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Message Archive: Messages 601 - 650

650. Pelucas, clown, 03 June, 2005 - A couple of years ago I purchased a Pencil Drawing of a clown who went by the name of Pelucas. His name printed on the back is Ernesto Vertti Marquez (1980-1981) I would be very interested in finding out any informaton about this person, such as the circus he was with and where he came from, etc. Any help with information would be greatly appreciated Thank you, Sherry A. Kennedy, Pensacola, Florida, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 04 June, 2005 - There was a clown with Polack Bros. Circus throughout the 1960's named Javier Pelusa. Might it be he? Buckles Woodcock
    Reply: 04 June, 2005 - Pelucas means Wigs in Spanish. Natasha Gerson

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649. Mark Anthony, clown, 03 June, 2005 - Would any one know where american clown Mark Anthony is buried. He gave me my first unicycle when he was with Wirth's circus in Australia in the 1950s. As I may be in the US soon I would like to visit same. I seen Mark when he was with the Ringling blue show when I was in the US in August 1973. robert perry, former part owner, perry bros circus, australia. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 16 June, 2005 - Mark's memorial service was conducted at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1600 Orlando Ave in Winter Park, FL. They might be able to provide that information. Mark was a great friend to many. Robert Momyer
    Reply: 16 June, 2005 - Mark lived with Wayne and Marti Scott, the people who make clown shoes in Howie in the Hills, Florida when he passed away. I will give you the email address I have for them and you can write them directly and ask. They are very fine people. It is: Jackie LeClaire
    Reply: 02 August, 2005 - I would be interested in learning more about Mark anthony and his Bio, i.e., where he was born, When, Who he Trooped with (in 1949) any thing. Maybe I can share something for your research? Thank you, Thomas;
    Reply: 5 October, 2005 - I spent a great deal of time around Mark Anthony as a child. Aside from being a clown, he was a gifted artist, and started me on the road to art which I am still on 45 years later. I have one of his carvings of himself that he gave me for my 7th birthday. My we were with him on the Rudy Show, as well as other shows. Please feel free to contact me at

648. Holland's Circus, 02 June, 2005 - Would like some information about Holland's Circus Strassburg - particularly what happened to them in World War II. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 June, 2005 - Its not Strassburg but Strassburger. During World War II, the Strassburgers were mostly in hiding or working as 'Italians' ('Belli') in their own circus which was under the management of (non-Jewish) friend and former speaker Frans Mikkenie, who before and after the war also had his own circus. See Message 412. for more about Circus Strassburger. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 24 January, 2006 - Some of the Belli family migrated to Australia 1982. Rudy Belli (nephew of Harry Belli) had his own show for 5 years in Australia. He has 4 daughters. One of his daughters Rose is married to Dani Gasser and they own Circus Liliput in Switzerland. Rosita married David Meatchem, South African circus man. Pearl married Mark Williams a stage performer. I married Caroline and we run Circus Sunrise in Australia. Some of the Bellis still live in Germany. There are still a couple of the Strassburgers. They are working in a theme park in Hamburg. I hope this bit of info is of help. Gary & Caroline Brophy Dir. Circus Sunrise,

647. Flying La Vans, 02 June, 2005 - I have a cousin who performed with the Flying La Vans/Le Vans. Can someone please tell me how to correctly spell the name of this group? Ellen Barnett Cleary, Kenner LA, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 04 June, 2005 - It's the Flying Levans. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 22 September, 2005 - This troupe spelled the name "La Vans" for its flying acts since its inception in the 1870s. Harry Greene, who owned and managed the troupe from 1896, when his brother, Fred died in 1896, also used the spelling "Le Vans" in the 19teens and '20s with some other acts that the troupe performed. Advertisements illustrated Harry's wife, Amy, and other people with the act performing single trapeze and rings using the name "Le Vans." According to local legend in their hometown of Bloomington, Illinois, Fred and Howard Greene decided to call their act the "La Vans" as a variation of their mother's maiden name, Val Alstine, however similar names had been used before this (Lavantine, Lamartine, etc.) and they may have chosen the name for popular appeal.

    Reply: 31 Dec 2011 - Just read this message 6 yrs after posted. My uncle performed with the La Vans around 1918 or so, there is an article that appears in the Times Picayune Dixie magazine with info given by my uncle in 1968. Aline

646. Copenhagen Circus, 02 June, 2005 - I am looking for information on the Copenhagen Circus that originated in Denmark and was in Austin, Minnesota between 1915-1920. An acrobat named Axel Hansen married a local girl. Kathy Pike, Austin, Minnesota. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

645. Kelly Miller, Royal Hanneford, 02 June, 2005 - What can you tell about Kelly Miller circus and Royal Hanneford circus. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 11 June, 2005 - Unfortunately this question is too broad to cover on this website. However if you can be more specific in your requests maybe we can be of more help. To give you a quick differences answer, the Royal Hanneford Circus is owned by Tommy and his wife Struppi Hanneford. Both were performers in their own right and Tommy's family goes back 200 years in the circus business. They play mostly indoor arena dates with some under canvas dates during the summer. They have been blessed with the likes of Mark Karoly to continue with the infamous riding buffoonery that the Hanneford family has been known for. The Kelly-Miller Circus is without a doubt the finest example of old time circus as we know it. The show is under canvas all season long. The elephants help pull the tent up and trucks off the muddied lots. The advance is pasting posters in your town to tell you they are coming. They offer everything anyone could want to see in a circus with the exception of a cage act. The audience is too close to be feasible.The show is owned by David Rawls and comes from 40 years experience in the D.R. Miller family with the Al G. Kelly-Miller Bros. Circus title. David has been around the circus all his life as well. While both shows offer great family entertainment, the atmosphere is entirely different. Bob Cline
    Reply: 13 December, 2005 - My name is Onionhead a clown. I would like to know how I can get tape or video of Tommy Hannaford comedy horse act. Thank you, Onionhead a clown,

644. Idaho, early 1900s, 31 May, 2005 - In the early 1900s, perhaps 1905, what would have been method of transporting a Ringling Bros. Circus to the rural community if Idaho Falls, Idaho? At that time there was rail service into the town. Also, the overland roads were par for the era. Also, are there any records remaining of circus schedules like Pocatello, July 6-10, Idaho Falls, July 12-16, etc. How was food for the animals provided? Was it purchased from local merchants, farmers, and ranchers? Thanks so much! Regards, Henry Christensen, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 01 June, 2005 - Ringling Brother's World's Greatest Show moved exclusively by rail. In 1900 America's major circus (Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show On Earth was touring Europe) visited Idaho Falls, Idaho on August 18, for an afternoon show only. The circus returned on August 9, 1902 again for a single afternoon performance. 1904 brought the big show back on August 13 for an afternoon performance. Pocatello,Idaho was played on August 12 in 1904. As for food provision it was the task of the advance agent to make local purchases. The circus was a city on wheels and carried a population of over 1000 people and about 800 animals. Insofar as Idaho Falls was concerned, it was more important for the circus to pick up provisions than the profitability of the date. Furthermore, a long jump meant eliminating the night show. Please note that the circus did not play on Sundays at the time. - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 02 June, 2005 - Thanks so very much, Giovanni! Henry Christensen,

643. Louis C. Liotta, 31 May, 2005 - Looking for information on Louis C. Liotta, photographer for the New York Post. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 03 June, 2005 - The apprenticeship of Louis Liotta began during the turbulent years surrounding WWII. Usher or Arthur Fellig (1899-1968) a k a Weegee, was a free-lance photojournalist portrayed by Joe Pesci (under the alias of Bernstein) in the 1992 movie "The Public Eye". "Weegee" was derived from either Squeegee Boy, when he "squeegee-d" wet photos in the N.Y. Times darkroom, or from Ouijii, as in Ouijii Board. Armed with a Speed Graphic camera, the pockets of his trench coat bulging with flashbulbs and film, he would roam nighttime Manhattan while listening to the NYPD short-wave. He had a knack for arriving just in time to photograph still-warm corpses. His assistant, louis Liotta, would help stage some of the pictures like adding a bottle (or hat) near a dead victim for dramatic effect. An interesting aspect of this remarkable news hound is the way he impersonated a clown to cover a circus from the inside. E.J. Kelty was another famous photographer who is known in the circus world as "The Circus Photographer". He was also assisted by unknown people. Fortunatly, Louis C. Liotta did not pass into anonymity and he followed a lifelong career in photography. Suggest you contact N.Y. Post. - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 11 July, 2005 - I found your name off of a message board inquiring about a clown, Frankie Saluto. Unfortunately, I cannot help you out with your inquiry. I'm sorry. However, you mentioned that your father was Louis Liotta, the NY Post photographer. I am currently working on a documentary about Toots Shor, a legendary restaurant ownder/saloon owner in NY during the 1940's-1960's. His grandaughter is producing the film. Your father took many photos of Toots during the 1950's and 1960's. We have been lucky to see a lot of them through the NY Post. However, we are wondering at this time if your father might have had a private collection of photos that might include some photos of Toots Shor and/or his restaurant. Does his collection exist somewhere? Any information you could provide would be extremely helpful. I would be glad to send you some more information on Toots and our film. Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, Andrea Blau. Catalyst Films, Toots Shor: Bigger Than Life, 212-966-3677

642. Circus Vargas, 31 May, 2005 - My husband, Ron Piddington passed away on May 3rd. He and I (Betty) travelled with Circus Vargas in 1977-78-90 and I have many memorabilia, photos, programs etc. should anyone be interested. He worked with Bill Biggerstaff and I was Cliff's secretary. Betty Piddington. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 31 May, 2005 - Dear Betty, Its interesting to know that you have parcels and tidbits of the old Cliff Vargas Circus. You may not remember me but when the show played Montreal. I was the French speaking talker on the sideshow. Bill was handling the front door. He went to Las Vegas and started Graphics 2000. Anything pertaining to Circus Vargas is interesting and very much part of Biggerstaff's art work (reminiscent of Roland Butler). - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 11 June, 2005 - Hi Betty, Shirley and myself were very sad and sorry to here of Bill's passing. We would be glad to hear from you at: Sincerely, Al and Shirley Stencell.
    Reply: 30 January, 2006 - Hi Betty - I worked for Circus Vargas (1975 - 1977) as an Engagement Cordinator and worked with Gary Geweniger, Pam Easley, Bruce Furwa, and John Lyons. I would love to get some pictures or other circus memorabilia from that timeframe. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Gay Carlson (Poppino),

    Reply: 31 Oct 2009 - My moms Cousin Vashek and his wife Kathy also were with Vargas they had the nightwalk/motorcyle act and my Aunt Lily has a foot tumpling act. Plus my grandparents owned the biggest Eastern European Circus up to WW2 Circ Corona based out of Prague. Donna

641. King Bros. circus, 31 May, 2005 - I am looking for a circus that was King Bros. circus. I am doing a paper on it for college. Thanks, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 01 June, 2005 - From "Pictorial History of the American Circus": Floyd and Howard King left other circus jobs to open their own two-car show in 1919 as Sanger Circus, borrowing the name from the great British circus. Operated as a "car show" (baggage cars and sleepers) thru 1924, when it was the Harris Bros. Circus. In 1925 they switched to flat-car operation and had the Walter L. Main Circus on ten and 15 cars thru 1928, Gentry Bros. Circus on ten or 15 cars, 1926-1929, and ten-car Cole Bros.,1929-1930. Operated other kinds of shows until 1946, when Floyd King established King Bros. Circus, continuing with various partners until 1952, when it became King Bros. and Cristiani Circus. After the name was changed back to King Bros. in 1953, the show toured in 1954 successfully and 1955 unprofitably before folding spectacularly in 1956. From "Directory of American Circuses": King Bros Circus 1937, 1942, 1946-1956, 1959-1978, 1980; King Bros and Sells and Gray Circus 1962; King Bros Wild West 1930-1933. You may be able to find more information by contacting the Circus World Museum in Baraboo Wisconsin. Darren
    Reply: 19 June, 2005 - The King Bros title had other lives after the 1956 closing (when it was in two units, one under Floyd King and the other under Arnold Maley). A branch of the Cristiani family took out a truck show in 1959 which was called King Bros on the posters and the "Little Cristiani" show in the business. Then the Acme Circus Corp had the title out for a number of years during the 1960s and 1970s and after that show closed another group very briefly operated under the title. For many of these years Floyd and his wife Vicky received a royalty for the title which was said to be 2% of gross. Best, Dave Price

640. Sacha Houcke, 31 May, 2005 - I am looking for a man named Sacha Houcke, about his life. Thanks, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 01 June, 2005 - You must mean Sascha Houcke? With the correct spelling, you should be able to find plenty. Ahem. Natasha Gerson

    Reply: 15 August, 2006 - Ref Sasha Houcke, I worked with Sasha with Cottle and Chipperfields circus during the 1976- 77 season and I know that he came to England from the Knee circus in Switzerland. He also worked with the Sntos troupe as well, I hope this is a bit of help in your search. dave symons,

    Reply: 18 August, 2006 - Not Knee Circus, but Circus KNIE. And its Santus Troupe (Julien Santus Troupe). Natasha Gerson

    Reply: 19 August, 2006 - Hi, Sacha Houcke has been training elephants, horses, and zebras on the Ringling Bros. Red Unit since the year 2000. His younger daughter, Karin, works with him, and for a few years, his older daughter Sara Houcke was known as "Sara the Tiger Whisperer" on Ringling's Blue Unit. Check Ringling's website for more info. Before that I believe he was with Circus Barum in Germany and Circus Knie in Switzerland, but I can't be certain about Barum. I hope this helps - Chris

    Reply: 05 September, 2006 - If you try you will find the welcome to the Houcke family Circus, Sacha Sr. died in 1989, Sacha jr. has 2 daughters who are active in the circus Sara and Karin, the site is very interesting hope you can find it good luck. fransje

    Reply: 23 September, 2006 - I had invited you to my site on Ancestry com before 24 hours you will receive an invitations + instructions to go on ancestry. Here you will see names from the Houcke family that I put inside. Jette Goldkette Sřrensen

    Reply: 19 January, 2007 - When you go online under Sascha houcke and Sara houcke you will find a lot of information about the family.

    Reply: 23 Nov 2007 - A warm greeting from Switzerland. Thank you for the help to find the Houcke Sisters Karin and Sarah. I knew their granfather very well and I am looking to find Judith and Sascha Jun at the moment. I am an animal keeper who worked in Knie CH, Benneweis DK, Berolina DDR and Blackpool Tower cirkus. Hannah Reber.

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639. Billboard & Arthur Mann/Maus, 30 May, 2005 - I've read numerous postings that mention a periodical titled "Billboard" and would like to know where I can find them? I recently learned that my Arthur (Maus) Mann, who was based out of Chicago from the 1920's to the 1960's, advertised in the "Billboard" and I want to get copies of these advertisements. He made juggling props - fire sticks, clubs, lariats, rolling globes, and props to order. Even better yet, I'd love to find anyone who actually has some of his creations. There are several excellent write ups concerning him in "The Jugglers Bulletin." He came from a long line of performers going back to England and Germany in the 19th & 20th Century. I have a newspaper article which claims his father was the first person to have a three ring circus in Germany. Not sure if this is true yet, but believe we are related to the proprietors of Herr Maus Circus & The Maus Excelsior Circus which toured Europe in the mid 1800's. The family troupe that came over to the USA between 1914 and 1916 was known as The Dayton Family. After the large act broke up in 1920 numerous smaller family acts performed for many years thereafter including Arthur's, going by the stage name, The Mann Brothers. His brothers act was known as The Melford Trio. Ring a bell with anyone? Thanks, Randy Maus. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 09 June, 2005 - To locate files of the weekly trade journal "Billboard," contact your local interlibrary loan librarian. If you don't have one, you may have to contact someone at the state library. Loanable copies are usually microfilm reels. Loans are usually three reels at a time. With universal reductions in cultural heritage support, there's been a general decrease in available loan materials. Some institutions have simply stopped their loan programs, others will not pay for anything other than the postage on "free" loans. There are microfilmed Billboard holdings at Circus World Museum Library (not loaned); New York Public Library; University of California-San Bernardino; Milwaukee Public Library, and surely elsewhere. Speak to your librarian, they're usually quite helpful. Be aware, as you start your search, that searching for a single, specific name will truly be akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. You might consider other resources available on-line, ones with key-word searching capability. The CWM Library has a name finding aid [yellow tickets] that might serve as a basis for checking further. Fred Dahlinger

638. Command Performance, Kennedys 1962, 30 May, 2005 - I'm looking for information on a Command Performance for the Kennedy's in 1962. It was for Jacqueline, Caroline, and John, ... It may have been a Jack Joyce Liberty Act. Harry Haag Jr worked the horses. Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

637. Roy Roger's Palomino Liberty Horse Act, 30 May, 2005 - I'm looking for information on Roy Roger's Palomino Liberty Horse Act. It was sold and Gene Randal worked the horses in California in the late 1950's or early 1960's along with Harry Haag Jr. Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 31 May, 2005 - A recent Circus Report Magazine had an ad from George Hubler, Circus Producer, advertising a Circus Video with circus acts from the 1950s - The Liberty Act worked by Roy Rogers is shown along with additional footage of Roy and Dale. Hope this helps. Charles

636. Sarazini Circus, Cirque Royal, 29 May, 2005 - I am looking for information about European circuses named Sarazini Circus and Cirque Royal. If anyone has information, history or photographs of the circus from 1900 on it would be most appreciated. Also, any referrals as to where further information may be obtained is also appreciated. Thanks very much, Vince Gratzer, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 31 May, 2005 - Sarrasani Circus is one of the legendary circuses of Europe. For many years it was on tour in South America under Stoch Sarassani. The show was huge. When I first saw it in the 1980's the wagons were still painted green and white diagonally. The show was still a big railroad circus. They still had this huge wooden fascade that fronted the show. Many of the wagons were in bad shape. The show which had one time owned many animals including a huge herd of elephants and a large polar bear act owned none but booked outside animal acts. Fritz Mey the owner and his wife seemed to be everywhere doing all the work. The performance was still good. After Fritz Mey died his widow and teenage son carried on but the show slipped more and more in size. At one point Jackie Althoff was over there moving it and engineering the transition of the show from a rail show to a truck show. First thing to go was the huge wooden front entry. When I last saw it in 1997 it was going over the road on a few trucks pulling wagons. They had retained the old ticket wagon and several of the older living wagons. The performance had been transformed into a large magic show which the son was presenting. As spectacle, the show was still a good one.
          The only Cirque Royal I know of is the small permanent circus building in Brussels. It was the home to a winter circus season for many years but I do not know if it has been used lately.
          Any of the German and European fan magazines - past and present will have articles on Sarassani. The fine Circus-Journal ( ( quarterly German publication) has had some nice coverage of the show including photos of Stoch lying in state in the big top and his funeral under canvas. Al Stencell
    Reply: 31 May, 2005 - my Mother and Father met in Circus Sarrasani in 1928 in South America. My brother has an original circus newspaper from that time. That show must be the greatest show ever shown. My mother was a dancer in the show. They had 66 dancers. Troupes from every country. They had a huge amount of American Indians. My Mother used to tell us many stories of those days, her happiest times. One very interesting: The director had a favorite elephant ... when the director died, his elephant died within two weeks. This type of circus could never come back; no one could pay all those troupes. I worked Cirque Royal in Brussels many years ago. It was a building, one ring ... almost like a revue. They had a huge screen showing a short cowboy movie, which ended with a man on a horse dressed like a cowboy riding in the ring (one ring) and some Indians ... cannot remember the story. Fatima Brahim (Wazzan)
    Reply: 01 June, 2005 - Apart from Cirque Royal, there are - where several Circus Royals. The longest existing was a Dutch Circus Royal. Latterly it was owned by the Teutenberg family from Dordrecht. They stopped travelling in 1999 and now have winter circus. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 19 July, 2005 - My Dad and Uncles traveled with Circus Sarazani in South America in the late 1920's or early 30's? I have pictures of them dressed up as Cowboys and there were real American Indians in the pictures. I have a flat riding crop that my dad gave me that he got from an Argentinean Gaucho friend. Also I have a brief case made out of alligator hide. Our family were Bare Back Riders. (Jockey Riders). I came with my mother and sister to Ringling Bro's. in 1955. We were with the show in Pittsburgh, Pa in 1956 when Ringling folded the Big Top for the last time. We were also with Sarazani during the fire bombing of Dresden in February 1945. We were lucky and escaped with our horse. Many,many people died that night. Sincerely, Erny M. Karoly,
    Reply: 25 July, 2005 - The Sarrasani Circus has one long history. Their trips to Sudamerica included Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina and was made in years 1923/4; 1934/36 and 1948. The last owner, Trude Stosch-Sarrasani, even lives in Argentina of 91 years old, I have talked with her the last year. I will send you some photos of the circus in South America. An Argentinean, Gustavo Bernstein, has written a very good book about this circus: "Sarrasani, entre la fábula y la epopeya" (Sarrasani, between the fable and the epopee) that included many photographs and documents. César Ortega.

    Reply: 13 Oct 2009 - Circus Sarrasani - Hans Stosch was my great-grandmother's brother. We still have the Family Bible from which he was carefully excised when he ran away at 16 to become an elephant boy in the Circus - and moved up to develop and own one of the best Circuses in Europe - and on 2 continents. My mother was able to visit him just before the end of the war, in an attempt to bring the sides of the family together. Because Hans Stosch's uncle was first Admiral of the German Navy under Bismarck, his circus leanings caused immense dislocation in the family. There is a story that the name Sarrasani was sold in 1945 or thereabouts to a non-family member, with the Circus, for a final case of Scotch, and that the current Sarrasani family are not relatives of the Stosch - I am not sure how true this is. It has been fascinating to read all the material on line, and I am sorry to see that Trude Stosch Sarrasani just died before I had a chance to meet her. The family has since spread in many new directions - and has moved further around the world. Nermin Ahmad,

635. Women, circus acts, costumes, 29 May, 2005 - My name is Diane, I live in Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa. I am trying to find out what type of acts would woman have done in the circus during the late 1950's early 1960's in Europe and what type of costumes they would have worn. Your help would be appreciated. Many thanks, Diane. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 01 June, 2005 - In the 1950's-60's in Europe basically women did all the things men might have done, with the only exception of sharpshooting and knifecasting, I've never heard of a woman doing that in those times, and indeed know of only one here now (Elena Sterza of the Jasters). But female ringmasters, (wild) animal trainers, horse presenters, and all the acrobatics have always been a normal thing. The costumes depend very much on WHEN (there's a huge difference between the 50's and 60's here) and obviously, what they were doing. In the early fifties Europe was still recovering from WW2 and there was no money, what money there was was being put into regaining large material, trucks etc. Certainly not in costumes, so most used would be the same style as in the 30's and 40's. Pleny of surplus army was revamped for requisiteur and speakers jackets etc, but mostly for men. The end of the 60's showed much more American influence, from the early seventies on everything was sequins, spandex and Las Vegas show style. Not until halfway the 80s the original semi-military style came back under the influence of Bernhard Paul's Roncalli and also with the Eastern Block opening up where circuses had retained the classic style. If you tell me what you are looking for specifically, I can probably send you pictures. The most important 'fashions' in circus wear are for single ground acrobats (at the moment full body suits in rainbow airbrush acetate with wraparound panoptic sequin, sometimes with one arm one leg), single vertical cord, and of course the galon jackets, where the gold cording is very much subject to trends. Mostly its in the materials. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 11 July, 2005 - Hi Diane, My name is Mia Cristiani-Alvis. My mother Delia Zacchini-Cristiani did a beautiful act with a balancing trapeze. There were very few women that did that act - it was done mostly by men. The act required a great deal of strength and balance of course. She was one of the best women performers of her day in the 50s and 60s. If you'd like more information about her and her homemade costumes contact me at MIACATY@AOL.COM and we'll talk some more. Thank you for the inquiry. Mia Cristiana-Alvis

634. Circus advertisements, 29 May, 2005 - I'm an artist and am looking for images of circus advertisements up until the mid-part of this century. I'm particularly interested in images from French circuses but American circus imagery would be fine, too. My local library only has two books that focus on the circus. Any information regarding internet sites that have a plethora of circus photos and advertisements would be greatly appreciated. My name is Matt Duffin and I can be reached at Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

633. Sells Floto 1921-23, 1926, 29 May, 2005 - I recently found two small photo albums full of pictures of the Sell Flotos Circus. Most of the pictures are from 1921-1923 but there are a couple from 1926. Most of the pictures are identified by first name only. I have identified Poodles and George Hannaford; as well as a couple of group pictures of the Hoginis, but there are many, many others that I would like to identify including the Flying Levans, The Three Bells, The Flying Millers, The Nelson Troupe and many others. Do you know of a website I can go to to try to identify additional members of the Sells Floto Circus during those years? Thanks! Libby. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 01 June, 2005 - Would be very interested in seeing the photo's, don't know how much help I'd be on the 21-23, but the 1926 I might be able to indentify some missing links. Natasha Gerson,
    Reply: 02 June, 2005 - I would be very interested in seeing some of those photos also. My Grandfather (Samuel LaFleur) was with the John Robinson Circus and I believe he may have been part of Sells Floto also. He was an elephant trainer/handler. I believed he worked with several famous elephants. I know he worked with Pitt, Tony, Clara and Tillie. He may have even worked with Trilby. You can reach me at Thanks, Lori
    Reply: 09 June, 2005 - There have been articles written about most Sells-Floto tours through 1924. These have been printed in Bandwagon. The articles can be found in the article index on this website. They include some show images. There was also a two-page Sells-Floto spread of photos with captions printed a decade or more ago. At the CWM library is a very large collection of Sells-Floto cast and crew photography from the 1920s. Many are identified. They're in the print files and the negatives exist for them. You'll need to go there to further your interests. There should also be programs, couriers, heralds, newspaper ads and other materials with useful content. I'd also check the season opener coverage in "Billboard," which usually listed most of the acts and performers. By the way, the spelling of the one name is Hodgini (originally Hodges, I believe) and the other is Hanneford. John McConnell wrote a book about the Hannefords that might prove of value to your work. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 22 September, 2005 - The La Vans were a flying act whose owner and manager was Harry La Van, and generally employed people from Bloomington, Illinois. I would have to see the photos of the Flying Millers to be able to tell if I know any of them. The Nelson troupe (owner, manager, Tom Nelson) was a popular acrobatic and trapeze act that originally came from England. I know that they wintered in Bloomington and used the Ward training barn for practice for a short time in the 1920s.

    Reply: 23 Jan 2010 - Hello, I am a descendant of the Flying Millers. My grandfather has told me stories about growing up in the act and actually has many pictures that were just refurbished. I’m not sure if he is willing to share but if you are interested feel free to contact me. He may also be able to help you in identifying the photos you currently have. Best, Kate

    Reply: 05 Dec 2012 - I'm told my grandfather was one of the Flying Millers (Harry Miller). I'd like to hear from anyone who knew of them. Including Kate. Respond to

632. Elephant driving car, 29 May, 2005 - I am 54 years of age and have vague recollections of seeing a circus act which gave the impression of an elephant driving a car. This was as a youngster visiting a circus that was giving it's shows in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1954 or 1955. Please can anyone confirm this? Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 17 July, 2005 - I don't know about an elephant driving a car but the image of one in a car seems to pop up from a Billy Smart's Circus program or poster. I would think the car was framed up like a three wheel bike that I have seen elephants ride a couple of times. The last one I saw was on Circus Busch in Leipzig, Germany in the late 1970's. The trick was the blow - off to the big bull act in the tent but the ring was too soft and the bike wouldn't move. It had rather large rubber tires. The announcer told everyone that the elephant would do it outside in front of the show on the cobbled street. After the show I was one of about 1000 people that formed a big circle and watched the elephant peddle this three wheel bike around and around. Al Stencell

631. American Eskimo Dogs, 29 May, 2005 - I am trying to find out more about American Eskimo Dogs used in Circus Acts in the early 1900's. One was Trixie the White Spitz and another one was Bido. Thanks, Jane Wood. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 04 June, 2005 - In 1903, The Grand in Decatur advertised 'Alaska' a scenic drama under the management of one Licoln J Carter, the scenery being especially designed for the main players, a pack of Eskimo Dogs. An ice bound ship was one of the special pieces of scenery. Also, there seemed to have been plenty of 'Santa'ses' with Eskimo Dogs in winter shows. In the 1930s a man called Bill Blomberg performed with Eskimo Dogs with Barker Brothers Indoor Circuses as Blombergs Alaskan Huskies. In 1937 he had a litter which held a staggering amount of 6 pure white pups out of 7 from a grey mother, the Mansfield News Journal reported out of Galion. The article says he was the only man at the time to train performing Eskimo Dogs but of course we don't know claims like that in regional newspapers to be accurate. In 1890 the Chicago Tribune interviewed a Professor Burton who had a large mixed troope of performing dogs, including spaniëls, poodles and a spitz. "The spaniëls are the trickster, t Spitz is the clown." Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 11 July, 2005 - I have Trixie and Bido's pedigrees. Trixie was out of "Jerry" and "Trixie Sr". The dogs were from the Midwest, Michigan and Northern Indiana. Mrs. Wayne Johnson of Colon Michigan owned Trixie, and from the information that I have was never used in any circus. Bido is said to have preformed in the Barnum Bailey circus, but there isn't any documentation of that. The circuses used many dogs in their acts including Pugs, Boxers, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and a number of mixed breeds. The "Spitz" I don't believe was used any more or less than the other breeds or mixes. ESKIE@IQUEST.NET

630. Del Graham, Flying Viennas, 29 May, 2005 - Does anybody have information about Del Graham and The Flying Viennas when it became an all women's act, including the catcher? Names or whereabouts of flyers and catchers still living? Thanks. Lisa. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 21 June, 2005 - Lisa, were you in the act? I was on the Hoxie Bros. Circus in the late 70's I believe 1978. The Wazzan Family. It was a long time ago but still remember the "blue bus" they lived in. I think the catchers name was Patty? There was a flyer named Lisa and they hired the mechanics (Vern) daughter Tracey to go in the act. There was one more girl but can't remember her name. I have no idea what ever happened to any of them. But it was fun to remember back then! thanks! Alissa Zilio (Wazzan/Abderrahman)
    Reply: 21 June, 2005 - I sent you an email about the flying act but my memory was mistaken. The mechanics name was Buck and his wife was Verna (the cook for the cook house) daughter was still Tracey. I have a program from Hoxie 78 season but the flying Vienna's have no photos in the book but are listed on the program. alissa (wazzan) zilio
    Reply: 20 July, 2005 - I was friends with Del and the ladies from 1971. I met Barby Reges (a flyer) and her sister Patty (the catcher) in Thousand Oaks, CA. Del was based in San Fernando and I spent a lot of time there while they practiced. Occasionally I would travel in their bus to local bookings and help with the rigging. Barby and I moved to the Grants Pass, OR area in 1975 and Del and Patty moved up in (?) 1976. I don't really remember the particulars, but a couple of years later, Del left the area, heading south. He had to have someone drive for him and I think he had a falling out with the original driver and got a stranger to drive. The last thing I heard was that Del swapped a $$Browning shotgun for truck repair in Northern CA. He disappeared after that. I sometimes hear from Patty. She is now a postal letter carrier here in Josephine County. Barby is a airline stewardess based out of Portland, OR. Rich Williams
    Reply: 29 July, 2005 - There is a picture of Del Graham on website. Go to the Library, Virtual Exhibits, The Flying Melzoras Collection. There are hundreds of circus pictures of the Flying Melzores and other pictures. SVSU is the archive for these pictures. There are circus performer pictures which were sent to the Flying Melzores and one of these is of Del and Babs Graham with Ricky and David Nelson. He is also mentioned on a Ricky Nelson website I found. Linda, Saginaw, MI
    Reply: 12 October, 2005 - Hi, I was a flyer with the Flying Vienna's in 1978 when we traveled with the Hoxie show. After the season ended in November of 1978, the act moved back to Oregon. Del and the catcher, Patty Regis sold their property in Grants Pass and bought a few acres in Cave Junction. I married a clown from that show named Gene Carlisle, we were divorced 15 years later. Del moved to the Yucatan probably in 1979 or so and hasn't been seen since. Patty the catcher stayed at the place in Cave Junction. One of the other fliers, Maureen went out with the Flying Valentines for awhile, then joined the army. Around 1980, Patty and I put another all girl act together, called the Flying Del Grahams, and performed for Jose Cole and some other shows, then ended up back in Oregon. Patty is a rural mail deliverer and I teach dog agility. Yes, Buck the mechanics daughter Tracy flew in the act during that season on the Hoxie show. Our bus was red and white and had a flying winged horse painted on the drivers side. I painted the horse at Winter Quarters in Miami. Maureen painted the yellow lettering that said The Flying Viennas. I remember being parked next to the Wazzan's motor home and Lisa Wazzan playing the soundtrack from "Grease" over and over. Who is asking about the Flying Viennas? Lisa Michelon
    Reply: 26 October, 2005 - Hi! I met the Flying Viennas, and even was able to train with them in Venice Florida one year while my new husband and I were adventuring about. We house-sat for Del and Patty in Grants Pass for a couple of months until civilization beckoned and my husband couldn't stand the rustic living any longer. My name is Sheree and I have great pictures of us all playing and practicing. There is Del, Lisa, Mo, Patty, Jeannie Wyerski and myself. My husband who wasn't fond of heights anchored the rope ladder for us. I haven't heard from any of the girls, or Del, for a very long time but I have great memories of them, and of their heifer Cindy and dogs, Junior and Frosty whom I was deathly afraid of upon arrival at the farm in Oregon, but quickly fell in love with. I am happily married, and getting old, to a nice man (no longer to Tim, who was my fellow adventurer in the 70's) with two beautiful sons: Caleb and Seth (one is 20 years old and the other only 7. I still am adventuring) and I am a teacher in Reedsburg Wisconsin. If this gets to any of the girls, please let them know I still think of them fondly and have such fun sharing our photos with all my kids. I can see Patty driving a mail truck. Why are you looking for them?

    Reply: 14 March, 2007 - Good Evening, My name is Rod Mac Kenzie and I caught on and off for various acts. I broke in in Bloomington, Ill. with Harry La Mar, Sid Smith, and J.R. Fenton then went with the Concellos and the Wards. I spent a few years around Del J. Graham in Chattsworth, Ca. later at Tarzana, Ca and saw him a few times at Grants Pass, Or. We were quite close and I was into a few things with him and a guy named John Roselli. We made money together. My career in circus acts and around Carnivals, Parks etc was with High acts which I usually owned a Sway Pole Act, A flying Act a couple of Casting Acts and A full Circus which Del and John Roselli and I were partners in and that I ran in the Philippines for 2 years. I had not heard from Del or any of his gals in years but if hes still out there I'd love to write him. Pictures of any of the places like Tarzana I'd love to have. At 70 those are fond memories for me. I just heard Ivan Henry is in bad shape in a hospital in Arizona. Ivan was in that click as well. Hope he makes it. I went by the name of Ward Alexander as I bought acts by both those names and toured Europe in the 80s and 90s with them ending up on Boswell Wilkey in Republic of South Africa. I would enjoy hearing from anyone that was around Del in the past especially at Chattsworth or Tarzana. I would correspond with any who reply or just want to cut Jackpots ! The Address here is RODERICK A. MAC KENZIE,III, COLLEGE OF COMPLEXES CARNIVAL AND CIRCUS ARTS STUDIOS, Suite No. 314 - MAIL BOX 209, 819 North 49th Street, Seattle, Washington, 98103-6517. My E-Mail is I will answer all that reply. It would be nice to know where Del is or ended up. Have a great day Circusley yours Rod

    Reply: 01 June 2007 - My mother, Fleur Powell, was one of the Flying Viennas, and I remember Dell, Babs, Linda, etc. We last heard from Dell just prior to his leaving for the Yucatan. He said he intended to go to Florida as well. No word since. Later, we heard that his truck was "found" in northern California. No other info. We live out in Dover, TN, now. My mother and step-dad own a small hotel here (The Sunset Motor Inn, 314 Hwy 79, Dover, TN). I am sure she would love to hear from any of the old hands. Bill Powell

    Reply: 30 Jul 2008 - Hi My name is Tony Aldava. My brother, Mike Aldava and I flew for Del Graham Productions on and off from 1970 thr 1985. I became a catcher shortly after Patty became a catcher. My brother, Mike had gone on the road with Linda, Goody and I do not remember the name of the other girl in the show. When they came back the end of '71 due to problems on the road, Del had become frustrated so that is when he created the all girl flying act. The act consisted of Pam, Linda, Cindy, Patty, Barb, and many more. Mike, my brother became an instructor and I assisted wherever I was needed. We fell out of touch for a couple of years, then re-connected with Del at Gary Littlejohns. At Littlejohns is where Mike Aldava met Sue, she was one of the flyers . They later married. We spent time with Del repairing the bus, we also converted it to a circus bus years ago. I always had a knack of PISSING Del off. We have not heard from Del since the late 1980's. The last words from Del were: "I'm going to Mexico!" My brother Mike Aldava passed away June 26th, 2007. We talked many a nights about Del and all our friends in the trapeze act. If anyone would like to get in touch my e-mail address is Thank you, Tony Aldava

    Reply: 15 Aug 2008 - I knew Del Graham when he lived in Tarzana many, many years ago. A friend and I answered an ad he had placed in the LA Times: he was pulling together an all-girl flying act to tour Europe. I knew Fleur Powell and Lynn and others. At that time Del was technical advisor to a TV show, so one might find well-known actors training on the equipment in his back yard on any day. There were always people coming and going - a lot happening all the time. He was one of a kind! By the way, I just sent an e-mail to Rod Mac Kenzie, who posted a message on this site, but it came back “mailbox not found.” Carol

    Reply: 26 Jul 2009 - Hi, Found this web page by accident and it brought back some fond memories. A couple of friends of mine, Sandy Nelson and Connie Romano, were fliers for Del Graham's Flying Viennas in the early 1970s. I got to hang around his place in San Fernando (Pacoima?) and took photos for him. I also made a set of team sweatshirts with a high contrast photo of Patty Regis catching one of the girls in mid-leap and "The Flying Viennas" and "Del Graham's Circus Productions" in red on yellow/gold (still have a couple in a closet somewhere). Once I drove a truck and helped with setup and tear down for a one night stand. I recall meeting Fred Waugh there when he was David McCallum's stunt double on "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." I'll never forget the time Del offered me a drink from the bottle of Dant's whiskey he kept in the freezer. Made me feel like family. I pretty much lost track of everyone in 1973 when I took off to live in Europe for a couple of years. Got back in touch briefly around 1975 or so, as I recall, then my life got very busy and I lost track for the final time. Thanks for the reminder. Jerry Hollombe

    Reply: 30 Dec 2011 - My name is Jeff Cody Morris, my grandfather managed Jungleland in Thousand Oaks Ca in the 60's. My Aunt Linda toured with, and I think, was married to Dell. Although, I was only three or four when I met him. My memory is of the trapeze set up, I think, in Chatsworth next to a big house. One day, someone chopped the head off a chicken and I remember it running around headless, what 4 year old would forget that? My Aunt Linda is living in Washington State now in an assisted living home. She was featured in the newspaper about ten years ago back in So Cal, a kind of retrospective on the those days. Now, she has days when her mind is not so good, but I'll mention to my dad about this thread of messages. Jeff

    Reply: 03 Sep 2012 - My name is Melissa. I worked with Del in 1967-69. I was a flyer, catcher, web act and single trap. At the time we were located at a ranch setting in Chatsworth Ca, right next to Stoney point. I have no photos left. Would love to obtain some, for my kids to see. Dell called us the Flying Flamingos and YES we wore pink. We were a family.

    Reply: 21 Dec 2012 - I'm unsure if I am too late into the conversation, but I was hoping to speak with Alissa Zilio (Wazzan) about a few questions I have of being in the Wazzan Troupe in 1978? I believe I have one of your original circus costumes, and your families. Thank you & I hope to hear from you. Jarrod

    Reply: 11 Feb 2013 - In the mid 70s I practiced with Del and Patty. Judy Foxx is my aunt. She traveled with them and was a flier. I wanted to be a catcher, Patty worked with me. Danette

    Reply: 03 Mar 2013 - My name is Gretchen Kaufman. My sisters, Rose, Paula, Christe and I were all trained by Del at his place off of Terra Bella in Sylmar in the early 70's. We were all very young girls. My mom drove us from the west valley daily. I remember Linda and Patty the most. Patty was the catcher. We also trained on a trampoline and the web. Flying trapeze was amazing, but I really liked the web. I loved being twirled around, feeling really special. I remember traveling to a circus in Vegas in that bus with my sister, Rose, but for some reason, we didn't get to perform. Thinking back about those times brings back good memories. All from my mom answering an ad in the San Fernando Valley (Valentines Day) edition of the LA Times. The ad read: Love Is, being in a circus! so the story goes. She called Del. Next thing I know I'm doing something called "feet across," being caught by Patty. Good times. Del was a character, that's for sure and the girls were always nice to us. So nice to find this thread of memories from my childhood. Here's my email:

    Reply: 19 Jul 2016 - Reading about the Flying Viennas is so cool. I used to fly with them. I have a trunk of pictures Del Graham abandoned when he left Oregon. It contains circus acts, Ozzie and Harriet show scripts, Ricky and David Nelson etc. Sure wish I knew where Del ended up? Maureen

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629. Morris Lipsky, Johnny J. Jones Circus, 26 May, 2005 - We are trying to find out any info, pic's, articles, etc. on Morris Lipsky. He was owner of the circus around 1948 or 1950. In a book that I just got in the mail it states that he married Diana Gordon in St. Louis, Mo. in 1950, any info on Morris, Diana, how they met etc.? We can't figure out if Morris and Diana met at the circus or not or if Diana was an entertainer in the circus. She was a dancer/model/actress. Any info would greatly be appreciated. Thank you, Janet. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 26 May, 2005 - If you haven't done so, see message Nos. 13, 59, 96, 192, and 601 regarding the Johnny J. Jones carnival. J. Griffin
    Reply: 29 May, 2005 - Based on her stated occupation, if Ms. Gordon worked on the Jones carnival it would likely have been as a dancer in one of the back end shows. You should be able to locate a marriage record in the St. Louis area through conventional genealogical or vital statistics searching and requests. If the event was mentioned in the Goldsack book about the Johnny J. Jones Exposition, that likely means the event was noted in the pages of the trade journal "Billboard," which published obituaries and birth and marriage notices. Perhaps Goldsack has the specific citation to share? "Billboard" also published some show rosters and you might look at those to determine if Ms. Gordon was noted therein. You should be able to obtain microfilm copies of "Billboard" via interlibrary loan. In the time period in question, it might be four or five reels to the year, with loans often restricted to one to three reels. Fred Dahlinger

628. 1926 Sells-Floto Circus Elephants, 25 May, 2005 - In the March-April 1977 issue of "Bandwagon", there is an article titled "The 1926 Sells-Floto Circus Elephants" by Gordon Brown. As the article indicates, one of these elephants in question died after it escaped from the circus in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and the remains of the elephant found its way to the University of Alberta Museums. I would like to seek permission to reproduce images from the article for use in a short on-line article outlining how the skull of Myrtle the elephant came to the University. Would you be able to direct me to the editor of "Bandwagon" and to the author of the article so I can ask for permission to reproduce some of the images? Thank you for your time. Jonathan Meakin, Communications & Outreach Coordinator, Department of Museums and Collections Services, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 25 May, 2005 - Message sent to Bandwagon editor. J. Griffin

627. Martin & Downs, 25 May, 2005 - My name is Andre Boulay I left home and joined the circus when I was 16. "I am now 40" My first show was Martin & Downs out of Toronto Canada, Owners were Al and Shirley Stencil [sic Stencell]. I later joined up with Great American, Roberts Bros, Coles All Star Circus of Penyan NY. Worked for Buckles Woodcock and the Big Apple Circus, etc. Do you have any info on Martin & Downs over the last say 15 years. I would be very interested in finding about their fate and whereabouts of some folks. Kind Regards, Andre Boulay, Pachyderm Productions, NY,, alt. email: Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 31 May, 2005 - Shirley and myself are still alive despite owning circuses for 19 seasons. We no longer have to put the house up each spring to get the show on the road. 1983 was the last year we toured the tent circus Martin and Downs. In 1983 we also toured a new indoor circus and from 1983 until 1991 we toured Super Circus (Cirque) International in Eastern Canada including Newfoundland. We do miss the east coast and for years we had many workers from there. You can contact us at, Al Stencell
    Reply: 24 July, 2005 - Hello, Read your post. Would very much like to correspond with you and get your take on the days you spent on the road working for my uncle "Buckles". Am putting together a bio on our family. Thanks much.
    Reply: 04 August, 2005 - Andrea I rember you we were togeather in the Big Apple circus. You were with Buckles at that time, I was working with Paul. I keep in touch with many people from that era. Raul,

626. Harold Rayta, tattoed man, 25 May, 2005 - Harold Rayta, travelled with "California Shows" in what I believe was the 1930's. He was the tattoo man in the sideshow. I have looked for information about "California Shows", but haven't been able to find anything and do not know the stage name he used. I'm wondering if anyone out there has any information on this traveling carnival or Harold Rayta. I would LOVE to find a picture of him in his full glory, posing as the illustrated man! Dawn Setzer, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 29 May, 2005 - California Shows was a motorized carnival and not a circus. Joe McKennon's "Pictorial History of the American Carnival" lists California Exposition Shows 1919-1920 and California Shows 1922, 1926-1931, 1946, 1948. The principals were Sam Anderson and Harry Hall. It was quartered in Northampton, MA. There's some limited coverage of the operation in Billboard, June 20, 1925, page 100 and New York Clipper, May 15, 1924, pages 8 and 27. The side show rosters are not given, but you might find them in other issues of these weekly trade journals. A 1927 photo of the midway shows a full set of joints and games, four back end shows, a Spillman Fun on the Farm funhouse, Mangels Whip, a Caterpillar, a drome and a carousel. Carnival historian Warren Renauld also wrote a bit about the California Shows in Midway Journal Illustrated, October 1997, page 27. It was the first carnival to be signed for the Eastern States Exposition. You might also want to connect with C. W. Eldridge at the Tattoo Archive in the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA area. He has an excellent collection of materials documenting a vast array of tattooed people. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 21 April, 2006 - Although it's nearly a year later that I'm reading and responding (I had forgotten I posted this!), I would like to thank this board and Mr. Dahlinger for the information he posted re: California Shows. I hadn't expected to find anything out about this carnival, much less so much useful information! I will certainly pursue the leads!! After doing a bit more research on my end, I discovered my Uncle was in the show earlier than I was originally told, more likely in the 20's. He was involved in a terrible car accident in later years which put him out of commission and prevented him from performing. It turns out another Uncle, Charles Blair, was also a wrestler in the same carnival. What's amusing is that the older members of my family are somewhat embarrassed by my Uncles and their carny pasts. It's why the stories I get tend to change from one family member to the other! No one wants to tell the whole story or the real truth, it seems. What a shame they feel so uncomfortable with that part of the lives of these colorful and interesting members of our family. I find it all fascinating. I only wish they were still here to tell the stories I was too young to hear and answer the questions I was too young to ask when they were still around to tell them! I still live in the house that belonged to my Uncle, the tattooed man and sport one small tattoo of my own. Can't thank you enough for this treasured information. Dawn Setzer

625. Circus history, 70-80s, 25 May, 2005 - I am a sign language interpreter on a test I must take. They have a deaf woman discussing how she worked in a circus and was a stunt car driver, she goes on about the different people she met at the circus. The video is from the 80's and the woman is discussing her job and others she did in the circus. I did not get to go the the circus when they had all the different abnormal and different characters like in the old days and I don't think the circus I have seen prepared me for the circus that the deaf woman signs about on my test. I need to know about the characters and jobs people had in the circus all the freaks shows etc., woman that were fortune tellers the ticket person whatever they had back in the 70's and 80's. Also do you know of any videos or movies that would make it more visual for me. Thanks Eileen Noble, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

624. Brandi Obeda or O'Beda, 24 May, 2005 - Looking for my parents who were circus performers or involved in the circus in some way in the early 1950's. I was born in Manhattan, NY in 1952 in April. The name used for my adoption papers was Brandi Obeda or O'Beda. Any leads would be much appreciated. I have only recently found out about their true occupation since both my adopted parents have died within the last year. Thanks, Pamela. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 02 June, 2005 - Though I don't know if information from outside of America is of any use to you, from a Euro circus point of view the name Brandi Obeda would not be a first and surname, but two surnames combined probably Brandi was one parents last name and Obeda the other parents? It's very rare for circus performers to give up a child for adoption unless the child needs special care that cannot be forseen in on the road, but is possble they were European? Because then it makes sense to me. The Brandi's were a variet family of mostly jugglers, antipodists and such, from the Dolomite area in the North of Italy but also working in Germany and a lot in Austria, and Germanspeaking. I don't know if there are any left. The Obeda's were - are Czech, doing more or less the same in the circus. I know there were Obeda's in the Czech Circus in the 80s for sure. The time 1952-53 has one important connotation for Europe and that is: The 'Iron Curtain' closing between East and West. My association would be that it had to with this somehow. What if they had tried or toured in America, as lots and lots of people did at the time, but could not get permanent residency for some reason. (Maybe as you're born in Manhattan they didn't even really make it into country, just long enough to have the baby and sent back right after?) Their choices, after all, might otherwise have been: bringing their child to post-Mussolini Italy - post-Hitler Austria which was already flooded by 'Sudetendeutsch' and other Czechs, which meant generally living with poverty exploitation and aggression, bringing their child back to Czechia- Slowakia and dissappearing behind the Iron Curtain into communist rule (or trying it in America....illegally) None of these options were too great to give your child a start in. I think they might have made quite a sacrifice in order for you not to grow up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. I think you should probably look for Obeda's in Prague.
    Reply: 03 June, 2005 - I hear the Brandi's, who worked in variety clubs, not much in the circus, were Sinti Dolomitise (gypsies). Quite a few of the family were murdered in WWII. Some fled to Switzerland from Italy and Austria during the war. There was a Slovak juggler named Eric Obeda working in the East German circus Aeros in the early 1980's. Home base might have been Bratislava. In 1952, Czechoslovakia was under direct Russian influence which had taken the last bit of independance out of the Benes government. Artists there had only the Russian circus artist example as how things would be from now on. Until WWII and right after, Czech circus life was maintained by sevaral flourishing family circuses which were set out to be dismantled now. The Russian example were great State Circuses. Many circus children there were taken away from parents to be drilled in state controlled gymnastic schools, for many a nightmare scenario.

    Reply: 23 May 2007 - I am the orginial poster of the question re: searching for my parents - of course, surnames Brandi and Obeda. Yes, yes - I believe both of you are absolutely correct. I do know that my birth parents were Czech and Italian and my adoptive dad thought that one might have not been a US citizen. All of what both of you say sounds so logical and knowing the historical part of this only makes sense that a newborn baby girl may have been left here to grow up in a land of freedom and opportunity. I thank you both and now ask, any more suggestions on how to reach out across the oceans? By the way, it took me this long to find myself back at this site - many computer crashes and lost info has prevented me. Pamela Larsen,

623. Sells & Gray Circus, 24 May, 2005 - I was with Sells & Grey in 1971-2 and was looking for any information regarding this traveling circus (that seemed on its last legs). I've since learned they were owned and operated by Acme Circus Corp, Frank McClorskey president (died in 1978?) The big top was still put up by the elephant(s) and there was a wonderful array of talented performers. Any information regarding posters, lobby cards, and performers would be greatly appreciated. R. O'Donnell, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 25 May, 2005 - If you search the article indexes on this website [use your "edit" and "find (on this page)" feature], you'll find one 1972 Sells & Gray review by Joe Bradbury in "White Tops." There may be other coverage in season survey articles or the remarks by general commentators. Issues of "Circus Report" would also contain general news of the show. There may even be some commentary in "Amusement Business." Ephemera pertaining to the show might be found for sale on ebay or other Internet sales sites, or during benefit auctions staged by the CHS and CFA. Museum library vertical and small collection files could also be checked for clippings, articles and other coverage about the circus as well as Frank McCloskey. They may also have a program, if one was printed. It's also likely that some members of the troupe are still alive, perhaps residing in Florida. They could be found using on-line searching services. If you're not familiar with them, consult your local reference librarian, they're usually quite helpful. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 27 May 2010 - Hi, I saw your post and wondering if you worked with a woman named Clara. She was my grandmother and she was a dancer with the Sells and Gray circus or married to the owner of the Circus. Her maiden name was Clara Francis Shelton. She was last seen in Jacksonville FL in 1959. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks, Angela Perkins

622. Spanish Circus, 23 May, 2005 - I am attempting to do a report for spanish class regarding the spanish circus (it has to be about hispanic culture). I am trying to find information on this topic, but it is proving to be difficult. If anyone has any information on where I can find information or has any information on the SPANISH CIRCUS (history, performers circuses) it would be greatly appreciated. With many thanks, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 01 June, 2005 - Do you mean Spanish - Hispanic Circus in America or circus from Spain? If the latter, please tell me what you want to know specifically to help you further. Natasha Gerson

621. Camels, the Ships of The Desert, 23 May, 2005 - In 1998 & again in 1999 Richard J. Reynolds III wrote a 2 part series about camels. Both articles were in the Nov-Dec issues of Bandwagon. On page 30 of Part 2 (1999) he mentions that next installment (?) he would tell about the camels of the western mining operations & explore the subject of camels w/the circuses of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I have searched through the (alpha) master Bandwagon Index of 1370+ articles and can not find a 3rd part or installment. If anyone is familiar w/this subject may I request that as time permits if you would let me know which issue that 3rd installment was printed in I would be most appreciative. It may have even been written under another persons name with a different title not using the word camel. Thank You, Danny McLean. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

620. John Sparks, Sparks Circus, 23 May, 2005 - I am trying to find information on John Wiseman who became John Sparks of Sparks Circus. Local legend says that Sparks wintered his circus in Stokes County, North Carolina, north of the current Winston-Salem, in the late 1890's. He invested in a Mineral Springs resort in 1901 with a local businessman, and died from blood poisoning after being clawed by a lion at the resort. I'm researching to do a history of the resort, and trying to sort out the facts regarding Sparks and the resort, called Vade Mecum Springs. Steve Shelton in Danbury, NC. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 26 November, 2005 - John H. Wiseman (Sparks) was my great grandfather's half brother. They were both the sons of Charles Phillip Wiseman, who emigrated from Germany in 1853 to Butler County, Pennsylvania. Charles married Henrietta Agner and had five children, including John. Henrietta Agner Wiseman died in 1866, and Charles married Emily Zimmerman. There were five children born to that marriage, including Alonzo, my great grandfather.

    John Wiseman was a showman from a young age and left home at age fifteen to travel as a musician with theatrical companies and minstrel shows. He acquired several shows of his own, including the "Australian Novelty Company," and a tent show called "Uncle Tom's Cabin." While in Park City, Utah, he adopted an orphan boy whom he named Charles Sparks.

    In 1888, John and Charlie joined the Walter L. Main Circus, and in 1889 launched their own shows, "Allied Great Eastern Shows," touring the east, and the "John Sparks Old Reliable Virginia Shows," touring the south.

    According to the account written by my mother, "John Wiseman bought a tract of land in Vade Mecum Springs, North Carolina. He planned to breed animals there for use in the circus, in addition to providing a natural environment for the animals and an open air zoo. He often spent time there and on one of his visits, he was petting a favorite lion cub. The cub became nervous and bit John on the forearm. The arm became infected and although it was finally amputated, John Wiseman died of blood-poisoning on January 28, 1901. The lion cub grew to maturity, and because John was so fond of this pet, when the lion died the hide was preserved and made into a rug."

    My mother's account continues to say that she remembered seeing the rug in the Wiseman home, complete with "head, teeth, and full mane." For more information, contact, Sincerely, Kathy Casper, Sarasota, Florida

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619. Giant, 1938, 23 May, 2005 - I am researching a book about my late father a pituitary giant and I wondered if you had heard of revue in which he was in Germany in 1938 called 'Doorlay's Tropen-Express'? It toured Munich and Berlin. In Berlin it played at The Scala theatre which I now know was in Luther Strasse but destroyed by a bomb in 1943. The revue featured dancing girls, a tableau of King Kong and a comedy song featuring a giant (my father), a dwarf and two normal sized people, all in top hat, tails and Hitler moustaches. I'm looking for specific dates and more information about the show. If you can't help, do you know of anyone who can? Many thanks, Catriona Stoddart, Paisley, Scotland. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 31 May, 2005 - I was 8 years old working in my father's act in Professor Dorlay's Tropen Express, Scala Theater Berlin the show was in England when war broke out at the Finsbury Park (London) Empire. I can well remember that the show was fantastic and would put today's show to shame. It had performers of all nationalities. Vaguely remember a very tall man who was kind to children.
    Reply: 19 June, 2005 - My brother is sending me a picture of the whole show with the giant on the right side. You will see two small children (I believe left side) that is my brother and me. I will need an address where to send this picture. How very interesting this is. Would like to read the book. fatima,
    Reply: 19 July, 2005 - My Mother worked as a dancer with Dorlay Revue in the 1930s in Berlin. She also did a Perch act with Franz Kunkel during that time. She later married my father and became a Circus Bareback Rider and did the perch act with my Dad. Erny Karoly,

    Reply: 13 January, 2006 - I was just passing the time, searching on my family, when I saw your message. My grandfather was Professor Doorlay of the Doorlay Revue. I have some pictures, program etc., but I haven't had time to sort everything out yet. Did you know that there's a book written about the show? It's a novel, but my father says it's basically true & that only the names were changed. The book is called "Continental Revue" by Winifred Bambrick, a Canadian harpist in the show. The book won the Canadian Governor General's Award in 1946, the year it appeared. I have a copy of the book. You can sometimes find a copy in an antique book shop. Regards, Regina (Doorlay) Schwarz

    Reply: 07 July, 2006 - Dear Regina Schwarz, I am so excited to get your message. I have been trying to trace a decendant of Prof Doorlay for years! I knew of the book but not it's title or the writer. I have some great photos of your Grandfather. Where do you live? I'm guessing the US as I heard Prof Doorlay went there during the war. Would you please email when you get this. I'm desperate to talk to you. Thank you so much for the message. I hadn't checked the board for a stupid of me. Very best wishes, Catriona Stoddart,

    Reply: 01 August, 2006 - This is a follow up message to 619 Giant. I am eager to find out what happened to Prof Doorlay and other people involved in the show. Esp the little people Mellitta and Willie (surname unknown to me)and Trudi Bora. I think Ms Bora may still be alive but have no idea where, she must be 83 now. Last heard of, to my knowledge, in Spain 1942. I know Regina Schwarz answered my previous message and I thank her very much. I got the book and it is a great help. Could she please reply with her email as I am keen to know more and have some photos, copies of which may interest her. The book fictionalizes the fates of the cast. 'Biji', I know is in Sarasota and the 'Papa' character, I'm pleased to say, didn't go down in the terrible tragedy that befell The Arandora Star as I've checked the lists. (He was Harry Kremp) Erny Karoly answered too, thank you. Do you know what happened to the rest of the cast during the war. Thank you very much. Catriona Stoddart,

    Reply: 01 July 2007 - My grandfather, Stephen Lopez, worked with Professor Doorlay as the Managing Representative for Prof Doorlay’s Non-Stop Revue and the Show Trust, Bombay in the mid 1930s. He kept scrapbooks with programmes, playbills, photos and flyers of his career (which lasted from the early 1900s until his death in 1953) and therefore I have scans of some Doorlay memorabilia. I would love to expand my information on this stage of his career - please see info on my website: (scroll down to the Doorlay info) and
    and get back to me if interested. Thanks, Vanessa Lopez

    Reply: 28 Mar 2009 - Hi Catriona Stoddart, In scanning my families pictures I seem to have a picture of your father. The picture is labeled July 26 1938, Scala, Berlin. The tallest man in the world far right. My father was dating a girl from the troop. I Googled the info and found you. Sylvain Michaelis [Attached photo not included here, the CHS message board does not permit graphics or photographs.]

618. Barnum's Hippodrome, 22 May, 2005 - I recently came into possession of an 8 x 11 thick cardboard placard that reads: "P.T. BARNUM'S Great Roman HIPPODROME, The largest amusement building ever constructed, occupying the entire block by Fourth and Madison Avenues and Twenty-Sixth and Twenty-Seventh Streets, New York." It goes on to describe the grand menagerie, congress of nations and finishes by saying "Box office open three days on advance." In between "Great Roman" and "Hippodrome" is a drawing of the Hippodrome, with a chariot race occurring. The drawing is by E. Purcell. I researched the placard as much as I could, but came up with nothing. I now know the history of the hippodrome, but couldn't find anything on point. I found dozens of prints, pictures, etc., but none similar to what I have. I was curious to know whether this item had any signifigance. Any help you could offer would be appreciated. Thank you. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 19 July, 2005 - My Grandfather and great uncles worked in the Hippodrome in New York in 1905 or 1906. They were Bare Back Riders also did Roman Chariot driving. My whole family were bare back riders. Our name is Karoly. My grandfather went under the name of either "The Sandor Karoly troupe or "The Royal Sandor Karolys". They then toured with Hagenbeck Wallace Circus for a season or two and went back to Europe. I do know they wintered in Tampa, Fl in 1906. Sorry, that's all I can tell you. Erny M. Karoly,

617. Bandwagon, Thayer & Dahlinger, 20 May, 2005 - Stuart Thayer: Pinned approx. 95 articles for Bandwagon from Mar-Apr 1969 through Nov-Dec. 2K3 on a wide variety of subjects. I have recently read 3 of those articles (w/many more to go) and each was titled 'One Sheet,' but @ the time I was searching for his articles through the index they were listed by subject. What I would like to know is if all his articles were titled 'One Sheet' or was that title for only a given period of time? And if so what are the dates that the 'One Sheet' appeared as a column in Bandwagon. And one other matter if I may. I have been reading a couple of multi part articles by Fred Dahlinger Jr. & his footnotes @ the end of each part are a most excellent sourse of authorities for further research. By themselves they make for some very exciting reading. Just my 2 cents worth(less). Danny McLean. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 22 May, 2005 - Danny McLean - "One Sheet" appeared monthly in Bandwagon in 1973 and 1974. It was intended to be a forum for information too short in length to be an article. I had hoped that others would participate, but it didn't happen. I wrote all the "One Sheets" but the final one. That being so, I abandoned the effort. Stuart Thayer.

616. Sacha Gerard, circus jockey, 20 May, 2005 - Trying to find information on Sacha Gerard circus jockey. I am not sure if he was in a European circus or if he traveled in America. Any help gratefully received. Ray. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

615. Tallest man, 20 May, 2005 - My father grew up in Bassett, Virginia. He was born in 1926. One of his vivid childhood memories was the time the tallest man in the world came to Bassett- he thinks his name was something like Robert Waldo. I think this appearance was in conjunction with the circus. My name is Diane Gibson. I live in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Thank you for your help. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 20 May, 2005 - His name was Robert Wadlow (1918?-1940) and he reportedly stood 8'-11" tall, possibly the tallest human on record. He was not associated with the circus business on a long-term basis, though one account associates him with the business "in the 1930s," without providing a specific citation. He and his parents tried, within their capacity to do so, to lead a "normal" life. He resided in Alton, IL. A quick check on Google yielded any number of hits. Wadlow is also covered in books about giants and related topics. There's also interpretive coverage of him in Robert Bogdan's book "Freak Show," pages 272-279. The book and other resources could be obtained by contacting your local interlibrary loan librarian. There may be other references that have the specifics on his circus appearances. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 20 May, 2005 - The tallest man on record was Robert Wadlow. The son of the Mayor of Alton, Illinois grew to 8 feet 9 inches tall. He died in the summer of 1941 as the result of an infection from blisters rubbing on his ankle by a misfit shoe. He toured one season with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. (Source: Archives of Human Prodigies) [unpublished]. - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 21 May, 2005 - The dates I cited previously came from Bogdan. Most secondary sources seem to agree on Robert Pershing Wadlow being born February 22, 1918, Alton, Illinois, with his death occurring at Manistee, MI, on July 15, 1940. Birth and death certificates might exist to confirm them exactly. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 22 May, 2005 - Robert Pershing Wadlow did not die during the summer of 1941. As correctly reported by Fred Dahlinger and substantiated in Robert Bogdan's book "Freak Show" (pages 272-279) and Leslie Fiedler's "Freaks: Myths & Images of the Secret Self" (pages 103, 106-7, 118, 121-22). The latest mentions that Robert Wadlow told the truth about his height. He died on July 15, 1940, at age twenty-two. He measured 8 feet 11 1/10 inches and 491 pounds. In researching material one must keep in mind that quite often the author's rely on previously published material who's source of origin where emitted from other books. Birth and death certificates (when obtainable) offer conclusive proof and accuracy. Thank you Fred Dahlinger for sharing such historical wisdom. - Giovanni Iuliani

614. Scale model circus, 19 May, 2005 - In the early to mid-sixties, I saw a display in our local department store that was called "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" (I think!), and it was a large tented display of an actual scale model show. I believe some things were motorized (?) but it was totally compelling to look at and has come to mind many times over the years. My internet searchings have been to no avail; I was wondering if you had any info for me. Thank you! Janice Hermus, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 20 May, 2005 - Your question might be answered by contacting the Circus Model Builders International, which have a website at Modelers often exhibited in their own geographic area and specifying exactly where you saw it might help to identify the builder and/or owner. The late Don Marcks of El Cerrito, CA had a model wild west and there were others. Quite a few other miniature shows, both animated and static, have appeared in various venues through the years. Fred Dahlinger

613. Train wreck 1906, 19 May, 2005 - My grandfather was an engineer on a southern RR he lived in the Winston Salem. NC area. He was killed in a train wreck on Sept. 3, 1906. As a child I was told that a circus or carnival train was switched on the same track as he was on and there was a headon collision in which he was killed. His tombstone had engraved on it two engines hitting head on. I have been unable to locate any information on this wreck so far and really don't know what railroad he was working for at the time of the accident. If any one knows of this accident could you email me., thanks. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 19 May, 2005 - A quick check of a couple circus and carnival train wreck compilations didn't reveal a specific incident fitting the circumstances you provided. Since you have the date and a general location of residence, a check of the Winston-Salem newspaper in the days immediately after September 3, 1906 might provide at least a partial answer. It may have carried an obituary for him, along with details of the incident. If the residence wasn't Winston-Salem, you might be able to define the exact location via a search for a death certificate. The response to question 576 also identifies other wreck compilations that could be checked. You could also examine the issues of "Billboard" and "New York Clipper" for a few weeks after the event, to learn if they covered the accident. If there was no specific involvement of the show train (injury or loss of life, damage to show assets), it would likely not be chronicled in outdoor show history. In the days before automatic signaling, block controls, etc., such "cornfield meets" were not uncommon on railroads. The familiar story of "Casey Jones" is another example of a mishap involving a siding. Fred Dahlinger

612. Duwalt/Dewalt aerialist, 18 May, 2005 - My father is 89 and from a small town in southern Ohio (Wheelersburg). Recently told me about a lady aerialst with a large circus (Ringling's he thinks) for the era (1930'-1940's). She had been his neighbor (maiden name Steel or Steele) and married into the circus family. Her married name was Duwalt, Dewalt, or something close to that. dad thinks her first name was Marge. Her husband was also an aerialist. My father's memory is extemely good and I told him I would try to find some information about this lady. Any help is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Andrew Pitts, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 20 May, 2005 - The Aerial Clarks (later Flying Clarks) performing several seasons with Ringlings end of twenties beginning thirties (and remembered most I think through Ernest Clark being the first to perform a triple as a constant) and who later had their own circus, as well as being booked on the Hamid circuit, had a daughter who married a Mr. Terence Duvall. Their subsequent daughter in laws married name was Madeleine Duvall, later of the Shrine circuit duo Lily and Lulu (with Alice Duvall). a Lulu M. Duvall, born 1908, Ohio, maiden name Staehl, died in Los Angeles on july 6th 1961. Does anyone know if this was Madeleine 'Lulu' Duvall formerly of the Aerial Clarks? Does anyone have photo's of the Flying Clarks or the duo in their later years? Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 20 May, 2005 - Additional: I read Mrs. Ernestine Clark, John Clark's granddaughter and Ernest Clarks daughter, also has children, some of which went into the circus business. Anyone? Photo's welcome! Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 26 July, 2005 - When I was 11 yrs old I was with Ringling during the 1955 and 1956 season, there was a very pretty black haired lady who was either married or living with Jack Beurslem (Spelling???). He was in charge of the circus trains. I believe the ladies name was Ernestine Clark. She was either a Trapeze artist or Ballerina on horseback. She had retired at that time. She had a nephew named Charles we called him Chuck. I stayed with her in the fall of 1955 for a short time in Sarasota, FL in their home on Windermere St. near the Sarasota Hospital. Sincerely, Erny M. Karoly,

611. Radtke Sisters, Flying Jordans, 16 May, 2005 - I have a newspaper clipping from the Washington DC Herald with a date written on it of November 1923. It talks of Lilli Reihter, stage name Lilli Radtke, of the Radtke Sisters. She married Oscar Jordan, a member of the Flying Jordans. Lilli was appearing in a Shrine circus and her father was the proprietor. Would anyone have information about the name of the contracted circus and any information of the Radtke Sisters, Lilli and Mimi and the name of the proprietor? Janette Jones, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

610. John Bill Ricketts, 15 May, 2005 - I am interested in locating images of John Bill Ricketts or other performers from the period between 1790 and 1820. Thank you. Peter Breschard, Okemos, MI, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 18 May, 2005 - There is a portrait of John Bill Ricketts in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Try Yahoo. Are you a descendant of Jean B. C. Breschard, the clown and rider of the early nineteenth century? Stuart Thayer
    Reply: 19 May, 2005 - Jean Baptiste Casmiere Breschard, circus owner, manager, premiere horseman, and builder of the oldest continuously operating theatre in the English speaking world? Who began the continuous performance of the circus in the United States which lasts until this day? I believe so. Mr. Thayer, would you kindly e-mail me privately? Recently I have been perusing some letters written in the 1970's by Mr. W. Campbell concerning Ricketts and the National Gallery. Thank you. Peter Breschard,

    Reply: 26 Nov 2007 - I noticed your posting for images of John Bill Ricketts. I am also looking for images of him or of other early American circus performers, particularly those shown standing atop horses' saddles, juggling, or vaulting over horses. I am also looking for contemporary descriptions of these activities. My purpose: I am writing an article on a small group of Pennsylvania inlaid walnut miniature chests depicting such activities.
          A question: does anyone know what the purpose was of the bow tied at the back of Ricketts as shown in the trade bill illustrated in volume IV of Joseph Jackson's Encyclopedia of Philadelphia? At Type Encyclopedia of Philadelphia Volume IV in the title search box. Thank you. Please respond to or Thank you, JRS

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609. Circus acts - bicycles, 15 May, 2005 - I'm participating in a group who are doing research on the history of freestyle BMX-riding (i.e. trick-riding on 20" BMX bicycles). When discussing predecessors of freestyle BMX the subject of circus acts involving bicycles (not uni-cycles) has come up. Related to this I have some questions: - When did the first circus acts involving bicycles occur? What year or decade? - In what city, country or continent did it happen? - Who were the performers? - What type of tricks did they do? - Are there any particular persons credited for bring bicycles into the circus stage? Any information regarding the history of bicycle trick riding in circuses would be appreciated. Thank you! Daniel Winqvist, Sweden. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 17 May, 2005 - Well especially because you are located in Sweden the ultimate bicycle trick riders ever, who also performed at length in Sweden and had many connections with the Swedisch circus were Joe Jackson and his son Joe Jackson jr. Natasha Gerson
    Reply: 18 May, 2005 - The American circus typically embraced activities, events and fads that were contemporary to the culture embracing it. With the rise of bicycle use, one would have seen it reflected in circus activities. I'd suggest looking into the history of the Stirk family. The entry in William L. Slout's encyclopedic "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle" (1998) reads as follows: "Stirk Family [Thomas, Mrs. Thomas, Denny, Flora, Nettie, etc.] Bicyclists, fathered and headed by Thomas M. Stirk (1859-August 30, 1924), born in Birmingham, England. Died in Cincinnati. Troupe was brought to America by Tony Pastor, 1881, for a two-weeks engagement, and were immediately hired by Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson for a 5 year contract. Followed by 13 years, Sells Bros.'; 8 years, Great Wallace's. Thought to be the first troupe of bicycle riders to appear in the United States. Mrs. Stirk died in Boston, September 14, 1908." You might locate a reproduction Great Wallace litho featuring the Stirks via a Google search. Descriptions of their presentations would be in the various show programs, route books, heralds, couriers and newspaper ads, as well as season opening reviews. There was also bicycle and high-wheel bicycle racing staged after the main performance in the 1880s or 1890s, matches with runners or other competitors. They're seen in some Barnum & Bailey posters. Bicycles came to be used in dromes and such in the late 1890s; I think it may have been Louis Cyr that held such a device over his head, as the rider rode around in it circa 1898. The globe act, now popular with motorcycles, originated after 1900 with bicycles. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 20 May, 2005 - While Louis Cyr might of held a devise over his head that would allow two bicycle riders around the 1890's, its only in 1897 that the famous Franco-Canadian travelled with the John Robinson Circus. In 1898 he was touring with his strongmen partner Omer Barre on the Ringling show. Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines reveal that during the 1920's there was many strongmen (and woman) who not only supported platforms that held anywheres from four pianos (3,000 lbs), to horses and even an elephant. Louis Seidinger, a French athlete, demonstrated the strength of his legs and lifted 2,400 pounds. However, it was Sigmund Breitbart, a Polish Samson who in 1925 supported on his chest and knees a motorcycle track 30 feet in diameter, on which two motorcyclists where racing. The total weight supported by his powerful body was 3500 pounds. As for Louis Cyr, he retired around 1907 and died in 1912. - Giovanni Iuliani. Sorry, I mentionned Omer Barre instead of Horace Barre.

608. Arthur Dennis, wrestler, painter, 14 May, 2005 - Arthur Dennis worked with the Ringling and Barnum and Bailey Circus around 1920 as a Wrestler, He was also a Musician and an Artist. He also went by the name of Art Denny. Well that is the name that he signed his paintings with. I have no info on him and have hit a wall. I do know that the circus was in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and the Steubenville Ohio area around that time, Because my grandmother used to go watch him as a wrestler in the circus when she was little. Do you have any info on him and where can I go to find any? Thank You, Debbie Mercer. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

607. David W. Watt, 13 May, 2005 - I am looking for a way to contact Mr. David W. Watt, author of a 38 part series titled "Side Lights on The Circus Business" that began w/the May-Jun 1998 issue, and w/the latest part 39 in the Jan-Feb 2K5 issue of Bandwagon. I would like to correspond w/him re: several subjects w/in the series. If you would forward my E mail address along w/this request I would greatly appreciate it. Thanking you in advance, Danny McLean. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 13 May, 2005 - David W. Watt died on January 27, 1929 (born 1849). He published his "Side Lights on the Circus Business" from June 1, 1912 to March 10, 1920 in the Janesville, WI Daily Gazette). Here's part of the write-up on the series that has run in Bandwagon since 1998 (Source: Bandwagon, Vol. 42, No. 3, May-June, 1998, p. 18.) - J. Griffin.

    "Taken as a whole, this work is an extraordinary account of the circus life in the 1870s and 1880s. It is particularly rich in fleshing out the personalities and careers of Burr Robbins and Adam Forepaugh, as well as providing dozens of new insights into their circuses. Many other sawdust luminaries - James A. Bailey, W. W. Cole, W. F. Cody and the Ringling brothers - figure in his writing, as do innumerable lesser lights and performers. Hundreds of events that never appeared in the New York Clipper, route books, or anywhere else pepper its pages, giving historians a far fuller sense of the flavor and texture of the times.
    "Because of its length, if not breadth, it compares favorably with the two great autobiographies by nineteenth century showmen, John Glenroy's and George Conklin's. Watt's memoirs are also important because they are one of the few times someone in the business end of the circus documented his career. Unfortunately, he shared little financial information about either the Robbins or Forepaugh circus. Nevertheless, the articles constitute the largest known corpus by a nineteenth century circus attache.
    "These reminiscences would have remained unknown had not a few survived in the papers of the historian George Chindahl at the Circus World Museum. Upon discovering them, Fred Dahlinger, the museum's library director, organized a project to make the Watt papers available to a larger audience. Burr Robbins sleuth Keith McLaughlin of Janesville ascertained the dates of the articles as well as uncovered biographical materials about Watt. William Slout painstakingly located and printed every column from a microfilm of the Janesville Daily Gazette, and scanned in the initial transcriptions on his computer. The bulk of the typescript was done by Bernice Zimmer, funded in part by a gift to Circus World Museum by Stuart Thayer.
    "This mountain of a memoir will run chronologically and completely in Bandwagon over a period of years. Some minor editing has been done to blindly correct spelling and grammatical errors. Errors of fact, when readily apparent, have been bracketed with the accurate name or date.
    "Research in primary sources, such as the New York Clipper or route books, will undoubtedly disclose numerous other factual errors. While Watt was unfailingly true to the spirit of an event or personage, his memory, like so many memoirists before and since, was faulty, especially on dates. There is no reason to doubt the events he describes actually took place, although perhaps not in the year or under the exact circumstances he relates."

606. Pinards, acrobatic troupe, 11 May, 2005 - The "Twelve Pinards" or "The Pinard Troupe" was a Canadian acrobatic troupe from the 20's and 30's. I have only one piece of information on them - a "Sells-Floto Circus" season of 1932 magazine which lists them as one of the acts. An ad also appears in this magazine entitled "The Original John Robinson's 10 Big Shows Combined With the Great Sells-Floto Circus and Mammoth Menagerie" which lists them as one of the acts. I would like any information anyone might have on the Pinard Troupe, their history, fate, etc. Thanks! Mary Barrett. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

605. RBBB Show Dates, 11 May, 2005 - Would appreciate any available information for specific shows dates of the Ringling and Barnum & Bailey circus in Houston Texas during the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. Thank you, Danny McLean. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 13 May, 2005 - If you go to Ebay they usually have 1950s or 1960s RBBB route books available. You should get one as they include all the RBBB routes from 1919 to the date that particular book is published, and you can check a number of specific show dates. John Polacsek
    Reply: 13 May, 2005 - In response to the last decade (1950) RBBB played Houston, Texas on the following dates: Oct. 6-8, 1950. Oct. 5-7, 1951. Oct. 3-5, 1952. Oct. 14-16, 1955. 1956 Season closed. Big Top struck for the last time. It should be noticed that Danny McLead submitted this question twice (See 594/605). Perhaps an index of questions asked would help in avoiding duplication. - Giovanni Iuliani

604. Bandwagon 20th Anniversary, 10 May, 2005 - 20th Anniversary issue of Bandwagon. Reading on page 12 of Vol 3, No. 5 Sep-Oct 1959 that Bette Leonard moved that the September-October, 1959 issue of the Bandwagon be known as the Twentieth Anniversay issue. Ollie Miller seconded. Accepted. If 1957 was premier year of publication would this notice be one of those historically treasured typos? 8^) Danny. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.

603. Louis Cyr, Strongest Man on Earth, 10 May, 2005 - Louis Cyr, The Strongest Man on Earth, assisted by the French Hercules, Horace Barre, toured in 1897 with John Robinson. Featured on posters as earning $2,000.00 per week, Louis Cyr most certainly earned much less. The following year the Ringlings leased the John Robinson Circus while the Cyr-Barre strongmen act went to the Ringling Bros. Circus in 1898. We know that they participated in the daily parade but did they work the sideshow? Giovanni Iuliani. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 11 May, 2005 - The answer would likely be no, that they worked in the big top performance, as did the Saxon brothers in the 1910s with their feats of strength on Ringling Bros. It was highly unusual for any side show attraction to be featured on special lithos. It was equally rare for a featured attraction to do a turn in both the side show and the ring. A check of the 1897 JR and 1898 RB programs [perhaps printed in the route books, too] would confirm their presence in the ring as opposed to the side show stage. One could also check the season opener reviews in New York Clipper, the St. Louis newspapers [1898 Ringling opened at St. Louis Coliseum on April 11] or Cincinnati newspapers [possible JR opening location], etc. There were other featured strong people on circuses in that era (and before and after), including Katie Sandwina and Mlle. Yucca, both featured in lithos and viewable in some photos. Someone wrote biography of Cyr, or created a video documentary in Canada a few years ago. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 12 May, 2005 - Louis Cyr's (Cyprien Noe) autobiography was published in Montreal's La Presse (a French newspaper) in weekly segments during 1908. Ben Weider wrote a French biography in 1976 followed the same year with an abridged English version. The latest Louis Cyr biography is written by Paul Ohl. In comparison they all lack proper circus documentation. Ben Weider mistakes the Barnum Circus instead of John Robinson in 1897 (page 85). Paul Ohl credits Joseph Ringling (who spoke French) with teaching Louis Cyr the rudiments of the circus (page 371). However, Marie Salome Juliar Rungeling (Ringling) who originated from Alsace-Lorraine, spoke fluent French and German. Among her seven son's (Albert, August, Otto, Alfred, Charles, John and Henry), there is no Joseph.
    LES MEMOIRES DE LOUIS CYR, L'HOMME LE PLUS FORT DU MONDE (As told to Septime Laferriere) First published in La Presse, February 8, 1908. Weider, Ben. "Louis Cyr, l'homme le plus fort du monde". VLB Editeur., 1976 (176 pages) Weider Ben. "The Strongest Man in History: Louis Cyr "Amazing Canadian". Mitchell Press Limited. Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago., 1976. (104 pages) Ohl, Paul. "Louis Cyr: Une Epopee Legendaire." Edition Libre Expression., 2005 (634 pages). - Giovanni Iuliani
    Reply: 13 May, 2005 - The life and times of Louis Cyr is a legend among French-Canadians. Near the end of the 19th century he toured with the Cirque-Cyr wherever French speaking people resided (i.e. Quebec, New Brunswick, the New England States and out west as far as the Chicago area). Little information exists on the very existence of this Franco-American circus. No circus poster is known to exist or route listed. Yet, Paul Ohl claims that Louis Cyr was the first Quebec circus owner. It is questionable weather Cyr's circus is a variety strongman/acrobat show or a circus. The only animal act was four horses that Louis Cyr held at bay in a amazing demonstration of strengt while suffering a nose bleed.
    Play - Perro, Bryan: Louis Cyr, l'homme le plus fort du monde: theatre Shawinigan, Quebec: Glanure, 1997.
    Books - Mongins, Michel. La legende de Louis Cyr. Montreal: Editions Beauchemin, 1958. Poissant, Yves, Louis Cyr dans les pattes de McSohmer Texte et dessins, Yves Poissant. Montreal: Baloune: Intrinseque, 1978. Tremblay, Jack. Louis Cyr: The Story of the Strongest Man Who Ever Lived. Fredericton, N.B.: Brunswick Press, 1967.
    Documentaries - Louis Cyr: Une force de la nature (Unknown time limit). Louis Cyr: The Father of Strength One hour. 1999.
    A major motion picture based on Paul Ohl's book will go in production during the Summer of 2005. - Giovanni Iuliani

602. One finger stand, 10 May, 2005 - Who was the circus performer with Ringling Bros in the 1950's who would stand on one finger on top of a globe? Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 13 May, 2005 - The Gentleman who did the One Finger Stand was Franz Furtner, known as Unus. His daughter Victoria (Vicki Unus) was also a Headliner as an aerialist on Ringling. His stepdaughter Nina, was a Showgirl on Ringling. Franz passed away, but the two daughters are here in Sarasota. Hope this helps. BunniB1

    Reply: 08 November, 2006 - I am just writting to tell you that I live with Victoria Unus. This is probaly not important to you but I saw her name so I thought I would write. If you have any questions please email me. Jessica Carden,

    Reply: 09 November, 2006 - Take a look at then search for Unus " the talk of the univers" and see how he does it. Herman Voogd,

601. Morris Lipsky, J Jones, 10 May, 2005 - I am trying to find information on Morris Lipsky who was the president for J Jones circus in 1950. He was my friend's father and would love to have any information. Also I heard that Morris Lipsky is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery with other people related to the circus. I would like to know how to obtain this information. Thanks so much, Linda Henson, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender.
    Reply: 11 May, 2005 - Morris Lipsky was a carnival man, affiliated with the Johnny J. Jones Exposition as concessions manager and later as co-owner 1944-1951. Bob Goldsack wrote a book about the show and perhaps it's still in print. You can locate Bob in Nashua, NH. Included therein is a photo of Lipsky (page 89). On page 68 Goldsack states that Lipsky passed away in 1968. It suggests that he may have an obituary. One would likely have been printed in Amusement Business, and perhaps in the carnival group publications. Fred Heatley may also have further information; I'll forward the inquiry to him for a response. Fred Dahlinger
    Reply: 11 May, 2005 - I still have a few copies of the Johnny J. Jones book available. The price is $21.95 plus $ 3 p&h. We take Visa-MC and AE credit cards or a check or money order can be sent to Midway Publications, 70 Dublin Ave., Nashua, NH 03063. Tel # 603-883-9405 - If not in leave message and I'll get back to you. Bob Goldsack
    Reply: 19 May, 2005 - Thank you for your replies to my message. I have forwarded this information to my friend so that he may purchase the book as I'm sure he will want a copy. I appreciate the help. Linda Henson new email,

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