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Message Archive: Messages 1401 - 1450
1450. Elephant, Iowa, 26 July, 2006 - Looking for any information about an elephant that was buried near Granger, Iowa. Carolyn Fors, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1449. Ring carpets, 26 July, 2006 - From at least 1947 until they went indoors, Ringling had very elaborate ring carpets. For example the 1951 show in the movie Greatest Show on Earth. Does any one know, for certain, how the design was placed on the carpet. Was the material dyed and cut up and then sewn or was it painted on? The few people I have asked didn't know and/or didn't pay any attention to the carpets. Thanks, Robert L. Mitchell. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1448. Thanks, 25 July, 2006 - Wanna thank all USA-circusfans for responding to my questions on RBBB 1956 (message 1380) and circus-rhinos (message 1350). Your answers have been of great help to me ! Thank you all. John de Vries, the Netherlands. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1447. Amanda Thalero or Thaler, 25 July, 2006 - My Name is Dalana Notafji, I am 34 yrs old. My mother was adopted by Helene Sullivan formerly (Thalero or Thaler). Her Mother's name was Amanda Tuellero-Tullera-Tellero-Tullero. (Corrected: Thalero or Thaler). My Great Great Grandmother was supposedly in the Circus (Barnum & Bailey Circus) & was very Famous, but I can not find any information. I know they have performed in Lisboa, Spain perhaps you might know something. I think she used to Balance on top of the Horses & do tricks. I hope you can help. Thanks for your time. Dalana N. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1446. Reid, elephant trainer, 25 July, 2006 - My father, Henry “Blackie” Reid, was an elephant trainer and worked in both the Clyde Beatty and John Ringling North circuses. He passed away in 1955 in California. Since I was a baby at the time and he was an orphan, there is no one that I can go to for information on him or his circus career. He married Margaret (Marge) Demshok and she was also in the circus, riding the elephants. As a child I remember seeing a Christmas card from Barnam & Bailey Circus that was printed on a chocolate brown colored paper (hopefully that will help identify the year). Diane Whitman, North Carolina. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1445. M & M, Yahr's, 25 July, 2006 - I am looking for any historical information possible on The M & M Tent Show and Yahr's Traveling Tent Show. I think they traveled mainly through the Midwest (MN, ND, SD, etc.) during the 1930s and 1940s. There may have been one other one called The Great American Tent Show. Any help at all greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much for your help. Katherine Kerr, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1444. Jack Brady, 25 July, 2006 - My father was a barker/carney in the Coney Island side show in the 1940s. His name was Jack Brady. He was friends with Sealo. Am looking for more information and sources to research. Have a picture of him with members of the side show with s Coney Island Hippodrome sign in the background. He may have also been in a film short and was told that he was mentioned in Billboard magazine. Any help is appreciated. Linda Brady. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1443. Circus Wulff, 25 July, 2006 - My great-grandfather Giuseppe Mazzucchetti was working as a 'homme volant' in the Swiss circus Wulff in July 1876 in Basel/Switzerland. This I learnt from an advertisement in a Swiss newspaper from that period. I have no more information about him, I have also no idea what this act was. I guess it has to be an act with horses, because the family-history (by hearsay) refers to him as a horsedriver. Can somebody tell more about him, this act or in general about circus Wullf? Thanks in advance! Dolf van der Veen, The Netherlands. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1442. Flying Pages, 25 July, 2006 - We are currently looking for the Flying Pages. Do you know what their summer schedule is? We have 2 festivals on the east coast. Pam. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1441. Circus heirarchy, 25 July, 2006 - My name is Joanne Karr. I'm writing from the Los Angeles area of Southern California. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm a high school theatre director and I am planning a production a A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM set in a circus. In other words, the sets will use the idea of a circus and the characters will be various circus performers. My question is whether or not, in the tradition circus, there is a heirarchy or different status associated with different performers. For example, do animal trainers have more or less status than trapeeze artists? Thank you for your time and help. Joanne Karr. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1440. Richards Brothers Circus, 25 July, 2006 - My Grandfathers name was david Samuel Hamilton. He owned a circus called The Richards Brothers Circus, which travelrd throughout The Western United States in the 1920’s and 1930’s. His nickname was “Dick” or “red”. He was a clown, his wife, Aeristene was a dog trainer, and picked up strays, that she incorporated in to the act. Their sons, Richard, Albert and Bill Hamilton were acrobats and trapeze artists. Bill was also a snake handler. I have several pictures of them from the late 20’s and 1930’s. My Grandfather was born in Washington Territory, and Bill was born in Joseph Plains, ID. I am seeking any information on the circus, as when my Grandfather died, my Father, Bill, was afraid that my sisters & I would run away and join the circus, therefore, he gave away all of my grandfathers memorabilia, including his clown outfit. I would really like to get some of these items back. Vivian Hopkins, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1439. Elephant walk, 22 July, 2006 - I am looking for historical information on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey elephant walk. When did this tradition start and were the elephant parades/walks used for publicity and/or for practical purposes to move the elephants through main part of towns. Any background would be appreciated. If you know of any books or other reference materials that talks about the elephant walks that would be great to have. Regards, Enrico Dinges, Public Relations Specialist, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Vienna, VA. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Overland shows simply walked into town, directly to the performance venue, so it provided less of a specialized movement. Motorized shows can often drive directly to a point adjacent to the performance site, also eliminating the possibility of a walk.
The use of specially outfitted railroad cars ("palace cars") to haul circus animals commenced in 1872, was concluded in 1956, and then re-started in 1960 and continues to today. Prior to 1872 and going back into the mid-1860s, elephants were transported in stock and perhaps box cars that were rented from system railroads. Whenever the freight yard or station was removed from the performance venue, indoor or outside, a "walk" was necessitated to get the animals from the railroad to the stabling and ring area.
It was part of the daily ritual of the arrival, unloading and erection of the circus. In a sense, the walk was an unofficial, early-morning parade, witnessed by those local citizens who had risen adequately early to observe the event. Later in the morning, usually starting about 10 AM, the scheduled daily, free street parade would be the formal announcement that the circus had arrived and that "Circus Day" was upon the community.
There are surely nuances to the topic, depending upon definitions, exclusions and such.
You'd have to check newspaper accounts to learn when the arrival and unloading "walks" were first commented upon, but I'd surmise that it's quite early, into the 1870s. Just when they were aggrandized for publicity sake is a more difficult proposition, since written media releases are likely a later phenomenon, prepared commentary and formally prepared press books with stock stories being known in the early 1900s and perhaps in the 1890s.
The ritual walks could have been mentioned in show couriers, which started in earnest in the 1870s. Those printed in the 1920s sometimes contained images of the walk, recognizing it as part of the established ritual. "Elephant walks" as a publicized operation are likely a Feld-era undertaking, perhaps prompted by a sensitivity to history and the parades of the past. Ideally, they garner free and happy-fun for the family type publicity for the operation. A herd of elephants delicately walking through the city streets still evokes merriment and wonder for many, especially the youthful.
A key-word search of the New York Times [ProQuest website, which also covers other city newspapers like Chicago and Los Angeles] or Brooklyn Daily Eagle [also on line, just Google it] may well reveal when the term "walk" was first applied to the event. A Google check of "elephant walk" didn't have any hits involving circus in the first hundred entries, but RBBB-related hits readily came up when the word circus was added.
An intriguing possibility might be the popular transferal of the phrase "elephant walk" from the Hollywood film "Elephant Walk," the 1954 Paramount production featuring Elizabeth Taylor and Dana Andrews. It was based on Robert Standish's 1949 book of the same name. There's also Henry Mancini's 1961 tune "Baby Elephant Walk," used in the 1962 film Hatari with John Wayne. Reportedly it was played upon a wooden-pipe, calliope-type instrument that was sold recently on ebay.
If you qualify the "elephant walks" to the era of RBBB, they can be defined as starting no earlier than 1919, when the Combined Shows was first presented to the public. Their profiling by RBBB has waxed and waned in the past several decades. Walks through tunnels or across bridges usually brought about its own publicity, given the novelty of such passages.
Some elephant walks likely have great stories associated with them. Those who led the walks, elephant men like Buckles Woodcock, can surely recall some special aspects or episodes. A friend, the late folk art historian Fred Fried, played hooky from his mid-town department store job one day in the 1950s or 1960s so that he could take his son to see the pachyderm procession in New York City. Unbeknownst to him, a newspaper photographer [maybe the Daily News] captured he and his son on a bike riding beside the elephants. He had a bit of an ordeal explaining the picture to his boss the next day. It made a great memory and a story he often recounted. Fred Dahlinger
1438. Please look - names, 22 July, 2006 - Do these names ring a bell? I'm thinking this lady may have been a trainer and/or performer in some Circus or Review, as well as in Rodeo's, Horse Shows, etc. She has gone by:
Virginia Lee McDonald
She trained and bred and showed white horses all over the country from around 1939 thru the early 2000's. As I understand it, she began her career with a white horse named WHITE TARZAN. He in turn sired TARZAN'S WHITE BANNER, who became the 2nd HI-HO SILVER and mount of Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger. Thanks, Pat, PM MEFFERD Pedigree Research. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1437. Null family, 22 July, 2006 - I am looking for information on the Null family. They toured as musicians around the mid-70s, with the mother playing keyboard. Her son was named "Isom" and one of her daughters was named "Gloria". Thanks! Kim Kristensen. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1436. Missouri abt. 1919, 22 July, 2006 - Does anyone know of a circus that would've past through West Plains, Missouri around the year 1919? Thank You, Cristy Fisher. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1435. Rolling globe, 22 July, 2006 - I am completing research for a children's book I am writing. This historical fiction story takes place in 1936 at the Texas Centennial performance of the Gainesville Community Circus (Gainesville, TX). I would like to know if the rolling globe of that time period was a hollow metal sphere like the globe that is on display in the Santa Fe Depot Museum in Gainesville, TX. If you have information about this, please let me know. Thanks! Linda Ayers, Ben Wheeler, TX, lkayers@LindaAyers.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1434. Kelly-Morris, 20 July, 2006 - Coes anyone have information on the Kelly-Morris Circus era 50's. Also Aggie, Pat, Paul, Berniece Kelly, Dorth Kelly. Morris Troup Bill Morris, Berniece Morris Jobernie Morris. Thank you in advance. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1433. Ringling Bros Program, 20 July, 2006 - I am trying to obtain a copy of a Program of the Ringling Bros Circus. I am not certain of the the years in question. I think it was from 1900 -1905. My Mother, my Aunt and Grandfather did a tripple trapeze act with the Ringling Show. It was at the same time that May Worth & Lillian Leitzel were with the show. The programs that my mother kept were lost in storage. I would appreciate any help you could give me, even just a copy of a page that mentions their name. Sincerly, Diana G. Hunter, dghunter04@!earthlink.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1432. Wortham Carnival, 20 July, 2006 - I have a relative that worked for Wortham Carnival and possibly others later. I first learned of his employment from his WW! draft card, which lists Wortham Carnival and that he says he was a showman. He was 29 at the time. Later the 1930 census mentions him as a manager of a carnival, he is 40 years old. I have found him on ship passenger lists in 1923 from Hawaii and in 1932 coming from Changhi China. So his carnivals may have traveled around the world. I am trying to find out what happened to Fred A. Clare? His residence was Seattle Washington. 1303 Harrison St. He married two women (Mary, Marjorie or Margaret Cruze) and Marjorie (Carl or Curl). When he was married to them they were listed on the passenger lists. Can you guide me where to look or what carnival to search? I know that Wortham died in the 20's and with him his carnivals. Fred Clare was born 2-15-1889 Winnipeg Canada. He resided with his step family while in seattle there last names were Knowles if that helps. Thanks for your time, David Clare. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1431. Alfred T. Court, 18 July, 2006 - Looking for info on Alfred T. Court, Animal trainer Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. What years was he ring master? His date of birth and death, did he have children? KathyHelenek@aol.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1430. Peters Circus, 18 July, 2006 - I am trying to find information on the 'Peters Circus' or 'Peters Family Circus' in Florida from 1900 - 1930/1940. The circus was owned or managed by Sam (Samuel) Peters. This was my uncle whom I never meet. He was born in Blooming Grove, Texas in 1890. My father was born in Blooming Grove, Texas in1888. My father, Claud Peters, last heard from Sam Peters c 1930. I would appreciate any information. Frances L Peters, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1429. White Racer, circus horse, 17 July, 2006 - WHITE RACER, a white circus stallion, was foaled sometime between 1879 and 1919. Some have said he may have been of Arabian lines. He was reported to have been one of the all-time great performing "high schooled" horses of his time. One of his white foals (born in 1922) was purchased in Greenville, Texas as a 4 year old stallion. Anything on WHITE RACER will be greatly appreciated. Thanking you. Pat, PM MEFFERD Pedigree Research. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1428. Circus in Easley, SC 3/1/09, 17 July, 2006 - I am trying to find out the name and any other information/photos on the circus that performed in the city of Easley, near Greenville, South Carolina, on March 1, 1909. My great grandfather, Zion Walker Fortner, who was a spectator, was accidentally shot and killed by another spectator, Hezekiah King, while at the carnival with his wife, Laura Jane Turner Fortner. The perpetrator escaped on foot and was never caught. Thanks so much. Lisa Waugh; email@example.com, Walterboro, SC. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1427. Wallis the Lion, 14 July, 2006 - Just a quick note wondering if someone may be able to help? My grandfather used to have a pcture on the wall of "Wallis the Lion". He was very proud of this picture and often said "That's Wallis ! The first Lion to come to Bingley Hall." Can anyone shed any light on this? My grandfather died in the early 1950's, so it may be quite a few years ago. Any help much appreciated, Margaret Sheridan. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1426. Phillip Chauvette, 14 July, 2006 - I am seeking information about Phillip Chauvette (also Shevette) who was born in Trois Rivieres, Quebec and learned his acrobatic skills in Saginaw, MI. He performed on stage throughout the world and held two Guiness records. Don Beaudoin Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1425. Elephants Thai & Abbie, 12 July, 2006 - I am looking for any historical information or photos of some elephants that were once owned by the late Morgan Berry. Specificaly elephants Thai and Abbie. Abbie is now called Methai and both elephants currently reside at the Houston Zoo in Houston Texas. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Daryl Hoffman firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1424. Inez Josephine Avanyanya, 12 July, 2006 - I am trying to find information about my great grandmother Inez Josephine Avanyanya a trapeze artist who died in Paris 6th March 1900 as the result of a fall whilst performing. I have a copy of a memorium notice in The Showman of 14/3/02 but can't even find theat nespaper now. My grandfather was with Bostock & Wombell for many years His name was Rene Avanyanya aka Clayton. Can you help me please, Joan Neilson. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1423. Mark circus, 10 July, 2006 - My name is Wanita Webb. My mother was in the circus in Germany. Mum, (Hennrietta Gigler) was part of the 3 Richards, a acrobatic clown act along with her dad (Richard) and my uncle (Fritz). My Grand mother was part of an act called the Geschwister Mark with her two sisters. Her name was Maria Gigler it was her mother (Sofia) who owned the Mark circus. My Grandfather also had a solo act called Little Richard, he might have performed at the Thalia-Theater in Hamburg. If anyone has information about the circus and or the family, I would be very grateful. I think that my Uncle Fritz is still alive and living in Germany, maybe Disleldorf? My E-mail address is email@example.com. Thank you. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1422. Pollock Brothers, 10 July, 2006 - Can you send us some information on the history of the Pollock Brothers circus and where we can find nostalgic items of this circus? Thank you, Debbie. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1421. Loretta Sisters, 09 July, 2006 - I am looking for information on the Loretta Sisters who toured with the Barnum and Bailey Circus which was just starting up. They did two acts: Acrobatic and Slack wire. One the the sisters' name was Daisy Lamy. The other may have been Pearl. They then went on to work for Ringling Brothers. I have been told they are listed in the Circus Hall of Fame. I am also interested in Theordore Smith who worked as a circus clown and completed portraits and his twin brother Vickie Smith who was an acrobat. I am interested in their history as well as their nationality. Donetta Seliger, firstname.lastname@example.org of Bakersfield, California. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1420. Old King, 09 July, 2006 - Hi folks! I've got some more questions regarding another circus stallion and his one-time owner, etc. The horse was known as OLD KING. He was a white stallion foaled between 1906 and 1908. He was what years ago, one might have called an "Albino", but of course he wasn't, because he did not have pink eyes. He did have a snowy white coat, pink skin and dark eyes. It was reported that he was a "circus horse" and used for breeding "circus horses". Some reports say that he was a Morgan/Arabian cross. He was purchased (see below/1917/Thompson/WHR) from a Prof. Wm. P Newell of Illinois. Newell could have been the circus horse trainer or an agent of. He is supposed to have had several other white horses. I don't know if the "Prof" in front of Newell's name was a moniker, or if in fact he was a Professor of education? Anything on Wm. P. Newell will be greatly appreciated.
In 1917 Caleb R "Cal" and Hudson B. "Hud" Thompson, then of West Point, Nebraska, purchased OLD KING from Newell to start a "new" breed of horses. This would be the famously known White Horse Ranch of Naper, Nebraska, with their touring groups of white horses. I am in contact with the current managers of the White Horse Ranch (Nebraska) and the Camarillo White Horse group in California. Also, I am trying to make contact with the Andersons of the Texas White Horse Troupe (Texas). It seems I might have to go thru their booking agent, which usually takes lots of time and sometimes is complete dead end. Any help will be greatly appreciated! Pat Mefferd, PM MEFFERD Pedigree Research, Proud Stepdaughter of Fred Kennedy (1982 Stuntman's Hall of Fame), members.tripod.com/~horsefame/fredkennedy.html. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1419. Website, 09 July, 2006 - http://www.thegalloper.com/ - Circus & Fairground History & Genealogy website, mainly European Circus but American, Australian, South African and other circus topics most welcome. Very best, Jim, Brian Boswell's Circus (Pty) Ltd., South Africa, email: email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1418. Turkey and Balkans, 08 July, 2006 - I am trying to find out some information about circuses in Turkey and the Balkans, around the 20's and 30's. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks, Bronwyn Mills. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1417. Gerald Clay, 08 July, 2006 - Iam looking for what name my grandfather used in the time he work for the circus in 1920 to 1928. If it was Gerald Clay or Harry Gibbs. Or if he used both names in the circus. Am not sure what he did in the circus. We are 99% sure his given name is Gerald Clay when he left home at the 16yrs old. Then by 1928 he married my grandmother and his name was Harry Gibbs. We would like to know what happen for him to chage his name. He is gone now so we can ask him. Mag Hephner, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1416. Sells-Floto, Mlle. Fugère, 07 July, 2006 - I'm interested in the history of the Sells-Floto circus, but primarily in the act of Mlle. Fugère and her baby elephants. What year(s) was this act a part of the circus? Was "Fugère" a stage name, or her real name? If Fugère was her real name, what was her first name? How did come to be a part of the circus, and training elephants? Thanks so much, Tiffany Fugère. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
The 1926 Sells-Floto poster featuring "Mlle. Fugere" also sports the phrase "Exclusive European Novelty." Perhaps in 1926, the alleged date of the poster, that may have been true, but for several years in the 1910s a flower-decorated, two-wheel cart pulled by a tandem hitch of small elephants was part of the Sells-Floto street presentation. More than likely it was trained by Lucia Zora, the well known animal presenter and her husband, elephant man Fred Alispaw. The driver(s) in 1912 and 1913 may have been Zora, or Ethel Roberts and Miss Franklyn Dreska, respectively. The beasts were "Kas" and "Mo," abbreviations for the two states in the Union. Steve "101 Heck" Albasing had an image of the street feature and another is in "Bandwagon," XIX, 4, page 11. The driver there is identified as Lucia Zora, for reasons unknown. Zora and her husband joined Sells-Floto for 1911 and likely initiated several new features shortly thereafter. A gentleman named Nathan McKay is listed handling Kas and Mo in 1914, but specific mention of the two animals is dropped in 1915. Carrie Royal, probably Rhoda Royal's wife or daughter, worked with Zora in the ring in 1915. Someone named Arlene Palmer presented Kas and Mo in the ring in 1916 and Carrie Royal was back with another pair of small elephants, Muggins and Billy Sunday. Aldine Palmer and Carrie Royal worked with Zora in 1917, but neither pair of punk elephants is listed. Kas and Mo are recorded pulling a caisson in a 1917 parade in "Bandwagon," XX, 3, page 11. In 1917 Minnie Thompson worked the large elephants and Bertha Wilkes handled the "baby" elephants. There had been other tandem elephant hitches in American circus history, going back to the mid-19th century. Many horse acts were also utilizing carts and carriages post-1900. The tandem elephant and flowered cart ensemble seems to be a sort of combined derivation.
Knowing show publicity leads me to be suspect of the actual existence of "Mlle. Fugere." Perhaps she was the generic aggrandizement of one of the five ladies that assisted the replacement head elephant man, one Jim Dooley, in presenting five rings of elephants as Display 15 in the 1926 program. They included: Babe Gardner [Cheerful Gardner's wife]; Rae Bailey; Effie Rairden; Irene Ledgett; and a Miss Weber. Those were the names extracted by Gordon Brown from a "Billboard" review of the 1926 opener, part of his extensive story on the 1926 elephant runaway. [Bandwagon, XXI, 2, pages 17-25.] The fact that the review made no mention of this presumed French lady, or her "baby" elephants also makes one suspect of her real presence. Brown's work on the Sells-Floto elephants indicates that there were no babies present, but rather several small elephants that had been imported in 1922. I don't believe that any of the babies previously born on the show survived to maturity. It's possible that a tandem hitch might have been part of the opening spectacle "Birth of the Rainbow," or another production number. There will likely be some biographical material about the Gardners in various resources [Bill Johnston's biography of "Cheerful," so named because of his taciturn personality, is in "Bandwagon," XXXV, 2, pages 29-33]. Irene Ledgett and husband Fred were well known in the circus business and biographical materials are available. The remaining three ladies are not well known, at least to this respondent.
To further your interest on the topic, I'd recommend that you obtain Lucia Zora's autobiography, "Sawdust and Solitude," as well as other period books covering animals and their circus existence by Edwin Norwood and Courtney Ryley Cooper. You should be able to obtain these long out of print via interlibrary loan at your local library, or perhaps purchase them via on-line booksellers.
Frank "Cheerful" Gardner was highly respected, his training methodology having an impact through several generations to the present time. The Ledgetts were also beloved in the business. Bottom line, I believe that you will find the true history of the 1926 presentation and the story of the actual people involved to be more interesting than the fictional Mlle. Fugere, despite the attraction of her name.
As always, checking www.newspaperarchive.com is a possibility, as is further reading of Billboard and perhaps Variety. A 1926 Sells-Floto program likely exists that might contain the Fugere name. The only means to disprove her existence may be by making an examination of the 1926 Sells-Floto payroll ledger that might be in the RBBB Business Records in the basement vault of the Circus World Museum library. As you have probably already learned, a Google search for Mlle. Fugere yielded no substantial results. Fred Dahlinger
1415. Joe Craston, clown, 06 July, 2006 - I’m interested in finding out more information about the clown Joe Craston – he was my great-grandfather. I would be grateful for any info you can give me. Thanks, Jenny Taylor, Jennyt30@tiscali.co.uk. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1414. Rufus Welch 1843-44, 05 July, 2006 - I am looking for information about the Rufus Welch tour of 1843-1844 to the Mediterranean ports and Brazil. Richard W. Flint published an article about Rufus Welch in Bandwagon: R.W. Flint, "Rufus Welch: America's Pioneer Circus Showman," Bandwagon, Vol. 14, No. 5 (Sep-Oct) 1970, pp. 4-11. This article only covers Welch's life up to 1843. It promises a second article in Bandwagon that would discuss his tour of the Mediterranean ports and Brazil and the remainder of his life. However, as far as I can determine, the promised article never appeared. This tour appears to have arrived back at New York City from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) on the Bark Rollo, on 20 May 1844. The passenger list filled out at the time of arrival lists 9 individuals with occupation "Circus."
Rufus Welch, age 43, place of birth: ? States, occupation: Circus
I recognize Rufus Welch, John Clayton, and Charles J. Rodgers. I am looking for additional information about this tour, and especially about Phil Walsh. Thanks, David Lambert, Sterling Heights, MI, e-mail: email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
The main source for what is presently known about Welch's Mediterranean tour is John Glenroy's autobiography, Ins and Outs of Circus Life (Boston, 1885), pages 43-44 and 53. Glenroy had been traveling with Welch & Mann's company in early 1843 when they went to New York where two companies were created for the coming season. Glenroy, however, went with Mann's show, which was leased to others for part of the summer and fall before heading to the northern coast of South America and the West Indies, returning in late April 1844.
Glenroy does report that Welch's company sailed on the brig Francis Amy in May 1843 with the following performers: John J. Nathans, two and four horse rider; Edward and William Kincaid, riders and acrobats; Henry Ruggles, slack rope performer and acrobat; James Runnells, acrobat, gymnast, and tumbler; Charles J. Rogers, described by Glenroy as the "best scenic rider of the world at that time"; Walter Howard, rider; Madame Louise Howard, rider and singer; Henry Palmer, ringmaster; Louisa Wagstaff Palmer, rider; John May, clown. Glenroy reports that Welch's group returned in mid-May 1844 from Rio Janeiro, approximately two weeks after his (Glenroy's) return.
The passenger list mentioned in the query nicely confirms Glenroy's recollection with a return date of May 20; as is generally known, Glenroy's autobiography has proven to be a remarkably accurate account of 42 years of professional travel. A comparison of the company list provided by Glenroy and that of the passenger list shows a difference suggesting that some performers returned by a different route and perhaps on different dates. Mathuw and Walsh are new names to the roster of known early circus performers but all the others can be found in the index of Thayer's "Annals".
Welch's age, as recorded in the passenger list, gives credence to an 1801 birth date rather than the possible 1800, a small question discussed in the second footnote of my article. Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD
1413. Mira Miro Vanzuci, 05 July, 2006 - I'm looking for a picture (or digital copy) of a native american who visited the turkish city Istanbul (old name Constantinople) at 1880 with a circus. His name should be Mira Miro Vanzuci and acted in horse shows. He is the first known native american who visited Turkey and stayed for 5 years. I ask this picture as a proof of his visit. I would be very happy if you could help me to find this picture, or another one which could be from the same circus maybe in another country. Regards, Fikret Calislar, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1412. Britain's Mammoth Circus set, 05 July, 2006 - I purchased Britain's Mammoth Circus set from an antique shop several years ago. Does anyone have any information on this set? The set was manufactured by M.Britain in London England. Regd.#459993. Set #1539. Thanks, RONALD DART, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1411. Moscow State Circus, 04 July, 2006 - I have been very lucky to find and put in touch with a relative of 87 today - that I have never met! A topic of family history is this: Family History is Musical, and I am trying to find articles relating to my Aunt, Eva, now deceased, who travelled in a double act (possibly called the "Linde sisters") in the 1930's. (Xylophone [Ivy], Marimba [Ivy], Saxophone [Eva], Violin [Eva]; possibly percussion [Ivy]). On or about 1936 they were travelling with the Moscow State Circus, when Eva was arrested and put in the Lubyanka. Legend has it the NKVD took all the Music away to "decode" it. Somehow, through contacts, they got her out a year later. Her crime was being married to a German, Sasha (I believe), and therefore a Spy. Unfortunately, I don't know any surnames then (and no-one around to ask). Is there any place I can go to research this? It rated a 2-3 column inch article in a (UK ?) newspaper, I believe, at the time. Any help or pointers you could give would be gratefully received. Thank you. Terry Browne FCIS, North Yorkshire, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1410. Circus Organizational charts, 04 July, 2006 - I am looking for information on the organizational chart for a circus. Just a basic chart of pecking order. In addition I am looking for job descriptions and basic duties per role. I have been looking at current opening as well as the training facilities but cannot find the detail. Thanks for your help. Kelly VanReeth, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1409. Earl Shipley, 03 July, 2006 - I am looking for information on the circus career of Earl Shipley. He was born and returned to his hometown of Willow Springs, Missouri, but there is little information here honoring his career. I have recently moved to Willow Springs and am a part time clown. I hope to get Earl Shipley's circus career to be a recognized part of local history.) Thanks for any information or possible sources I could pursue. Jim Vokac (a.k.a. Franklin the clown). Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1408. Death of Tightrope Walker in Utah, 03 July, 2006 - My girlfriend and I are performers (jugglers), and recently she told me that she went a circus when she was younger and saw a tightrope walker fall and die. She is 22 now, and has blocked out a lot of the memory. The accident took place in Utah (she's almost sure of that at least) probably in the 1990-1995 range. It was before the circus nets were mandatory I guess. Anybody know the name of that performer? Thanks. Justin, Beaverton, OR. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1407. Iverson and Gebel, 03 July, 2006 - What are Johnathan Lee Iverson and Mark Oilver Gebel doing now? Thanks, FRANK J GALANTI, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1406. Capt. Leo Collins, 02 July, 2006 - I bought a photograph of "Capt. Leo Collins", which shows him as a circus high diver with the Sun Bros. Circus, in 1900. The inventor of the "Collins no battery flashlight" the "Collins wind-up razor" and "Collins round razor" was also a circus high diver at one point in his life. Does anyone know if this is the same Collins, or have any more detailed information on Capt. Leo Collins? Thanks, John Vaught, Collinsville, Va. (email@example.com) Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1405. Crossing Genesse Falls, 30 Jun, 2006 - I am interested in researching a bit of old family history, and wonder if you can give any help, please. Regretably, I have very little information to pass along. I don't even know this man's name! He may have been a great, great, great uncle? I have his photo, but that's all. He was supposedly with a circus - maybe a clown? But we learned of him in the family as having crosssed Genesse Falls on tightrope. (Or was it in a barrel?) Its more likely, on tightrope. This must have been in the middle or late 1800's or early 1900's. He looks portly and sad (as all clowns probably do without their makeup) and had bags under his eyes. He was in civilian clothes and dressed well. Any ideas anyone? I am awaiting memorabilia to be delivered from an older cousin, but she doesn't know his name either. I may be able to forward a photocopy of this man later on? There was one man listed, via Google, as crossing Niagra Falls on tightrope and also being a professional tightrope walker with a circus. THAT name is Oliver Hilton, but I couldn't find out more about him that than, nor do I know that he ever crossed Genesee Falls too. (I myself am 82 so you can imagine how far back this man might go. Another relative - my grandmother's grandmother - lived near Rochsteser, New York. She survived three husbands, so I don't know her various last names. Was this man possibly related to her, or one of her husbands? Many thanks for trying! Sincerely, Carol Lems-Dworkin, Evanston, IL. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1404. Great Mons Victor, 30 June, 2006 - I am looking for information about Frank Firestine and family (Franz Heinrich Feuerstein). He performed as a snake charmer, a contortionist (The Great Mons Victor), he performed with the Flying Fortons (not sure about the spelling of this one). He performed a short ?high wire? Act at a ticket booth, and was also said to have played a wind instrument in the parades. The Sells – Floto circus is one of those mentioned in family history. His wife’s name was Myrtle and they had a daughter in 1900 named Gladys Mae and she was said to have done a trained dog act (whether she was an assistant or the main actor – I don’t know. We do have a picture of “The Great Mons Victor” but really don’t have a lot of hard core evidence of the families time with the circus’. They lived in St. Joseph, MO and we think they left circus life sometime before 1910. Any information to aid us in finding additional information would be greatly appreciated. I would also be very happy to share our photo with you if interested. Thank you for your time. Carol B. Groover, Locust Grove, GA. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1403. May Kovar Schafer, 29 June, 2006 - My Name is Bernard "Rusty" W. Parker III, I am one of May Kovar and Curly Schafer's Grandsons, My Mother Sandra June Schafer, who was later Adopted by David Joseph Kleindienst and Margret B. Kleindienst, after the Death of My Biological Grandparents May Kovar who was killed by her Lion at Jungleland in thousand Oaks in California in 1950, and my Grandfather "Curly" Schafer died Fallen Down Drunk after My Grandmothers Death, I need to find any Information, Photos, and Posters of my Grandmother May Kovar Schafer. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1402. Chang Reynolds, 29 June, 2006 - What information might you have on Chang Reynolds? He was, I believe, a cousin of my grandmother (Gretchen Turner Kelsey, 1900-1997) and I have a charcoal drawing by him of horses at a watering trough outside a circus tent. Thank you. Dan Milliman, Stoughton, MA. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1401. Dodson Shows, 29 June, 2006 - I had an uncle, George L. Hurley aged 29,from CT; was listed in 1930 census (April 15th) was employed by Dodson Shows at a stop in Waco City, TX as concession agent; carnival showman; poss a Barker. I would like to find out what that group had for a schedule of travel for its shows from then thru the 1940's if possible, and if anyone might have known him. I do not know when he stopped employment with them but my brother as a boy prob abt 10-12 spent a summer with him in his travel,prob late 30;s but does not remember what states or towns; since I cannot find out from 1940 census as yet for a few yrs, this info would help. He did die in CT in 1948, so I wonder when his travel with Circus/Carnival life stopped. Thank you, M.H.R. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Bob Goldsack wrote a lengthy and illustrated article about the operation in "Midway Journal Illustrated," May 2000, pages 6-19. It includes some route information. The magazine is no longer printed, but Goldsack may have some extras to sell. His address is elsewhere in this message board. There's also a page about the Dodson railroad show in Goldsack's book about carnival trains.
The show utilized Waco, TX as a winter quarters before and after the 1930 tour. That would explain the reference to that community. There may be local newspaper articles about the novelty of a carnival in the community during the winters.
The only likely place that you will find consistent information about the Dodson show activities and route is in the weekly issues of the trade journal "Billboard." It had several pages of carnival commentary plus routes and advertisements. It's been microfilmed and your local librarian may be able to obtain it on interlibrary loan for you. Extended biographies about C. Guy Dodson are in the December 3, 1955 issue (pages 73-74) and September 29, 1956 (page 80), which is his obituary.
An article about the Dodson Shows in the April 19, 1930 issue of "Billboard" provides a synopsis of the new features as well as a roster of ownership, staff and bosses. There is no listing of a George Hurley, but there is a mention of a Leona Hurley, owner and operator of a single concession. On a midway, it was not unusual for one spouse to be employed with one concession and the other spouse being with another, or having their own operation. The show opened the 1930 tour at Waco on April 5, the event highlighted by a big parade. I'd bet that there's some local newspaper coverage of the operation. It's also possible that other show staff were enumerated in a later issue.
If you have the exact date of death of your uncle, you could check the obituary column of "Billboard" for his notice. Perhaps he was still known to the profession, or possibly a friend supplied a notice.
Billy Burr, residing in Hollywood, FL, is a former New England carnival man and knows as many people in the business as anyone else. You might try contacting him.
It is unlikely that any significant archive of Dodson show business records or Dodson personal papers survive today, though his wife and two daughters survived him.
By the way, in outdoor show business, "barkers" have four legs and a tail. The leather-lunged men that attracted people to the back end shows were "talkers," with other names less frequently utilized. Fred Dahlinger
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