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Message Archive: Messages 501 - 550

550. Buffalo Bill Shooting Match, 10 April, 2005 - In 1904 or 1905 There was a shooting exhibition between Buffalo Bill Cody, Herbert B. Williams, and a man from N.J. also a competion between Sarah F. Williams and Annie Oakley. I have this info from an obituary of Mr. Williams. I am wondering if you could give me the exact date? The shooting exhibition was on the top of the old Madison Square Gardens. Also there was suppose to be newspaper articles written about the competion from the New York Times. If you could help me find the exact date I might be able to find the articles that were written. Thanks, Jan, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 12 April, 2005 - Buffalo Bill's Wild West was touring in Europe 1903-1906. You might want to check the date in other ways. The New York Times is on-line via ProQuest at some libraries, with key word search capability. You might try checking it. Contact your local librarian to learn the closest connection. It's also possible to buy the service at home, so many items for a price, but it's a bit expensive. Fred Dahlinger

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549. Hartford Fire, 09 April, 2005 - Report of the Municipal Board of Inquiry on the circus disaster. As time permits would you be able to advise if this report (Ringling fire in Hartford in 1944) has ever be published either in Bandwagon or White Tops. And if so which issue might I locate to read further specifics? Thank you, Danny McLean, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 09 April, 2005 - At the Connecticut State Library in Hartford. Hartford. Board of Inquiry on the Circus Disaster. Report of the Municipal Board of Inquiry on the Circus Disaster. Hartford, 1944 [CSL call number SpecColl TH 9449 .H3 A5 1944]. There may be some information in O'Nan, Stewart. "The Circus Fire: A True Story." New York: Doubleday, 2000. J. Griffin
    Reply: 21 May, 2005 - My Great Grandmother was Edith Conway Ringling aka Mrs. Charlie. I have many specific stories and untold facts regarding the fire.

548. Pinder Circus, 09 April, 2005 - I am trying to learn something about the Pinder Circus and wonder if there are old photographs of it? Regards, John, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 10 April, 2005 - You can learn plenty by visiting various web sites on Pinder Circus. Originally, this English circus wandered outside the U.K. around the time of the Prussian War. Immigrated to France, its adopted country, around 1870's. The Pinder family operated the circus until 1928, when it sold it to Spiessert. In 1972 to 1983 Cirque Pinder will belong to Jean Richard, a french acteur made famous on television by his impersonation of Inspector Maigret. Gilbert Edelstein is the last and present owner of Cirque Pinder. Pinder is also a very popular bi-weekly publication that features historical documentation, reproductions of past posters and a steel toy model of its numerous vehicules. An illustrated biography of Pinder (1928-From Pinder to Spiessart) is available (in French) from Arts du Cirque. Pinder Circus, a U.K. splinter of the famous family, might also interest you. Visit the English circus organizations on the web for more information. Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 14 April, 2005 - I have plenty photo's of Pinder past and present, it just depends what aspect of Pinder you're interested in. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 28 April, 2005 - My mother worked with Pinders circus as a contortionist/acrobat. Her stage name was Anna Stanley, she worked as double act with Betty McFadgen who lived in Meadowpark St dennistoun Glasgow. I had 2 portfolio pictures of my mum in her stage outfits but sadly after my mum died in 1972 pictures have been lost. I would be very grateful of any information on posters or memorabilia. Harry Salvona was coco the clown at time she was with circus, I remember going to Glasgow Green when the circus came. Hopefully any relatives of Betty or Pinders family may recognise this and get in touch. Yours faithfully, Mary (Gow) Carlin
    Reply: 30 May, 2005 - I was brought up in the Gorbals in Glasgow in the 50's and 60's. There was a man in our tenement called Leo Pinder who worked at the Glasgow Institute for the Blind, translating text into braille, I think. Leo had a 'club foot' and had lost an eye. Apparently he had had an accident whilst working on the trapeze in Saigon, so the story went in our tenement. He died in the late 50's I think. As far as I can remember he would only ever be seen leaving for work and returning in the evening to his wife in their small tenement flat. I can only ever remember seeing him in his bizarre get up, well, to us kids anyway, of long coat, Homburg hat and carrying his brief case - an exotic and alien item to the tearaways in the Gorbals. We horrible kids used to name call this very quiet, private old guy. In the warren like life of the slums there was something of a collective outlook on life, mainly for survival reasons. So if you kept to yourself then the kids might give you a hard time. Of course from this perspective I regret taking the rise out of Leo. He would just sail by us in his own dignified way. I was about ten years old when Leo died. I was away being 'looked after' when he died but when I returned I heard about the surprisingly large turn out for his funeral and something about a piece in the newspaper about his life. Does anybody know anymore about Leo?

    Reply: 17 May, 2006 - I am trying to find information on my great great great grandfather, he was a circus strong man, lion tamer and sword swallower with Pinders Circus in the mid 1800s, his name was 'the great delaney', and he was from ireland with long red hair. I would really love to find out more about him.

    Reply: 30 August, 2006 - My great grandmother's name was Georgina Pinder (circa 1880) and I know she travelled to the UK from, Possibly, Belgium with her husband, George Johnson. She spoke French. They lived and travelled in Scotland/North England after their marriage; they continued to be circus people. Their daughter, Sarah (circa 1910) was a circus bareback rider. If you have any further info, I would be grateful to hear from you. lacey,

    Reply: 10 October, 2006 - I have tried to make contact with Lacey. I am sure we are cousins. Lacey's Grandmother was my Grandfather's sister. Can you help me in contact? My email is or Looking forward to your response, regards, Jacqui & Roy Taylor

    Reply: 10 April, 2007 - Quite by chance, I was looking at the 1881 Census for St Peter St, Huddersfield, Yorkshire. This is free, unlike most censuses. There was a family of Pinders, They were William (52) who was the Propietor, Rebecca (46), Hannah, 17, Albert 15, William 13, Arthar (sic) 11, Angelia 9, Leonara 7 and finally another Rebecca, age 6 born in France and a Performer! The details are RG11, Piece 4384/105 Page number 45. Peter Jones (no relations).

    Reply: 11 April, 2007 - 195 posters and photographs from 1900 till 1994 online. Search for Pinder an Jean Richard Pinder: Herman Voogd,

    Reply: 29 Nov 2007 - My Uncle Victor Parish was part of "The Abbins" Globe Infernal in the 193s. I would be grateful for any information. Carolyn

    Reply: 04 Feb 2008 - My husband Tom Henderson is a direct descendant of the original Pinder circus people from England. His mother was a PINDER. We live in Australia and have a poster of the circus and Tom's grandfather's booking/ reservations book, circa 1800's, from when the circus performed in Europe etc. Can contact us on for further information. Cheers, Lurlene Henderson

    Reply: 26 Jun 2008 - Hi Lurlene, My mother is new 93 Rebecca Pinder (dob 1915.) her father was William E Pinder (dob 1894) he was the son of William Pinder (dob 1861) spouse Elleanor Daniels (dob 1866) he was the son of George Pinder (dob 1831) spouse Louisa Ward - George had a brother William (dob1828) The two brothers George & William started up the Pinder Circus in the 1800's and the younger family sold it in 1923? The Pinder Circus is still going on in France I seen it. It's the biggest Circus I have ever seen. Please reply to my E-mail we must be related tell me your line in the family. I am looking forward to your reply as I have had some difficulty in tracing the Pinder's My E-Mail Regards Jacqui

    Reply: 28 Oct 2008 - I saw the circus in 1982 or 1983 I believe in Aruba, as a little girl. I have never forgotten. I loved the atmosphere, the acrobats and the entourage. I wonder what the artists of then are doing now. Tamara Romer, ttromer at

    Reply: 21 Apr 2010 - I am hoping that the people that mention the Pinder Circus can help me. I am searching for information about my grandmother. Her name was Sarah Johnson, she was born in Scotland approx 1910, after her family had travelled there from France (?). She was a bareback horse rider in her family’s circus. She has some connection to the Pinder family. Ellen

547. Eddie Billetti, Animaland, 09 April, 2005 - I'm looking for information on Eddie Billetti that owned Animaland USA. He had an elephant named Eva that Harry Haag worked around 1964. I think it was based out of Sarasota and may have been a circus that traveled to different malls. Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 20 August, 2005 - My father died in 1967 of lung cancer in Sarasota, FL. I am happy to provide information on him and Eva, one of our two elephants. Our family now lives in California. Is there something specific that you need? Did you know him? Jan Opdyke,

546. Old John Robinson elephant Bolivar, 09 April, 2005 - Where, When and How, did the famous big elephant of the John Robinson show, "Bolivar" die? I read in an article where he died sometime in the latter part of the 1850's, somewhere in the Southern region of the U.S.A. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 19 April, 2005 - A elephant named Bolivar was delivered to the Philadelphia zoo on Christmas day 1888, he lived at the zoo for twenty years dying in August 1908. Bolivar was reportedly the largest elephant in captivity bigger than his famous rival Jumbo. My great grandfather was one of the people who delivered Bolivar with Adam Forepaugh. I hope this is what you are looking for. Yours truly, R. Perkin, England
    Reply: 23 April, 2005 - There were at least two different elephants by the name of "Bolivar" in the 19th Century. The first Bolivar, is said to have been a young elephant from the menagerie at the Tower of London in England, originally presented as a gift by a Indian prince to some English nobility. In the 1830's he was purchased by James Raymond and brought to America. This Bolivar died some years later in the 1850's, according to a newspaper article from the New York Sun published in 1865, "He died down South from a chill received while swimming a river". The second Bolivar was probably imported to America from Ceylon in the late 1860's. He had been with the Van Amburgh show for some years, before being sold to the Adam Forepaugh show, and in 1888 when he was delivered to the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens he was believed to have been approx. 27 years old. The Forepaugh Bolivar died in 1908, and was believed to have been in its late 40's. Bolivar was considered so dangerous at the zoo, that he was never let out of his stall for the last 12 to 15 years of his life. Afterward, its skeleton and mounted hide were for many years on exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The Forepaugh Bolivar was reported to have been, ten feet at the shoulder and weighed 6 tonnes.

545. Clarification, B&B Europe, 06 April, 2005 - I am currently reading through The American Circus, An Illustrated History by John Culhane. Have come across two conflicting statements that I would like to request some clairification on. The two statements are as follows:
But when Barnum & Bailey came home in 1903 (referring to European tour), 1st paragraph, 2nd column. And in November 1902, when B&B Circus returned from Europe, 2nd paragraph, 2nd column. Both statements can be found on page 157. As time permits would someone be able to clairify which year B&B returned from Europe. Thanking you in advance, Danny McLean, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 07 April, 2005 - Barnum and Bailey's European Tour (1898-1902) ended on October 26, in Dunkirk. The circus then returned to the United States and went to its winter quarters in Bridgeport, Conn. The 1903 tour started on March 18 at the Madison Square Garden. The first statement you stated on page 157: "But when Barnum & Bailey came home in 1903". The second statement: "And in November 1902, when the Barnum & Bailey Circus returned from Europe." This is a more accurate statement since crossing the Atlantic ocean would require a week or more. In defense of John Culhane, I fully understand that the first statement's meaning wasn't about when the circus returned from Europe but rather that it's homecoming was marred by the Ringling Bros. Reading the entire phrase helps avoids erroneous conclusions. - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 07 April, 2005 - They came back in November 1902, bringing The Konyot's, Ella en Fred Bradna Ferber and countless others with them, but 'came back in 1903' refers to: Starting touring again in the US in 1903, 'having come back from...' etc. Natasha Gerson

544. RBBB Queens Bridge, 06 April, 2005 - When do the animals cross the Queens bridge for the Barnum B Circus (I think it is this circus) show in NYC? Is there somewhere I can go to see photos? Thanks, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 June, 2005 - The animal walk in NYC will be in March no pictures of it from

543. Mable Stark, Jungleland, 06 April, 2005 - What years did Mabel Stark work at Jungleland? I know it closed in 1968. Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 20 April, 2005 - Louis Roth not only was an animal trainer but also a trainer of trainers. He was the mentor to Clyde Beatty and also Mable Stark. Robert Hough, the author of the controversial book The Final Confession of Mable Stark claims that circuses "drew much of their itinerant labor force from local drunk wards and insane asylums." He also claims that "before reforms (A myth?) required that lions and tigers be castrated, declawed and defanged, the "big cat" acts, were wildly popular with audiences, often fatal to trainers. In Mabel's day, trainers got killed all the time." Hough continues. "In fact, Mabel's big break with the Al. G. Barnes Circus came because the woman who had the tiger act before her got killed." While he claims that she was self-destructive, Mable Stark's life spanned 80 years. Sometime in the early part of the 1930's she left the circus for work at Louis Goebel's Lion Farm. At the end of WWII it was re-named World Jungle Compound, and in 1956 became Jungleland. Then, in 1961, Goebel reacquired the property and closed for the last time in 1968, the year Mable Stark ended her life. It would be interesting if a wild animal trainers martyr list from the 1900' to 2005' be made. Henry Thetar, the French circus historian, in his book La Merveilleuse Histoire du Cirque, lists 15 equestrians killed between 19th and mid-20th centuries. Elephant trainers fared better with only 8 lost. From 1946 to 1978, 4 animal trainers died (not including Eloise Berchtold killed by Teak, an Asian male elephant. - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 26 April, 2005 - Mabel Stark established herself at Louis Goebel's Lion Farm in Thousand Oaks, California, in 1938. Her first residence was at 3056 Crescent Way. She performed her tiger acts there most of the year, at times taking them on the road out of the Compound for various shows, including Polack Bros. She remained with the Compound for the remaining 30 years of her life, and was my mentor for her final 3 1/2 years. I lived across the street from her at 2883 Crescent Way. She was found dead in her bed at home on April 20, 1968, by her housekeeper, Pauline LeGrand. I was asked to identify both her body and her handwriting for the Ventura Co. Sheriff's deputies, as Pauline had to be sedated for hysteria. The Compound continued under the destructive regime of the Kabats and Scarbroughs until we were auctioned off under federal court order, over October 8 and 9, 1969. Parley Baer, Mabel's closest friend for 40 yeaars put her age at 79, and through my acquaintanceship with her family, this is the correct age. Roger Smith

    Reply: 17 Mar 2009 - Does anyone know the name of the novel about Mabel Stark's life? I don't have the author's name, but it described her life and career. Thanks, Kathy

    Reply: 20 Nov 2009 - Mable Starks original book was Hold That Tiger, 1938. I found a copy in 1959 in a old bookstore in Hollywood. I read that book every year to my elementary school students until I made the mistake of loaning it to a friend with the same last name thinking he would be interested. It wasn’t returned even after I asked for it. I have never been lucky enough to find another copy. Since then, I have learned NOT to loan books.
        I met Mable Stark at Jungleland about 1959 with Harry Burnett, Yale Puppeteer of Turnabout Theater. They had been friends for many years. After her act, she joined us in the audience. I was still eighteen years old and naive and precocious enough to ask her why she had so many wrinkles. She sweetly answered, “Why dear they are all places where I have been bit by lions or tigers. There is not a square inch on my body that doesn’t have a scar!”
        In her performance, she used only a whip in her hand and had the tigers obey her every command. After her act was another lion trainer. Although he seemed very theatrical in all his brandishing of whip, chair and shooting of the gun, he was not nearly as impressive. I was in awe of this tiny blond lady who had just finished her act with bengal tigers.
        Another thing about Jungleland I remember from those days was Jimmy Woods, the owner. I met him about the same time as Mable Stark at his birthday party. Because I was working for the Turnabout Theater group, I wore a birthday cake costume from the theater and was to sing the Birthday song from Tommy Turnabout’s Circus. Apparently Jimmy Woods also was a good friend of the Yale Puppeteers.
        Once when The Yale Puppeteers were having a revival of the Turnabout in their Canyon Drive home, I was doubling as an usher in a page uniform. My job was to not only show the guest to their seats but was to also introduce them to those sitting next to them. Jimmy Woods came in with his current wife and five of his former wives. I was quite fascinated with the civility of all former wives with the current Mrs. Woods coming together to see the show. Funny, I still remember the lady sitting next to them, Mrs. Lipshitz. Charles Taylor

542. Scott, Jungleland, 06 April, 2005 - Does anyone know the name of Arky Scott's wife and when she worked at Jungleland? Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 09 April, 2005 - There was a Toni Scott that was married to Arky Scott here in Sarasota. She passed away after many years battling Cancer. I do not know if she was with him during the Jungleland years. This may open a door for you. Check with Showfolks of Sarasota Website [] as she was on the Board years ago. Good Luck.
    Reply: 26 April, 2005 - Arky Scott was among my great friends at Jungleland. His wife, Toni, had been with him there for a time, but was not in Thousand Oaks when I arrived, in 1965. Arky became ill with cancer, and I took him to the bus for his trip to the hospital. He returned after the surgery, and was cared for in his trailer by a woman named Liz Muchmore, until he died just days before the death of Mabel Stark, in 1968. He was buried in his formal military elephant trainer's uniform at Pacific Coast Showmans' Rest, in Los Angeles County, California. Roger Smith
    Reply: 11 May, 2005 - This is to supplement my previous response to the question about my friend. Eugene Howard "Arky" Scott was born Tuesday, 8 August 1905, in Louisiana, according to the Death Records of Ventura County, California. He told me he had no contact with his birth family, and wasn't sure of any record, including what age he might have been. His mother and father are listed as unknown. The number of years as an elephant trainer are officially given here as 45. Arky died of cardiovascular collapse, due to metastatic bronchogenic carcinoma, in Thousnd Oaks Convalescent Hospital, at 5:45 pm, on Thursday, 11 April 1968. His age was given as 62. Arky was buried on Monday, 15 April 1968, in Evergreen Cemetery, Pacific Coast Showmans' Rest, in Los Angeles. To give this perspective, five days later, on Saturday, 20 April 1968, Mabel Stark's body was found in her home, in Thousand Oaks. Roger Smith

    Reply: 18 Mar 2010 - Arky Scott was married to my aunt (Pat Scott) in the late 40's and early 50's. I don't know what happened in their marriage. Apparently, they both re-married. Arky to Toni Scott and Pat to William Kay. Ann

541. Owens, Teeny circus family, 05 April, 2005 - This family was in the circus back in the 30's and 40's. Lester Owens was in the Hagenbeck-Wallace-Sells Bros. Grace Teeny was in the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Leck (Lester) was a trapeze artist and trainer and they met when the two circuses joined. I am looking for any info or pics that I can find. Any help would be greatly appreciated., Tim Owens, TN. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

540. Ionhart, Strongman, 05 April, 2005 - My stepfather now 80 years old grew up with a circus family. When not on the road they used to camp up in Essex England, as his memory is now vague but very inquisitive I am trying to find some information on his father. All I know is that he used to be a strongman and worked his shows mainly around the south of England and also at some of the theatres in and around London. I have searched and searched but to no avail, I do have some very old black & white photos of him with his props and in his show costume, he went by the stage name of I believe "Ionhart" do you have any idea where I can get any information on him? Regards, Martin Krelle, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

    Reply: 26 Feb 2013 - I believe that Ihonart/Sydney Sewell was a relative of mine but not sure how we are related! My Aunt had a picture of him on her wall (which I now have) and said that he was a Great Uncle. I've been communicating with Redbridge Museum and been emailed pictures of the exhibition they did a few years ago and am sure our photos are of the same Man. I've also had emails from John Sewell who was one of Sydney's Grandsons and there seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding his family as it was a very large with lots of children. I have seen a photo that Martin Krelle forwarded to Redbridge Museum which is the same Man as in my family photo. I'm really curious to find out more, particularly about his School of Physical Culture which he set up in Ilford in 1913 as I think my Great Grandfather was working there too. Regards, Diane Duvale

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539. Circuses OZ, Roncalli, Big Apple, 05 April, 2005 - I am writing a presentation on new circus with examples of Circus Oz, Zircus Roncalli and the Big Apple circus. If you have any information about these and their style and intent I would appreciate it. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 06 April, 2005 - In my opinion, Big Apple is not 'new' circus, despite it's use of themes and story lines. Big Apple is probably one of the best examples of Classical European style circus in America, which, of course is traditional to the core. Ian
    Reply: 07 April, 2005 - Circus Roncalli is the ideal version of the Classic European Circus, not in it's original form, but in the form of during the circus highlight time of the 1910's. The only major differences between Roncalli and say, former Sarrasani is that it moves by truck and not by train, that it is electrically lit and that of course the pr, promotion and merchandising is of this day and age. Owner Bernard Paul has bacically had the collectors and 'model builders dream' -creating the perfect circus- and applied it to a real life circus, and has applied the formula thereof to continue to bring back to glory some of the grand variety clubs of Germany - tainted, as they were, by war, further killed of by television, etc - such as the Wintergarten in Berlin. For this he has created a perfect niche: A grand, but not too 'difficult and highbrow' night out for those who like to dress up and enjoy themselves but prefer real live intertainment to the soulless electronic drone in the discotheque or the, in Europe frequent 'emperors clothes' of the modern theatre. The major drawback with the circus is that Roncalli is in effect, not a circus, it's a travelling circus museum, of which the performers and their number are only a small part. Natasha Gerson

538. Stebbings Circus, 03 April, 2005 - In the early eighties the Stebbings family took their circus to Venezuela. Apparently they had some trouble there, and had difficulty bringing the equipment and animals home to Sarasota. Does anyone know the nature of the problem they had, and did they ever manage to get home again? Where are they now? Ian, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 06 April, 2005 - The Stebbins family had their circus in Columbia and Columbia supposedly made it the Country's National Circus. Mr. and Mrs. Stebbins and Carol, I believe, passed away. Johnny, his brother, and remaining sister, I do not know. Anita (?) in Vegas, boys in Miami (?) and Sarasota (?) Try Showfolks of Sarasota website. Jenny Wallenda may know. Hope this may give you a lead.

    Reply: 15 Aug 2007 - I worked at the Stebbings Circus front of house when they were in Caracas in 1983/4. They had gone there as part of a Canadian funfare which ran into trouble with the authorities and they were able to leave but the Stebbings had all the animals and couldn't. For many months they were unable to work and things were pretty tough for them and they lost some animals. The family were all alive then but Mr Stebbings was poorly. When I joined they were allowed to work but not leave Caracas though in time they were allowed to tour and last time I saw them they were in the Venezuelan regions. I lost touch with them after that. Hope that fills some gaps for you - though it's a long time ago you were asking! Anna Black

    Reply: 10 Nov 2007 - Does anyone know the history of the Stebbings circus? I recently found out that my great grandfather, whose name was Stebbings ran away from England with Bill Cody's Circus somewhere in the early 1900's. I am wondering if there's any chance that he, or any of his descendants, may have created the Stebbings Circus?

537. Sparks Circus Elephant Mutt, 03 April, 2005 - Would anyone have info concerning the juvenile male Asian Elephant, "Mutt" of the Sparks circus? One source states he died in 1921 of unkown causes. Another source mentions he was executed in 1921. I seem to remember reading briefly in a book, that Mutt went on a rampage after a roustabout burned him with a blowtorch, and he was shot by soldiers from a nearby Army barracks. None of these sources gave the location as to where this happened. Mutt and Ollie were the two juvenile males with the Sparks circus when Big Mary was hanged by the derrick in Irwin Tennessee in 1916. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 04 April, 2005 - MUTT (Asian male) 1915-21 John H. Sparks Circus (Purchased as a baby from Wm. P. Hall) (Executed in 1921) As I understand it, he attacked the lady who was presenting him in the ring during the performance which resulted in her death. He was probably killed by gun fire by whom I couldn't say. Buckles

536. Johnson Brothers, Carl Westerberg, 03 April, 2005 - We are currently researching Carl Westerberg, who, among many other exploits, performed with a vaudeville and circus act called the Johnson Brothers. The troup were high-wire and acrobatic performers and we believe that they worked on both sides of the Atlantic around the turn of the nineteenth century. We are fairly certain that he would have appeared at the Canterbury Variety Theatre in Westminster Bridge Road, London, because he met and married the woman who ran the theatrical boarding house in the area. Does anyone know anything about the Johnson Brothers? Reply to Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 07 April, 2005 - This would be a good one for The Galloper too! Natasha Gerson

    Reply: 03 Jan 2008 - This just might be the most exciting moment of my 63 years on the planet! This man was my grandfather and I and my family are also desperate to know more about him. We can say a great deal and some of this might possibly astound you. Please, please can you respond to me here or, better, to my wife Tony Dwyer, Somerset, UK

    Reply: 16 Sep 2011 - Hello, I collect vintage photography and I just found one photo that says to verso in pencil, " Gollmar Show Johnson Brothers, Dad". Image shows a man in a Roman like chariot, circa 1915. Steve

535. Circus life 1920, 03 April, 2005 - I am writing a children's novel that involves a little boy who lives with the circus. His parents are trapeze artists. I would like to correspond with someone who can provide technical advice for my story regarding life with the circus in 1920. Confidentiality regarding the storyline is a must. Please respond to, Thank you! K. Scully. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 04 April, 2005 - I would suggest reading 'The Story of Mr. Circus' by Charles Hunt. It's the story of Hunt Bros Circus from its inception and gives a good day to day account of the circus. You'll be able to find a copy on Alibris or Amazon.

534. Yacopi Troupe, 03 April, 2005 - I'm looking for any information on an acrobatic troupe called the "Yacopi Troupe." They traveled with the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Baily Circus during the 1920s and 30s. I only know of Rosie Yacopi, she is my Great Aunt. My Mother always told me stories of as a young girl, Aunt Rosie brought her to practice with them and occasionally ride the elephants when the circus was in New York. Rosie and her husband moved to Southern California in the 40's. After Rosie died in a drowing accident, the remaining Yacopis moved back to Argentina. I'd love to get a poster, flyer, brochure, any memorabilia or information regarding the Yacopi Troupe. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 07 April, 2005 - I have just bought a German artist catalogue from 1939, which holds a page advert for Yacopi, proudly stating their new 'Ständige Adresse' in New York. I'd gladly send you a scan. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 08 April, 2005 - The subject of message 504, Billy Pape, and the Yacopi's (this message seems to have been posted twice on the board) are mentioned right after each other on page 164-65 of Fred Bradna's book (see message 504 for details). Of the Yacopi's he wrote in the chapter 'Leapers, Tumblers, Flyers': 'Great finess entered tumbling with the Yacopi Troupe a family of Argentine who utilized the teeterboard to aid their spectacle. As every child knows, a teeter-tottter exerts violent thrust if heavy weight is applied suddenly to the upward extremity. The Yacopis capatalized on this phenomenon. One man stood on the lower end of the teeterboard. From a sixfoot pedestal two companions jumped on the high side. The man on the low end was catapulted upward. In the course of his flight he turned two backward somersaults and landed in a chair held aloft on a ten-foot pole. Ultimately this trick was refined so that instead of a chair, a totem pole of three men was used, making it a four high after a back flip en route to the final position'.
    Acts like the Yacopi's are now performed mostly by Korean ensembles such a the Monte Carlo winning Troupe de Pyong Yang. One European group currently bringing an almost mirror of the Yacopi act is the Rumanian ensemble of Marcello Mincus, Troupe Mincus. They end the act with a jump and slide unto a massive catch sheet, that in true eastblock tradition takes away the view from the most expensive seats, allowing only the side tribunes of the tent - traditionally the bluecollar seats - only the thrill of the spectacular encore. Natasha Gerson

    Reply: 18 May, 2006 - Among memorabilia saved by my father, Rex Billings, I have discovered a professional photo of "The Yacopi's," autographed in Montreal, Canada August 25th, 1944. My father was a director and general manager of Belmont Park in Montreal from1933 to sometime in the late 50's. There are five men and one woman in the photo. Names appear to be:Alfredo, Ernesto, Zelly(sp), Roberto, Victoria (sp) and Rafael. Please feel free to respond, if this information is helpful. Kind regards, Meghan Billings Brown,

    Reply: 09 September, 2006 - Hi there! I ran across your query while doing a search for my father's (our) family - the Yacopi Troupe. My father was one of the brothers forming the troupe: Americo Jose Yacopi, who passed away in 1996. I heard many fascinating stories from him about the family and their travel experiences. I hope this message reaches you, and will be looking for your response. Yours truly, Americo Yacopi

    Reply: 30 Oct 2007 - I am the son of one of the members of the Yacopi Troupe (Ringling Brothers 1936-39). My father worked with the troupe as their bottom man catching and spotting double saltos to the chair and performing a free standing four high. He traveled to Berlin, Germany in 1938-39 with the troupe, after Ringling closed 1/2 way through the season in 1938. He is 94 and still talks about his time with the troupe. I would like any information or movie of this Troupe during 1936-1939. Posters etc. Kelly Crumley, you may contact me at

    Reply: 18 Jan 2011 - I, too, am looking for information. I realize this letter is many years after yours was written. Please refer to #1146 on the Circus History Board regarding my mom. She was in a troupe called the Moreen Troupe. She is almost 92 years old and is still interested in a man who was in this troupe with her. His name is Malcolm Kelly. He left the Lewis Brothers Circus and joined the Yacopi Troupe with the Ringling Brothers Circus. He was with them in 1941 and they were in Madison Square Gardens from October 1941 to May 1942. He did all kinds of motorcycle tricks, etc. Have you ever heard of him? Any suggestions where I can get information on this troupe from that time period? I'm sorry I'm not more help for you. My mom still has a letter this man had written her all of those years ago. He gave much praise to the Ringling Brothers Circus and to the Yacopi Troupe. Thanks for any help. Bobbi Bradley,

533. Golden Liberty Circus, 03 April, 2005 - What a super website! I am trying to find any infomation about the Golden Liberty Circus that may have been in southern Illinois or Indiana. I have no clue of a time frame. Any hints would be greatly appreciated. Thank You. Beth Kucera, Wayne Illinois, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

    Reply: 09 Oct 2014 - Yes that circus was my parents. What would you like to know? Kim

532. Mighty Haag Show, 03 April, 2005 - I am looking for information on the Mighty Haag Show. My grandfather was a tightrope walker for them in the early 1900's. His last name was Fennell and he lived near Marianna Fl. Please help. My e-mail address is Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - Please examine messages 510, 506, 434, 369, 366 or 362. Mr. Darren Bryan is married to one of the Haag family grandchildren. I believe I have the relationship correct. He has asked several questions but has a great deal of Information also. Bob Cline

531. Sparks Circus, history, 03 April, 2005 - As a member of the CMB Sparks Ring #4, I am interested in gathering any information on the Sparks Circus in hopes of producing a booklet for the Ring members. So far I have found 2 great articles, Joseph Bradbury's in Jan/Feb 1961 Bandwagon and a May 1962 John Horn article on the History of Sparks Circus. Are there any others you know of? Thank you, Bob Judge, NJ, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 04 April, 2005 - Gordon Carver did a number of articles about the Sparks Circus in Bandwagon, with an introduction and then annual season coverage thereafter. They can be located in the article index on this website. Joe Bradbury also did a pictorial story about the Wiseman family in White Tops a number of years ago and included Sparks in his article about John Ringling's 1930 circus season in White Tops. Fred Dahlinger

530. Transportation and the Circus, 03 April, 2005 - My name is Al Rios and I am a former RBBB circus clown. I traveled with RBBB for 6 years and with Circo Americano in Europe for 2 years. Throughout these years touring with Ringling I have met some amazingly wonderful circus folk and gained a vast knowledge of circus and clowning. Presently I teach Special education and I am presently writing a thesis on the development of transportation in American history and how this development dictated the genesis and evolution of the circus. I have recently been in touch with a good friend of mine Mr. LaVahn Hoh who has led me to some very helpful books. He suggested i write CHS for some questions I have been struggling with and for any other suggested reading material that would support my thesis.
Two questions I have right off the top of my head are 1) While touring with Ringling we were always told that the U.S. Army looked towards the circus to learn how to efficiently and effectively load on and load off railroad trains, I have not been able to find ANY resources to support this claim. 2) Also after learning about the floating palace and learning about circus' traveling by steamboat, I looked for information regarding whether or not these "on river" circus' included animals, again I came up with little to no information regarding that as well. LaVahn suggested the book Traveling showman as well as Annals of American circus by Stewart Thayer. He aslo mentioned a few articles on the American Railroads by Fred Dahlinger. I have searched for these articles and have not come up with any worthwhile information to find them. If you would be so kind as to point me in the right direction in finding resources (websites, magazines, books) to further research this topic I would be greatly appreciative to any information you can inform me about. My e-mail address is and anything you would be able to help me with would be most appreciated. As you can imagine I am a circus fan at heart and this thesis means a lot to me and I want to do it justice. Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely yours, Alan Rios. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - I remember reading an in-depth article, possibly by Loeffler, that disputed the stories about the Army consulting the circus regarding effective transportation, etc. He did a considerable amount of research. Perhaps some circus historian will recall the article. J. Griffin
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - Ayres Davies once told me that when he was in the Marines during WW 2 he was stationed at some facility and noticed that Military Vehicles were being loaded on flat cars from the side off a loading dock. After a few flats were loaded the train would pull ahead so a few more could be loaded and so on. Ayres said he explained that if they had runs at the end of the cars and cross-over plates between the flats they could load out in a fraction of the time. He added that he was eventually Commissioned an Oficer and spent the rest of his time in the Marines loading trains. This sounds about right, the Army I was in wasn't big on seeking advice, however I have seen pictures of German Officers wearing spiked helmets watching the Barnum & Bailey Show set up while they were on their Grand European Tour 1898-02 and I'm sure they were impressed by a show of that magnitude housing, feeding and moving that many animals and people overnight and showing the next day. Buckles
    Reply: 04 April, 2005 - The circus train articles that I wrote can be located in the [Bandwagon] article index within this website. Look at 1982-1984. Back issues may be available from the editor, or by monitoring ebay, etc. There are references to American, British and German military personnel observing circus and wild west train movements. There's a file of the references in CWM library vertical file. They date from the 1890s to about 1918. Barbara Tuchman mentions them in her book "Proud Tower." I recall about six to eight specific items. Robert Loeffler also wrote an article about the topic in either Bandwagon or White Tops. The doctoral thesis by Penelope Leavitt Moy covers the history of the Floating Palace, but there is much additional information elsewhere. It addresses some of your questions. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 05 April, 2005 - The article, "The Influence of the Circus On European Armys" By Robert J. Loeffler, Ph.D. is in Bandwagon, July-August 2003, p. 3-23. - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 05 April, 2005 - Just why would you even want to continue the story of the military studying the movement of the Barnum & Bailey Show? It is in the BB route book and the records in the National Archives, where an officer was given permission to go on the show, wrote a report and it went nowhere. As far as anyone knows the U.S. Army never used any of the information. End of story. You might find it more interesting that the U.S. Navy would allow the plans for some of their newest vessels, battleships, destroyers, etc. to be given to the Barnum & Bailey show in 1903 so they could build models of them. These models were then put in glass cases and set in the menagerie tent next to the Cracker Jack stand for all to see. Talk about a security leak on the part of the U.S. Navy! As Chapie Fox once told me just because no one knows about it does not mean that it has not been written. The same is true with the nautical circuses that use the waterways of America to find their audience. After twenty years of research I still do not know all the circuses, but there is very little written about these type of shows. Stuart Thayer did a history of one 1870s show on the Great Lakes, and Fred Pfening did a history of the Kelly-Miller Circus on the Atlantic Ocean, both printed in Bandwagon. The 1888 John Robinson Circus spent the first month of the season on the Ohio River and then went to rails. The whole show, animals and all were carried on the steamboat and a couple of barges (and that was not the only year he did it). The History of the Circus in America by George Chindahl has a chapter on the Spalding & Rogers Floating Palace and talks about the exhibitions on board including the menagerie. The Van Amburgh Menagerie in 1854 was leased and exhibited on the Floating Palace, and this is also covered in Stuart (not Stewart) Thayer's book. Dan Rice passed along the Erie and Ohio canals, and in one transit from Buffalo to Cleveland about 1853 the Steamer towing the boats let one adrift and it was lost. Even the Sig Sautelle Show traveled by canal boat with the animals on board along the Erie Canal, although it was after 1885 not in 1882 as often reported. The Frank A Robbins show went up the Hudson River in the 1890s and Bob Sabia just did a long series on this show for Bandwagon. The problem is that unless you know a show came into town by boat you have no way of knowing. They advertised the same as if traveling by wagon or rail usually, and it is only by reading the marine columns and other traces of history that you find the shows. I wonder how I ever did my thesis on the History of the Circus and Menagerie in Ohio prior to 1860 back in pre-internet 1974. John Polacsek.

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529. Bandwagon article, 02 April, 2005 - I am looking for a copy of the following article: "101 Ranch Wild West Show 1907-1916". by Chang Reynolds. It appeared in Bandwagon in the Jan-Feb 1969 issue, pages 18-19. I would very much appreciate a copy of the article. Please let me know if that would be possible. Thanks. Cathy Short, AZ, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 02 April, 2005 - Try requesting the article from Circus World Museum, Library Research Request, 550 Water Street, Baraboo, WI 53913, email
    Reply: 06 April, 2005 - Or try going to your local City, County or community college library and requesting same through inter-library loan program on a periodical request form. I have been doing this on a very regular basis now for about two months and have a steady stream of articles flowing to me daily. With 4266 articles indexed from White Tops publication & 1371 articles indexed from Bandwagon's publication (total of 4637 articles), you U should be able to locate pretty near anything concerning the circus industry in America.
    Reply: 12 April, 2005 - Send $5.00, if a check, made out to the Circus Historical Society, to Fred Pfening, 1075 W. Fifth Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43212 and I'll make sure you get the 101 Ranch issue. There have been three books published on the 101 Ranch of which the most recent, called The Real Wild West, is quite good. FPIII

528. Mabel Stark tiger lady, 02 April, 2005 - I am doing some further research into this interesting woman. If anyone out there in Circus World has any information about her life,I would love to hear from you. Anyone who knew her at Thousand Oaks,or a relation that may have worked with her or seen her work the cats. Most of all any pictures that you may have in your private collection would be most welcome. Please reply to Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - I hope you realise that The final Confession of Mabel Stark is pure fiction, in no way an accurate biography, the domestic and other arrangements suggested between her and tiger Raja absolutely ludicrous, and the portrayal of several people of whom the relatives are still living, such as AG Barnes and his wife, Lillian Leitzl and 'her psycho husband' Codona have been hurt and scandalised by the suggestions within this book. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - Check out Ada Smieya, Cat Trainer, who worked at Thousand Oaks, when Mable died. Very sad situation. Ada lives in Sarasota-Bradenton area. Her son, Bruno Blasek (sp) works cats now.
    Reply: 05 April, 2005 - While "The Final Confession of Mabel Stark" By Robert Hough was severely criticised in The White Tops January/February and July/August 2003, it contains some excellent pictures of Mable Stark. "Hold That Tiger" (by Mable Stark, as told to Gerthrude Orr, published in 1938) can be purchased on the internet. An article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, "the Lady and the Tiger" by Rip Rense is available on the web . - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 26 April, 2005 - Please refer to the Mabel Stark inquiry #543 of this discussion board, once my response is posted. You cannot gain anything worthwhile from reading the book by Robert Hough. I gave him interviews for long hours, and he came to Houston to see me for more information. He indicated he was writing a biography, but betrayed not only mine, but the trust and friendship of many who knew Mabel, by producing this indefensible pornographic distortion. I have the Rip Rense article, and must correct him. Mabel did not turn on the gas and lay down on the dining room table. She died in her own bed, fully clothed, of an overdose of barbiturates from prescriptions by Dr. John Brisbaine. Inquire for further correct information, but avoid Hough. Roger Smith

    Reply: 24 April, 2006 - I have a number of photographs of Mabel Stark in my collection. She was a friend of my grandmother, Kathryn Thompson. The earliest photo is dated 1917. What specifically are you looking for? Arlene Piddington, Sunland, CA.

    Reply: 06 August, 2006 - I have a wonderful photo's taken with Mabel Stark in '57 at the Pollack Circus where I was performing with "The Wild Animal Fantasy" The newspaper article read "out with the old, in with the new" Such a gracious lady, I wish I could have known her. Patricia Jameson (Cuneo)

    Reply: 03 September, 2006 - I would very much like to find a copy of the news artical stating [Out with the old and in with the new]. For someone to compare themselves with the greatess Female Tiger Trainer who was only a presenter of Eloise Bertchtold Wild Animal Fantasy for a few months is ludicrous. rebecca apponey,

527. Japanese Acrobats, 01 April, 2005 - I am desperately searching for any type of information regarding Japanese acrobats in the United States prior to 1942. Among the names of acrobatic and circus performers I am specifically seeking information on F. Kitamura, Fukuzo (or Frank). Hashimoto, Osai (or Osei) Sakamoto, Denkichi Sato, George Hayashi (or Taketa), Joe Hayashi (or Taketa), Michael Sato, or Ishitaro Naito. However, I am looking for ANY information on any Japanese performers prior to 1942. Please respond to my e-mail at Thank you, Nancy Hashimoto. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - I recall my parents were friends of a gentleman named Albert Ueno (Spelling?) who was in Sarasota, Florida in the late 30's. March 12, 1938, my Mother Betty and Father Milton (Curly), were playing cards with George Chamberty, Mush Scarafinni, Albert Ueno, John Ringling North and his Mother, at Mrs. North's home on Bird Key, when my Mother went into labor with my brother David. He was born March 13 at Sarasota, Hospital. Mr Ueno was I believe, a wire walker. In the 50's he brought over a group of Showgirls and Takeo Usei, another wire walker, all working for Ringling. Later I heard Albert drove a Taxi in Tokyo. Hope this is some help. bunni bartok-perz

    Reply: 09 Jan 2013 - Are you still looking for information on George Hayashi? He was my great uncle, married to my mother’s aunt Eva (Evelyn). Eric, Traci

    Reply: 01 Mar 2013 - Yes, I am still interested in information about George Hayashi. Please contact me directly at

526. Anna Jean Johnson, 01 April, 2005 - Anna Jean Johnson (maiden name), nickname "Pandy". She toured, with her family, from the '50's - '70's. Any information? Thank you, Sheila Nix, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - Pandy was on Ringling with her Dad "Swede" who was a clown, having given up his Lion Act, and her Mother Mable who did wardrobe. She married into the Stevenson (Stephenson?) Family, Horses and Dogs. Very outstanding family. Lived in Mount Dora, I believe, and now have a Tent Rental company in Palmetto, Florida. Not too sure about the latter information. Her brother "Hunkie" (Alva Chase) was murdered by his stepdaughter and her friend on a central Florida highway in the late 80's or early 90's, I believe. Hope this helps.

    Reply: 28 Feb 2013 - Shelia, just found your question. Mom, Dad and Hunkie all gone. My email Get in touch

525. (Real) American Giants, 31 March, 2005 - Would someone please tell me if there are any books or in-depth articles in any of the circus magazines or other periodicals about the various human giants here in America, that were on exhibit, or toured with the various circus's during the 19th century? Did the Cooper & Bailey, Forepaugh show or John O'Brien have a giant in their shows? Is it know exactly how tall these giants actually were in their bare feet or socks? Did any of them donate themselves to science and become part of a Anatomical or Medical Museum? I read where P.T Barnum would not consider anyone under 7'2" tall, a real giant. Apparently there were some posers who were actually only 6'11" with springs in their boots to give them selves more height. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - Two books that might help you in your quest for American Giants are: Giant (The Pictorial History of the Human Colossus) by Polly Jae Lee. A. S. Barnes and Co.,Inc. Cranbury, New Jersey 1970. Giants, Dwarfs and Other Oddities, by C.J.S. Thompson, M.B.E. Citadel Press 1968. Giovanni Iuliani

524. Circus, New Mexico, 31 March, 2005 - I am researching the history of the circus in New Mexico to compile a presentation that can be taken to Albuquerque schools and classrooms. I believe I have a unique opportunity as a local clown and Optimist Club member to present New Mexico history from a new perspective. As you might realize, New Mexico has never had a large population, but did have train and stage coach routes. So I'm hoping that there's some documentation of circuses that visited. Can you recommend any books or articles that might document circus activity in New Mexico? Or can you recommend someone I could contact. I'm looking for specific dates, locations, circuses, or events, etc. so that I can fill in the time period background as needed. Thank you in advance for your assistance. I was hoping to have some concrete information soon so that schools can see the potential for this presentation before the school year ends, or their calendars are set. Our Tercentennial celebration begins April 16, 2005. Dianne Rossbach, New Mexico,, aka Mary O'Nette, the clown. Question. Name, email address. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 02 April, 2005 - New Mexico like the other states on the southern passage to California was part of the route to the west. Many circuses passed through the state following the railroads tracks going to more populated towns in Texas and Arizona, although a few spent some time performing in the state. The 1886 Sells Bros. Circus played 7 dates, the 1892 Sells Bros. Circus played 4 dates; the 1893 Sells & Rentfroe in November jumped on a Sunday from Wilson, Ariz. to Deming NM and then to El Paso; the Schell Bros truck show in 1929 played 13 dates; the 1930 Schell Bros truck show played 16 dates; 1931 Sells Floto played Douglas Ariz. and jumped to El Paso, Tx; 1948 Clyde Beatty Circus played Oct. 9 Clovis, NM, 10 enroute, 11 Santa Fe, NM, 12-13 Alburquerque NM, 14 Gallup NM; 1949 Clyde Beatty Circus Oct. 12 Clovis NM, 13 Belen NM, 14 Gallup NM; 1951 Clyde Beatty Circus Oct. 11 Belen NM, 12 Santa Fe NM, 13 Albuquerque NM, 14 Gallup NM - show closed and home run to Los Angeles. There is one interesting note in that the Sells Floto Circus which had its winter quarters in Denver, Colorado decided to begin the season by heading south. 1909 - Mar 9 to Apr 3 Denver, Col, 4 Sunday long jump, 5 Las Vegas NM, 6 Santa Fe, NM, 7 Albuquerque NM, 8 Socorro NM, 9 Las Cruses, NM 10 El Paso, Tx; Alburquerque became the opening stand for the show for a number of years obviously due to better weather for a number of years. They opened and then jumped out of the state. Apr 16, 1910; Apr 1, 1911; Mar 30, 1912; Mar 29, 1913; Mar 28, 1914; show closed Nov 8, 1915 then went to Denver WQ; Apr 6, 1918 opened again. You should read the local papers or the Billboard. Ted Bowman Circus Routes

523. Why Three Rings?, 31 March, 2005 - I have been putting together a poetry manuscript using circles, cycles, and circus imagery. After returning my 3 month-overdue library books, I was told I cannot check anything out for at least 6 months. Before returning the books I didn't uncover this one fact: why is it called a 3-ring circus? What do the circles look like laid out? Was it one inside another inside another? Or were the 3 rings next to one another like a main stage with smaller performances on the sides? Who came up with the first 3-ring circus? Thanks, Xan Roberti,, Brooklyn, New York. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - Why not spend your time away from the library visiting a three ring circus? You can see exactly what they're like then and maybe it will stop you speaking about the circus in the past tense, which what probably also be a boon to your work on circus imagery, of which I cannot imagine how someone gets to compile without actually going to the circus. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 04 April, 2005 - The multiple ring tent resulted from the desire to house ever increasing crowd size, starting in the early 1870s. The first three ring circus, in the common sense, was in 1881, with the Barnum & London circus. Reportedly they had planned for the usual two ring arrangement (in use by 1873) and were planning to send a third, single ring circus to Europe, when the plans fell through. Thus, it caused them to go to a three-ring arrangement. The three rings are in a straight line. They were often surrounded by an oval hippodrome track, on which races and production numbers took place. Some shows had five rings, others three rings with four stages, all in a line. Rarely have there been shows that do not place the rings in line, but it has happened.

    Reply: 18 July, 2006 - Natasha. In my 27 years on this planet, I have yet to see an accessible circus. I have only, in truth, seen a small handful of them advertised. My manuscript is about the decline of the traveling circus, and the metaphorical ramifications of this. It's poetry, not academia. The only circus I have been able to attend is a ramshackle version my friends have put together. I have seen trapeze, firespinning and breathing, acrobatics, clown cars and more. I've seen all the "events" of circuses, minus the dolled up elephants and monkeys. People go to the movies before they go the circus these days. They go to the Coney Island Freak Show. They see David Blaine. They don't know about/care about the circus because there is so much else equally titilating and alluring. Besides, who has $100 laying around for one ticket to go see the only circus in NYC, the Ringling Bros.? Roberti, Alexandra L.

522. Pat Delaney, 31 March, 2005 - Does anyone know if Patrick Delaney's son Pat is still in the circus business? Lynda, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

521. Al St. Pierre, 31 March, 2005 - I have a very old leter written by Al St. Pierre. He makes several references to the fact that he worked in a circus or a carnival of some sort. Given the recipient of the letter, I am guessing that it was written sometime around the time of 1880-1920. Do you have any idea who this man is or where I can get information on him? He signed his letter "Actor", so maybe we are way off on our guess as to what he did. Any help would be appreciated. Oh, and your web site is pretty cool! Thanks again, Sue, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

    Reply: 17 February, 2006 - Hello - I came across your posting on the circus history message board. I own many photos of this person. Most of his performance photos were taken in Guymon Okla. He was high wire, contortionist,acrobatic performer and he had several other family members that performed in the same carnival, some with the last name "Champagne". The circus or carnivale he worked for appears to be "Norton". There was also a Tom St. Pierre who played with the Schubert Players at Old Ryseum Theatre. Anyhow, if you found out any additional information about this person I would love to hear about what you found out. I am going to be selling the whole collection of photos - most date from the late 19th and early 20th century. If you want to know what these people looked like, let me know and I will send you a link to the listings when I get around to selling them, Caitlin Karolczak,

520. PBS History Dectives - circus, 30 March, 2005 - Message removed at the request of the sender.
    Reply: 01 April, 2005 - My Mother and Father Tex (Tage) Elmlund & Gota Elmlund were with Ringling Bros. Circus, he from 1927-1948, she from 1927-1937. He had the middle ring for the largest horse performance in circus history with my Mother as trick rider, also with Ella Bradna. I have numerous photos plus watercolors by a circus artist. Photos are of many performers and the Bigtop. Would this be of any interest to you? Alexandra Lee,

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519. Elsie-John, side show, 30 March, 2005 - I'm trying to find information about sideshow hermaphrodite "Elsie-John" who worked Chicago's West Madison Street in the 1920s and, in later decades, with the Sutton Circus in the Ozarks. I'm looking for an image, sideshow pamphlet, death notice or any information on Elsie-John. Thank you and sincerely, Jerome Poynton, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

518. Alfred Court's Animal cages, RBBB, 30 March, 2005 - I'm also looking for info on the Alfred Court's cat cages during his RBBB period. The cages are European looking, but does anyone know in what color they were painted? Were they in RBBB red? Does someone has a close picture of them? I have only a picture with the (4) cages in the distance. Thanks and kind regards, Erik Block, Coordinator of Birds, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

517. RBBB animal cages - 1950s, 30 March, 2005 - Does anyone has pictures of the animal cages used by the RBBB circus in the 1950's? I'm looking for Menagerie cages and cages for the animals in the show. I found out that they were painted red, later blue and after 1955 in green. Thanks and kind regards, Erik Block, Coordinator of Birds, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 30 March, 2005 - Joe Bradbury usually addressed such issues in his comprehensive series of multi-segment articles that covered RBBB season history from 1938 to 1956. They ran in White Tops, journal of the Circus Fans Association. They may be partially indexed on this website, or at the CFA website. Equipment issues were typically covered in the first installment of each season's coverage. Back issues may be available from the organization. Some members may also have color slides that confirm the paint schemes. Fred Dahlinger

516. Clark Bros. Circus, 30 March, 2005 - Can anyone tell me about the Clark Bros. Circus circa 1930? Steve, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 30 March, 2005 - Parkinson's book lists Clark Bros. only for 1909-1920, A. T. Clark proprietor. There may be a note card pertaining to it in the Chindahl collection at CWM library, though the title does not appear in Chindahl's list in the back of his book. The Sturtevant list cites Billboard, March 20, 1920, for Clark Bros. in 1920, without further explanation. The Clark title active in 1930 was M. L. Clark & Son, operated that year by E. E. Coleman of Dayton, Ohio. An article about the M. L. Clark circus was written by Homer Walton and printed in Bandwagon in the 1960s. It can be located in the article index on this website. It was a long time overland circus, infrequently operated as a rail show. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 25 April, 2005 - I am researching the Clark Brothers Circus too. I have a distant cousin that has pictures, and more information on the circus. Wiley Clark b. 1845, started the circus in Texas in after 1900. He partnered with his brother M. L. Clark for a while and then with his son. Allie Clark. It operated under a number of different names. Clark Brothers Circus. M. L. Clark and Son Circus. It was bought out by Coleman Circus around 1929. They wintered in Texas at first but soon had winter quarters in Alexandria, Louisiana. There were many many family members that were in the circus. I think a lot of them ended up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I am Virginia Clark daughter of Willie Lee Clark b 5 July 1914 at the circus winter quarters in Alexandria, Louisiana. What connection do you have with the Clarks? I would like to share information with you. I will also put you in touch with my cousin, that has more information. Virginia Clark Brown, Fort Worth, Texas
    Reply: 20 January, 2006 - I am also doing research on my Great-Great Grandfather's Circus. M. L. Clark and Son's, have very little information,will share what I have. Terry Loter Parkinson, Tolar, Texas,

515. Town Named After Famous Elephant?, 29 March, 2005 - In Hardin County Ohio there is a small town by the name of Jumbo. Reportly it once was a prosporous town around the turn of the last Century, but over the years its now a ghost town and now is not even listed on most maps of Ohio. Reportly this town was named after P.T Barnum's famous elephant. Would anyone know the history as to why it was named after the famous elephant? In which year the town was founded? As far as I can tell this is the only town or city in the world named after the famous circus elephant. (or any famous elephant,now I think about it) Some may call this trivia others call it history. K.C., Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - Interesting what you can find on the internet nowadays. My mother grew up 5 miles to the west of Kenton. Jumbo was 5 miles west of her home. My aunt grew up in Jumbo and worked in the store there. They didn't know it was named after the Barnum elephant. The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce website as well as three others all say yes it was named after P.T. Barnum's African elephant. One website indicated that the post office was opened in 1883 with Walter Blansfield as the postmaster. It eventually became a mining town and mercantile exchange. I was unable to find anything indicating why the name was chosen. As your inquiry suggests, It now is nothing more than blink your eyes and you missed it burg on SR 67 in Hardin County. Bob Cline,

514. Thomas Anderson, high-wire, 29 March, 2005 - I am looking for any information on Thomas Anderson, a high-wire performer with Barnum and Bailey in the 1890s or very early 1900's. His wife Georgia Peeney Anderson also worked for Barnum and Bailey as a costumer. They were from Chicago. Thanks for any help. Scott R. Anderson,, Louisville, Colorado. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

513. Elephant Trilby, 28 March, 2005 - Does anyone have any information about an elephant named Trilby on the Mighty Haag Shows? Trilby was buried in Shreveport Louisiana having died from pneumonia. I would guess the elephant was on the show in the 1900's or 1910's. I found a reference to a Trilby in Time magazine October 26,1936 that belonged to Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey. I know it's not the same elephant, but isn't the name Trilby unique? Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 29 December, 2005 - I just thought I would respond and tell you my name is Trilby, I am a woman, 59 years old, and I remember years ago, in the late 60's seeing a picture of two elephants named Trilby and Ruth! I was surprised to see an elephant with my name. The name came from the book named Trilby, My great aunt Hazel named me! Just thought I would let you know! Trilby Lee, Trilby McDaniel, Royal Oak, MI

    Reply: 04 June, 2006 - There is a home located on Fairfield Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana. This home has a "historic marker" located in front of it and the sign indicates that this property was once the winter home of the Haag Circus and that an elephant is buried on this property. I'm guessing it's Trilby! Take care -

    Reply: 05 June, 2006 - Darren, I have 8 different Trilbys in my records. This Trilby may be the same one that was with the Lockhart vaudeville act in 1902 but I can't be positive. Check with the Shreveport Historical Society and see what they can tell you since a Historical marker exists. Also the Shreveport newspapers might be able to offer more help once you can establish a timeframe. Let me know what you come up with. Bob Cline

    Reply: 29 Apr 2012 - Great story. My son plans to be married at a home on Fairfield Avenue in Shreveport. He went there last week and found that there is a historical marker there telling of the elephant, Trilby, being buried there. Coincidentally, my wife, his mother, is named Trilby. We began to research the elephant and came across a newspaper article showing a picture of Trilby and Ruth, two elephants who were retiring to the zoo in New Orleans. My wife’s mother is named Ruth! I come home after work yesterday and Trilby is holding a pair of porcelain circus elephants that have been unnoticed on our book case for the last 18 years. They belonged to her mother, Ruth. Trilby was always told she was named after a character in a novel. Now we know, she was named after an elephant! Michael Fulco

512. Peerless Potters, 28 March, 2005 - My Stepfather was in a Flyer group in the 1930's called the Peerless Potters, He said they played with Cole Bros and Clyde Beatty circus, Royal American Shows, Beckman and Garrity Shows. He is now in his 80's and was wondering if there were any of the others in the group still living. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 07 April, 2005 - Just ran across this site and did not know that any Garrity's had Circus connections, Please tell my where they were located and a few facts. Pam Garrity,
    Reply: 18 November, 2005 - I have a photo my aunt sent me. My grandmother was one of the "Radke Sisters" and the photo includes them with "The Peerless Potters." I will try to send you the photo, it is in an e-mail with three other photo's of my grandmother. Let me see what I can do! Niki

    Reply: 27 May, 2006 - I too, just found out that my grand-uncles were part of the "Peerless Potters" What are the chances that there are pictures of them out there? Aaron Samoska,

    Reply: 12 June 2007 - My father in law, Virgil Clyde Wright, was a member of this aerieal troup. I have a photo of him from that period. Marty Gervais,

    Reply: 27 Jul 2010 - Ralph Swisher of Peru Indiana was a member of the Peerless Potters. He was a good friend of my family. Elaine

    Reply: 06 Sep 2011 - My mother & father worked in the same show as the Potters but my mother always called them "The Flying Potters." My mother was most friendly with Mrs Potter who knew a great deal about my father's family history which is quite complex. My father, Cecil Clifford was in an acrobatic trio with his brother & his cousin. Their family name was Stebbing. I would be interested to talk to any of the Potter family who might know the Stebbing family history. Tonie (nee Stebbing)

    Reply: 15 Dec 2011 - My mother & father worked with the Potters. My mother called them the "Flying Potters" & was very friendly with Mrs Potter. My father was an acrobat & Mrs Potter knew a lot about my father's family - the Stebbing family. I, too, would really like to contact any of the Potter family who might still be around. Tonie (nee Stebbing)

    Reply: 10 Jul 2012 - My father, Hazen Fish, was a member of the Peerless Potters in the 1930's. His brother, Floyd was also in the act. Dad was a"catcher" but I do not remember Floyd's role. We used to have some old movies of the act, but these have been misplaced. Floyd passed awy many years ago and Dad passed away three years ago. The Potters also appeared with the Byers Brothers circus. My mother's stepfather was Carl Byers, and he contracted with the Potter's to appear in their show. Mom used to spend her summers with the show and met my dad when he was performing with the Potters. When the war broke out, Dad and Floyd left the act to join the service. My sister has some pictures of the Byers Brothers Circus. Duane

    Reply: 29 Dec 2013 - Hi, my father was Eddie Layman (Potter) he too was a catcher in 1934-1936. He passed away a few years ago. I have some pictures that I can make copies of and mail. I don’t email but you can contact me by emailing my daughter at Sharon Ewing

511. Big Top set-up, 28 March, 2005 - Does anyone have an old photo of a big top tent set on a hill? I have a friend who is recreating a miniature scene in his home town and he remembers the only place to set the big top was on a hill. He is trying to figure out what adjustments they made with the stake lines, guy wires and poles to set the tent up. He is trying to be as faithful as possible to the historical accuracy of their methods. The actual scene was from the late 1940's. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 01 April, 2005 - As a tent circus owner I can tell you that no showman would set a tent on a hill!!! There are a dozen good reasons and another hundred extra good reasons for this but the biggest has nothing to do with the tent but the seating. Portable circus seating up into the late 1980s was not the most reliable - that is the old wooden jack and stringer seats. They were a bitch to level on level ground!! Even with a 'grubbing hole' it was hard work to level seats on so - so ground. Seat sections start out in units of three and then go to two units all the way along - each section being about 12 feet long allowing for a seat board overhang of a foot on each side of the stringer. Once people start occupying the seats the pressure must be equal on all the parts or the jack(s) in the middle loosen and fall down and if this happens the weight on the unsupported stringer causes it to break and people get injured. On soft ground you have to put small flat pieces of wood under each jack leg to keep the jack from sinking into the ground. I have seen cases where these jacks were not 'blocked' on soft ground. Once the one leg of any jack sinks the whole seat sections follows along and if not caught the whole section collapses. You can see that this is hard work on even ground. On a slope it is impossible. I have scouted 1000's of lots and never booked a hill!
    Besides the seats you have the ring areas which have to be level for all the acts and especially any acts that include balancing, etc. Trapeze bars or any aerial perch bars have to be level and you can't level them if the tent is on any kind of a slope; especially the ridge. Believe me, no circus would set-up on a hill.
    The only time I ever used a hill was to load big bundles of canvas we couldn't lift. The spool truck broke down and we had to rent a U-Haul to get the tent to the next spot. When things happen on a show they often happen at the worst of times. In this case we had a very heavy rain that day and the canvas was soaked and weighed twice as much. We couldn't lift the bundles into the truck by manpower. This was before forklifts on shows. Lucky there was a hill at the end of the lot. We rolled the bundles up the hill and then backed the U-Haul into the side of the hill until the truck floor was into the side of the hill. Then rolled the bundles back down into the truck. The only time I was glad to see a hill on a lot. Al Stencell
    Reply: 07 April, 2005 - Am I glad Holland is a completely flat country :) I cannot imagine a circus tent on a hill, not just the description above, but I like a good night sleep during the tour too!!!! "Natasha Gerson

510. Babe, elephant, Haag, 27 March, 2005 - Does anyone know the history of Babe the elephant on the Mighty Haag Shows? I have found references to Babe being on the Mighty Haag in 1907, 1914, and maybe in the 1920's. Did Babe die on the Haag Circus or was the elephant sold? Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 28 March, 2005 - I dont know if this has anything to do with the Mighty Haag show Babe, however reportly the M.L Clark wagon show had purchased two baby elephants from the New York based animal importer Louis Rhue in 1908. Their names were"Tony" and "Babe". I read this in a very interesting article written by Homer C. Walton, The M.L Clark Wagon Show, in Bandwagon magazine March-April 1965. The winter quarters of the M.L Clark wagon show were in Alexandria Louisiana. The article lists several connections to the Mighty Haag show. Reportly M.L clark and Earnest Haag went to the 1904 World's Fair in St.Louis and made a joint purchase of twelve camels from the Carl Hagenbeck animal exhibit. So is it possible the Clark show loaned their Babe to the Mighty Haag Show? If this is the same Babe, it was later sold by the M.L Clark show in January 1913 to the AL. G Barnes show. Her name was then changed to Pearl (due to the fact that the AL. G Barnes show already had a elephant named "Babe" which confusingly enough, was also purchased from Louis Ruhe in 1908. Anyway Pearl (aka Clark Babe) later died with the combined Al. G Barnes-Sells-Floto show in August 1937 at Hibbing Minnesota. Babe seems to have been a popular name for an elephant back then, there appears to be more than a few. Hopefully a elephant expert will answer this question better then me.
    Reply: 28 March, 2005 - As my dad used to say "My comments are not like the words handed down by God unto Moses" but I have "Babe" imported by M.L. Clark and with that show 1908-12 then with Al G. Barnes 1913-37 being called "Pearl". She died 8-2-37 in Hibbing, Minn. and buried on a farm near the lot. Haag Show "Babe" is a mystery, I have no other background on her but she remained with Haag thru 1913 so would not be the Clark-Barnes elephant. Buckles

509. Yacopi Troupe, 26 March, 2005 - Message removed, duplicate of message 534.

508. Clown Joker, painter, 24 March, 2005 - I was a friend of Trudy Campbell Wheeling of Steele, City, Nebraska. Both she and her husband (Eddy) died several years ago. Over the years she told me a few stories about her father and life with the circus. She remembered a circus fire in southeast Nebraska when five elephants died including Venus and German. The group was buried beside the railroad tracks near Tecumseh. With permission, the University of Nebraska dug them up years ago as a project. Two of the elephant skeletons are on display in the Elephant section of Morrill Hall Museum on the University of Nebraska campus. The other three were traded to other museums. German apparently was quite strong and used to move the circus cars when the engine left. He killed two trainers (Black Joe and ?) but was too valuable to destroy. Black Joe is buried in paupers ground in a marked grave "Campbell Brothers Circus one of ours" in northeast Nebraska.
What I am interested in is the history of the clown named Joker. Trudy told me that he painted views of circus life, lived in Lincoln in the winter at a YMCA and supported his drinking habit by selling paintings. One painting that I have seen is signed "Joker" and seems to be dated 1957 (which seems odd). Trudy wanted to buy the painting when it went up for auction 25 years ago but could not pay $1,500. My questions are - Who was Joker? Is the 1957 date correct? Can you help me? Respectfully, Steve Nelsen, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 26 March, 2005 - I live in Nebraska,and have visted the Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln a number of times. I had always wondered about the story behind the mounted skeletons of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The museum exhibit does not mention the history behind the specimens, so it took a while for me to find out about them. From what I was able to find out, at least three elephants died in a train fire of the Campbell Bros. circus near Pawnee Nebraska in May 1904 (along with some zebras and several camels). The show had a show to do, so they left the carcass's behind and hired some railroad workers to bury them. During the Summer of 1906, the Nebraska State Museum dug up two of the elephant skeletons, they were later mounted and installed in the Museum August-10-1928. These two elephant's names were "Venus" (a mature female)and "Baby Hamburg", a juvenile elephant. Years later in 1941 the third elephant "Topsy", was relocated by the forman who helped bury it, and its skeleton was dug up and put in the museum's collections department. K.C
    Reply: 27 March, 2005 - Looks like someone needs to read Tales from a Tent, The Story of the Campbell Bros. Circus by Ed Bardy with personal recollections of Gertrude Campbell Wehling published in 1981. In Genoa, Nebraska a man who thought himself an elephant trainer undertook to move a wagon with Venus the elephant in spite of strict orders to stay away from her. Venus hit him with her trunk, knocked him down, and knelt on him. The circus buried him and put up a headstone for the irresponsible person in Genoa, Nebraska. Genoa is in the eastern part of the state, and only one person died in this story. Newspaper article from the World-Herald Lincoln Bureau, c. 1950. David V. Manrose who says he was a clown and poster painter with the circus did a canvas 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 feet depicting the Campbell Bros. Great Consolidated Shows in 1907. Virg, the only surviving Campbell Brother gave permission to use the title. The painting was a panorama of the circus grounds, showing Virg Campbell taking tickets at the entrance to the big top, and Ed Campbell in the ticket wagon. The artist recalled that he joined the circus in 1897 at Fairbury and he stayed with the circus until 1907. After leaving the circus Mr. Manrose settled in his home town, Okete, Kansas and later moved to Lincoln. Here he has painted countless posters, portraits and murals. Some are in Lincoln business houses and others in the city library and churches. He was also a scene painter at the Bijou and Oliver Theatres. He was a self taught artist and worked for about 65 years. The painter lived just across the street from the Morrill Hall Museum of the University of Nebraska where the skeleton of Venus, the Campbell Bros. elephant that died in a fire at Pawnee City was. Mr. Manrose died by 1950, and in his circus days, he also worked as a clown which earned him the name "Joker". The Campbell Family went to an auction in Lincoln, Nebraska to buy if possible, Mr. Manrose's painting, the painting was too large for a home and it went for $1,300.00. The posters he painted were most likely banners that hung on the elephants in the parade & in the tent. Ted Bowman Route Collection
    Reply: 28 March, 2005 - The Lincoln, NE City Library has a file of clippings pertaining to Manrose. He died May 13, 1957 according to one of their clipped obituaries. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 22 April, 2005 - I have a picture painted and sign by David V. Manrose. It is a mountain scene with a river running thru it. Would like to know more about it. Thank you,
    Reply: 23 May, 2005 - I'm responding to the person that said he said he had a picture painted and signed by David Manrose. Mr. Manrose was my grandfather, and was living in Lincoln, NE, when he died at age 81 in 1957. I would like to learn more about his picture, and how he obtained it. My e-mail address is

507. James Ringling, 24 March, 2005 - I currently live in Ft. Madison IA. Recently a resident of our town passed away. His name was James Ringling. It was urban legend that he had tigers and monkeys at his home. I got to take a tour of the home last week. There were fifty cats living there. But, no big cats it was said that they had passed away. The home was a wreck but, it was really nice at one time very fancy. Lots of circus stuff and animal pictures. I'm very curious to know what brought him to Ft. Madison Ia. and what his story was. Thank You, Scott A. Wilkins, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - I don't know if this would be the same "Jimmy Ringling" that I knew when I was young? The Jimmy Ringling I knew was I believe, a cousin of Johnny North. Jimmy dated my mother at one time. He was a very nice person. He used to drive up in a big white Caddy. He loved animals so, it was likely the same person. Erny Karoly.

    Reply: 03 August, 2006 - I am the grand-daughter of James “Jimmy” Ringling and I have first hand knowledge and a great scar that they did at one time have both a “BIG” cat and small cats of the exotic species. I unfortunately didn’t keep in close touch with him but the memories I have are enough to fill my life time. Aileen Ringling

    Reply: 19 Aug 2012 - In 1972 James C. Ringling and Aileen Christina Gates Mustell Ringling moved to Fort Madison, IA, which is where Aileen's grandparents, Americus L. and Mercy K. Gates lived, in the home known as the Betsy Ross House (aka Albright House) located at 716 Avenue F in Fort Madison. James and Aileen resided in the Sheaffer mansion at 10 High Point Road, built in 1931 by Mayo and Mayo, architects from Chicago. The house sat on an 8 acre lot overlooking the Mississippi River and had 17 rooms including a ballroom, five full baths and four half baths. After the death of James C. Ringling on December 3, 2004, Aileen decided to sell the home. James and Aileen did have a retired circus cheetah living in the home, as Aileen had a passion for exotic animals. When Aileen passed away a memorial had been established for the Kensington and PAWS Animal Shelter. As a side note: My aunt was an avid animal lover too and a sister-in-law to Aileen. I recall when I was 12 or so we made a visit to my aunt's home in northern Illinois. When I was greeted at the door by my aunt, she warned me that the cheetah was visiting with Aileen. I was not to run or move quickly lest the cheetah make a playful lunge at me. Cheetah sprawled out on her livingroom carpet and allowed me to stroke it. Docile and sweet, it purred. What a thrill! Over the years I had heard stories from family members that cheetah had the run of one of the four floors of the Sheaffer mansion but I never heard any news about monkeys. Mary S.

506. Tip elephant death, 23 March, 2005 - Does anyone know the details on how Tip the Elephant died? Tip was with the Mighty Haag shows and was killed in a wreck in Pennsylvania. The wreck was in the 1930's. Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 26 March, 2005 - According to the news reports, the truck that was carrying Tip lost control near Ebensburg, Pa. throwing Tip from the truck. Tip then slammed into a guardrail post, impaling it into the ground even further and breaking the elephant's neck at the same time. The news item is dated July 17, 1937 so July 16th is probably a good date to go by. Bob Cline,
    Reply: 26 March, 2005 - Is it recorded how old Tip was in 1937? Also his shoulder height and weight? Was his carcass buried near there? Reportly one of the Mighty Haag elephants killed elephant keeper Frank Johnson in June 1912. One source states it was Tip.
    Reply: 27 March, 2005 - If Tip killed Frank Johnson in June of 1912 it would have been in Canada. The Mighty Haag Railroad Show was scheduled as:
    6-2-1912 - entered Canada, Port Colborne, Ont
    6-3-1912 - St Canharines, Ont.
    7-4-1912 - Qubec, Valleyfield
    Darren Bryan in Georgia,

505. Gail Boyd, clown, 23 March, 2005 - Does anyone have any information on a female clown named Gail Boyd? She was listed as a principal clown with the Mighty Haag Shows from at least 1906 through 1925. Wasn't it unusual to have a lead female clown during this time? Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

504. Billy Pape, dog act, 23 March, 2005 - I am looking for information on a circus performer of the 1930-40s who went by the name Billy Pape. He had a dog act. He is my great-uncle. I have photos of him, the most important being a large professional publicity shot with his partner or wife. My mother lost touch with him around 1960s. On your articles listings 1927-1942 there is a reference line that reads: "Correct the Evils -(help the circus) Pape, Billy 1940 Vol 13 #4-5 pg.13" - what is this? Any information on Billy Pape would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Patricia Vincenzi, New York City, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 30 March, 2005 - Is this Billy Evans? Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 30 March, 2005 - There are three newspaper mentions of a Billy Pape, 1932, 1933 and 1940, but not a dog act, an acrobatic act. Also with Downie Bros. Circus 1931. J. Griffin
    Reply: 03 April, 2005 - There was a Billy Pape, retired Circus Performer, who drove a laundry truck in the fifties and he and his wife Renee (?) lived in Aloha Trailer Park in Sarasota, Florida. Hope this helps.
    Reply: 05 April, 2005 - To Natasha Gerson - yes, my mother's family name was Evans. Grandpa was Ersilloyd Evans musician (guitarist), brother William(?) Evans performed under BIlly Pape, my mother's brother is Douglas (Sonny) Evans. thank you
    To J. Griffin - yes, my mother spoke of a hire wire act, another relative said he had dogs - maybe both acts? A small snapshot of a casual Billy is with small dogs, maybe playing or training in camp field circa late 30s early 40s. Could you tell me which 3 newspapers and how I could find them? thank you
    To BunniB1 - Your information is most interesting. Since my mother had a half-sister or very close cousin Phyllis, a few years older, and she came from Florida to visit when I was about 6 and my mother went to florida once in the late 50s. Did you know these people, was Renee(?) exotic looking - the 30-40s publicity photo I have is of a woman who looks spanish-latin of sorts, dark hair and eyes very pretty. thank you
    patricia vincenzi
    Reply: 05 April, 2005 - I found the Billy Pape, acrobatic act, on J. Griffin
    Reply: 08 April, 2005 - Odd that There is a question from a relative of Billy Pape's at the same time as there is one from relatives of the Yacopi's, as both are combinedly described on page 164-165 of Fred Bradna's book 'The Big Top' (My Forty years with the Greatest show on Earth as told to Hartzell Spence, Simon and Shuster available second hand now and again). Fred Bradna writes of Billy Pape 'The finest leaper of my experience'. 'The finest leaper of my experience, Billie Pape, threw a forward smersault from a springboard over five elephants, his body traveling through the air more than forty feet. The old timer used only the ramp and leaping board. His trick was to manoever his body into somersaults, twists of the torso, and other interesting figures before the pull of gravity forced him back to earth. A strong man, in complete command of his art, he could energize sufficient upward and forward thrust to do two somersaults'. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 10 April, 2005 - I seem to remember they did have a dog act. Many Performers, as they get older, leave a more rigorous act and end up doing a dog act or something less demanding. Renee was a very attractive lady and could have been french or latin. Billy, if I recall correctly, bought a purple Cadillac Limo, (which he used to deliver dry cleaning and laundry,) from Charlie and Thea Borza. This would be between 1953 and 1958 I believe. Their daughter Nita Borza Silber, lives in North Hollwood, Cal. The listing would be Arthur Silber, Jr. Jenny Wallenda or La Norma Fox in Sarasota, may be of some help. I do know they were a very sweet couple. And did go through some rough times, but always had a very positive attitude. I am certain these are the people you are inquiring about. I think he had a moustache and was good looking. Also check with Penny Wilson through Showfolks of Sarasota Website. Jenny can be found there also, I believe. I hope this has been of some help. Please let me know if you find out more. Good Luck and G.d Bless. bunni bartok,

503. Kansas Elephant Mystery, 22 March, 2005 - Would anyone have any information concerning the circus elephant that was killed in Jetmore, Hodgeman County, Kansas around the Summer of 1911? The story goes that it had either killed or attacked its trainer a day or two earlier in a town the circus was playing in. It was decided to dispose of the elephant, so they put it in a boxcar and sent it to Jetmore, a small town on a branch line of the Santa Fe Railroad, where it was killed in the boxcar after it refused to come out (with I think an old buffalo gun). There is a old photograph on display in the local County Historical Museum of some of the townsfolk standing by the elephant carcass (it appears to be a young Asian elephant). However it seems the details concerning the incident have been forgotten over time. Such as the name of the elephant, the keeper and the circus it was with. K.C., Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 28 March, 2005 - This is a very good question and a slightly confusing set of records to figure it out from. The Kit Carson Wild West show existed in 1911 owned by Tom Weidemann who owned some equipment and leased animals and equipment from Wm.P. Hall's farm. There is one article that I have located that was printed several times in various papers as much as three months apart that originates in Dixon, KS and says the elephant MONTE, while chained to another elephant and being the smallest of the lot, wrapped his trunk around his trainer, James Hildebrand, and tossed him down then impaled him with his tusks repeatedly until he was driven off while Hildebrand was attempting to load the elephants into the stock car. The elephant was killed later the same day. The earliest this article is dated is June 6, 1911 in an Elyria, Ohio newspaper. I contacted the Ted Bowman Route Collection owner about the Kit Carson route and he did not have complete records to indicate their wherabouts at this time. I found another article dated in the 1960's that mentions the event with absolutely no specifics of show or animals and says Jetmore, KS, but does mention the tractor and tremendous manpower needed to remove the beast from the car after being shot. He was buried in the train yards. However the correspondence between Tom Weidemann and Wm. P. Hall ( now located at the Circus World Museum Library and to some extent has been reprinted in the Bandwagon July/ August 1973) dated May 2, 1911 that was MAILED from Jetmore, KS. says " We killed that other elephant here yesterday.....couldn't trade mean." With all of that laid on the table, I would piece this together as that makes MONTE, the Male Asian leased from Wm. P. Hall, the murdering bull. He killed James Hildebrand on May 1, 1911 in Dixon, KS and was shot and executed the same day himself. I hope this helps. Bob Cline,
    Reply: 29 March, 2005 - I have a photo-copy of a newspaper article that appeared in the Schuyler County (MO) Republican dated May-5-1911. The headline reads, "James Hilbrant Met Tragic Death Last Friday at Dixon, Mo." The article states he was killed by a unnamed elephant at Dixon, Mo the previous Friday (April-28-1911). Schuyler County is were Lancaster Missouri is located, and where he resided. So it would seem the Missouri newspaper incorrectly assumed it was the Dixon there, which is south of Jefferson City in Missouri. Another brief news item dated May-12-1911, stated that James Hilbrant was 44 yeas old, had a family in Lancaster Mo, and was sent to Memphis TN to be buried. I did some web checking and found out that there is a Dixon township at Algion, Sumner County Kansas. Algion is located along the BNSF Railroad. Looking at a map, it is near the southern Kansas border, about 80 miles southwest of Larned Kansas. Jetmore is about 30 miles West of Larned. There is some indication at the Hodgeman Historical Society, that the elephant attacked a trainer at Larned KS. The Circus Reports/Elephant History by Don Marcks, source mentions that Monte had killed two keepers but only mentioned James Hildbrant. If there was a second keeper killed, was it at Larned Kansas? Kenton C
    Reply: 30 March, 2005 - I need to correct myself as to the direction of Dixon township/Algonia Kansas to Larned Kansas. Larned is approx 100 miles North-West of Dixon (in a straight-line), Jetmore is approx. 50 miles West of Larned. Its interesting to note that James Hilderbrant was killed at Dixon KS April-28-1911, and that the elephant "Monte" was killed at Jetmore May-1-1911. As it would have taken about a day or two for the Kit Carson Buffalo Ranch Wild West Show to reach Jetmore by the Santa Fe Railroad from Sumner County KS. Once source (Circus reports/Elephant History) describes the accident as "Hilderbrand was thrown to the ground as he adjusted footchain, then was pierced with tusks and dragged along the railroad tracks".

502. Ernest Reineke, 22 March, 2005 - Ernest Reineke travelled with a circus band in Australia in 1856. The Family story goes that he travelled out from Germany with the circus, but it may have been a circus from somewhere else or he may have even joined one here. There has been some mention of Wirths' Circus over the years, but I think Wirths' Circus weren't formed until 1882 which is too late. I'm trying to find out what circuses would have been travelling the world, especially to or in Australia between 1856 and 1871. Ernest arrived in Melbourne aboard the 'South Carolina' and travelled throughout Queensland and NSW. I hope you can help me. Faye, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

501. Marion Knowlton, Fearless Horse Woman, 22 March, 2005 - I am looking for information pertaining to Marion Knowlton, "America's Most Fearless Horse Women". The only information I have is that Marion Knowlton was associated with the Cole Brothers Circus, probably in the 1940's. I would appreciate any and all information one may have in reference to Marion Knowlton. Thank you. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 30 October, 2005 - A couple of years ago a Marion Knowlton/Cole Brothers Circus poster was offered for sale on Ebay. In that poster Marion was shown riding on the head of an elephant. So, she did something in addition to riding horses. I, too, would like more information about Marion. Doug Knowlton

    Reply: 18 May, 2006 - For many years I have had a two photographs of Marion Knowlton with other memorabilia collected by my father, Rex Billings. On one of these photos, in his handwriting, he wrote on the front: " Marion Knowlton Luna park" and, on the back he wrote: "Friendly Enemies, Olympic Wild Animal Circus". One of the photos has been beautifully colored tinted and now framed and the other is black and white. My father was the manager of Luna Park for three years in the early 30's and then left to become Director/Manager of Belmont Park in Montreal due to the depression's effect on Luna. Both photos show Marion surrounded by lions. She is wearing a man's style white shirt and tie and, what looks like a burgundy velvet jacket with gold braid. In the black and white photo there is a man standing with her with two lions and a white dog. The "tinted photo" is indeed very dramatic - she is surrounded by lions with their mouths wide open and heads held back. Please advise if this information is helpful to the reader. With kind regards, Meghan Billings Brown

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