you send your message, have you done a search for the information you are looking for? Use the search on this website and your favorite search engine. If you arrived here via a search engine, use "find" to locate the item.
This board is provided by the Circus Historical Society, Inc. for posting questions or conducting discussions regarding circus history. Please do not submit attachments or questions regarding the value of circus memorabilia.
When you click on Send or Respond to a Message above, your browser will attempt to send your question or comment using its email program. If you prefer to use a different email program to send your message, please address your question to firstname.lastname@example.org with Circus History Message in the subject line.
Circus History Message must be in the subject line of your email. You must include at least your given name. Your city and state would be appreciated. Your response should include the topic of the message you are replying to in the text of your email, as well as your name. Please read the Guidelines and Disclaimer before emailing your message or response. Your message or response will be posted within one week, unless otherwise indicated above. Read Guidelines and Disclaimer regarding genealogy questions.
Message Archive: Messages 301 - 350
350. Magazine article, RBBB, December 15, 2004 - As a boy in the late 40's or early 50's I was entranced by a magazine article about the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus. It was in a "Look" or "Colliers" magazine. It was about the trains used to carry the show from place to place and I remember across the top of the pages of the aticle it pictured the trains and what they carried. It also announced the development of the seat wagon where the seats folded out from the wagon that was used to carry props in. Over the years I have belonged to the Circus Model Builders and have tried to find this magazine. Any information will be appreciated. Bill Whiteman, Oregon, Gabi38@aol.com. Respond to this message
Reply: December 15, 2004 - One place to check is the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, which is usually available in many libraries. Try checking entries under circus in the late 1940s. RBBB seat wagons date to about 1947 or so. There was also an article about the RBBB train in Popular Science or
Mechanics. Included in it was an artist's sketch of the trains, if I remember correctly. Fred Dahlinger.
Reply: 05-Jan-05 - That article was in the May 1952 Popular Mechanics and it was reprinted in black and white in the March-April Little Circus Wagon. I am looking at my copy of that issue. If you e-mail me your name and mailing address, I will make a copy of the article and send it to you. It will be in black and white but it is still a great article. Frank Hutchinson, CMB 4690, email@example.com.
Reply: 06-Jan-05 - It was the March-April 1991 Little Circus Wagon that has the reprint of the Popular Mechanics article. The article depicts the Ringling edition that had the five pole big top with the menagerie in one end of the big
top. You may order a copy of the March-April 1991 Little Circus Wagon from the
Back Issues Department of the Little Circus Wagon. Send $1.50 for the
magazine plus $2.50 for postage and handling to Mike Butash, 640 Theodore
St., Scranton PA 18508-1741. The March-April issue is listed as being
available in the current Little Circus Wagon but you could e-mail Mike at
firstname.lastname@example.org to be sure. Incidentally, the title of the desired article is "Here Comes the Circus." The author is Clifford B. Hicks. Frank Hutchinson
Join CHS today! Membership Form
349. P. A. McGrath, train master, December 11, 2004 - Does anyone have information about P. A. McGrath, train master for Cole Bros. Circus and Ringling Bros. Circus. Thank you, Carl Kruger, NY, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: 15 Aug 2008 - I know of a P H McGrath who was a trainmaster in the Robbins Bros Circus in 1938. I think he later joined Ringlings with his wife Mabel Mcgrath. He is my relative, my father's uncle. marian macgrath, firstname.lastname@example.org
348. Circus of the Sun, December 10, 2004 - I'm up in the wilds of northern Ontario, Canada, but spent three wonderful, and at times tense, periods in Papua New Guinea in the early nineties. While there, I saw on an ABC program a movie/documentary on what I have since presumed to be the precursor to Cirque du Soleil. I believe the documentary was about "The Circus of the Sun," a group of improvisational and multi-talented individuals who pretty much had to multi-task to put on a mobile circus that toured Australia. It is the name of the group, which I may be in memory error of, that obviously causes me to believe that they might have conceptually begun what now is a world famous french canadian circus. Would you be so kind as to straighten me out in this regard? Thank you. Jim Murphy, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: 03-Jan-05 - While the Circus of the Sun (nay Cirque du Soleil) as taken legendary proportions we must look back to a time were the main purpose of a group
of street performers was to perpetuate their art.
Baie St-Paul (Quebec) is a small village that accommodated an annual event that gathered street performers. The organization that brought this mini festival together was known as Le Club des Talons Hauts de la Baie St-Paul. In 1984, the Celebration of the Discovery of Canada by Jacques-Cartier made it possible for the government to finance a project that saw the birth of Cirque du Soleil. However, because this new group was less then a year old it did not qualify for a grant. The problem was solved when Gilles St-Croix, a friend of Guy Laliberte, produced the circus under the name of the Club des Talons Hauts, Inc.
As for a group of multi-talented individuals creating a new circus-art concept it is a mythological interpretation of a circus that had the insight of finding very talented people. Director Franco Dragone, a Belgian of Italian source, was familiar with the "new wave" theatrical-circus in Europe. Importing the concept to our shore was an innovation to the eyes of the North-American public. Performers from Circus Roncalli also added prestige to a new circus who's talented performers were more of outer countries then that of Canada.
A first attempt of touring Australia fail to materialize after a $400,000 expenditure. Several years later they succeeded in penetrating the Australian and Asian market. A few years ago Cheval-Theatre innovated and failed. Gilles Ste-Croix, the man behind this new venture, lost a fortune along with a few millions from his friend Guy Laliberte. Meanwhile, Cavalia is a major show produced by Normand latourelle, who was General Manager of Cirque du Soleil. What is today a major international circus organization as benefited from over $20,000,000 in Government grants. A far cry from U.S. administration that fumbles and force the closure of the
Robert L. Parkinson Library and Research Center - the world's most important
depositary of circus documentation. Giovanni Iuliani
347. Captain Jack Armstrong, December 10, 2004 - I am a descendant of Willie Timmerman, known in the circus world as Captain Jack Armstrong. Captain Jack operated a traveling circus in India from the early 1930s into World War II. I would appreciate any information of this history you could forward me. Jerry Zimmerman, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: 15-Jan-05 - Hello. I am a desendent of Isaac Timmerman, Mable(St.James). William "Willie" as I always remember my mom calling him. She told me he was her favorate Uncle. I too am trying to find more information about his life (circus). My moms cousin Betty Hart ( Ivora Timmerman is her mom) just put together a book on the Timmerman family history. If you are family you'll know how to get ahold of her. If you find what your looking for, let me know. I just keep running into walls. Im about to call Betty myself. I have some info to go on, but more would be better. He was such a terrific person. Oh. ya. My grandmother was Lozetta Timmerman Harshman. email@example.com
Reply: 08 September, 2006 - I am the grandson of William Timmerman whose show name was Captain Jack Armstrong. I remember him well as when I was young. He passed away in 1974, His wife my Grandma just passed away this summer she was 96 years old. All four of their kids that also performed with them in India are still alive and doing well, in fact my Dad Ralph still dose some of his cycle acts today at the young age of 70. Currently they all reside in Washington state. Scott Timmerman
Reply: 05 Oct 2015 - I am interested in any information about Captain Jack Armstrong or William Timmerman. My mother was Margaret Patricia Armstrong, his first daughter who was born when he was travelling with the circus in India and Burma. She was born in August 1921 and died in 1989.
My mother used to keep in touch with her father but prior to his death in 1974 they lost touch. She also communicated with Maxine Timmerman prior to her own death.
As a family we have very little knowledge of the Timmerman family or my mothers ancestry. I have one circus poster which William send to her many years ago which shows the Timmerman family when they were travelling with the Kamala 3 Ring Circus. That is the only photos we have and it is so old it is hard to see the features. It would be really fantastic to understand our origins and piece together the family tree for future generations.
Next week my husband and I are visiting Myanmar where my mothers grandparents lived when she was young. When she was a child she was very ill and was taken to her grandparents as her parents where travelling with the circus. She remained with them and went to school in Rangon. I am going there to try and trace any information and to see where she once lived. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Gay Rankin
346. Nikolai Kobelkoff, December 04, 2004 - I am searching information about Nikolai Wassilievitch Kobelkoff (1851 Russia - 1933 Wien) and his sons. Kobelkoff was born without legs and arms (only stumps), though his parents and his numerous children were normal. This human trunk showed his skillfulness in his fairground stall and later added cinema to his exhibition ("American Show"). He worked a long time in France but visited a lot of country. I assume that some descendants live now in Wien and some of them work in the Prater. Could you help me. Any information would be invaluable for me. Best regards, Jean-Jacques Meusy, Cinema historian (CNRS), Paris, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: December 06, 2004 - I'm not sure what you mean by 'any' information being welcome as there is so much information widely found on 'the Human Trunk' also on the net. There is a Kobelkoff film, he's featured in plenty of books, the Stadtmuseum, etc. There are still several Kobelkoff and Pichler and Lang family members in Vienna, also in the Prater that you can call. What specific information would you want on Nikolai & family? Natasha Gerson.
Reply: 15 March, 2005 - I am searching information about Nikolai Wassilievitch Kobelkoff painting. Do you have informations ? Thank you! email@example.com
Reply: 02 April, 2006 - I found messages concerning Nicolai Kobelkoff. I belong to his familiy. If you are interested have a look at my website: www.praterdynastien.at. Best regards Silvia Lang
Reply: 16 August, 2006 - Bonjour, j'ai lu votre annonce sur google, je suie collectionneur du cinema primitif, de 1850 e1915,et dans ma collection j'ai le film en 35mm de KOBELKOFF de 1902, helas je nai que le positif, le négatif je l'ai cédé il y
as quelques temps,j'ai aussi 2 cartes postale ou il est représenté avec sa femme est 6 de ses enfants, le film set tres bien fait je le projecte avec un projecteur LUMIERE et le résultat est merveilleux. Salutations HENRI BORGE. firstname.lastname@example.org
345. Barnum Train Accident 1877, December 04, 2004 - Barnum Train Accident, Altoona, IA, 8/29/1877. Twenty people were killed in this circus train accident, including one of my relatives. Does anyone have any details about the event, or were train accidents only of local interest? I'm trying to find info through local IA sources also. Thanks for any help you can provide. Linda Nevin, Escondido, CA, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: December 07, 2004 - "Four Mile Train Wreck." Through the kindness of Wm. Boggs in Altoona, IA, I have found details about the accident (from "One Hundred Years of Altoona History.") It was caused by the washout of a stone railroad bridge over a creek during a particularly rainy week. In the night, the train came around a bend and fell into the river. "The locomotive landed hard against the western shore. On top of it piled the tender and the next car, a Barnum circus poster car, dropped squarely into the channel. The mail and express car passed directly over it grinding it to matches. Three passenger cars then plunged into the creek. The sleeping car did not go into the chasm because
there was not room for it."
Correction. I now have reason to believe this was not a Barnum-owned train accident. My relative was a bill poster employed by Barnum. From what I've since
read, the advertising posters would have been put up weeks ahead of the
circus's actual arrival, so he was probably on a regular Chicago Rock
Island & Pacific passenger train. There was at least one other Barnum bill
poster killed in the accident. They might have been putting up advertising
for a tour that was planned for the CRI&P route in September. Altoona is
near the Iowa State Fairgrounds. I'm sorry if I sent anyone on a wild-train chase. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reply: December 15, 2004 - Barnum "Advertising Coach": Anyone interested in seeing the railroad car that Barnum designed for his advance advertising crew - the car that was destroyed in the 1877 train wreck - it is shown on a web site maintained by the University of Texas. It is part of a study of Barnum the promoter and includes lgood graphics and information about his use of circus posters. www.ciadvertising.org - Enter BARNUM in the search-aid box
Look through the resulting 4 answers and click on the link labeled
"doing3" (I tried constructing a URL that would take you directly to the
page, but it was too long to work. This is easier.) - Linda Nevin, CA, email@example.com.
Reply: 21 March, 2005 - Dear Linda, A few weeks ago I just posted a question regarding this very accident. About 15 years ago my wife and I discovered the remains of a billboard pasted up by this traveling crew of 1877. After contacting Fred Dahlinger of Circus World Museum I was furnished with a Route Book compiled by Robert Good. This book shows the locations, the performers, the animals and the distances traveled each day from this summer of 1877. Most notable is a reference to the names of the individuals killed and wounded in the special advertising car near Des Moines, Iowa. This must be the
information you are looking for! I'm including a scan of this page plus a painted image of the car which my students and I reproduced on our train station. As an added bonus I'm also sending you an image of some of the poster it self. [Webmaster note: attachments cannot be included on this discussion board] I'm looking forward to a reply.
Sincerely, Dave Sheridan, firstname.lastname@example.org
344. Frederick Lucas, December 04, 2004 - Frederick Lucas, Lion Tamer died in Paris in 1869 aged 32 years. Does anyone know which circus he might have performed with please? He lived near the Champs Elysees, Paris with his wife and baby son. Another son was born just after his death. Rumour has it that he was eaten by a lion!! Any info would be most welcome. Thanks Jane Woodcock, Randjwivenhoe@aol.com. Respond to this message
Reply: December 04, 2004 - If someone died in Paris in 1869 living near the Champs d'Elysees the chances that he died due to some mishap to do with the onset of the Commune is far more credible than being eaten by a lion even if he was a lion tamer. Best known Circus in Paris in the years pre-1869 would be the Cirque Napoléon, which then transformed into the Cirque National (rumour has it that they could change political colour without actually changing the ring box initials), it's artists having blended into Franconi's (later Bouglione's) Cirque d'Hiver by 1873 (on the Champs). The Cirque Beaumont was a, then, smaller circus that would later become Cirque Medrano after the famous clown. Natasha Gerson.
343. Circus/side show 1934-35, December 03, 2004 - I am having trouble finding out the names of any circuses or side shows that were in the New England area in 1934/35, within a couple hours drive of MA any direction. Please let me know. Thank you, Shari, Danishpb@aol.com, Granddaughter of a Sword, glass and flame swallower. Respond to this message
Reply: December 04, 2004 - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is at least one circus that was in New England in 1934/35. In 1934 it played Manchester, N.H. June 22. In 1935, The Greatest Show On Earth returned to Manchester, N.H. June 28.
Portland, Me. June 29 and in Bangor, Me. July 1. In the State of Massachusetts, RBBB played in 1934 indoors (Boston Garden) Boston, May 1-5. Bew Bedford, June 19. Fall River, June 20. Worcester, June 21 and Springfield June 23. In 1935 Big Bertha returns to Boston, May 6-11. Fall River, June 26. Worcester, June 27. Lowell, July 3. Fitchburg, July 4. Springfield, July 5 and Pittsfield, July 6. Giovanni Iuliani.
Reply: 17 December, 2005 - My father's family owned a traveling carnival in New England during that time - "Old Man of the Mountain". It originated out of New Hampshire.
Unise Rosner, email@example.com
342. Worth Bros Circus, December 03, 2004 - I am looking for information regarding the Western Show of the Worth Brothers Circus around 1903 to 1908. I had a Great Grandfather who preformed with the show during this time traveling all the way to Australia. Fholderness@aol.com. Respond to this message
Reply: December 15, 2004 - I believe that the correct spelling is Wirth Bros., with an "i." There is some coverage in Mark St. Leon's general survey of Australian circuses and perhaps there's a book specifically about that circus. Mark, Fred Braid or another Australian circus historian should be consulted. Fred Dahlinger.
341. Pallenberg's Bears, November 30, 2004 - My name is Brian Hopgood and forty years ago I was associated with Pallenberg's Bears while they visited Australia and performed with Wirth's Circus for a couple of years. A close friendship was formed between myself and Emil & Hannah Pallenberg and their two children Billy & Kathy as we toured Australia. When their contract was completed the family returned to San Antonio in Texas and because of their international traveling schedule contact was lost. I would dearly love to contact either Emil, Hannah, Billy or Kathy and if anybody can help me it would be deeply appreciated. My own enquiries indicate that Emil & Hannah may be in the New Braunfels or Palacios area of San Antonio. firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: December 15, 2004 - Hey Brian, get in touch. Its good to see your alive and well. This is Clint aka Billy Woods, email@example.com.
Reply: 02 November, 2005 - This information is very dated, but Emil did some work as a Stagehand at the Majestic Theatre back in the 1980's. Perhaps the Union Local in San Antonio (IATSE Local #76) could help. I have been away from SA for twenty years and just moved back. Patrick Donnelly, Department of Drama, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX
Reply: 27 Apr 2008 - It is good to hear that you remember Emil and Hanna as friends. They were great teachers for me. But both have passed on to the circus in the sky, about six and eight years ago. Kathy and the grandchilderen are in the big house on the river in New Braunfels. Billy was in New Braunfels years ago, but I dont know now as Ive been out of the country now for more than 17 years. Rex Horton - The Horton Performing Wonder Bears. firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 31 May 2009 - My Dad and I lived a few houses down from the Pallenburgs and I remember as a young brat Kid causing all kids of problems for the Pallenbergs. Finally he hired me to help him clean under his mansion of a house on Lake Dunlap. I found a battery box looking thing with a big botton and when I pushed the botton a sirein went off, scared the bears, caused Emil to come running down the stairs screaming at me, then the same day I uncoved the bears motorcycle and waited till Emil and Hannah went to the beer joint(crear springs store) to visit their friends. I got the dang thing running but the steering was locked to turn, when they came home I was out riding it in circles having a grand ol time. I remember one of his children being attacked by one of the bears. I believe it may have been his daughter. I revisited that area about 5 yrs ago and seen the name on Pallenbergs mail box was still the same and wanted to go knock on the door but didn't. So sad to learn that they passed away. My name is David Jaeger.
340. Ward, Bell, Ward Circus, November 30, 2004 - I am trying to locate information on the Ward, Bell, Ward Circus. I have a sword that says presented to Albert Ward, March 22, 1920. On the other side it says Ward Bell Ward Under the White Top? Any information you could provide would be appreciated. BGUTIER965@bellsouth.net. Respond to this message
Reply: December 01, 2004 - The sword must say 'Under the White Tops' (plural) because that's what was the name of the skit Ward, Bell, Ward & Company (starring Adelaide M. Bell) described as 'circus- acrobatic dancers' were already bringing to the Keith circuit vaudeville stages in 1915, performing with a.o. Manola the Cuban Wire Wonder and jugglers Emerson and Baldwin, and, oddly (see message above) with Pallenberg's Bears. One write-up considered their show 'odd but meritorious' and another one 'a rattling good show'. The company seems to dissappear in the years following which might have to do with WWI (a good idea would be to look in the draft files for Albert Ward) appearing again as a trio, Ward, Bell, Ward without the Company, in 1919 for a Shrine Circus and subsequent. Also they performed at an Illinois 1919 charity show for the destitute. The sword you have might be a Lodge present for this kind of work? Interesting is that in 1949 a post-college group of flyers, coached by Charly P..enn?, named Ward Bell Flyers perform trapeze with Polack Bros. Shrine in Reno, also partly charitative, where it is mentioned some of the members' parents were vaudeville acrobats. Natasha Gerson.
Reply: 17 June, 2005 - My Father was the owner of the Ward-Bell Circus with Gus Bell. Albert Ward was my father's cousin, the son of my Great-uncle Elsie, the brother of Eddie Ward. He had some mental difficulties, and I believe he was institutionalized. My father passed away in 1988, but I will be happy to help you with any details I can. Robin Ward
Reply: 20 July, 2005 - Good evening. I just seen your post on this web page message board. I am trying to reach Robin Ward. I have come across some photos and would like for someone to id them for me. I know these are Ward Bell as I also have a program somewhere in my warehouse. Thanks for any info. Tim Campbell
Reply: 07 September, 2005 - I saw that someone named Tim Campbell is looking for me. I can be reached at: email@example.com. Thanks, Robin Ward
Reply: 15 April, 2006 - Hello I am the granddaughter of Adelaide M. Bell and I would like information regarding her and the wards because one of the Wards was also my gradfather and Adelaide's husband Albert and him were good friends, my grandfather was the strong man in the act and Adelaide was classified as a Dancer extrodenaire. Please let me hear from you with any information. Also before they teamed up she was a Zeigfield girl. Your reply would be appreciated. Sincerely June D. Tomlinson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 29 Aug 2007 - My Uncle was Gus Bell, of the Ward Bell Flyers. My Father was James McVay brother of Betty Bell, Gus's wife. I spent a lot of time with them when I was young man in Dallas. You may contact me @ this email. Maybe I can help. All my best, Jerry McVay, Jerrymcvay@aol.com
Join CHS today! Membership Form
339. Performers from South Africa, November 27, 2004 - An old friend of mine passed away. Victor Anderson was full of stories and a very interesting person. He was born in New Mexico in 1917 and later grew up in Oregon in the 30's. He was small person partly blind. He says that he became friends with a woman in the circus who was a fire dancer and when she got older worked the stands. She somehow joined the circus in South Africa and made her way to the US. When he first met her she was 60 years old and he was a nine year old boy. He knew her for 15 years and later he played the accordian and was a band leader for some circus himself for a while. Though it would be quite something to find out who this woman was, it would also just be interesting to find out about people coming from so far away to join the circus and travel to America especially a small women in 1926 who had been doing it for years before that. Any ideas where I could look for more information? Thank you, Cornelia Benavidez, CA, Ciraina@aol.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 28, 2004 - It's a wonderful question you ask because ideally, yes, it would be a wonderful thing if it could be established who she was, because there is not a (circus) performer who, in life, does not what to be remembered
afterwards, and indeed, should. But as a researcher I know that is alas, impossible. Really your question is the epitaph of Circus History Questions and I'll answer as a researcher first. If you don't have at least a first name, that was an actual first name and not a nickname, or a full stage name where you are sure of the spelling, or a very probable year and place of either birth or death, or at least a picture, with a performer that wasn't, with all respect a centre ring act, it's nigh impossible to trace the person. Second part of the answer is written from my ringmistress point of view: Circus performers from close by or some very distant remote spot on earth, each make one seemingly impossible thing possible. They touch a lot of lives. In every audience are different kind of children: There are children who gloriously glutton on all parts of the spectacle, enjoy, go home, and forget till next time. There are
children who don't see the point of all the nonsense and prefer to play with their shoelace or their watch. There is the child who looks about to see what he can steal. There is the child who will think: I might be able to do that, some day, starts practicing immediately and gives up in a week for something else but has been happily occupied in the meantime. There is the child that thinks the same and keeps it up, continue to practise until they find their own way of doing the trick, after which it's easy to learn a new one. And finally, there is the child that singles out one
performance, or one performer, that they catch in a moment which they never forget as long as they live. In lieu of one of the questions below: A six year old boy from Montana sees Lillian Leitzel in 1915 doing her flying multitude of planges, and grows up to testfly hundreds and hundreds of Cessna light aircraft in swivels and loops. Is there a connection? Psychology as yet does not reach that far, but a fact is, that at 96 he still remembers her performance and his wife is looking for a picture of Leitzel to put in a book of memories.
Why did a South African fire dancer go to the US? Why did the Czech juggler go to Brazil, the Maroccan tumbler to Norway and the American sharpshooter go to London? Because the rubes hadn't seen nothing like them there yet is always the simple answer. Even if you don't get your question answered in the sense of who she had been personally, it does tells one of the many stories of the importance of the circus as an ever-inspiring, pan-global, polycultural, international heritage, which only aim and goal is of perfecting the absurd for the purpose of who and however it might inspire. Of which, as is apparent in this day and age, there are not
338. Sarasota, Midget House, November 26, 2004 - I live in a house in Sarasota that people have always called a "Midget House," meaning that, according to local legend, it had been built for Ringling Bros. midgets. It is one of two similar Norman revival style "mini-mansions" that sit side-by-side on a street in the Ringling Museum area. I've tried to track down whether the ledgend is true or not with no luck. The house was built elsewhere. It was, apparently, moved to its present location in the mid-1930s.
Joe McKennon, a circus historian (now deceased), is said to have told the
Circus Museum curator that the Doll family (aka the Earls, aka the
Schneiders), a family of four midgets who performed with Ringling as well
as in films, once lived here. I have not been able to confirm this as
Sarasota does not keep records of buildings, only of the real estate under
them. So, once this house was moved, its official history was lost.
I did learn that the Schneiders had a house built a few miles from here at
about the same time this house would have been moved to its current
location. That makes it seem possible that they might once have lived
here (although there is no record of them having owned the house) before
they moved to the house they built on Bee Ridge Road.
I would greatly appreciate hearing if anyone has information on the
history of these homes. The last member of the Schneider family recently
died, so there is nobody left to ask. Thanks in advance. Anita Bartholomew, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 27, 2004 - Someone who has done painstaking research into the Doll-Earl-Schneider family and who knew the last little lady who also figured as one of the Munchkins in the orginal Wizard of Oz, as well as some of her friends, is Larry Given from Washington,and has created several online tributes to members of the families (see www.findagrave.com) He would surely be able to tell you more about the Midget House, and other details. I will mail
the poster his email address seperately. Natasha Gerson.
Reply: 11 June, 2005 - From what I recall, the Doll Family also had a home on South Osprey Avenue near Emmet Kelly, Senior, in the '50's. I grew up in Saphire Shores on North Shore Drive, two doors from the Ringling Museum in the '40's and wish I had known of "Little People" living in the area'. Alfredo Landon, (Landons Midgets)(Later years worked as a clown} had a home off Tuttle, near Ringling Blvd, which included an apartment made for "Little People." Also Nate Eagles,who employed "Little People" had a home on Houle Ave, off
Fruitville Road.Bunni Bartok (BunniB1@aol.com)
337. Siegrist Sisters, November 26, 2004 - I'm trying to find any information on The Siegrist Sisters from Barnum and Bailey circus. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Mary, Ladysunshine37@aol.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 26, 2004 - The Siegrist Sisters consisting of Ernestine and Lillian Siegrist, were a spin-off act of the Siegrist-Silbon troupe which existed for about thirty years at Ringlings. The Siegrist-Silbon troupe worked for Barnum and Baily's and later Ringlings B&B on and off between 1899 and the middle of the thirties, in one form or another. The sisters, though they actually might have been cousins, grew up in it. Charles Siegrist founded the troupe. He was born in Portland Oregon in 1879 and was found, as a waif, age 9 tumbling in the street by a travelling vaudeville acrobat. He started trapeze at 14 and joined Ringlings age 19. At Madison Square Garden on the 13th (!) of April 1931 he broke his neck and split open his head on the artist entrace when his foot caught in the netting attached to the trap rig rather than an own rig-wire as became the case after hat, apparently, and he fell behind the net. I wonder if this might have been the accident that Randi Seely posted about, witnessed by posters father (see message 123.) which was also in Madison Square Garden. Poster thought this was in the 1940s but the father might have been younger than poster realised, at the time - hence maybe the impact of seeing it? This as the details seem so congruent? Charles' son William (later: Billy Siegrist Flyers) took his place the next day. Another Siegrist was Aeleen Siegrist. How they were all connected I'm not sure. I think the Silbons were from England, one of them was Minnie born 1877. Natasha Gerson.
Reply: 27 February, 2005 - I'm the grandaughter of Charles Siegrist. My name is Donna Siegrist and my parents are Billy and Rosalie Siegrist. My mother is still living at age eighty-five, but my father passed away about six years ago. All of our family lives in St. Petersburg, FL now. My mother had three sisters, but they are all deceased now. My grandmother was Edith Siegrist and my step-grandmother was Helen Siegrist. My great aunt was in Barnum Bailey Circus also. Her name was Dorothy Davenport and then she married Case Griffis. My uncle was also in the circus. His name was Paul Griffey, but he passed away when he was only fifty-three. Edith, Dorothy and Paul were brother and sisters. My grandfather, Charles Lee Siegrist fell while performing the trapeze act in app. Donna Mudaro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 27 February, 2005 - My name is Donna Siegrist and I do have a picture of Lillian Leitzell (see message 335). Also, I have pictures of the Ringing Circus in 1925. My parents were the "Flying Siegrists", Billy and Rosalie Siegrists. My grandfather's name was Charles Lee Siegrist and my grandmother's name was Edith Siegrist. After a divorce, he married Helen Siegrist. I sure would like to know if she is alive. Charles Siegrist broke his neck approximatley 1940 and everyone said he would never do the act again, but within a year he was up in the air. He passed away in the early nineteen fifties at the age of seventy-five. My father, Billy Siegrist passed away about seven years ago at the age of eighty-four. If you get in touch with me, I can probably answer more questions. My mother, Rosalie Siegrist is still alive at eighty-five and doing great. Our family lives in St. Petersburg-Tampa Bay area in Florida. My great aunt's name was Dorothy Griffey and then she married Orin Davenport and divorced and married Case Griffis. Aunt Dorothy was also in the circus and rode bareback. Also she was with the Siegrist Sisters performing "Revolving Iron Jaw Act" swinging from her teeth. My grandparents were the "Siegrist Silbon Troupe." I have a large program of Siegrist Mammoth Indoor Circus, 1922 - 1923 season where they were called "The Great Charles Siegrist Troupe." My uncle on my father's side, Joe Patterson and his wife, Bebe and Paul Griffey were also in the circus. I have a lot of pictures. Thank you, Donna Mudaro (My married name), email@example.com
Reply: 24 May, 2006 - Toto Siegrist adopted Charles Lee Patterson from Roseburg, Oregon when he was just a boy. I have never heard of the "Siegrist Sisters." I am the daughter of Charles Siegrist's middle son, Joe, the older one being his namesake Charles Lee (Chuck), both being deceased now, whose mother was Marie, a French lady from Belgium. After Marie passed Gramps married Edith and Billy was born. Donna Siegrist Mudaro and I are the only ones left from the family as none of our children were in show business. I was on the Ringling show through the years of the fire, the poisoning in Washington and beyond with my parents. I was with Clyde Beatty from the train wreck in Sioux City, and all the leading Shrine Circuses in the country for Orrin Davenport. I retired in 1960 when my father passed. My mother Bebe Siegrist died in 1991 at age 82. Her family background were bareback riders the Costello/Wallet family originating from England. I was the 7th generation on her side. I Joanne Siegrist Day Hester, email JOANNEHESTERX@AOL.COM
Reply: 14 Nov 2007 - Are you related by any chance to the family of Alfred, Joseph and Jacob Siegrist who once lived in the Utica, and Buffalo NY areas? I had heard that some of the family had moved to Florida. There had been a Charles in the family but I know nothing about him. Ann Brunnett, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 01 Mar 2015 - I am researching Erma (Sewell) Griffey, who was a circus performer with her husband Paul Griffey (sister-in-law to Edyth Siegrist). I have attempted to contact Donna and others who have responded with information on these performers, however, the e-mail addresses are no longer valid. I would like to communicate with Donna, Joanne, or would appreciate anyone contacting me who might have their current e-mail addresses. Many thanks! Lori. email@example.com
336. Barnum & Bailey 1918, Sells Floto 1920, November 26, 2004 - My name is Mariano García and I'm in Spain. I sent a message last November 2 and I have had two answers. I would like you send this to Fred Dahlinger and Ted Bowman in response, or post this in Circus History Message, I don't know what is appropiate. I asked for information about Barnum and Bailey in 1918 and Sells Floto Circus in 1920, because I'm looking information about a spanish clown who worked in these circus, these years. I'll have the Bandwagon about Sells Floto and, for this circus and year, I'll only need photographs of the clown's troupe. But for Barnum and Bailey in 1918 I not only need photographs of clown's troupe, I need also information about the route in this year, because I'm trying to know in what citys worked. Until now I only know that Barnum and Bailey was in Oklahoma City (5 August), Enid (6 August), Arkansas (7 August), Wichita (8 August), Hutchinson (9 August) and Great Bend (10). Like I'm not familiar with circus travels and USA geography, this seems to me
very quickly (only one day for city and dismantle and mantle in a little
time to show in another city). And I think this year was special for
spanish influence and some circus closed the season in October for this
question. I would like know also if there is some article or study of
this. Best wishes, thanks, excuse the hassle and my poor english. Mariano, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: December 15, 2004 - By not providing the name of the clown it is not possible to find any specifics on the individual. The Billboard usually had a run down of the show's performers at the beginning of the season and you would also do better to look at the weekly column of circus notes. This publication has been microfilmed and may be available through a local library of
university. Starting in 1916 the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth began with the oriental pagent of Persia, or the Arabian Nights and advertised that the show was an all 'New Circus of all Nations'. In addition a complete
Chinese Circus from Pekin was presented. They advertised 50 clowns on the
show as the show had grown so big that they needed a small army of clowns
to replace the individual talking clown. In 1918 the oriental pagent of Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp was featured, and the only Chinese pagent ever presented by a circus. There were scores of new foreign acts and a complete Chinese Circus. The press material noted that the 60 clowns would hold a session before they put on their makeup and went into the performance. What they were doing is discussing possibilities of new features that would parody local happenings. Unless the suggestion was rich in harmless fun, the clowns would stick to their
regular routine. The show was also advertising an 'All New Circus of All
Nations', looks like they hired a Spanish clown to fill in the concept of
an 'All Nation' clown alley. No photos available at this time. I find no
evidence of a Spanish theme, the show was following their tradition of
hiring artists from around the world, and simply needed to add to the
Usually the newspapers did something other than running the boiler plate
that the show provided, (the typical press book that was made up in
advance and given to the local newspapers to select stories about the
circus from) such as a special feature, when the show was in town for
multiple dates. That year the show went from the east coast to the west
coast and almost back again doing one day stands and some multiple
dates. Your best chance to find something may be when it played New York
Mar. 25 to Apr. 20; Philadelphia Apr. 29 to May 4; Washington May 6-8;
Baltimore May 9-11; Boston May 27-June 1; Providence, R.I. - June 12-13;
Buffalo, NY - July 1; Chicago, Ill. - July 12-14; Seattle, Wash. - Aug
26-27; San Francisco, Calif - Sept 7-9; Los Angeles - Sept16-18; and the
last date was Nov. 4 at Memphis, Tenn. before the 1,317 mile run back to
winterquarters at Bridgeport, Conn. Ted Bowman Route Collection, Detroit,
335. Lillian Leitzell, November 25, 2004 - We are trying to locate a photo of Lillian Leitzell, trapeze artist, circa 1920. If not available, a photo of Ringling, Barnum & Bailey Circus circa 1915-1925 in Ringling, White Sulphur Springs, or area in Mt. Thanks! Sharon Brown, KS, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 27, 2004 - Have sent poster photo's and details. Natasha Gerson.
Reply: 08 Sep 2009 - My name is Donna Siegrist and I am the granddaughter of Charles Lee Siegrist who was a trapeze performer with Ringling brothers. I have a lot of circus pictures going back to the 1920's. I also have a picture of Lillian Leitzell. Please contact me and we can find some way for you to see it. My parents were Billy and Rosalie Siegrist of the Flying Siegrists. I live in the Tampa Bay area. Thank you and I hope you have a nice day. Donna Siegrist Mudaro
334. Hagenbeck-Wallace & Forepaugh-Sells, November 25, 2004 - I'd like to know when the Hagenbeck-Wallace and Forepaugh-Sells combined circus was active. I have a ruler with advertising for that circus which has samples of the various types of wood they used - I'm trying to date it. Thanks, Leon Wenzel, LeonWenzel@aol.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 26, 2004 - The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and the Forepaugh & Sells Bros. Circus never combined. For the 1935 season 4-Paw-Sells was tagged onto the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus to enhance the title.
333. Mr. Electrico, November 21, 2004 - I would like to learn whatever I can about a performer called Mr. Electrico, who had an inspirational influence on the novelist Ray Bradbury. He lived in Cairo, Illinois, and travelled in Illinois with the Dill Brothers Combined Shows in the early 1930s. Whatever you can tell me about Mr. Electrico or about the Dill Brothers would be much appreciated. Patrick Mullins, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: December 15, 2004 - I'm not familiar with a Dill Bros. title, perhaps you mean Sam B. Dill, who operated a motorized circus under his own name in the early 1930s? Fred Dahlinger.
Reply: December 17, 2004 - Mr. Dahlinger, thanks for your comment. I understand that the Sam B. Dill Circus changed its name in 1934 when Tom Mix bought a half interest, and changed its name again with Dill's death in 1935. I'm not sure, though, if there is any connection between the Sam B. Dill Circus and the outfit that Mr. Bradbury remembered as "The Dill Brothers Combined Shows." It's conceivable that Mr. Bradbury was simply mistaken, and that it was indeed the Sam B. Dill Circus he saw in Waukegan, Illinois, on Labor Day in 1934. In pursuit of this possibility, I would welcome any details on the Sam B. Dill Circus, such as its star performers, and whether it was active in northern Illinois in 1934. If you or anyone else can recommend a reference source about the Sam Dill Circus or prewar midwestern circuses, I would appreciate it. J. Patrick Mullins, University of Kentucky, email@example.com.
Reply: December 18, 2004 - The Sam B. Dill/Tom Mix Circus did not play Waukegan, Illinois on Labor Day in 1934. The Sam B. Dill Circus played Central and North Illinois in June 1932. They played Waukegan on June 18, 1932. The show did not play any Illinois dates in 1933. In 1934 the show played Dryersburg, Tenn April 24, then jumped to Paducah, Ky on April 25, which is as close as they came to Cairo, Illinois. Sounds like Mr. Electrico joined the side show. They went into Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, then June 6 to Joliet, Illinois, and Waukegan on June 9. Went into central Illinois, Indiana, and back to Michigan by June 26 in Grand Rapids. Came back to Illinois July 9 for Springfield another week in cental Illinois then Indiana, Ohio, W. Va, Tenn, N.C., Tenn., Arkansas,
Texas, Arizona, and California. No personnel are listed in the route sheets that were issued for 1932 and 1934. You should read the Billboard for the weeks of interest for information on the show. Ted Bowman Route Collection, Detroit, Michigan.
Reply: December 18, 2004 - Not sure if this item is of interest, but Electrico is mentioned. Nevada State Journal, December 23, 1931, p 4. The Professional Robot. When a man was arrested in New York recently and fined "for being a mechanical or sound-making device to entice passersby and obstruct traffic," the spotlight of publicity flashed for a moment upon a novel phase of life in this machine age. While engineers have created automata of steel and electrical control capable of performing various tasks which, for human beings, may also become mechanical, a small company of individuals has reversed the process. One of this number boasts that he can walk 140 times slower than the average man, and claims to have stood perfectly still for a "world's record" of two hours and forty-one minutes. He has offered $1,000 to anyone to anyone who could make him smile by telling jokes or making bright remarks. He has had his face tickled with a feather and never moved a muscle or batted an eyelash. Moreover, these mechanical men have specialized their unique profession. One of them makes up in character and stands in the lobby of a theater where spectacular motion pictures are being shown. A third is "an ace performer in the clothing store window line." Some of them, "at the top of the profession," are paid several hundred dollars a day for their performance. Their professional names proclaim their work. Among these actors of the advertising world are Great Mechano, successor to the original Great Mechano, Waxo, Lasso, No Name and Electrico. And what does all this prove? Simply once again that "Barnum was right!" When a man can make a living by imitating machines, the wonder of the age is not the machinery he simulates, nor his control of nerve and muscle, but the unchanging artlessness of mankind, from generation unto generationl Curiosity is still a compelling force; and how the "peepul" like to be fooled! - J. Griffin.
Reply: December 19, 2004 - My thanks to Messrs. Bowman and Griffin for their trouble in assisting me with my inquiry about Mr. Electrico and the Dill Brothers Combined Shows. I'm afraid that Bradbury's Mr. Electrico was not a "mechanical man" of the sort Mr. Griffin described. He was a sideshow performer/magician who did tricks with static electricity. I am deeply appreciative to Mr. Bowman for researching the route of the Sam Dill Circus for me. He has eliminated the possibility that this circus was the one Bradbury saw on Labor Day 1934. It was fascinating to learn from Mr. Bowman that the Sam Dill Circus did come to Bradbury's hometown in July of that year. There's a possibility that Bradbury got the date wrong or the names mixed up. When Bradbury wrote in the 70s about Mr. Electrico's inspirational influence on him, enough time had passed that he could not remember Mr. Electrico's real name. But he did recall that the performer's home was in Cairo, Illinois, that he was a defrocked Presbyterian minister who believed in reincarnation, and that he had fought in WWI. That's not a lot to go on, but I'll keep searching for the identity of the man who inspired "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and many other of Bradbury's books and stories. I'd like to find out who this man was and what became of him. Thanks so much for these leads, and I gratefully welcome whatever additional information anyone can share with me. Patrick Mullins, University of Kentucky, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm afraid that I made a careless mistake. Ray Bradbury recalled that the Dill Brothers Combined Shows performed in Waukegan, Illinios on Labor Day in 1932, not 1934, as I'd previously said. However, the post from the Ted Bowman Route Collection informed me that the Sam B. Dill Circus was not in or near Waukegan on Labor Day in 1932. So it still appears likely that Bradbury did not have the Sam Dill Circus in mind. Sorry for my error.
Reply: 31-Dec-04 - Since you have clearified the date you were looking for there was a circus in town over that Labor Day weekend. It was the Downie Bros. Circus operated by Charles Sparks. The 1932 show came out of Georgia, and then went up the east coast to New England. By late July they were in New Jersey, and in August to Maryland, Virginia, Penna, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan. The show played Sept. 1- Valparaiso, Ind, Sept. 2 -Evanston, Ill, Sept. 3 - Waukegan, Ill, Sept 4 - Sunday was off, (Do not know if the show moved or stayed in town, it was a long jump) & (You should read the local papers and check the CHS Bandwagon index for Downie Bros. Circus articles) Sept 5 - Dixon, Ill. I would suspect that it was a Monday Holiday as it is today so a show was there that weekend but not on the actual Holiday. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection, Detroit, Michigan
Reply: 04-Jan-05 - This is astonishing news! It was Ray Bradbury's recollection that he went to the Dill Brothers Combined Shows in Waukegan on Labor Day weekend in 1932, specifically, on a Saturday. And you've confirmed that the Downie Brothers Circus was in Waukegan on September 3, 1932: a Saturday! Bradbury recalled that, the day after he saw the Saturday performance, he spoke with the sideshow performers on their day off. This recollection fits your information that the circus had that Sunday off and probably remained in town.
Bradbury fans have been trying to identify for decades the circus that had such a huge impact on the writer's artistic imagination in general and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" in particular. Now you've found it for us. I will research the Downie Brothers Circus and Charles Sparks, and see if I can identify the particular peformer (Mr. Electrico) who so impressed the young Bradbury. If I do publish on this subject, the Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection will receive full credit for the discovery.
Thank you so much! And my thanks as well to the Circus Historical Association and its discussion board, for giving me access to such expert guidance. J. Patrick Mullins, History Department, University of Kentucky, email@example.com.
Reply: 13 May, 2005 - I am grateful to the staff of the Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection for revealing to me that the Downie Brothers Circus was in Waukegan, Illinois
on the same Labor Day Weekend that Ray Bradbury had his inspirational encounter with the performer Mister Electrico at the Dill Brothers Combined Shows. I had hoped that Mr. Bradbury had misremembered the name of the circus, confusing Downie Brothers with "Dill Brothers," a name that does not appear in any circus history scholarship I know of. My initial enthusiasm was sadly misplaced, as the Downie Brothers angle on this mystery has since proven to be a dead end. In his new biography of Ray Bradbury, journalist Sam Weller has argued persuasively that the presence of Downie Brothers (as well as the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus) in Waukegan that day was likely a strange coincidence. Mr. Weller found that Downie Brothers has no record of employing a Mister Electrico. And Bradbury's recollection of the Dill Brothers outfit as small and "seedy" certainly does not jibe with the lavish Downie Brothers Circus. Mr. Weller argues that the mysterious carnival Bradbury attended was most likely a small, unnamed circus at an American Legion Labor Day festival
noted in the local newspaper. Unfortunately, the trail runs cold there. It appears that the identity of Mister Electrico (the man who had such a big impact on Ray Bradbury's creative imagination) and the Dill Brothers Combined Shows (the circus that inspired "Something Wicked This Way Comes") will remain a mystery. J. Patrick Mullins, Ph.D., firstname.lastname@example.org
332. Philip Astley & Rickett's Ampitheatre, November 21, 2004 - I am currently studying the history of the circus, and am curious as to whether there existed an English cavalry man called Philip Astley who began fancy horse riding for audiences, and later introduced clown antics to his act, hence the birth of the modern day circus. And also, whether an English cousin of George Washington's, Ricketts, travelled to America and
introduced his circus knowledge to the nation, by setting up the Rickett's Ampitheatre, which later burnt to the ground, sending him back to England. On his journey he is reported to have endured storms and he and his ship were not seen again. Can you please verify if this information is true? Thanks, Katie Milton, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 21, 2004 - In answer to your quest about the origins of the circus I suggest you search towards U.K. publications in regard to it's originator, Philip Astley. John Bill Ricketts, a Scotsman and pupil of Charles Hughes who operated the Royal Circus in London (a rival of Philip Astley). Rickettts was the first person to bring the circus to the United States and Canada. I recommend you read ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN CIRCUS 1793-1829, by Stuart Thayer who's painful research over a decade records the actual evolution of the circus. Giovanni Iuliani.
Reply: 07 Jul 2009 - Do you have anything on John Bill Ricketts being an "English cousin" of George Washington? I cannot find a connection between the two families. Robert D. "Danny" Ricketts
331. James & Aileen West, November 21, 2004 - I was looking for any info on James and Aileen West. They were in the circus I believe for 10 or more years back in the 1920's? I never really talked to my grandmother about the circus but now I find it interesting. The circus she was in was one that is still around and came to the Virginia area 20 years ago (I drove her so she could see if any one was still with them). James and Aileen West they also had a son for the last 5 years named Melvin. Thanks, Sue Shimel, Shimsuwv2u@aol.com. Respond to this message
330. Sheesley's Shows, November 20, 2004 - Can you tell me anything about "Sheesley's Shows" "Sheesley's Mighty Midway". Pre-1918 preferably. Thank you, Hiram Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: December 15, 2004 - There's coverage of this midway in Joe McKennon's Pictorial History of the American Carnival, as well as in an issue of the now defunct Midway Journal Illustrated. Bob Goldsack, Nashua, NH, publisher of MJI, can likely sell an issue containing the article. Sheesley's ended up becoming Cetlin & Wilson. One could also scan weekly issues of Billboard and
Clipper for news about the operation. Fred Dahlinger.
Join CHS today! Membership Form
329. Harris Nickel Plate Show, November 20, 2004 - Would like information about W. H. Harris Nickel Plate Show. J. W. Robinson had the sideshow privilege in 1888, would like to know about him and his wife. J. W. Robinson had been a strongman and his wife was a bareback rider, later she had a bird show. She possibly want by the name, Mme Lazelle. Thank you, Rosalie Kimmerly, Michigan, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: December 04, 2004 - The first mention I could find of the WH Harris Nickel Plate show was in June 1884 in Bismarck, North Dakota. The strongman and his wife are mentioned in an announcement of this 'New and different Circus For the People' (the main aim seemed to be to provide a show at competing prices) as 'A male and female Samson pulling against the Elephant and Horses'. Mr. Harris is described as 'an honest and brainy gentleman'. The Elephant was 'umbrella-eared' Gypsy and the other act mentioned was 'Dora, the Fijee Island Cannibal, only one in America', and the 'den of savage lions and tigers'. The descriptions of this one-ring circus through the years are remiscent of Gary Jennings (fictional) descriptions of the post- Civil war Florians Floregium in Spangle, in fact, you wonder if he might have transferred some of his research finds on this mud show unto the 1860's or so Floregium: Hilarious reading. The quality of the circus varies wildly over the years, the reviews ranging from lyrical to absolutely disgusted, but the show existed for more than twenty years and travelled amazing distances. In 1899 they were late for their Newark performance due to an 'internal communication mishap' at Selina, Columbus. The Ford Wayne Sentinal of the same year describes what this might mean: How in Anderson, Indiana, on June 30th one of the performers demands his pay, and on not receiving it, goes to the Constabulary to have the elephant 'attached'. On which Mr. Harris says he has no choice but to leave it in the hands of Constable Bravy (what's in a name), but warns the good sheriff that the elephant is vicious towards strangers and he has many a time had to pacify it and dissuade it from stampeding villages. The Constable then does not want to keep the elephant into attachment and the circus proceeds without resolvement of the issue. A writeup from Perry, Iowa in 1901 scoffs the show under the caption 'Good Weather, poor Circus', saying the performers looked as if they had been in a heavy hailstorm while the weather was
good, the promised elephant and camels somehow being absent and the writer feeling sorry for the 'poor, scrawny children' performing perche: Halfway through the act, their apparatus came undone and they could save themselves only by clinging at the canvas. But there are many very enthusiastic reviews too, proclaiming the Nickle Plate show the 'best popular priced circus' on the road, with 'good, clean, oldfashioned' performances, a friendly atmosphere, a great parade with (by 1903) fifty horses, and Mr. H forever trying his best. Last mention of the circus in
the newspapers is 1908. Natasha Gerson.
328. Hagenbeck-Wallace, November 18, 2004 - I'm trying to find out if anyone knows where the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus was traveling during July 1925, and specifically was Clyde Beatty touring with them then? What states? Were they in Europe? If overseas, when did they return? Please reply to privately, if you wish. Thank you very much,
Loren Coleman, author, researcher. Respond to this message
Reply: November 20, 2004 - The 1925 Carl Hagenbeck Trained Wild Animals, Great Wallace Circus and Buffalo Bill's Wild West opened April 24 at Muncie, Indiana and did not leave the United States. By July 1 they were in Willimantic, Conn; July 6 - Westfield, Mass; July 8 - Brattleboro, Vermont; July 13 -Albany, New York; July 17 - Wellsboro, Pa.; July 23 - Ashtabula, Ohio, July 27 - Louisville, Ky., July 28 -Evensville, Ind.; July 31 -Decatur, Illinois. The 20 year old Clyde Beatty was not featured in the show's newspaper advertisements until the 1926 season. Ted Bowman Route Collection,
Reply: November 26, 2004 - Yes, Clyde Beatty was with Hagenbeck-Wallace in 1925. He and Peter Taylor both came over from the 1924 John Robinson show. Early in 1925 Beatty worked both the polar bear act and what he called a "preliminary" act consisting of several species such as leopards, pumas, lions, etc. while Taylor worked the show's featured lion and tiger act. In early July, Taylor was injured during a performance and soon left the show. Beatty took over his act and began the road to stardom. What might be considered Beatty's first big news story came that fall when he was attached by lion
Nero while playing Texarkana. Beatty remained with Hagenbeck-Wallace through the 1934 season, being borrowed a few times by Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey for New York and Boston dates. Clyde Beatty was born June 10, 1903, despite various other published dates. I feel certain of this as I corresponded with his mother on this point nearly fifty years ago. So Beatty would have celebrated his 22nd birthday during the 1925 season. Dave Price
327. Emile Josephine Tobler, November 18, 2004 - Emile Josephine Tobler was a bare back rider for Barnum and Bailey. around 1895 in NY. She was born in Switzerland and I am not sure when she joined the circus. Does anyone know of a way I can find out information about her time with the circus? firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
326. Horse Jim Key, November 17, 2004 - I am working on a documentary film for PBS regarding the horse Beautiful Jim Key that performed in the eastern USA between 1894 and 1907. Does anyone have any information or memorabilia on this performer? Best Regards, David Hoffman, Allinaday@aol.com, www.thehoffmancollection.com. Respond to this message
Reply: December 15, 2004 - The primal question would be if it was booked on a circus or primarily on the vaudeville stage or other such venues? Fred Dahlinger.
Reply: 31-Dec-04 - On Page 38 of Charles Bernard's Half Century Circus Reviews published in 1930 in the chapter on trained horses in the circus, it notes - One of Atlantic City's greatest attractions for a number of seasons, was "Jim
Key", exhibited without any added attractions. The intelligence, perfection of performance, in a lengthy programme, and ability to satisfactorily entertain any audience, were notable in "Jim Key" to an extent perhaps equal to any trained horse ever exhibited in Europe or America. End of story. John Polacsek
325. Chinese circus history, November 17, 2004 - Please, help me with information about Chinese circus history, traditions. I have to write the article for press about this. Waiting for your answer. Thanks in advance! Inga, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 17, 2004 - Major Philip Astley, the father of the modern circus, invented the concept of the circus in the 18th century. Insofar as I know (See answer to question 197) it was J. Sergei Sawchyn who promoted the Chinese Acrobats under The Great Circus of China in 1982. Yet, in 1981, a Chines troupe gave a similar performance in a Montreal theatre. In Peking, Chairman Mao and Premier Chou Enlai were given private performances of circus-related arts in 1950. In the people's Republic of China, it became a national
program just like in Russia 3 decades earlier. Over 80 organized troupes of acrobats began to form all over the land. Among the earliest of them was the group based in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province in Central China. This group was led by the eminent contortionist, Xai Jai Hua. Madame Xai, was an active leader of the so-called Great Circus of the People's Republic of China. The refusal of the United States to recognize China, the most populated country on earth (until the Nixon era) is responsible for the lack of information concerning Chinese Acrobats. The western influence brought modification in Chinese circus performances. With no tradition in clowns other then the intricate make-up of the Peking Opera, the routines are of Western influence but strangely enough shy away from Russian parody. Giovanni Iuliani.
324. Flying Lupinos, November 16, 2004 - I am trying to find out about a trapeze act around the time of Barnum, called the Flying Lupinos. These were my family of Pond brothers from england. I think that we need to keep this wonderful knowledge and entertainment alive. Thank you very much, kind regards, carol pond, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 17, 2004 - Flying Lupinos? Ponds? Lupino is certainly a big name, but...what is there connection between these Lupinos and to what England knows as The Lupinos, comedian-pantomimists? Now there's a wondrerful history indeed, but is it the Ponds? From 'Grace Beauty and Banjo's' by Michael Kilgareff:
Lupinos, The: This illustrious family ran like a silver thread through the tapestry of British performing arts for four hundred years. 'The Wreckers' was but one of many sketches worked in the Halls by 19th century representatives of the line, in the 20th century the Lupino heritage nurtured such comedian-pantomimists as Arthur (1864-1908) and Harry (1865-1925) with The Monkey and the Sailor and Barry (1882-1962) with One Good Turn (..) Their niece Ida (1918-1995) took the Lupino name to Hollywood where her sultry mouth and edgy personality were particularily suited to the films noirs of the 1940s. Now the Queen of Smoulder is dead and the line is played out, there are no Lupinos to be seen on our stages anymore and we are all the poorer for it.
Ida Lupino married a man named Hayward (not Pond) and he took her name. In
an interesting 1939 Variety article, Olympe Bradna explained there's nothing strange in that, that its a valued circus tradition that the more distinguished of families' name is used in case of marriage. For instance:
Fred Bradna, the B&B Ringlings equestrian director, took his wife Ella's
name (And Ella was a sister to Olympe Bradna's father Joseph, for those
who'd like to know). In the article both women stress that names like
Lupino and Bradna represent so much and are such an asset globally, they
would never give their names up (Although Olympe changed her mind later,
apparently, and comfortably settled down, and still is, as Mrs. Wilhoit)
In another, later interview, Ida Lupino talks about an act called the
Flying Lupino's indeed, not around 'the time of Barnum', but one she
participated in when she was four, so this must have been the early
twenties. Again, no Ponds: Ida Lupino tells Marjorie Tucker in 1949: 'The
Lupinos are a rugged lot', (she grinned). 'When I was four, I made my
debut with the Flying Lupinos in an aerial ballet, in which they were
catapulted out of stage traps, soared high in the sky and then disappeared
in other traps. I shot out of a trap in the arms of my cousin Luke, we
sailed 15 feet through the air and then dropped out of sight. I was
frightened, but I didn't cry. A Lupino never cries, not from fright. The
only thing I am afraid of is horses'. If the Ponds brothers were involved
with the Flying Lupino's in the twenties somehow, you really cannot say
the Flying Lupino's WERE the Ponds brothers. The Lupino's, its abundantly
clear, were the Lupino's. Other material traces the back, as ever Lupino,
to Bologna to, maybe not fourhundred years, but the early 1820's at least,
doing comedy dell arte and parterre. Mentioned cousin Luke's name was
officially Lake, this being his father's (Daniel Lake's) name, full name
Luciano Lupino Lake. Maybe you can find more information on the involvement of the Ponds www.thegalloper.com?
OTHER NAMES ( connected to) the Lupino's in GB and US: Ida's father's name was Stanley Lupino, but again, he had taken on his wife's name. His birth name was O'Shea. Several of his family members, also O'Shea performed with the Lupino's and one point or another. Wallace Lupino (born Edinburgh 1896) and his wife Rosy had a comic duo, in which they would play out acrobatic 'domestic tiffs' as Little Pipi and Mia and several others would at the time (1925s) and were the first Lupino's to enter Hollywood, before Ida. Rosy's maiden name was Barson. Natasha Gerson.
Reply: November 23, 2004 - Thank you for replying to my message. The only thing that is bothering me is that I know that 2 Pond brothers flew with The Flying Lupinos and took the stage name of Lupino, way back in the 19th century, the brothers fell out and one came back to England and took up his name of Pond while the other brother stayed in the circus. I dont know about being related to Ida Lupino the film star that's a mystery to me. Thank you for your time and endless patience. Carolg29@hotmail.com.
Reply: December 15, 2004 - Thank you so much for your info on The Flying Lupinos. But its a dead certainty that the Pond brothers became involved in a trapeze act. This history has been handed down through my family and I know its not a bogus imagination of my ancestors. One brother came home to England and the other took the stage name of Lupino. I'm just checking to see what circus they where with all those years ago in the 1800s. Thank
you so much for your invaluable help. Regards Carol, email@example.com.
Reply: 21 November, 2006 - Maybe I could help you trace your family Pond, on reading your comments I have the billboards from the 18th century of the old time music hall, at the moment my furniture etc. is in storage as I am having my house refurbished. The Bill boards as you can imagine are so old fashioned you need a magnifying glass to read majority of some of the bill boards, and with them being original you can imagine takes along time to read them, but am sure would find the name you are looking for, but will have to wait until I get them out of storage. I have looked at the photos of them, but the print far too small to read. But would you be so kind as to let me know what articles these clippings came from about Ida Lupino, sultry mouth and edgy personality, who wrote this article, did it appear in any newspapers at that time as I have not read this one and also that she was called Queen of Smoulder, what article did this come from. Many thanks. Regards G. Oliver. My e mail is brianandgilloliver@hotmailcom
323. Sells-Floto Animal Book, November 14, 2004 - I have a good condition Sells-Floto Circus "Animal-Book", #991, about 10" x 12", dated 1933. Author - Klara E. Knecht, Ed Dir., and illustrations by Diana Thorne. I understand that Klara Knecht was also associated with Hagenbeck Wallace Circus as well. Includes Charlie the Elephant, Zebras, Tiger, Mischa & Frea Brown Bears, Rex the Nubian Lion, Hippo, Leopard, Monkeys, Giraffe, Bison, and Polar Bear. If anyone is interested in seeing this artwork, I can take a digital photo and send it as an attachment. Regards, Stacey Stephens, WA, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: 18 March, 2007 - My great Aunt ( Elizabeth B Sells ) according to family legend once owned the Sells Floto circus along with her husband. It is said that Uncle Bill was mauled by a lion and later died from these injuries. Aunt Elizabeth took her share of the money from the sale of the circus to PT Barnum and invested it in diamonds, one for each finger which were stunning. She was also rumored to have run whiskey during the prohibition period. She then bought some bars in Dayton, Ohio before retiring. I met her once when I was about 12 years old. She was living in a mobile home in Venice Fl. The community was made up of old circus people. My grandma, her sister, passed away when I was small and my mother never spoke of her much. I would love to view these photos if you would be so kind as to share them with me. I have only recently been trying to find who she was and if these family stories are true. Best Regards, Faye
322. Sammy Johnson, Sword Swallower, November 14, 2004 - I am seeking photos or any information about Sword Swallower Sammy Johnson who may have performed with Circus Vargas around 1974-1975. Please reply to Dan@swordswallow.com, Thanks! Dan Meyer [also see message No. 166, www.circushistory.org/Query04c.htm] Respond to this message
321. Marks Shows, November 13, 2004 - I am looking for information on "Marks Shows, Inc." I have a 1939 Identification Card with the name of Art "Red" Ames from Erie, PA listed as one of the employees of Motordrome with the attraction of "Marks Shows". I also have two flyers from two different events. The first flyer listed Sunday, June 8th (year ????), maybe from Paris, Illinois, which lists Al Loeffel as the "big surprise, double Parachute Jump" and "is the only living driver to set in one of these cars when they crash"; refering to Head-On Auto Collision event. The second flyer is dated July 7 from ????ville, O (Ohio maybe), and lists ART RED AMES as America's foremost motorcycle clown in Fancy and Trick Motorcycle Riding Assisted by "Dolly May Fisher." Any information on the year of these flyers, the people mentioned above, or about "Marks Shows" would be greatly appreciated. Theresa Roman Warren, Michigan, RaggedyAnne2@comcast.net. Respond to this message
Reply: November 14, 2004 - Marks Shows Inc. was an outfit run by John H. Marks, agencing midway attractions. Attractions in 1939 included the Wall of Death Motordrome, the Beauty Revue 'March of Time', in which lookalikes of each other grew progressively older in no time, the Hollywood Monkey Circus, a black and white minstrel show called the Hot Chocolate Club, the 'Collision Revue' which your querie seems to belong to, a Law and Outlaw wildwest show, and the Shanghai Mystery, among others. Circus acts to be booked included Billy Siegrist Flyers and Captain Fred Delmar's Fighting Lions. Rides Marks Inc. had were several Ferris Wheels, an Octopus and up and down kiddie rides we would now call flugs.
As to Art 'Red' Ames (there was a baseball pitcher by the same name that died the end of the twenties) I didn't find anything apart from this following mysterious newspaper article in the Decatur Daily Review of 10-7-1929 which I think must refer to the same person The text:
HANNIBAL GIRL STILL MISSING- Escaped Friday from Custody, not with Ames. The police and sheriff's officers wre unable Sunday to locate Dorothy McClaren, of Hannibal, Mo, who Friday got away from Mrs. Smith of Toledo, O, into whose custody she had ben placed by the chief of police at Hannibal. The girl was though to have joined 'Red' Ames, trick rider with the outfit that exhibited at the Fair Grounds Sudnay. She had a letter to meet him at the postoffice in Mattoon Friday Evening. Mr. Ames was found, but said that the girl failed to met him and he did not know where she went.
Followup: I think your flyers might be from around the same time as above article. Red Ames and Al Loeffel appeared together at the Macon Country Fair together as part of the Flying Circus, which was making a summer tour. (The summer of 1929 by the way went into history as the most succesfull circus and variety season ever, the world over. I don't know why. The year afterwards half of the artists were unemployed) The writeup: "A flying circus will be the Sunday afternoon attraction at the Macon Country Fair grounds. The circus which is making an all summer tour, includes plenty of variety thrills mixed with fun in its program, which starts off at 2.30 o'clock. An airplane feature will be a parachute drop by Al Loeffel, an eastern boy who claims nine trips up in a plane but nary a descent in one. Every flight has ended in a parachute jump with Al, who also features in the motorcycle racres and in a head on collision between two autos touring at about 40 to 45 per hour. Loeffel remains in the car during the crash. Furnishing a further sensation will be two auto polo teams, the Illinois and Indiana State Champion teams. Among the vaudeville features will be 'the Three Comedy Kings', also 'Red' Ames, motorcycle trick rider, and Eddie and Betty Dorey, claim the world's championship as stilt walkers " Natasha Gerson.
Reply: November 14, 2004 - Thank you for the information and any more you can offer. It has been helpful, yet more intriguing. Theresa Roman Warren.
Reply: 09 Nov 2012 - Art "Red" Ames was my great uncle, I vividly remember my mother Arlowene Anna Ames Page telling me about him. I remember her telling me about his daredevil acts, one in particular, I'm not sure what the act was called but she said he would ride his motorcycle in a large spherical cage. I believe I can put you in touch with members of my family that know more about my great uncle, I will look into it further and send you the info as soon as I can. Robert L. Page
320. Latin America, Asia, Australia, November 13, 2004 - I am the only circus collector from Hungary (Europe). I have one great circusiana for changing. I am 41 and I collect since 34 years. I search correct change partners from USA. I am interrested also in materials from all America Latina. Can you circus historians, collectors from Latin America, Asia, Australia also? I have not intention "buisness" maken, ONLY change parners searching from USA, circus historians knowing from Latin America, while I search -for example- the history of Szabó-Donnert familys circuses. Best circuswishes: Tamás Dohi, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Join CHS today! Membership Form
319. Cageboy, groomer, November 11, 2004 - I am a literary translator currently working on the Norwegian version of Robert Hough?s novel "The Final Confession of Mabel Stark". In the book, Mr. Hough employs the job designations "cageboy" and "groomer", both related to the care, grooming etc, but not the training, of big circus cats. I am at a loss trying to distinguish between the nature of these two jobs and have indeed been wondering whether they are in fact the same thing, Can anyone help? Yours, Kyrre Haugen Bakke, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 12, 2004 - While a pet shop will groom your pet poodle with a brush and comb it is impossible to imagine the same thing when it comes to wild animals. A cageboy, among is many task, handles the cages by lining them up and controlling the doors that permit the animals to move from one cage to another until they reach the steel arena. As for moving the cages in-and-out of the tent (or arena) that is also the cageboy's task helped by the propmen crew. A word of caution: Robert Hough's "The Final Confession of Mabel Stark" defames the reputation of a person that really existed and contains many false things. Caged elephants and electric fences in the animal compound during the 1920's is just some of the startling revelation. Giovanni Iuliani.
318. Miniature Circus, November 11, 2004 - I have a miniature circus that was hand carved by my grandfather in the early 1900's. It is a full circus with an estimate of 62,000 pieces including 64 wagons, all the animals, tents, stands, and even the circus workers. It is all built on a one inch to a foot scale. The circus all goes up as a real circus would. We have been told that it would be valued at around $1,000,000 dollars if we were to sell it. We have struggled with the idea but we would love for it to be displayed somewhere and for my grandfather to get recognized for creating it. It truly is something to see. It was shown at circus town in New Hampshire until it closed and had been in storage until the storage business closed. We have gotten it out since then and it is still in wonderful condition. We don't have the funds nor the room to store it any longer and don't know where to begin. Do you have any suggestions on where to find someone who would be interested in something like this or would even know where it could be displayed? Laura_A_Dougherty@Wellmont.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 12, 2004 - I'd recommend contacting children's museums and other public institutions that have a mission that might provide for the presentation of a circus. The Eastern States Exposition, the major New England fair, already has a model presentation to some degree. The valuation that has been stated is several orders of magnitude beyond what has been paid in the marketplace for any model circus. Factors that weigh in heavily on a formal appraisal are: space required to erect; quality; prototype or freelance; folk art or exact scale modeling; and condition. Lacking a public presentation, continued private ownership or public sale are among the few choices. One might consider offering it via an advertisement in the Circus Model Builder's journal, The Little Circus Wagon. The organization likely has an Internet website. Fred Dahlinger.
Reply: November 12, 2004 - Your grandfathers miniature circus dates from the 1900's. The Circus Model Builders was started around 1938. This means all the information concerning his particular circus, such as measurements (i.e. wagons, equipment, train,etc.) was done without the benefit of members that could share such information. Then again, 62,000 pieces is a lot of items. maybe 15,000 of such items is for the crowd inside the big top. Then there is maybe 1500 performers and personnel. 800 animals. We are still far from reaching the numbers mentionned. Then again there is the one inch to a foot scale. That means that such a circus is huge and takes a tremendous amount of space. There is still to discover if this particular circus is a copy of a real known circus or a personal rendition. Also, is it a static circus or a mechanized one? I strongly suggest that you catalogue your grandfather's miniature circus and research it's history. Storage space alone can be very costly. Giovanni Iuliani.
Reply: 17 March, 2005 - I happened to stumble upon your note on the Circus Historian message board. For the past 15-years I've been trying to locate circus models with the intent to help preserve or at least document for future generations. I'm a child of the circus - having seen my first miniature circus diorama when only a child while watching Captain Kangaroo. It became so much of a hobby that I eventually left a career in broadcast management and went to work for Feld Entertainment - owners and producers of Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus (1979-86). I would like to learn more about the model you described in your message. Have you found a home for it to be properly maintained and displayed? Might you have some pictures? I am a former advance man for Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. and would be happy to call you to discuss my interest in greater detail. Sincerely, John Mulcahy
317. Lottie Grant, Oregon Giantress, November 09, 2004 - I am looking for information about Lottie Grant also went by Oregon Giantress, fat lady of the circus. She started traveling with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus when she was 14. She weighed 685 pounds. She also was with the Barrett circus in 1883. She was my husband's great great aunt. She married 3 times and had 4 children. Years ago I remember seeing a postcard of her. She died at the age of 45. Any help would be appreciated. Beverly Tiernan, IA, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 10, 2004 - The 1883 Route Book of S.H. Barrett & Company New United Monster Railroad Shows listed as a curiosity in the Museum - Fat Lady . . . Lottie Grant. Under the Personals Column on June 27 - Joplin, Mo., Lottie Grant joined show. The 1884 S. H. Barrett & Company New United Monster Railroad Shows Route Book noted that the Fat Lady was again Miss Lottie Grant. Under the Personals Column on June 11 -Centreville, Iowa, Frank Whitlock and wife (Miss Lottie Grant) closed. At Ottumwa, Iowa, June 28 - F. Whitlock and wife (Mrs. Lottie Grant) rejoined. Frank Whitlock was listed as one of the Museum Ticket Agents on the show. Ted Bowman Route collection, Detroit, Michigan
Reply: 23-Jan-05 - The New York Clipper (theatrical paper) January 17, 1885 - Adv. for F. W. Whitlock, Side Show Talker, and wife, Miss Lottie Grant, Fat-Woman, can be engaged for season 1885 with responsible managers. Address 1276 West Jefferson Street, Fort Wayne, Ind. Note - I doubt if she started on the RBBB show at age 14 because that combination did not start until 1919. The Ringling Bros. Circus started in 1884, and that year she was on the Barrett Show. John Polacsek
Reply: 13 January, 2006 - Lottie was my great grandmother, she died at Bativia, MI and is buried in Bativia cemetery near Coldwater, MI. she was listed as Lizzie Whitlock she died in 1899 at age of 49. She had 4 children, the oldest was my grandfather. C. Parker
Reply: 12 Feb 2008 - An article that appeared in the Seward [Nebraska] Reporter newspaper on August 9, 1883 tells of the wedding 'last Sunday' of Lottie Grant and Frank Whitlock at the Grand Central Hotel in Seward with all of the employees of the S H Barrett & Co Circus in attendance. The article, entitled 'A Circus Wedding' may be found online at the Nebraska State Historical Society www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/publicat/timeline/circus-wedding.htm. It would appear that the article combines the original news story with current research findings and was posted in August 2006.
Frank (Francis Marion) Whitlock, born in Meigs County, Ohio, was the son of Solomon/Salmon Whitlock and Matilda McClain and grandson of Hiram Higley Whitlock, my ancestor. Cheryl Wells Dahl
Reply: 07 Apr 2013 - I am a Decendent of Lottie Grant (Elizabeth Stice). Would you have any information on her and anyone attached to her, and or pics of any sort. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Karen
316. Poster, November 09, 2004 - I have a poster I am trying to date. "Felix and 99 other clowns" from Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey. The bottom right hand corner has a mark of 9-10 and 1933. Given that there is the 1933 date, I am assuming that this is a reprint? Please e-mail Jennifergbslc@aol.com. Respond to this message
315. Woodcock Collection, November 07, 2004 - I write seeking help in locating the "Woodcock Collection" which contains (or did contain) historic Sells-Floto Circus photos. I am researching for an article in the North Denver Tribune on the Sells-Floto winter quarters in North Denver from approximately 1910 through 1920. Bandwagon Magazine ran a series of in-depth articles on the history of that circus and in one of them, "Sells-Floto Circus 1911 to 1913," two photographs appear on page 6 that were taken at the winter quarters in North Denver. The photo credit says simply "Woodcock Collection." Unfortunately, the copy of the article which I found in the Western History Section of the Denver Public Library, does not include the date of the magazine's publication from which the article was clipped. It may have been in about 1976, plus or minus a couple of years. Hoping you can help, Keith Chamberlain, Colorado, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 12, 2004 - The Woodcock collection has largely been dispersed to a variety of collections, and some of these have now been dispersed again in the forty years since Col. Bill's passing. Col. Bill Woodcock kindly shared copy prints with many individuals in the course of his collecting and these might be found in other collections. If you specify and describe the
exact ones desired, people may be able to assist you.
You might also check Fowler's book "Timberline" for background information. One or more of Courtney Ryley Cooper's books also includes vintage Sells-Floto images. The Bandwagon issue date is July-August 1975. The two photos in question are a bull pushing the "Queen's" cage and the other is the line-up of parade wagons in the open shed surrounding the practice ring. The statues from the "Queen's" cage, as well as the "wrestler" are at Circus World Museum, along with a small mammal cage. The tableau wagon with the large carved elephant on the side, new to the circus about 1906, is at the Circus Museum, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The center panel from another SF cage is at the Miami County Courthouse Museum, Peru, IN, as are two small center statues from another cage. The show's Pneumatic air calliope is in a private collection. The steam calliope built by show craftsmen just before they left Denver, bearing the nickname "Two Jesters," is also at the Ringling Museum. Fred Dahlinger.
314. Rosa Lee Plemons, living skeleton, November 05, 2004 - I am trying to find out what circuses were touring in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma between 1880-1930. I am looking for information on a sideshow act of the Rosa Lee Plemons, the living skeleton. At age 18 she weighed 27 pounds. I am trying to find which circus she was involved with. Family stories have it that she was taken with a circus, and then brought home for a short time, and then traveled again with the circus, possibly going out of the country. We are trying to find where she might have died. We are doing an article about her in our family newsletter for March of 2005. Any help that you might can give me would be appreciated. Helen Parker, Texas, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: 29 December, 2005 - I have some information concerning Rosa Lee Plemons relatives. Eldon J. Edgin, Dallas, Texas, email@example.com
313. Brownie Bros., November 05, 2004 - I am curious about the "Brownie Bros." I have an old piece of newspaper that I found in a very old bottle. It was used as a cork. It advertised "The largest three ring circus in the world giving parade" 25 cents/50 cents, admission including circus and menagerie. Shows were at 2 and 8 pm. doors open at 1 and 7 pm. firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 13, 2004 - I wonder if you mean Downie Bros. which was the first successful truck-conveyed circus. It was organized in 1926 by Andrew Downie McPhee, and sold to Charlie Sparks in 1930. Fred Pfening III
312. Sells-Floto Wichita, November 02, 2004 - I work in a historic part of Wichita Kansas. I recently received an old photograph of our office building which shows a billboard for the Sells & Floto circus. How can I find out when this circus was in Wichita? Thanks. Steve Hauck, WDM Architects, www.wdmdesign.com, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 05, 2004 - Starting with the Sells-Floto Show's first season in 1906 the show played Wichita a number or times until the title went off the road in 1932. Most poster stands usually have a date that is on the bottom of the posters, and knowing this would help. Other wise in 1906 the show played there on September 3 and the last time they played Wichita was on August 3, 1929. There are a number of dates between these two years, and if you come up with a date from the poster it would narrow the field. Ted Bowman Route collection, Detroit, Michigan.
311. Barnum and Bailey, 1918; Sells Floto, 1920, November 02, 2004 - I'm looking for any kind of information (route books, clippings, photographs) about Barnum and Bailey circus in 1918 and Sells Floto in 1920. Any kind of help (references, bibliography, contacts) would be appreciated. Mariano García, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 08, 2004 - If you would narrow the field of your inquiry it may help. There is a printed 1918 Route Sheet for the Barnum & Bailey Circus, but there are no data on the sheet other than the place and date of the performance. As for the 1920 Sells-Floto Circus there are no printed route sheets or route books available. There is a typed route for the show beginning April 3 at the Chicago Coliseum and ending Oct. 17 in East St. Louis, Illinois. This route was printed in the July 1978 issue of the Bandwagon. Ted Bowman Route Collection, Detroit, Michigan
Reply: November 12, 2004 - A check of the Bandwagon article index will reveal a story by Gordon Carver about the 1920 Sells-Floto tour. If you're seeking information about the activities of a particular person, supplying the relevant name (or act name) will be a quicker way to obtain information. Fred Dahlinger.
310. Hamid Morton Circus, October 30, 2004 - I am trying to track down information on two circus performers with the Hamid Morton Circus in the late 1950s or early 1960s. One was Shirley Peterson who did a trapeze act suspended from a helicopter. She lived at our home quite often and was killed in an auto accident when I think she was 28 years old. The other I believe was Evelyn Curry who was a woman lion tamer. Frank L. Rice, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Join CHS today! Membership Form
309. Harmston's circus, October 30, 2004 - I would like to know more about 'Harmston's circus' touring the far east, could you please give me some suggestions? Thanks. Wilas Nirunsuksiri, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 07, 2004 - Harmston's Circus toured the Far East in the 1930s from Britain. The tour included visits to Singapore, Indonesia (Java), Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Malaysia. The show travelled by train with elephants taking the prop wagons and animal dens to the ground. 'Circus Transport photographs vol 2' by the Circus Friends of Great Britain Assn. (Aardvark publishing email@example.com, ISBN 1872904211 shows some nice photo's of the transport of Harmston's transport from the private album of Lydia Gridneff (née Herman). The Herman - Harmston's story is told in King Pole no 134. Natasha Gerson.
Reply: November 17, 2004 - HARMSTON, William Bailey. Equestrian, later circus proprietor. Born 1844, in Nottingham. Brother to three sisters, circus performers, including Elizabeth 'Lizzie Pastor' murdered by Frederick Storey in 1891. Noted with Samwell's circus, in Scotland June 1864. Married to Amelia (born 1845, in Shrewsbury). Billy Harmston was a clown at George Pinder's circus, Gt. Yarmouth, in 1872-73. Noted, in partnership with George Stoodley, between about 1876 and 1880. 'Stoodley and Harmston's Continenetal Circus', was at North Nelson Road, Great Yarmouth, July to October 1876. Harmston's New
Circus was at Warrington, in April 1881, with Miss Emillie (Amelia Harmston?) and Pepino G. (George?) Harmston. W.B. Harmston's Circus was at South Shields, in 1884, and at Leamington, in 1886. At some stage he became bankrupt and performed in the circuses of others. With Chiarini's circus, India, in 1887. Left Chiarini after two years and set up again on his own account. Harmston's circus was in Australia in 1890-91. Died, in Singapore, in 1893. His widow continued to run the circus, with the manager Robert Love, who she married, but she died in Calcutta, in 1912. Father of George (born 1866, in Nottingham), and William (born 1886) who ran the circus until about 1936. Natasha Gerson.
Reply: 01 Aug 2007 - Hi replying for the first time on message board, I am very interested in finding out more information on the Harmston Circus. My nanas grandfather was William Batty Harmston born 1844, we have family programmes of where and when they preformed. I would like to also correspond to Natasha Gerson. What was your connection with the family circus? I have gathered an itinary of there travels but I am sure there is more out there. We have photos of Jane Harmston Love in Japan. Thank you, Kathryn Besley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 05 Oct 2007 - I have a programme of Harmston’s circus during their stay in Burma and would gladly send a copy of it to the person who has requested any information about Harmston’s. My mother known as “Kiddie” although the name varies in letters/posters etc., was actually a Marjorie and partnered Ossie Delroy in one of the best cycle acts of that time – another person who joined in the act periodically was a Charles Franks, who among other things trained animals, had a dog act and formed part of the Clown’s act. Please acknowledge this. When my mother and I visited Singapore we called on the Palomars and met Mrs Palomar, her daughter Jessie and Moogie the youngest who had a hairdressing salon in Raffles Hotel. My mother always looked upon her days with Harmston’s as the best days of her life and I would love to find someone who remembers her and can tell me a little more about that magical circus time memories of which are growing dimmer for me now as I am 79. Any assistance would be gratefully received. Marjorie Woutersz (pet name Babs), email@example.com
Reply: 06 Oct 2007 - In response to a request for information on Harmston's circus I am emailing you to say that my mother who was known as "Kiddie" and nicknamed this by Mrs Harmston because she was extremely young when she ran away to join the circus in Ceylon and travelled with them throughout the Far East, formed part of a cycle act with Ozzie Delroy in what I am told was one of the best trick cycling acts of that period. Another person who joined in the act was a Charles Franks who was responsible for my mother joining Harmstons. He did various jobs in the circus among which was assisting with all the animals and training them as well.
If you are interested in seeing the programme I will send a copy because naturally I would not want to part with the original, it is one of my treasured possessions! Incidentally the programme was taken during their stay in Burma. Two acts that come to mind are the Palomars and Mr and Mrs Moscovitch (I am not quite certain of the latter). Mrs Harmston died of what I seem to remember being told was TB and my mother decided to leave the circus after that.
I wonder if anyone can throw any light on Captain George Edwards and Merle - they were both American and owned the American Variety Show - she and her did a sharp shooting act in which my mother also assised.
Going back to Harmston's please let me know if there is anyone who can send photographs of the Circus itself - I have one photograph of the German Shepherdess act in which Jessica Palomar appears with my mother. My mother and I visited Singapore in 1948 and we met up with the Palomars who were living there at the time but I think they eventually went to Australia. Their youngest daughter had her own hairdressing salon in Raffles Hotel. They had been prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation and I can remember them telling us tales of the concerts they were obliged to put on in the internment camp they were in.
My mother always looked upon her days with Harmston's as being one of the happiest times of her life and I would love to find someone who remembers and can tell me a little more about that magical time in her life and the few memories she left with me. I am now 79 and the memories are growing dimmer! I look forward to hearing from anyone who will take the time and trouble to put me in touch with my mother's past. Marjorie Woutersz (pet name Babs
my Mothers name - Marjorie Seale - she might have taken on a surname different to Seale because she ran away to join the circus)
308. Sparks circus, October 30, 2004 - I have a miniture hand built replica of the Sparks circus. Looks like it was made starting in the late 1920s through the 30s and early fourties judging by the old cars, trucks, animals, etc. Included are dozens of circus floats, tents, cars, animals, railroad cars etc. There are two huge trunks full of old Sparks circus mementos. There are nine tents, seven train box cars, and hundreds of peices to this circus including many Desney items on old circus floats. Does anyone know anything about this collection? I am trying to find information as to who built this. Thank you, Larry Morrow, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 01, 2004 - Several years ago there was a HO gage Sparks Circus train set available along with many so-called miniature circus wagons. It is important to identify the scale of the model circus and also the material used. Metal and plastic pieces will indicate a manufactured process and not a hand built circus model. If the Sparks Circus model was build from scratch, the scale would be at less 1/4". Without pictures we can only guess. The most important indication that we are dealing with a Circus Model Builder member is that he was familiar with the inventory of what constituted the Sparks Circus. Furthermore, the two huge trunks full of old Sparks circus mementos would make a most welcome addition to any circus historian. How you came about this treasure is a mystery that begs to be revealed. The collection, as you mention, can be an eclectic accumulation of Sparks circus covering a span dating 1889 to 1947. The Disney material on old circus floats indicate that maybe the person behind the two trunks was
doing research for the movie studio. However, TOBY TYLER and CIRCUS BOY
where stories about a mud show while your collection concerns a later date
railroad travelling circus. Giovanni Iuliani.
307. Walter L. Main circus wreck, October 29, 2004 - Looking for info on Walter L. Main circus wreck of 1893. Have a tintype of young boy in Uncle Sam type costume. Believe several people killed in wreck and young boy left orphaned. Might be my grandfather. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Mary, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: October 30, 2004 - Walter L Main had an accident on May 31st 1893. The accident occured with the circus train going downhill in a bend, about a mile from a village called Vail, near Tyrone, PA at a spot called Mc. Canns crossing. The circus had showed in Altoona, then in Houtzdale, a mining town of Clearfield Country, and was on its way to Lewiston. Six people and some twenty animals, mostly horses, were killed instantly, about 15 were wounded, two so that they died later. Among the dead were William Haverly, a break man, up front whose head was crushed. Several big cats got away, a tiger was later shot by a farmer when he attacked a cow being milked. First Aid came from Ward House, Tyrone, from which the survivors were later fed and blanketed. Interesting: 'Frank Train' the warden on the train declared that he had been wanting to quit from Altoona onwards over a premonition that there was some kind of 'hoodoo' amongst the circus company, and that 'evil and death' would prevail until the Jonah was bannished. However, in the inquest that was held in Altoona on June 6. The coroner was satisfied that common air brake failure had been the cause of
the accident. Another article says that all the dead where helpers from the circus but one (the break man) whether that means all the dead were from the circus or that all the dead were roustabouts not performers I don't know. But maybe the inquest reports are still to be found in Altoona? Public libary there? Natasha Gerson.
Reply: November 05, 2004 - Hi Mary, I too am searching for info, amazing that I found you here. Could you scan and send me a pic of that tintype you have? Dale in Pa., firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reply: 10 March, 2005 - My sister-in-law, Susie O'Brien, is probably "the world's authority" on the Walter L. Main wreck, as my husband's family farmland is at McCann's Crossing where the wreck occurred, and she is *extremely* knowledgeable about all the details. When my family members (including my husband and Susie) were building their houses on that land in the mid 60s, many many wreck artifacts and bones were dug up because that's where they buried all the killed animals and damaged cars, etc. She has a whole collection of photos taken at the time of the wreck.
I don't know for certain whether she can help you precisely with your tintype identification, but if anyone can, she can. As for the description of the wreck given above by Natasha Gerson -- the cow being milked when the tiger attacked it, was being milked by Hannah Friday, Susie's (and my husband's) grandmother's aunt or great-aunt (Susie will know for sure, I forget which). The skull of the tiger, complete with bullet-hole, is on display at the Tyrone Sportsmen's Club, just up the road from Susie's house. There is a stone monument beside the railroad grade across the street from the houses (the tracks are no longer there), and Susie has helped hold many memorial services there to comemmorate the event. Sometimes when other circuses come through Tyrone or Altoona or State College, even now, they stop to visit the monument.
As for the wreck itself: it wasn't quite so much just an air-brake failure as it was that the train was way larger and heavier than normal because the circus cars were longer and heavier than "normal" train cars. So when the engine was assigned to get the train down the mountain from Sandy Ridge (Philipsburg) to Tyrone, the dispatcher only was given the
number of cars, and not told that they were so much bigger than normal cars, hence there simply wasn't enough braking power to properly slow the train during its descent. Eileen Lehner
Reply: 08 November, 2005 - Hi. My great grandfather was the conductor on this train. What was your grandfather's name? I have some info on the wreck. email@example.com
Reply: 07 June 2007 - My gr gr grandfather was James McCann and owned the farm adjacent to the accident. Someone mentioned there were photo's taken at the time. I was wondering it perhaps James was in one of them, if so, I would be very interested. I have no photos of him. Gene Rothgery, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 30 Apr 2008 - Wanting to know if anyone has any photos of the house where Walter Main Circus animals were kept (In Madison/Geneva Ohio). My boyfriend's sister now lives in the home and would like to find pictures for her. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Sandy
Reply: 02 May 2008 - You might try contacting the local Historical Society to see if they have any photos. Most photos in their collections were taken by local folks. There are tens of thousands of Circus Photos in both the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wi. and the Ringling Museums in Sarasota, Fl. Perhaps they might have what you are looking for. More than likely though, you'll have to go spend some time there yourself as the Library staff doesn't have time to spend hours upon hours going through photo collections even though a lot of it is referenced and cross-referenced. Bob Cline
Reply: 25 May 2008 - Hello, My Name is James Winters and I lived some 20 years on Walter Main Road in Geneva. This is where Walter L. Main had his winter quarters. The road is just west of the town of Geneva, Ohio and lies between state route 84 and route 20. His property was mainly around the northern set of Railroad tracks as there are two sets that cross Walter main. Every year he would grace Geneva with the first show of the season starting by the circus walking through the small town on their way back out to Walter Main. Geneva is located at the crossroads of State route 20 and 534 in Ashtabula county Northeast corner of Ohio.
Reply: 25 Aug 2011 - Hi my name Is Herb Hall and my Parents own the property now where Walter L. Main had his winter quarters. My parents have lived there for over 30 years on the property and my grandma used to tell me stories of the circus. Our property is also where the old trolly used to run thru. There are even still some tracks left over from it as well.
306. Taylor Brothers Circus, October 27, 2004 - Levi B. Taylor & his brother, Homer had the "Taylor Brothers Circus" somewhere in the Years of 1860 and 1910. They supposedly went from Kingston, Ont. Canada to Watertown, New York. I am wondering if any written material is around about this circus. I see from reading messages on this site that there is a lot more info. around than I thought. Thanks, George Taylor Lubbock, Texas, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: November 01, 2004 - Slout's 19th century biographical dictionary, Olympians of the Sawdust Circle does not list these men, nor is the show listed in Chindahl's title list. They're very obscure. Best place to start would be with their vital statistics (birth, marriage, death) and census entries and to work from there. If you lack the search skills, consult with your local library or historical society for support. Obituaries have some kernels of truth but use with caution. What passes as a circus was not necessarily what we consider it today. Fred Dahlinger.
Reply: 07 July, 2006 - Did you find any information on Taylor Brothers Circus. Suzie, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 08 December, 2006 - Hello George, I am writing because of my study of the King family. I found in the family history, that Albert King born about 1869, and died after 1920 was an acrobat and puglist. He traveled with the Taylor Bros Circus. So now I am wondering if you found any further information on the Taylor Brothers Circus. Thank you for your time, karna
Reply: 11 Dec 2007 - Review 1874 07 31 Taylor's Equescurriculum & World's Circus coming 6 August 1874. circus. The reference is from the Peterborough Review newspaper from 1874. Peterborough is about 50 miles west of Belleville Ont. Thank you, George Taylor
Reply: 21 Jan 2008 - Taylors Equescurriculum World Circus - Peterborough Ontario - August 6 - 1874. "Comming! Coming! Taylor's Equescurriculum and World's Circus. No Worn-Out Menagerie. But a First-class Circus. Will Exhibit. Taylor's PeterBorough On the Market Square, Thursday, August 6. 2 Grand Exhibitions Daily! Mr. L. C. Taylor Most respectfully calls the attention of the Citizens of Peterborough and the County, to the fact that This Circus was organized, equipped and furnished, for the express purpose of Travelling in the Dominion! . . . Taylor's Equescurriculum Second to None. . . . While making no show of Waggons and used up Horses. Our performances will be The Very Best in the Country. . . . Every Act New! Every Act Good! Go Early and See the Grand Entree. The Best Clowns, The Best Riders, The Best Band, the Handsomest Ladies, in Fact the Best Circus Ever in Canada. A. G. Cambridge, General Contracting Agent." [transcribed from graphic by webmaster] Sent by Sam Coombs, email@example.com
Reply: 16 Apr 2012 - It's been a number of years since you posted the circus history forum asking about the Taylor Brothers circus. I would love to know if you found out anything. One of my ancestors was a performer in the Taylor Brothers Circus, and I find it a very intriguing piece of my family history, so I'm trying to learn what I can! If you have anything at all you'd be willing to share I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks! Amy Dice
305. Amidon paintings, October 26, 2004 - I have two paintings by a man named Charles Amidon. One is of a clown and the other is a circus wagon. He gave them to me when I was a child. Are they valuable? firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 01, 2004 - Charlie Amidon was a long time New England circus enthusiast and historian. His wife is now deceased, too. They were both beloved to their friends. Their value is in his affiliation and heritage. Fred Dahlinger.
Reply: 11 Jan 2013 - Years ago I worked for a Charles Amidon, as an engineer in the textile machinery field, in the Philadelphia suburbs. I knew that he researched and painted circus wagons, and I would be interested in his art. Herb Jones
Reply: 12 Jan 2013 - Other than the examples of Charlie’s paintings in private hands, which will be difficult to locate, the most accessible means to enjoy his handiwork is via the articles he illustrated and published, or co-published, in the bi-monthly journals of the Circus Historical Society, “Bandwagon,” and the Circus Fans Association, “White Tops.” There are article indexes for both of these journals on this website. Search for author entries in his name and the proceed to obtain copies of those pieces. The color plates in C. P. Fox’s seminal book “Circus Parades” were also by Charlie, an early commission (1951). The book is available second hand and the plates are sometimes sold, too; four went on ebay in December 2012 and you can still access the listing 321034869603 to see them. His representation of the Carl Hagenbeck tableau with a large carved lion on the side came up in a Google image search for . Charlie was a nice guy and when the domestic textile business evaporated it was a great blow to him; he’d devoted his entire life to making it better. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
304. 1000 clown poster, October 26, 2004 - I have a painting that appears to be from an old circus it is a 6' by 3' painting on tent type canvas that says "1000 clowns count them" Please help, email@example.com. Respond to this message
303. Pete Hanagrad, Seal Bros., October 24, 2004 - An old aunt of mine gave me an old gutiar about 20 years ago and a picture that is dated 1937. With him on horse back with the gutiar on his back. Trying to find info on a Pete Hanagrad - was a guitar player and rider with the Seal Bros. circus. Any info on the Seal Bros. Circus would be
helpful. Thanks, C Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: October 24, 2004 - Seal Bros circus had their base in Emporia, KA. Supposed director (at least in the 50s) was Bud Anderson, advance agent John D. Foss. In the 50s Vernell Coriell, actor and then tightrope comedian but also an avid Tarzan fan (with B.R. fanzine) persuaded the 'original Tarzan' Elmo Lincoln, who needed the money, to come and work with him at Seal Bros. Earlier, the 1937 program included 'Mickey Mc. Guire and Marge' (not to be confused with either the baseball player or Mickey Rooney character Mc. Guire) which comes closest to your entry, he a singing cowboy, playing guitar, banjo while riding- doing voltige ropetricks, etc. and she with some kind of illusion. As for Pete Hanagrad, are you sure the name is spelled correctly? Couldn't it be Pete Henegar? Natasha Gerson
Reply: November 01, 2004 - Seal Bros. was owned by Bud Anderson in the 1930s, the title was suggested by his son, Luke Anderson, who recently passed away. One could have asked him directly as he recalled everyone. Bud died in a vehicle accident on the show. There's some coverage of Seal Bros. in Bandwagon and the oral interview that I did with Luke about his life as a showman is also there. Check the index. Fred Dahlinger.
302. Miss Harietta, October 22, 2004 - Could anyone give definite identification of Miss Harietta, the 'sensational European equestrienne' at Cole Bros in 1935? An old friend of the Vandevelde family told that me Albert and Elly's (VDV & Co as booked in the 30s by Paul Schulte Berlin/ George A Hamid NY) sister Hariet was a bareback rider, also working in America, but I had never been able to find an act, name and features relating to her person. I recently acquired the 1935 Cole Bros program on a hunch for something else and there was a picture of Miss Harietta, 'sensational European equestrienne' who did a forward somersault and hippodrome-long handstands on the resinback, very Vandevelde like tricks, and the artist looks very much like Elly VDV. Elly was born in Paris in 1905, Albert was born in Vienna in 1899, Hariet must have been in between the two somewhere. One
old newspaper article says Cole's Miss Harietta is Austrian, an old paper on Clyde Beatty she is French. As it happens, Hariet VDV might have been either, so all combined I am almost positive its her. Any definites from Cole Bros experts out there? Thanks! Natasha Gerson, email@example.com. Respond to this message
Reply: October 27, 2004 - Yes, Miss Harietta is Hariet van de Velde. Her father was Edward Gustav van de Velde (UK) and her mother Elisabeth Conradi (FR) and they formed the Van de Velde Company in Berlin. With some details sent to questioner, Alfred Caudie (Conradi).
301. Mabel Stark, Mel Koontz and Jungleland, October 19, 2004 - I am currently seeking any and all info on either of these people. I am looking for articles, pictures, publicity photos, ancedotes, anything that I can find. I knew Mel as a child, and I had met Mabel several times when I used to go to Jungleland before it shut down.I have read the book Final Confession of Mabel Stark but there is very little info on JungleLand. Please respond with any and all info no matter how trivial it may seem, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message
Reply: November 01, 2004 - Jungleland's history traces back to the transfer of the Horne animal operation from Kansas City to the Los Angeles area. There's some information in my recent article about the Kansas City wagon builder, Beggs, relating to the Hornes. Louis Goebel's father was also involved. Jungleland came into being under Trader Horne and later Louis bought out Horne and his partner, and adjacent property, creating what most people recall today as Jungleland. Fred Dahlinger.
Reply: November 24, 2004 - This is Tara Wolf again, Fred Dahlinger, thanks for your answer to me. How do I access the archives for the recent article on Jungle Land? I am new to all of this and would like to read as much as I can. Thanks Tara, Silvrwulf54@yahoo.com.
Reply: December 15, 2004 - The Bandwagon issue containing the Beggs article is available from the publisher as a back issue. Once you have it, you'll find my contact information in the masthead. Fred Dahlinger.
Reply: 05-Jan-05 - Louis C. Goebel, Jr., was born 15 November 1896, in Buffalo, NY, to Louis, Sr., and Mary Goebel, who operated a meatpacking plant and a butcher shop. Louis, Jr., motored West in a Ford Model T in 1919, and worked as a
meatcutter at Gay's Lion Farm, then in Hollywood. When Gay moved to El Monte, Goebel got on at Universal Studios, caring for their company menagerie. When studio head Carl Laemmle divested of the animals, Goebel bought the lions Andy, Min, Bill, Momma, Poppa and Little Caesar, along with other animals and located land in Thousand Oaks, then unincorporated, to found Goebel's Lion Farm, in 1926. His father was never involved. He married his neighbor, Kathleen, in 1928. They opened to the public in
1929. The sign read "The Thousand Oaks Wild Animal Farm - Home to Goebel's African Lions". The first sale was to Billy Richards and Trader Horne, in 1946, who re-named the operation World Jungle Compound. Mel Koontz was Chief Trainer. It came back to Goebel and was sold again, in 1955, to James Rumen and Sig Rogel, execs at 20th Century-Fox. Jimmie Woods was manager. This team named it Jungleland for the first time. Their expansion plans failed, and Goebel once again took it back. An attempted
corporation in 1962, with Heinz and Lutz Ruhe also failed as the brothers squandered all resources. It was called the New Jungleland. One letterhead from over the years read Thousand Oaks Zoological Gardens, a title that did not last. In 1965, the compound was sold to Marie Kabat, Thurston and Ina Scarbrough, et al, still titled Jungleland. Marie's husband, Roy, was named manager. It was this team that brought Jungleland to bankruptcy and auction on October 8-9, 1969. The Goebel's decided
against taking it back again, and the compound closed for the last time. Mabel Stark became established in Thousand Oaks in 1938, and based her tiger acts there while appearing here and abroad under various titles. Her career ended under the Kabat-Scarbrough tenure in 1967. Don "Okie" Carr and I moved her out of her dressing room on November 10. She was found deceased in her home on April 20, 1968. Mel Koontz had retired in 1964, with failing eyesight. Louis Goebel died in 1981. Kathleen Goebel
died at 98, on October 31, 2004. Roger Smith, email@example.com.
Reply: 23 August, 2005 - I just came across this site as I was writing my bio and many memories came flooding back. I used to work at Jungleland and watch Mel Koontz, Mable Stark, Henry Tindle daily. Mel Koontz was an honorable man as there were many in the animal kingdom that would not hesitate to take advantage of a young woman in their ranks. I was present the day that Jane Mansfield's young boy was bitten and remember it well as I assisted in walking some of the cats that were in that particular area back to their cages at the old compound and barn area. I worked at the facility during two different time frames in the 50's and then in the 60's and learned to train a sea lion and used to feel so humble as I had my little act in the very same arena that Mable Stark used. She was an idol of mine
and I shall never forget the day she actually acknowledged me by saying hello. You would have had to have known her to know that she only spoke to long time friends of hers and she was so intimidating. Anyway, I got to know the big cats and be around them regularly as well as many of the other animals. I was there when Dr. Dolittle was being filmed and I worked with the foxes and hedgehogs. Both times of my employment sort of merge into one nostalgic time of my life. Thank you for letting me share these few years of memory. God Bless, jan cooper, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 25 September, 2006 - My name is Zea and I am the daughter of Jimmie Wood who was the manager of Jungleland under Jim Rumen and Sid Rogel. I remember everyone listed in this article. Jo and Slivers Madison also appeared at Jungleland with the elephants. My own children have recently expressed interest in my father as he started out in the Circus in the 1920’s. His name as I said was Jimmie Wood and he started out with Barnum & Bailey and Clyde Beatty. He at one time had a business called PanAmerican Amusement Corporation. He had a carnival/circus that traveled from town to town. I am interested in any information anyone might have. Thank you.
Reply: 03 April, 2007 - You asked about Mel Koontz, Mabel Stark and Jungleland. I am Mel Koontz's son and have considerable Info about all of this. robert koontz, email@example.com.
Reply: 03 Mar 2010 - I just happened onto this site and am so excited to see familiar names here. I am Roy Kabat’s daughter Robin, and I lived at Jungleland for a few years while my father was working there. I have fond memories of Wally Ross, Mel Koontz, Henry Tindal, Jo and Slivers Madison, Chet Jzyck, Mabel Stark, and so many others. It was a great place to grow up and these people taught me so much about animals.
Zea, I remember you and your twin sister Tonya very well and some great Christmases at your house as we were growing up. In fact, I named my daughter Tonya and didn’t have another daughter to name Zea — I always loved both of those names.
I have a lot of memorabilia from Jungleland and from the Dr. Doolittle movie. I would be interested in hearing from anyone connected with Jungleland during this time. I was fortunate to reconnect with Kathy Goebel a few years ago and saw her several times. firstname.lastname@example.org