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Message Archive: Messages 1951 - 2000


2000. Moscow Circus, 30 Jul 2007 - For Moscow Circus, Washingtonpost.com 7/29/07, by Anton Trojanovski. Article might be of interest to some. RG. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1999. Pole Dancing, 28 Jul 2007 - I am doing research for my English project which is on pole dancing. From what I can gather so far apparently it started in the 1920's with girls in the sideshow circus tents using the actual tent poles. If you have any further information or know of resources to check it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Stephanie, Sandbferguson@aol.com, Knoxville, TN. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Aug 2007 - If by "pole dancing" you mean the ritualistic dancing in a circle around a vertical pole embedded in the ground, sometimes with banners going out from the top to the dancers, that has its origins in foreign cultures and not the circus. It brings to mind the "May Pole" and that sort of activity. Some of these are ritualistic expressions of human behavior.
          There is also the 1920s-ish and subsequent dancing, roller skating and other activity high atop an elevated pole, taking place upon a small circular disk. It was a form of thrill act born of the pre-Depression mentality. Mark Sloan's picture book of thrill-type acts may include an illustration.
          If your reference is to the activity within so-called "adult" establishments, or the current interest in "pole dancing" derived from it for exercise purposes, it is not related to the circus or circus sideshow. It is a derivative of traveling carnival side show activity. You can find reference to it in Al Stencell's book "Girl Show."
          If you're casting a broad net, you might even look into the history and origin of fire poles, situated within fire stations for the quick movement of firemen from their elevated sleeping quarters on the second floor, and hay mow on the third floor, to the first-floor location of the fire engines, and originally, the horse stables. The origin of the device likely took place after the conversion from all volunteer to paid fire companies, who slept overnight in the fire house. Most sources assign it to the Capt. David B. Kenyon of the City of Chicago Fire Department Engine Company No. 21 in 1878. The captain and the engineer were white, the six firemen in the station were black.
          The circus was the origin of "la perche equipoise" acts (1853), wherein one performer, standing on the ground, held a vertical pole aloft, by means of a leather sling and socket [akin to a flag holder], or by balancing it on their shoulder or even on their forehead. Another person shimmied up the pole and did acrobatics, gyrations, poses, etc., near the top, sometimes using a foot sling. If you look at circus newspaper ads, heralds and couriers from the 1850s to the 1870s you'll see many illustrations of such acts. They were popular when trapeze acts were not yet common.
          The perche style acts were in some ways a derivative of the "Polander's ladder," (1823) wherein a person climbed up a vertical ladder and balanced atop it, with the ladder sometimes falling apart, leaving them balancing on atop a single "pole." The "la Perche" acts are covered in Stuart Thayer's book, "The Performers, A History of Circus Acts," (2005), pages 91-94. Some similar human motions are employed that reflect "la perche" movements, but the efforts of the circus performer were directed towards artistic and graceful maneuvers, many that challenged strength and which certainly risked the well-being by taking place in an elevated position. I know of no crossover to the indoor stages.
          If you go to page 188 of John McConnell's book about the Hannefords, "A Ring, A Horse and a Clown," you will see two photos of 1950s la perche style activity. These are advanced apparatus. The first devices were simply a straight pole. I would suggest that today's thrilling sway pole and other related tall-pole acts are derivatives of "la Perche."
          I checked the George Speaight and Antony Hippisley-Coxe books, which are good on act development, but neither offered any insights. You might look at the two-volume French publication by Henri Thetard, "La Merveilleuse Histoire du Cirque." It may have some pertinent images, as well as a two-volume Swiss history of the circus, which is also rich in act images. They should have la perche act coverage. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 06 Sep 2007 - Sorry I wasn't more specific, I was referring to the burlesque side of pole dancing. Thank you very much for your reply, I ordered the book Girl Show (along with a few others) and have found a few answers. Stephanie

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1998. Könyöt, Karoly, Rieffenach, 27 Jul 2007 - I’d like to know the dates/year/ of the engagements with the circus Carl Hagenbeck, Krone, Sarrasani and The Ringling of three famous hungarian rider and trainer family the Könyöt, Karoly and Rieffenach. Many thanks. sigela@citromail.hu. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Aug 2007 - www.circusmuseum.nl/eng Adolf Konyot circus Carl Hagenbeck 1927 in the Netherlands. H.Best-Otte, bestotte@planet.nl

    Reply: 07 Sep 2010 - Rieffenachs were my cousins. What can you tell be about them in Europe? "Bandwagon" article 1/2006 mentions Carl Hagenbeck 1921. Rieffenachs came to US in 1922. balasi

    Reply: 06 May 2011 - Check the book by Paul Eipper titled, Circus: Men, Beasts, and Joy of the Road (Translated to English from German 1931). I think I have seen that name in it touring with Hagenbeck Circus in Sweden in 1929. Just get and scan it through. Good luck, Bo

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1997. Angline Squires, 26 Jul 2007 - I just purchased a lot of paperwork and pictures from the estate of Angeline Squires who I'm finding out was a dancer in the Hagenbeck Wallace circus in the early 1930's. Does anyone have any information on her or how long she was with the circus. I have information that after the circus she became a Ballroom dancer with her partner Wynters, the group was called Angeline & Wynters. I believe she married and became Angeline Wynters. That was in the 40's, so her name in the 30's should have been Angline Squires. My time line is off and I don't know how long she was with the circus. I have circus photo's from the early to mid 30's. Any information would be much appreciated. Thanks, Shelly. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Sep 2012 - I have info on Angeline. Dave Mcveigh, dave.mcveigh AT creativeasylum.com

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1996. RBBB Circus Performers Trunk, 25 Jul 2007 - I have recently acquired an old RBBB circus performer's trunk and am very interested in the history of it. It came from the estate of a man named Ray Seery who was a gagman for Bob Hope and ran with the likes of Orson Wells and Erroyl Flynn. He lived on Columbus Ave. in NYC and then later retired in NJ. I have been able to find little to no information on the authenticity of the trunk, where it came from or who gifted it to Mr. Seery. It is red and has "Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus" hand painted on it (I was told they probably would have, if anything at all, the performers name painted on it, not RBBB). I believe it was gifted to him by a RBBB performer who painted it for him. Everything else in this man's estate was the real deal - from letters to him from Presidents, Orson Wells hand painted cards, to tons and tons of Bob Hope memorabilia, etc., etc. I have no idea who made it, though I was told it could be a Taylor. That's all I know. If you E-mail me, I can send pictures. I love the trunk and know it has a story. I just need to search and ask the right people the right questions. Any information at all on this trunk, performers trunks in general and what they looked like in the late 40s on through the 50s, please contact me! I would be so grateful! Thank you for your time and help! Kate Craig, katebadger@mac.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1995. Elephant, Eiffel Tower, 25 Jul 2007 - Does anybody know the name of the elephant from Cirque d'Hiver who climbed up the Eiffel Tower in 1948? I'm a journalist and I'm writing an article about the history of the Tower.If anyone knows could you let me know at njgeraghty@yahoo.co.uk. Many thanks for your time and trouble. Neil Geragty. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Jul 2007 - If an elephant "climbed" the Eiffel Tower, which is dubious since I have a hard time trying to imagine how the elephant did it on the narrow stairs of the tower. If this one was a Cirque d'Hiver elephant, it means it belonged to the Bouglione menagerie. (The Bouglione family owned the Cirque d'Hiver, and still own it to this day.) They had at the time at least ten elephants; the number is difficult to know since they rented many animals out, and often acted as animal dealers, with elephants and other animals coming and going. At the Cirque d'Hiver, the Bougliones usually used 4 elephants, Jenny, Tacky, Tabou et Baby. But in 1948, they could have had another group.
          If the story is true, the best I suppose would be to ask the Bougliones at the Cirque d'Hiver. Sampion Bouglione, the present family patriarch, was the elephant specialist in the family, and although he was not in charge of the elephants at the time (he was too young), he may remember which elephant it was, since his father, Joseph Bouglione, who was himself an elephant trainer, took care of such events. (In the ring, the elephants were presented by Julius Häni). Another person to contact, who is a specialist of the history of circus elephants, is Chrisitian Hamel, (hamelchristian@wanadoo.fr). Good luck! Dominique Jando

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1994. Cordons, whip act, 25 Jul 2007 - Greetings, I am a whip cracker from Illinois. I am looking for any information, photos, film regarding a bullwhip act from Germany called the Cordons. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Warm Regards, Chris Camp - The Whip Guy, www.thewhipguy.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 June 2009 - Hallo, You are looking for information from the Cordons? That was my grandfather Tex, my father Tom , my aunt Daisy and my uncle Fred. My Grandfathers originally or real name was: Dietrich Geidt and my fathers name is Dieter Geidt. You can get in contact with me if you want. I live in Germany/Darmstadt near Frankfurt if you are still interested in material. My mail is: mail@sylvia-geidt.de. Greetings Sylvia Geidt

    Reply: 18 June 2009 - i made a mistake. My Grandfathers artistname was not TEX it was FRED CORDON and my uncles artistname was Tex Cordon. I have a lot of Informations about Fred cordon. I have a lot of pictures to who is interested. Circus Gleich, Germany 1935, he toured with Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Baileys 1955 and 1956 in the USA. Boswell Circus 1960/61 South Africa Tour, and a lot of pictures from Circus Sarrasani in Germany. Ingrid Sarrasani was my Grandfathers partner in the shows. And and and. If you are interested contact me. I also have a Video about a bullwhip act from my grandfather. I think in Madison Square Garden New York and many other bullwhip and roping acts. There are many also very old acts. I got this video from a German artist Freddy Frint. So if you want to know more contact me. My e-mail: mail@sylvia-geidt.de and my name is Sylvia Geidt

    Reply: 13 Jul 2009 - My uncle was Dieter Geidt, his sister Elsa was my mother. I met the whole family, Tante Inge, cousins Peter, Jutta & Dieter, when they appeared in New York City, with RBBB, 1955, 1956 and also when they came to Waterbury CT where we lived. I also met Uncle Dieter when he and partner Ingrid came to the USA in 1964.and they played Radio City Music Hall in New York City. I have 2 programs, from ebay. I have programs from the 1955 & 1956 RBBB shows. which I bought on ebay, also bought the 1955 RBBB route book on ebay. Onkel Dieter gave my mother several pictures which I still have.
        I google Fred Cordon regularly and pulled up an article on Ingrid Wimmer Sarrasini. Googling Dieter Geidt gets me Dieter Geidt, a winemaker in Thailand. Looks just like my cousin 50 years later. In 2001 my husband and I were in Mannheim and I called Jutta. She told me I had missed Dieter by one hour, he was on his way to Thailand. Bad luck.
        My mother Else Maria Geidt left Germany in 1938, with my father Kurt Nadenheim, came to the USA. I was born here in 1939. Changed the family name to Nash when they became American citizens. Would love to hear from you to exchange info. Christine Hackett

    Reply: 04 Jan 2010 - Hallo Christine, Sorry that I did not check circus history until yet! I am very very happy to hear from you. I heard that my grandfathers one sister married a man from the US and left Germany. I would love to talk to you or mail to you. My e-mail is mail@sylvia-geidt.de. I would love to hear from you and or talk to you on the phone. My phone number is 0049 (for germany) 175 5688124. Better is to sent me a mail and I contact you Christine. Thank you so much. I hope to hear from you. Sylvia

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1993. Paul Olson, Olson Shows, 22 Jul 2007 - We are trying to locate the family of my uncle, Paul Olson of Olson Shows. I believe he was also the owner of the Amusement Corporation of America. His winter home was in Hot Springs, Ark. and he was also a president of the Showmens' League. Any information about him, his show or his family would be greatly appreciated. He left home at an early age because his father, my grandfather, was killed in a traffic accident. He was one of 8 children and was the second oldest. He left home to support his family and was probably the most successful member of the family. His family name was Oleksy which he later changed to Olson. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks, John Hojnar, evfergreen.fs@att.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Jul 2007 - He passed away over ten years ago. Some of the history may be of interest. His wife's name is Odette and his daughter, my cousin, was Gail. His father was killed in an accident in Chicago when Paul was in his early teens and, being the second oldest of eight children, he left home to raise money to support the family. I believe he went to work for one of the large midway shows which he eventually owned. Truly, a self made, successful guy. We'd see him and his family only when they were at the Illinois State Fair or in a neighboring town where the show was. Their winter home was in Hot Springs, Ark. My mother was in the middle of the eight children and recently passed away. As such, I would like to locate his family and learn more about his show. We would really appreciate any information you may have on the Olson Shows or about his family, Odette or Gail Olson. Thank you for your consideration. John Hojnar, evergreen.fs@att.net

    Reply: 23 Jul 2007 - Paul Olson died at age 55 on April 22, 1964. You might check the show trade paper "Amusement Business" for an obituary. It may also have been in one of the carnival enthusiast's publications, such as "Carousel." Bob Goldsack wrote a nice article about the Olson Shows in his "Midway Journal Illustrated," III, 1, pages 9-19. It does not provide additional obituary information, but Bob, who lives in Nashua, NH may have more information. Other carnival historians may also be able to help. The San Antonio Express stated that he was from Chicago and passed away in Hot Springs, Arkansas. An obituary in the Hot Springs newspaper might mention family. A death certificate might mention the place of internment. The cemetery records might reveal the names and location of family, unless others, like partners or other showmen, or the Showmens League, paid for the burial. You might try contacting the International Independent Showmens Association in Gibsonton, FL, or Descendants of Rod Link in the Fremont, Ohio area. Link bought the Olson Shows and may have dealt with the heirs. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 11 Oct 2007 - Paul Olson is buried in the Showmen’s Rest section at Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Hot Springs, Ar. His marker reads Paul F. Olson 1910-1964. There are several other Olson’s buried at the same cemetery but I do not know if they are in the same section. Robert L. Brown, rb9273@att.com

    Reply: 10 Apr 2011 - I was feeling nostalgic this evening and decided to query a few things on the internet. My father Bob Platt worked for Paul Olson and we lived, summers, on the train – winter quarters was Hot Springs. The show was later sold to Rod Link. My mother was a trapeze artist with her family’s act. Sally

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1992. Equestrian Jean (Juan) Breschard, 21 Jul 2007 - For a soon to be released book, I am seeking additional information regarding equestrian Jean (Juan) Breschard's shows in Cuba, which began in July of 1817. Thank you. Peter Breschard, Okemos, MI, pbreschard@aol.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1991. Circuses New Orleans 19th century, 21 Jul 2007 - I am looking for information concerning the circus in 19th century New Orleans. Actually, any information concerning the circus, curiosity shops, wax museums, private collectors, etc. Suggestions regarding possible sources would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Christian Diller, cdiller@crt.state.la.us, New Orleans, LA. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Jul 2007 - There's a vast amount of material concerning 19th century circuses in New Orleans. As the terminus of the Mississippi River system, many shows navigated down to it, or started out of it on their tours. I'll mention mostly tertiary and secondary resources, which are usually more readily available, but the resources are broad and plentiful. Others should be able to add to this minimal enumeration.
          You can start with Stuart Thayer's "Annals of the American Circus 1793-1860," which covers most troupes, with rosters and routes [which reveal the New Orleans engagements] in the stated era. He may not have reported on all theater and winter circus operations. You can supplement it with some of the New Orleans theater studies. Thayer's "Traveling Showmen" covers the business and operations aspects of the era, with his "The Performers" going through the ring show existence of the time.
          Penelope Leavitt did a dissertation [1979, WA State U] on Spalding & Rogers that includes the city's contributions, and others have written on the topic. The Floating Palace is also covered in Graham's book "Showboats," which needs to be supplemented by work in the Joseph Merrick Jones Collection [G. Donald Wright papers] at the Tulane Library and the G. Harry Wright floating theater collection at Kent State University. There are relevant posters and presumably other materials in other N. O. collections, which hopefully survived the hurricane.
          C. G. Sturtevant penned an article about the circus in New Orleans in "White Tops," journal of the Circus Fans Association, in the Nov-Dec 1951 issue.
          If you do a key word search ["New Orleans"] through the text of Slout's "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle," as well as other available items on this website, you'll get any number of "hits" for local New Orleans connection.
          There's a book about Sig Faranta's Iron theater in New Orleans that's worth a look. I'd also recommend looking at memoirs, like Sol Smith's, John Glenroy's and other performers, whose careers often touched on or included the circus.
          John Polacsek wrote a paper about the circus in New Orleans in the CHS's journal, "Bandwagon," in the Sept-Oct 1976 issue. Also worth a look is Bill Slout's book on Civil War circuses, "Clowns and Cannons."
          W. W. Cole used the "New Orleans" name in his title for a number of seasons in the 1870s and also had Mardi Gras elements in his parades. His show ended up there at the end of the 1886 tour and was auctioned in November. There's accounts in the local newspapers. I believe that further insights on the Cole stays in New Orleans will be found in George Conklin's book, "The Ways of the Circus." Slout also penned an entire book about the Cole show, "Chilly Billy."
          You won't find the bigger railroad shows visiting New Orleans until after the standard track gauge was implemented in the 1880s [Forepaugh tested the South in 1881, B&B not until 1886], but a few troupes, like Howes, went through the South before then. Overland shows, theater-based outfits, river-borne shows, smaller railroad outfits, these all were part of New Orleans circus story.
          It's possible that some traces of the passage of music out of New Orleans may have involved the circus before 1900. It moved along the river, but it's also likely that the musicians that congregated in New Orleans, Cincinnati and St. Louis, as well as elsewhere, may have taken up with shows to move from one locale to another. Whites would have been in the big show bands, blacks would have been in the minstrel bands accompanying the side show. The first of the black bands is perhaps in the 1880s, 1890s for certain.
          Beyond this is all of the local newspaper coverage [hopefully you'll find a New Orleans newspaper like the "Picayune" has been digitized and is key-word searchable, saving much scanning and cranking], locally-issued ephemera, diaries and journals, trade journals like the weekly "New York Clipper" and "Billboard," etc. Good luck with the search. Fred Dahlinger

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1990. Vetter trapeze act, 20 Jul 2007 - I am trying to trace a circus family who came to England and settled in the Staffordshire area. Their name is Vetter and they were a trapeze act. Oscar Vetter was born in Germany in 1853 and was married to Rosa. They had three children, W.E. Oscar Vetter Born in 1878, C.G. Rosa Vetter born in 1882 and Richard Dimitri Alfred Vetter, born in 18. I would be very grateful for any information that you could supply with regard to the above family. Thank you, Karolyn S. Milam [Mrs.], milams@supanet.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1989. One Yard Savard, 20 Jul 2007 - Does anyone know about a midget who was named One Yard Savard? I think his name was Cedric (not sure of spelling) Savard? Not sure of dates, but I think that it was early 1900s. Jane Wingo, jane.wingo@verizon.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Jul 2007 - Was the gentleman's name, "One Yard Savard," perhaps a playful corruption of the term "Savoyard"? It might infer a connection with Gilbert & Sullivan, or other types of presentation or performance, including juvenile organ grinders, who were sometimes referred to as a "Savoyard." It may also relate to the geographic region, Savoy. Fred Dahlinger

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1988. Sarazini or Sarrasani, 19 Jul 2007 - I am looking for information on a circus called either Sarazini or Sarrasani. My subject was a child performer in the circus from around 1906 til 1914. The circus traveled all over Europe and was disbanded with the start of WWI. Any information would be most appreciated. Thanks very much. Vince Gratzer, Los Angeles. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Jul 2007 - Dear Vince, Cirkus Sarassani (sp?), was still in business during the 1940's. My family (I was a baby) was with Sarassani in Dresden during the fire bombing Feb. 14-15, 1945. Sarassani had a beautiful circus building and showed during the winters. My Father and Uncles also traveled in South America during the early 1930's with that show. I believe it is still in existence there today. It's colors were green and white. I was told it is in South America. Sorry that I can not help you concerning the young performer you are seeking. My family were in the USA in 1906 with Karl Hagenbeck and the Hippodrome in NYC. regards, Erny Karoly

    Reply: 24 Jul 2007 - www.circusmuseum.nl/eng: More the 700 posters, foto's and prints if you search for SARRASANI. Herman Voogd, hvoogd@teylersmuseum.nl

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1987. Brackman Traveling Tent Circus, 18 Jul 2007 - Hi - I was wondering if you had any information about the Brackman Traveling Tent Circus. I am a Brackman family member. Thank you, Kim Oakes. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Jul 2007 - There was a John T. Backman, without the "r," who once operated a wild animal show on carnivals and later became a circus man [Backman & Tinsch, Palmer Bros. ]. I did not find a listing for a Brackman title. Can you provide any time context for the name "Brackman"? Fred Dahlinger

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1986. Arturo Trostl, the Great Arturo, 17 Jul 2007 - Several years ago I purchased a 1928 REO Speedwagon "Camp Car" from Arturo Trostl, aka "The Great Arturo" when he and his wife, Hedi, were living in Riverview,Florida. Arturo and Hedi were recruited from Austria to perform their high wire act for Barnum & Bailey and appear on the roster in 1939 & 1940. They were a center ring act for many years. They eventually worked for the Mills Brothers Circus and lastly as an independent act. They used the REO as their living quarters during part of their time while performing on the road. I am trying to learn more about their circus careers. The Speedwagon is now almost completely restored and I would be thrilled if I could learn anything more about these interesting folks which would add to the provenance of the REO's long past. Thank You, Donald Paul. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Sep 2007 - Hi Donald. So you bought the old Reo Speed Wagon. My Brothers and I always wanted to restore the old wagon but as time went on we all went our separate ways. Know that Mom and Dad are both gone I have lost touch with my brothers and sister. I live in Australia now which makes a little had to catch up with the family. My name is Arthur Trostl Jr. I was also known as the Great Arturo and my specialty was solo trapeze. I too like my father toured all over the world. My father’s specialty was the High Wire. By the time I came around (1950) the Reo was retired and we were touring in the Semi towed by a crew cab hemi Dodge (thy call them fifth wheels now). Dad was always way ahead of his time. The Reo was first converted into a motor home sometime in the early thirties; somewhere in Ohio and Dad bought it after thy left the Ringling Bros. Circus in the late thirties. The Reo was still going up to the late 60’s. When we moved from the city out to Gibsonton. We had a lot of fun playing in the old bus as kid’s. It made a great club house. I would love to see some photos of the Reo restored. Can you email some pix to this address. trostl@bigpond.com. Cheers, A Trostl

    Reply: 02 Mar 2008 - My name is Jenny Wallenda and I remember that many years ago my dad needed an extra man in the Wallenda highwire act and he brought Arturo Trostel over to America to work with them on the RBB&B circus. I had seen pictures of him.

    Reply: 09 Dec 2008 - Pepy Trostl- one of Arturo's sons still lives in Gibsonton, Fla. His email is pndno3@yahoo.com. He is very much interested in cars and motorcycles and can give you lots of info on his parents. I am Pepy's friend. Tandy

    Reply: 30 Jan 2009 - Every boy dreams of running away and joining the circus and I did just that In 1960. I was 25 and ringmaster of a small circus (Paul A Miller circus) that promoted shopping centers. I had the honor and privelege of presenting the Great Arturo along with his son and niece. I can't remember their names but maybe someone can tell me. The son and I ran around together and maybe he would remember me. We were about the same age. I left the circus later that year and have not seen them again. I did run into The Hannefords again at Pomona fair in 1961. Would love to hear from anyone that remembers me. Ben Brigman

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1985. Bill Unks, 16 Jul 2007 - Does anyone know if Bill Unks is still living and how one might contact him? My name is Micah Harris, I teach literature, composition, and film at a community college in Greenville, NC, and I am doing some historical research concerning someone Mr. Unks is reputed to have known. It would be Fantastic to contact Mr. Unks. I can be contacted at MHa6106@aol.com. Thank you, Micah Harris. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1984. Greatest Show On Earth, 16 Jul 2007 - Hello All: 51 years ago, July 16, 1956, John Ringling North gave the orders to take down Big Bertha for the last time. Had JRN listened to Art Concello, The Big One could have gone on for a number of years under canvas. Art wanted to cut the show to a 50 car show. Had JRN listened he wouldn't still be the guilty party in the end of Big Bertha and her 40 other odd sized tents. Long live the memory of The Greatest Show On Earth under canvas where the show belongs. Best, Craig Johnson, Lock Haven, Pa. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Sep 2007 - I saw the circus in Fall River Massachusetts that year. My father took me. I was 6 at the time. Marlarlin@aol.com

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1983. Sam Dock, 16 Jul 2007 - Do you have any information, photos, posters, books, etc. that may mention Sam Dock or the Great Keystone circus? My great grandfather was Sam Dock. I am interested in any information or memorabilia that is available. I would appreciate your help. Thank you. Tauna Brison Cole.Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Jul 2007 - Sam Dock cut a wide swath across circus history. He was a trapeze performer and animal trainer and presenter that made the transition to circus manager and proprietor. He was involved with overland, railroad, river and motorized shows. He was affiliated with smaller shows for most of his career, but spent some time with both the leading Forepaugh and Barnum & Bailey outfits.
          It would take no small effort to trace his career, which touched on many shows and showmen. A simple searching of the index for the CHS journal "Bandwagon," alone, on this website, would yield references to many shows involving his career. Slout's book "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle" [on this website] states that his last show toured in 1942, but that he "continued on with working dogs, ponies and monkeys through 1951." Sam Dock died on July 3, 1953. That made him 89 years old, of which he'd spent at least 68 years in the circus or show business. I doubt that few showmen could match that length of run and his diversity of engagement.
          The "Billboard" magazine solicited biographical information from circus men in the early 1930s. A synopsis of the data submitted was later printed in cameo biographies in that weekly trade journal about 1931. The following information is quoted verbatim from that submittal and publication effort. The items in brackets are my inserts.
          "Mr. Dock, owner of Sam Dock's Circus, was born in Womelsdorf, Pa., December 24, 1863, making him 68 years of age. His home is in Petersburg, Va. He has been engaged in the circus field for 49 years, entering it in May 1883. His first connection was with [Leigh Hill French's] Circus French & Co. Was with Howe, Pullman & Co. 1884; [W. H. Harris]Nickel Plate 1885; [Adam] Forepaugh's, 1886; [Circo] Pubillones, [Mexico] winter of 1886-87; Dock & Jordan 1887; Orrin Barbers (sic) [Orrin Bros., Mexico] 1888; McFadden's 1889; in 1890 had [one-] third interest in Welsh Bros., also 1891-1892; with Flying Jordans [trapeze act] Barnum & Bailey Circus, [Madison Square] Garden season 1892; half interest with [Al F.] Wheeler & Company in 1893; later with Rentz & Co. [likely a Miles Orton or Sam MacFlinn operation], Frank A. Robbins, McDonald Bros. and E. G. Smith. He does not belong to any fraternal organizations. Animals are his hobby. His parents are dead. His wife is Sadie [Sarah?] Dock, who is no longer active in amusement business. They have a daughter, Mrs. Claire Brison, 35 years old."
          Col. C. G. Sturtevant, an early circus historian, compiled a listing of proprietors in the 1930s. Under Dock's name he offered these entries, items in brackets mine or from Sturtevant's list of abbreviations. It's clear that Mr. Dock either did not recall all of his affiliations, or chose not to mention them. There may also have been obligations for which he was contracted and announced, but did not fulfill, or did not complete an entire season, etc.
          "(Mgr)[manager] WB [Welsh Bros.] 1890; (AT) [animal trainer] NP [Harris Nickel Plate] 1885; [A. A.] Beckett '86; D [Dock] & Jordan (Pr) 1887; (Pr) [Proprietor] Dock 1894 to 1903; (AT) Sun [Bros.] 1908; [Pr] Dock 1916-1919 to 1923; (Pr) Keystone '25 to '27 (Mgr) Brison Bros. '28-'30; (Pr) Sam Dock '31 to ''33; Silver Bros. '34 still going strong."
          Parkinson's circus title book includes these operations owned all or in part by Dock:

    Dock & Jordan Circus 1887
    Dock & Sallade's Shows 1889 [proprietors not named]
    Sam Dock's Circus 1894-1903, 1931-1933, 1951
    Sam Dock's Keystone Show, 1900
    Brison Bros., 1938-1932, 1942
    Great Keystone Show, 1911-1927
    Silver Bros. Circus, 1933-1941
    Welsh Bros. & Sam Dock, no date given

    A short recollection of his first circus experience is in Billboard, March 27, 1926, page 68. An 1884 French & Co. newspaper advertisement listed him as "Sam Dock, The Prince of all, in his original Balancing Trapeze Act."
          After composing this response, I Googled "Sam Dock" and found that there's an excellent summary by Joe Bradbury, incorporating much of the above information, on this website at http://www.circushistory.org/bandwagon/bw-1966May.htm. Joe references another article by Bob Taber that would be worth securing. The Google search also revealed an April 2007 auction wherein a Sam Dock Circus poster was auctioned. I'd recommend that you periodically Google the name, monitor on-line sales sites, etc., to secure the items you're seeking. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 01 Aug 2007 - I saw your message about Sam Dock. I have a hundreds of original pictures dating back to the late 1800s up through the sixtys. They look like it was family pictures. There are some with the circus and some personal photos as well. I also have Sam Dock's original route book from the late 1800s before he started the Keystone circus. These were all purchased at a local auction where I live. I sold a couple on ebay if you want to see what they were my ebay name is anteecues. Please email me back as I am also intrested in more info on the family. Thanks, Keith, tntmtbg@verizon.net

    Reply: 12 Aug 2007 - Thank you for the valuable information. Tauna

    Reply: 30 Aug 2007 - I happened to see your reference to Sam Dock Circus on this web page. My great Grandfather worked in his circus over the many years. His name was Wiley Ferris. Any information that you could have on him would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much. Michael Ferris, mlf22@verizon.net

    Reply: 20 Aug 2009 - I traveled with the Silver Bros. Circus when I was 8 or 9 years old. I was born in 1930 My father was a magician who went by the stage name THE GREAT JARVIS. My Dad did his act and managed the side show. I did a ventriloquist act in the side show. I remember Sam Dock and his animal acts. I also remember the Brison Family who I believe owned or had a interest in the circus. I also remember the name Carl Annon who traveled with the circus. My dad and Carl were boyhood friends. I think the circus winter quarters were in Reading PA. Its was a longtime ago but I can still remember as it was part of my growing-up bests times. Dick Jarvis. RJarvis645@aol.com

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1982. Arkless, dwarf, 16 Jul 2007 - Hi I'm looking into my family tree of Arkless and told that a Dwarf from the family was in the circus maybe you can help me with this please thank you. He was a brother of a Doris Arkless a Dwarf and in show's but don't know if that circus or show in a stage. Mandy. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1981. Andre Pahin, 16 Jul 2007 - Ich möchte fragen, ob es Fotos von Andre Pahin, dem Trapezkünstler gibt? Er ist inzwischen 94 Jahre alt und lebt bei uns im Altersheim. Es wäre sehr schön, wenn wir Fotos bekommen könnten?! Vielen Dank im voraus. Mit freundlichen Grüßen Barbara Merkinger. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1980. George Bleistein, Buffalo Bill Show, 14 Jul 2007 - I discovered that a "George Bleistein," who was a motivating force in the Buffalo Bill Shows which had toured the country in the 1800s, was from Buffalo, NY. Can you give me any information on him? George Bleistein. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Jul 2007 - George Bleistein was affiliated with the Courier Company of Buffalo, NY, a show print house. There's a reference to him in the Louis E. Cooke memoir on the CHS website. If you Google his name ["George Bleistein" with quotation marks] you will find a good number of references to him on the web. You can also Google his name and append [Buffalo Bill, without quotation marks]. He's mentioned on pages 27 and 41 of the book "Billers, Banners and Bombast," which is about traveling show advertising. It was likely through the contracting for lithographs that Bleistein came into contact with Cody and eventually became an investor in at least one of his non-traveling enterprises. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 17 Jul 2007 - George Bleistein (1861-1918) began as an office boy at the Courier Co. in 1876 and rapidly rose through the ranks, first to a clerkship after one year and then as private secretary to the president, Charles W. McCune, who clearly favored the young fellow. By 1880 Bleistein was general superintendent and in 1883 joined the board of directors; a year later he was manager of the entire company. In 1885, after McCune became incapacitated with what proved to soon be a fatal illness, Bleistein became the head of the Courier Co. Bleistein was not yet 24 years old. He was one of the executors and beneficiaries of McCune's estate and, in addition, married McCune's young widow!
          The Courier Company (which began as Warren, Johnson & Co. and published, among else, most of the editions of P.T. Barnum's autobiography) was considered one of the largest printing and lithographic companies in the world. In 1887, for example, it boasted having the contract for printing ALL the posters and other advertising material for P.T. Barnum's circus. Courier was publisher of an influential Democratic newspaper of the same name but in the scale of its business, the newspaper was really the subsidiary of the printing establishment and in 1897 Bleistein sold the paper to William Connors. In 1908, a fire destroyed part of the printing plant destroying an order of $180,000 for circus advertising matter but, in the long-term, the fire effectively ended their printing of large posters because it destroyed many of the larger presses.
          Bleistein's name lives on in a truly landmark 1903 Supreme Court decision, Bleistein v. Donaldson. In 1898 his Courier Co. copyrighted some circus posters that were later copied by Donaldson Litho. Bleistein sued and when the case finally reached the Supreme Court on appeal, it was Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who wrote the majority decision that established the copyrightability of commercial art work.
          In 1905, Bleistein was one of the principals in organizing the Consolidated Lithography Co., a trust that brought together Courier and most all of the companies that specialized in circus and theatrical poster printing. Due to the organizational and management problems associated with the amalgamation which went through several reincarnations, Bleistein resigned from both the trust and from its subsidiary, Courier. Bleistein soon tried to market without success a specialized photographic printing process he had developed and then in 1914 was appointed Collector of the Port of Buffalo.
          Bleistein was well-known in Buffalo and New York City and even on the national political, printing, and journalistic fields. He served as head of the publicity committee for the 1901 Buffalo Pan-American World's Exposition and is considered one of the founders (and investors) of Cody, Wyoming. I have seen no evidence that he ever invested in any show business venture and, frankly, that would have impinged the confidence needed between any show printer and his clients. A show's planned itinerary was privileged information for a printer and jealously guarded by show agents; to have invested in a show would have compromised the integrity of the printer. For example, McCune, Bleistein's predecessor, was frequently cited for his confidentiality in these matters. That is not to say, however, that printers did not end up owning shows on a short-term basis because the cost of advertising was the largest expense of a traveling show and therefore the printer was often the largest creditor when a show went belly-up. – Richard Flint, Baltimore

    Reply: 21 Feb 2011 - Is there any information that you can give me in regards to my name-sake? George Bleistein.

    Reply: 25 Apr 2012 - I can give you more information about the George Bleistein in this message. Contact me offline at rwconstantine@gmail.com

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1979. Elephant Anna May, 14 Jul 2007 - I am looking to find the whereabouts or fate of a great working elephant "Anna May". I had the great privilege to work her and work for "Buckles" many moons ago. Also I am looking for current info on two Ringmasters, Brian LaPalme and Billy Martin, if they may be on the road this summer and with which shows. Thanks in advance. André Boulay, Pachyderm Productions, aboulay@si.rr.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Jul 2007 - You may want to visit Buckles Blog, http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2006/12/wild-animal-fantasy-2.html. In the archives, I believe, you will learn about Anna May's last days in retirement. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 15 Jul 2007 - If you will go to Bucklesw.blogspot.com, this is Buckles Blog site. He posts new items on almost a daily basis. He has an archives and a search. He has posted many photos of Anna May in life and after her death. I hope you enjoy his blog as much as the rest of us do each day. Bob Cline

    Reply: 15 Jul 2007 - bucklesw.blogspot.com can be found in the links section on the top left side of this page. P.J.Holmes

    Reply: 23 Jul 2007 - Mr. Boulay: Ringmaster Billy Martin is appearing with one of the Royal Hanneford Circus units this summer at Adventureland Amusement Park right outside of Des Moines, Iowa. This is an annual date for the Hanneford Show and Billy has been Ringmaster there for several summers now. If you search Adventureland/Amusement/Park/Iowa on the internet, no doubt you will find all the information you need. Billy and the entire show really roll out the red carpet for circus fans and friends who visit them during the summer. The show performs daily through Labor Day and then on weekends for a few more weeks after Labor Day until October 1 or thereabouts when the park closes for the winter. The park is located right off of Interstate 80 just east of Des Moines. Brian LaPalme was with Jose Cole’s circus this Spring when I last saw him and he is booked at another Amusement Park for the summer, somewhere out east (maybe Pennsylvania?) for the summer. Neil C. Cockerline, Director of Preservation Services, Midwest Art Conservation Center, Minneapolis, MN, E-mail: ncockerline@preserveart.org

    Reply: 30 Aug 2007 - Brian LaPalme has spent the summer performing at Sunrise Resort in Moodus CT. Pat Ng, png@uptodate.com

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1978. Pat Nicolle, 14 Jul 2007 - Hi My Name Is Susie Nicolle, I only ever met my father once or twice when I was young his name was Patrick Leon Nicolle or known as Pat Nicolle. He was involved with Ashtons, Soul Brothers and Bullens Circuses. I believe he died some four years ago. Recently I was told he had seven sons, so some where out there I have seven half brothers, can any one provide me some information as to who and or where they are? In anticipation Thank You. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Jul 2007 - Hi Nicolle. Yes I do know Pat Nicholls a great advance & publicity man with most Australian circuses and did work for us until 1993 he passed away in Queensland your best way to contact his family would be to contact John Mcdonell Eden Bros circus. I think he is on the Australian web site. Robert Perry

    Reply: 14 Sep 2007 - I can help you reguarding Pat Nichols he had 5 sons and 3 daughters. Contact me xbullet4myvalentinex@hotmail.com. Pat passed away in 1999. Paula

    Reply: 31 Oct 2010 - I think you may have the wrong person as dad's name is Nichols and he has no middle name. Regards Andrew

    Reply: 28 Aug 2014 - Could be when were you born. I am one of his sons. 61474509789@online.telstra.com.au

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1977. Penman and Millar, trapeze, 13 Jul 2007 - Can anyone help me with information on a trapeze act called Penman and Millar. They were Scottish, and worked with the Paris International Circus probably in the 1920s, given that Bill Millar was born in 1880 and died in 1948. Bill Millar was the high flier, and apparently missed a catch and injured himself on the edge of the net. After that, the pair became strongmen and comedians. Stuart Macleod. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1976. Emmett Kelly, 13 Jul 2007 - Greetings; I am looking to see if anyone knows of a reference, website, or other areas that might have the famous photograph of Emmett Kelly (Wayward Willie), attempting to put out the R&B Hartford Fire? Thank You. John E. Palmer, Seattle, Washington USA. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Jul 2007 - The January-February 2007 issue of the CHS journal "Bandwagon" includes the photo on page 15, part of the recollection of the man, Ralph Emerson, Sr., who witnessed the fire and snapped the photograph. Fred Dahlinger

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1975. Seil-Sterling Circus mid 1930s, 13 Jul 2007 - Looking for information on the Seil-Sterling Circus of the mid 1930’s. I have a great uncle, Buddy Wedin (he was a midget) that was a featured clown for them. I know for sure he was with Seil-Sterling Circus in 1936 and that his career ended with Seil-Sterling Circus due to an injury of which I am not sure of the nature of. I also have an old newspaper article that mentioned he was with the Ringling Brothers circus but not sure of the time frame. I would really like to find more information on Buddy Wedin as a clown in the circus and possibly any pictures that may exist or pictures of the Seil-Sterling circus of that time. He lived in the Upper Michigan Pennisula and died around 1949 in Lansing Michigan. Brian Wedin, Appleton, WI, brian.wedin@canlines.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Jul 2007 - The museum near to you in Sheboygan has materials about the Seils-Sterling Circus. Two of the Lindemann daughters still reside in the community and they can likely be reached via the museum. Your local library should also have a copy of the book "Badger State Showmen," which includes some coverage of the Seils-Sterling Circus. Fred Dahlinger

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1974. Tivoli Circus, Australia, 12 Jul 2007 - I am looking for any information on the Tivoli Circus in Australia – late 1800’s. Would appreciate any help anyone can give me. Thanks, Tami. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1973. Water wagon, John Robinson circus, 12 Jul 2007 - I am looking for information on a horse drawn water wagon from the John Robinson circus. rwink@verizon.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Jul 2007 - Is your interest in the water wagon(s) of the family-owned show of 1911 and before, or the version operated later by Mugivan & Bowers, the American Circus Corporation, the Circus City Zoological Garden, Inc. and finally by John Ringling? Are you seeking information to construct a model or other purposes? Fred Dahlinger

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1972a. Who was Clyde Beatty's boss canvasman or kid pusher, 1952?, 11 Jul 2007 - I would love to mention his name in my forthcoming book, Fall of the Big Top. When the circus came to Santa Rosa in the spring of 1952, I got a kid job and I recall this fairly young guy whom I think was in charge of lacing up the big top, etc, who might have worn a white shirt, maybe even a tie. Possibly he was in charge of the punk gangs and not the boss canvasman. This I recall: At the edge of the big top canvas, laid out and ready to hit the air, he told some of us something like this "We always put the tent up the first thing when we get into a town, even if we come in early, because you can never know how the weather might turn against you, so you want to get it up as soon as possible." He was very personable and likable, and he seemed to like to share some of his insider knowledge Can anybody name this guy? Thanks, David Lewis Hammarstrom. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Jul 2007 - That just might have been Bill Hill. Bud, HD15218@webtv.net

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1972. Texas Mystery Elephant, 11 Jul 2007 - Its been said that sometime back in the early 20th Century when a circus visited the town of Flatonia in Fayette County Texas. The elephants were allowed to graze on the grass along the railroad tracks, however the grass had been sprayed and treated with various fertizers and at least one of the elephants that grazed died as a result. Over the years the name of the circus and the elephant have been forgotten over time. Would anyone here have any info concerning this? I believe the Fayette County (TX) Historical Society is still trying to locate any info as some of the old-timers still remember it. Kenton C. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Jul 2007 - I think possibly I may have come across a clue. In reading the book FUN BY THE TON by Eddie Allen and F. Beverly Kelly, published in 1941, page 102. The authors mention an incident that had happened a few years earlier in a "Certain Southern City", when the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus let their elephants graze in a railroad depot while unloading. The grass which the elephants had been grazing on turned out to have been treated with Paris Green, which is a poisonous emerald green powder used as a pigment and insecticide. The elephants became very ill, however when it happened, the boss elephant man Bert Noyes had his crew purchase every bottle of castor oil within 10 miles. It mentions the elephants were saved, but doesn't mention any having died. Kenton C.

    Reply: 14 Aug 2007 - While we are trying to figure this out in the meantime. Perhaps the two most famous circus elephants from this time period(1920's-1930's) to have met their demise in Texas, had been the Sells-Floto male Asian elephant "Big Floto", who for some unexplained reason went berserk and escaped from the menagerie tent on went on the lam on Front street in Orange Texas. He was tracked down about 15 hours later by a local posse and shot and killed about 3 miles from town on November 19, 1921. The other famous incident had been the AL. G. Barnes Circus elephant "Black Diamond", which was shot outside of Kenedy Texas October 16, 1929, just a few days after the infamous incident that involved him in Corsicana Texas. As far as I can tell Black Diamond at the time was the second largest circus elephant, second to The Mighty Tusko which had a standing shoulder height of 10 feet 2 inches tall, (the African elephant'Khartoum" resident of the Bronx zoo in NYC, was the largest elephant in North America with a standing shoulder height of 10 feet 8 inches in 1929 ). Kenton C.

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1971. Circus Fire Maryland, 10 Jul 2007 - Message removed at request of sender, October 17, 2007.

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1970. Dave Hoover, lion trainer, 09 Jul 2007 - This is in reply to an inquiry from Cynthia Keith [message No. 1690] and to other fans of my uncle, the late great Dave Hoover, World's Greatest Lion Tamer.
      My Uncle Dave Hoover, passed away on Feb. 3, 2006 in De Land, Florida; his home of many years where he had acres of land for his lions and tigers to play and relax from months touring the country.
      My thanks go out to Ms. Keith of the great state of Louisiana, which I'm proud to say is the city where I was born and raised. I would enjoy hearing how and what Ms. Keith, and any of you know of my Uncle Dave.
      Dave Hoover was an awesome person with a God-given talent, leaving behind an amazing legacy of being one of the world's last and greatest pioneers in the industry. His true passion? His life of sharing with us the spectacular lion and tiger acts performed for over thirty years with the Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus. There is so much I could write about Uncle Dave, but to keep a long story short, this is what I fondly remember:
      As a child, my little ears perked up, and my eyes gleamed with excitement, as if it were Christmas, when my father, Steve Hoover, youngest of four brothers in a family of nine children, told me that "Uncle Dave" whom I was named after, was performing in our home town of New Orleans, Louisiana.
      In his white jump suit, wearing a leather harness with a six shooter strapped to it, and bearing a small wooden chair and leather whip, he commanded lions & tigers to leap and soar through rings of flames. I attended many shows myself - the shows packed the circus big top stadium seats in towns all over the eastern portion of the United States, making him one of the two most notorious wild animal lion trainers/tamers in the world. He very quickly became my favorite Uncle and childhood idol.
      It seems like just yesterday that Uncle Dave shared with us kids one of his funny stories. I can still picture him taking a huge cigar from his mouth to tell us this story. Uncle Dave, with his deep voice and distinct chuckle, explained how one of his "cats" was chosen to make a commercial for the Xerox Company. The cat was a male and was one of his finest and tamest. But on the set, this fine feline specimen had a wee bit of stage fright and sprayed all over the side of the brand new machine. The story made me laugh and gave me pop-up captions of what life must have been like in his shoes.
      Unarguably, he was a man with a heart and soul of cast iron courage, to get into the ring with these sometimes unpredictable animals. A powerful yet passionate man that made a mark while fulfilling his childhood dream. Thus leaving us with his great attributes and being a true legend. His legacy will always live on in my heart, and I believe, in the hearts of others for generations to come. I guess the answer we have to ask ourselves is, could we command, much less gain respect from some of the toughest lion and tiger descendants passed down from Clyde Beatty's stock.
      In closing my Uncle Dave Hoover will always be one of my favorite topics of conversation. P.S #1.) My personal email is Hooverincali@aol.com and also lifesabeachintheoc@gmail.com. If you have any further questions or information or are looking for material or pictures of Uncle Dave in action please don't hesitate to write me. P.S. #2.) My father is an even a better source of information, being born and raised with my Uncle Dave, and he's also more than happy to share stories with you. His email is shoove35@gmail.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Jul 2007 - Hello All: During the 1970s I had the rare opportunity of interviewing Dave Hoover with Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus both in New England and in the East. I saw him on several lots. One was at the Lycoming Mall, Muncy, Pa. Dave was most gracious with his time and remarks. I took pictures of him in action and in the back yard. We discussed at length his association with his mentor Clyde Beatty. I watched him make his blanks for his pistol. We also discussed the Big One and his desire to have performed under Big Bertha. Some thing he never had the opportunity of doing as John Ringling North had taken the big show into concrete and steel buildings. I noted my seeing the Greatest Show On Earth in Erie, Pa. in 1951 and 1952. We both agreed that was the twilight of the big show under canvas. In closing, I saw his mentor in his animal act and putting his head into the mouth of a lion and the lights going out and then light up again and his head still in the cats mouth. The clapping cheers when he removed his head was loud and long. That was Clyde Beatty. To me interviewing Dave Hoover was a giant thrill in my long years of being a radio broadcast journalist. When people discuss the steel ring with all the exotic wild cats one of the true greats is and always will be Dave Hoover. Best, Craig Johnson, Lock Haven, Pa.

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1969. Thomas Bird, manager 1860s, 09 Jul 2007 - I am trying to find any detail related to the Circus Thomas Bird managed in Australia in the 1860s until the circus went broke in Bathurst in 1874. Thomas Bird was American and died in NSW in 1877 aged 40. I have no detail about the circus name and whether the circus came out from the US. Can anyone assist? Phil Jackson, philipJ5@bigpond.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1968. Brothers Picard, 08 Jul 2007 - I am looking for information regarding the Brothers Picard, French Gymnast who were with Ringling Brothers on and before 1904. The act consisted of my grandfather Louis Alexander (Alex) Picard and his brothers Fred ans Phil. I am also looking for information regarding my father Vincent (Pic) picard who was a gymnast with the Hagenbach and Wallace Show around 1922. Thank-you for your help. Mary Picard Sarle. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Sep 2007 - Mary: If you read this will you please write me at egyhal@bellsouth.net as I want to ask you about Vince. Thanks, Whitey

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1967. Elephant performance, 07 Jul 2007 - I've inherited an oval-shaped block (of wood?) in green, yellow and red that, I'm told, elephants would balance on. It is approximately 15" tall x 8" diameter. Can anyone verify its use? Is it rare? Thank you. Please reply to: handerson@tds.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1966. Dan Rice's Omar, 06 Jul 2007 - I'm looking for information on a white horse named OMAR, owned by Dan Rice, the famous showman and circus owner/clown, etc. OMAR was a white horse (most likely gray turned white) of Arabian descent, from Arabia. Thanking you! Pat. PM Mefferd, Pedigree Research. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Aug 2007 - Pat, Where did you get the initial information on a horse of this name? Rice featured the famous white horse, Excelsior, and its successor, the blind Excelsior, Jr. Rice also had two riders often mentioned in conjunction with their horses, an apprentice named Omar Richardson and an employee Omar Kingsley, who cross-dressed as the sensation "Ella Zoyara." David Carlyon

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1965. Flying Fontaines, 06 Jul 2007 - I am looking for information on performer - "Frances Grieve" - believed to to be a trapeze artist with "The Flying Fontaines" in the UK. I am particularly interested in any pictures ? posters available Thank you for your time and asistance. Brenda Fisher. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1964. Hagenbach-Wallace Circus, 04 Jul 2007 - My Great-Grand Uncle James Leo Duffy listed Hagenbach-Wallace as his employer on his WWI draft card. His employer's address was listed as Clear Baden, Indiana. The draft card was done in Centerville, Iowa on September 9, 1918.
      I would like to know more about this circus. What happened to circus performers during WWI? Did most of them get out of going to war? I do believe that James never went off to war. He was 36 years old at the time.
      He was a clown in many circuses. He went by "Bert Leo". Has anyone ever heard of him? He was also in Al G. Barnes Circus. "Bert Leo" was in a silent movie in the 1920s with Mary Miles Minter. I believe the movie was "The Clown". I have photos of him with the movie actress. He did bit parts in silent movies during the 1920s. I would love to know more about him. Thanks for any info you can give me about my great-grand uncle. From Jil Loewit, email address: sweet_babe1966@hotmail.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Jul 2007 - The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus had a winter quarters in West Baden, Indiana. The story of that facility was covered in an article written by Joe Bradbury and published in the society's journal, "Bandwagon." You can locate it in the article index on the website. At other times the show wintered in Peru, Indiana, which is the subject of an entire issue. The 1918 HW tour included the horrible train wreck in northwest Indiana, with great loss of life. Warren Reeder wrote a book about it, "No Performances Today." It's also possible that Gordon Carver wrote an article about the 1918 tour. Chang Reynolds wrote a series of articles about the 1920s tours of the Al G. Barnes Circus. Check the Bandwagon article website index. Your local librarian should be able to assist you in obtaining copies of the articles and also the book. Circus people were part of the general population, some went to war, others did not. I don't believe that there was an employment exemption for performing or any other work, but a hardship case or physical disability might have been presented. You might check the multi-volume index to obituaries in Variety. With the date of death in hand, you can go to "Billboard" magazine, which often published more informative obituaries for circus people. Fred Dahlinger

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1963. Tented circus 2007, 02 Jul 2007 - Hello All: A neighbor asked me recently how the tented circus is fairing in 2007? I answered they will be doing well if they can get the word out that they will be in town - where and when and let the town know how special their show is. I remember in college in one of my marketing courses the prof talking how The Greatest Show On Earth had its own advertising car that traveled the country in the nations crack passenger trains and how the crews onboard literally plastered the message that Ringling Bros. was coming. John Ringling North discontinued that famous method of advertising and the message got lost. There were other areas that caused the demise of Big Bertha. Like getting rid of key people with many years of experience for friends of JRN who knew nothing about the show. Being a retired broadcaster and a one time master marketeer I know if you don't get the message out - no matter how special your product is failure will ensue. So, any marketing persons of the remaining tented shows that read this, please share your thoughts in 2007. Best, Craig Johnson, Lock Haven, Pa. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Jul 2007 - Hello All: This evening when I checked my Verizon voicemail there was an ad for Lewis & Clark Circus promoting when they will play the Lock Haven, Pa. area. A very good way to get the message out. Honestly, I had never heard of this show. Does anyone have any information? Best, Craig Johnson, Lock Haven Pa.

    Reply: 08 Jul 2007 - Craig, The Lewis and Clark Circus is owned and operated By Bob Childress out of Easley, South Carolina. He is a seasoned veteran having a fairly large carnival for years then the Hendricks Bros Circus before selling it and literally starting over with the new title of Lewis and Clark Circus. I posted some photos on Buckles blog back on March 31st. It's a real nice family show given in a one ring format. It has a Big and Little act that was originally broke by John Herriott, a camel act, they are carrying three tigers that I started to train for them earlier this year, a nice petting zoo out front with a snake pit show, pony rides, camel rides, and a moon bounce. The show usually runs about an hour and a half or so with an intermission. I believe You'll find the show to be an enjoyable evening. Bob Cline

    Reply: 09 Jul 2007 - Thank You Bob. Best, Craig Johnson

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1962. US Circus playing out of the country, 30 Jun 2007 - I know that RBBB went to Cuba, South America & Europe. I know that they played Cuba from 1949 thru 1955, did they have later dates as well? Also , I know they made a tour of S.A. in 1961, but, again, did they go back? Same with Europe, they played Germany in 1963, any place else that year or any other year? And King Bros. went to Cuba from 1957 thru 1959, did they go again. And where else did they are any other circus go ? I'm new to the Circus World, & find it remarkable. I thank you for any information that is given! Ron Erday. ronandstan@verizon.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1961. Graceful Air Medley, 28 Jun 2007 - Our German maid Luci Pomi performed in the Graceful Air Medley (Grazioses Luft- Pospourri) circus act before WWII. High in the air, her male partner supported her with a bar held between his shoulder blades as she performed on a swing suspended below. They were based in Germany and traveled to perform on all continents except North America. Any information on this act is appreciated. Thank you. Sue Thompson, sue0607@tampabay.rr.com, Tampa, Florida. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Jul 2007 - I read your posting, did you have a darling brother named Gregory and another brother, (I don't recall his name). I think I remember you. Greg Irwin. ps good luck in your search sis

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1960. Circus performers retired, 28 Jun 2007 - Does anyone know the area (or towns) in the Florida (U.S.) panhandle where older circus performers have mostly migrated to? I'm a photographer and would like to document some of the residents. Thank you. richardschultz@mac.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Jul 2007 - Mostly in Sarasota and Gibsonton, fatima

    Reply: 02 Jul 2007 - Dear Richard, The vast majority of circus performers, active and retired, live in either Sarasota or Gibsonton, FL. There is social club called "Showfolks of Sarasota", in Sarasota where one can often run into a number of retired circus greats. The club is most active during the winter months. The walls are lined with photographs of old circus acts and liquid refresments are available for purchase. Jim Cole

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1959. Spangles, The Continental Circus, 28 Jun 2007 - I have an exchange requisition on heavy stock, for "Spangles The Continental Circus" at Madison Square Garden. No date on it. I searched the Archives & didn't find anything. I always thought that RBBB had a "lock" on the Gardens, was this a special performance of RBBB ? Thanks for any answers you can give. Ron Erday, ronandstan@verizon.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Jul 2007 - Dear Ron, The "Spangles" circus date was a one time only venture of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus in I believe 1943. It followed the regular Ringling date in the Garden with acts that were hired for the date. From what I understand, the buisness was not so good, although it was a very good show. Jim Cole

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1958. Shlitze the Pinhead Update, Full Story, 28 Jun 2007 - I hope you'll all check out our just updated Shlitze obituary in Find-A-Grave, which includes information discovered when we recently obtained Shlitze's Certidicate Of Death. Go to: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=14093667.

My very Best to you always, Verne Langdon. P.S. Much of the credit for this newly discovered information goes to my associate Archivists Micah Harris, Tom Hernandez, and Jaime D'Arcy Garcia. By the way, Tom Hernandez now has Shlitze's Certificate Of Death up for sale on eBay! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1957. Looking for Georgianna or John Davenport, 27 Jun 2007 - I used to work in the King Royal Bros. Circus which was owned by Georgianna (Gigi) Davenport. They were based out of Von Ormy, Texas. I know they sent out smaller shows and ran under different names. Does anyone know their whereabouts (the phone number has been changed) or the current name of their show (if they are still in business)? Please contact me, Sharon Surface, newageseer@yahoo.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Jul 2007 - L. E. Barnes & Bailey Circus. Bob Cline

    Reply: 27 May 2009 - I am also looking for the Davenports, Have you had any luck locating them? Last I heard the Gopher was in Omaha, NE still running a show but I do not know the name if it, Do you? I would also like to find Gigi if you have any idea where she is? Andrew Gietzen

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1956. Rayford Lee Johnson, tallest man, 27 Jun 2007 - I was wonder in you had any info on a Rayford Lee Johnson. He worked for the circus as the tallest man in the world if I am not mystaken. Anywhere from 1930's to the 1970's. I would love to see any articles or photo. He also played basketball for a group called the Road Kings out of Harlem. If you do find anything please email me back at Deniece1975@comcast.net. Thank you, Deniece Johnson. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Jul 2007 - Deniece, Take a look at the webpage I just created for Ray Johnson http://www.quasi-modo.net/Ray_Johnson. Should I assume he is the same person as Rayford Lee? Tom, zenheard at yahoo dot com

    Reply: 19 Jan 2008 - Hello Deniece. Rayford L. Johnson was my great uncle, and at this point I'd like to know more about you and relationship. His mother was my great grandmother, one of his sisters was my grandmother, so that makes him my mothers uncle, and this is where we come in at, please contact me for more 411. dorothy mosley, dlee@dodgenet.com

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1955. Billy Smart Circus, 26 Jun 2007 - I went to Billy Smart Circus on Southsea Common in Portsmouth as a child on several occasions. One day the trapeze collapsed into the audience and someone was killed whilst I was there. It was sometime in the 1950s'. Have you any information about this please? Valerie Reilly. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1954. Sonny Moore's dog act, 26 Jun 2007 - I am looking for film or video of Sonny Moore's dog act. He performed in the 1940s 1950's and 1960's. I work with his nephew Stacy Moore who would very much like to see more of his Uncles' act. Any information or leads would be appreciated. Thanks, Scott Houghton. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1953. Carnival Sideshow performers, 26 Jun 2007 - I'm searching for a source for photos taken during the 1940's of Carnival Sideshow performers and/or women who worked in and around the Carnivals in that same time frame, preferably that would have traveled through NC. I am looking for clothing styles of performers and employees. This is for an art project in Assemblage/Altered Art catagory. I will be putting together a scene and would like to see backdrops and clothing styles. Thanks for any help. GerriAnn. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Jun 2007 - Check Joe McKennon's book "Pictorial History of the American Carnival," as well as multiple titles by Bob Goldsack on various railroad carnivals, as well as his two carnival picture books. One of Joe's resources was Clyde Probst of the Cabarrus County Fair, so you might check with them, other fairs with archival materials, as well as state archives. Louis May of Washington, NC would be an excellent resource, he's a real student of the carnival, but he has not been in good health for some time and I'm not sure if he or family would be able to assist you or not. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 28 Jun 2007 - Fred, thank you for the help. I will get to work rounding up some of the books and stories you mentioned. Thanks again, GerriAnn

    Reply: 22 Aug 2007 - Looking for info on John (Johnny) Powell who was a circus side show performer. He was noted for having unusually big feet. He died in 1999 in Arizona, and was my dad's uncle. Any info would be appreciated. Ken Mazzanti, lazzyranch@hughes.net

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1952. Chester Royal, 25 Jun 2007 - I am interested in knowing if anyone has any information on a family that performed with circuses or carnival’s in the south during the 1940’s. One of the sons was named Chester Royal. Supposedly there were several brothers or sisters that worked with the same group. I do know that their parents lived in High Point, NC. Any information can be sent vial e-mail to Beverly Edwards at bedwards@whitlowelectric.com. Elberton, Ga, Thank you. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1951. Flying Marx or Marks, 25 Jun 2007 - Sometime around the late 1930s my father was in Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus for about one season. He was in a 4-person flying trapeze act called either the Flying Marx or Marks. They worked blindfolded and without a net. One fell, and the act broke up. My Dad is 91 now, and the family has enjoyed hearing about this part of his life for many years. Unfortunately, the only souvenir he saved was a picture of him dressed up like a clown on “clown day,” which apparently was a day in which the whole circus dressed like clowns. Other than this he has nothing. It would be a big thrill for him (and his kids, grandkids, and great grandkids, to unearth some material from this part of his life. A poster would be amazing. Do you think it would be worth the trouble to do the research? Is this the kind of thing there might be some record of? I’m anxious to hear what you think. Bruce Adams, Buffalo, NY. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Jul 2007 - My Dad was a clown for several circuces in the 30’s. His name was Cliff Downing - I think his clown name was “snow Shoe” Maybe your father knew him? I have many pictures from his life back than I would be happy to share. Joann Downing, azequine@tds.net

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