Circus Historical Society
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Message Archive: Messages 2101 - 2150
2150. Dezmonti Trio, 13 Nov 2007 - Further to my message number 2048, I have received information that the circus troupe my gt. grandmother was associated with was called the Dezmonti Trio. I would be extremely grateful for anything regarding this trio. Many thanks, Gill. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies. If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.
2149. Circus Costumes, 13 Nov 2007 - Hello! and first of all, thank you for such a wonderful site! My name is Haleh Risdana and I am a Costume Graduate student at Brigham Young University. I am doing course work on the History of Circus Costumes and will pursue publishing my article when it's done for the sole purpose of preserving this Fantastic display of performance art in history.
&npsp;&npsp;&npsp;&npsp;&npsp; I am writing to ask for help. Who would be the person(s) who would know of such history? I have many, many books and am doing the research, but finding the history of circus costumes is about as easy as finding, well shall I say it, a needle in a haystack. With this said, it's very exciting that I may be the one to publish such findings, but in the mean time It's the resources I need. Do you know of who I should be in touch with? I am thankful for your time, and will look forward to hearing my you, Haleh, FacesByHaleh@Gmail.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Since the field is so open, and lacking in collected resources materials, you may want to limit your study to a manageable size. Beyond books, the trade journals ["New York Clipper," 1850s-1920s, and "Billboard," 1890s-1960], "Bandwagon" and "White Tops" also contain a wealth of information, but it will require detailed reading to unearth the scattered references. Key word searching through digitized newspapers might be the one way to short-circuit the search, but the results will be limited by the available coverage. You'll need to establish something in the way of a hierarchy for your study, otherwise it may be completely anecdotal and lacking in the ability to assess trends and shifts.
Practices changed in time, but they typically embrace the materials [fabrics and applied items], sewing techniques and other relevant design and construction arts and technology of the period. Wardrobe design inspiration may have come from period style and design books, the stage, popular press magazines and other influential visual resources. Usually some license was taken by the designer or fabricator to enable the use of available materials, techniques, etc. Some was intended to be strictly functional, others were meant to convey the image of an historic era, a fairy tale, real life or whatever was required by the performance script, spectacle libretto, etc.
In terms of sourcing, wardrobe was: made by the performer [the art was part of RBBB Clown College training]; supplied by a seamstress, friend, or costume house; or hired show personnel [often via a winter quarters wardrobe operation]. There are surely cases wherein some aspects of wardrobe were purchased [slippers, shoes, tights, "leotards," named for the French trapeze performer Leotard] while others may have been hand stitched or made on a sewing machine by the user.
Some wardrobe may have come from overseas with contracted foreign performers and others were sourced domestically. A researcher would likely be challenged to know the difference unless they knew the heritage of the performer. Performer's memoirs sometimes contain brief references to their wardrobe, the source of it, problems or advantages, etc., things that would be remembered for unique reasons after a lifetime of performing. The principal trade papers sometimes carried advertisements that catered to people in the business. The places to look are on the circus news pages and in the classified ads.
Spectacles and hippodramas were part of the circus through the 19th century, but James A. Bailey's introduction of the grand spectacles [a sort of opera under the big top, based on Kiralfy Bros. precedents] in the 1890s likely raised the general quality of wardrobe utilized by circuses. The large numbers of specialized wardrobe likely would have overwhelmed most show wardrobe departments, requiring the outside design and fabrication. At a winter quarters "house cleaning" and liquidation sale in December 1894, Bailey sold off a lot of older wardrobe, listing it in a sales catalog. The big specs, with special wardrobe, stage sets and props, special composed music and vehicles, etc., continued until the era of WWI, but some shows, particularly RBBB, the Corporation shows and a few major independents continued to stage specs with imposing wardrobe up into the 1930s, and others thereafter until relatively recently.
There are some photographs that survive of the wardrobe departments at the Bridgeport and Baraboo winter quarters. The posed photos in Baraboo show a sketch being reviewed by one of the Ringlings and broadly experienced ballet master Ottokar Bartik. There are racks of wardrobe, an elephant blanket displayed, etc. Usually local women were hired on a short-term basis, in winter, to accomplish the sewing. Lou Ringling, wife of Al Ringling, is said to have done this sort of work. RBBB maintains a large wardrobe depository today and often recycles elements from one show to another, thereby achieving some economy in expense. They maintain a large wardrobe shop at the combined operations center in Palmetto, FL. Since the late 1930s, it has been RBBB practice to hire designers from outside the business, with great credentials, to provide their wardrobe designs. They have been supplemented by staff designers. Many of the RBBB designs survive [some complete with material swatches], some retained by the show, others have gone into private hands and some into public collections.
Show-issued wardrobe was cared for by the wardrobe department staff. It was issued at appointed times before and during the show, either from a wagon or inside a tent, and then returned after use for storage until the next need. There are photos that reveal the inside of wardrobe tops and also dressing room tops. Wardrobe supplied by the performer was usually their own responsibility to clean and maintain. Doing the laundry in the "back yard," via water buckets, is documented in dozens of photographs. Performers were able to have the show move their trunk between stands, loading it into a wagon and then placing it in the dressing top for use. They were lined up, end to end, creating aisles. The trunks were rectangular boxes, the ads stating "no Saratogas" meaning that domed or hump-backed trunks were not allowed because they created useless voids when packing a wagon. On a large circus, top performers may have been given their own tent, or the space inside an emptied baggage wagon as their own dressing room.
Wardrobe might have been made for visual presentation: street parade [largely to be seen from a distance, on an elevated vehicle]; or spectacle or tournament on the hippodrome track [again largely for visual presentation]. It may have been very functional for ring performance [which had to accommodate physical motion and body manipulation, as required by the act, on the ground, in the air, on an animal, etc.]. Janet Davis's book "The Circus Age" will provide you with insights as to the why and wherefore of wardrobe, in terms of meeting local standards or exceeding them, in terms of the display of the body.
When not in a performing mode, show personnel wore ordinary street clothes, just like other citizens. Their mode of dress typically reflected their economic status and the hierarchy of the circus.
Given the lack of purchase documentation, you may have to rely largely upon image documentation, supplemented by bits and pieces in memoirs, newspaper accounts and tertiary resources. There are some sketches in the Durang collection, a few of which are reproduced in "The Memoir of John Durang." These are early 19th century items. Thayer's "Annals of the American Circus 1793-1860" contains scattered references and his subsequent volumes "The Performers" and "Traveling Showmen" are worth checking. There's an oft quoted description of an 1810 circus in a Newburyport, MA memoir that contains some reference to early wardrobe [partially transcribed on this website, which also has other worthwhile reference materials loaded].
Engravings start to be used in circus advertising by the mid-1810s and continue on through the 1930s. Some of these illustrate wardrobe styling. Photography doesn't become available until the 1850s. There are a few early photographs of clowns [Joe Pentland] and animal trainers [Jacob Driesbach, usually misidentified elsewhere as Isaac A. Van Amburgh]. They are part of Thayer biographies in "Bandwagon." The number of paintings depicting circus activity in the 19th century is limited, but there are a few. Woodcut and lithographic posters offer another insight on wardrobe, providing clues as to colors utilized. They continue to be visually descriptive into the 1950s, and even some thereafter, such as those made for RBBB, will provide useful insights. Be aware that paintings, engravings and posters are created by an artist, and may differ slightly from reality in that regard.
In the 1920s, "Billboard" magazine published some feature articles about new wardrobe being used on the show. I believe that these came out at about the time of the RBBB opener in Madison Square Garden. They were seemingly written for the benefit of women in the trade, to educate them about the latest trends and fashions. You can see the styles illustrated in period photography. David Hammarstrom's book "Big Top Boss" covers the John North era of RBBB and records the designers that were involved during his tenure as proprietor. An article about Miles White appeared in "Bandwagon" a few years ago and I think that he may have penned a memoir of his own. Others designers have surely been covered in additional journals.
There are instances of performer cross-dressing, mostly males appearing as females. This includes young males appearing as female horse riders [Ella Zoyara, later one of the Rooneys] and also on the wire ["Berta" Beeson] and trapeze [Barbette]. Some acts, male and female, involved the sequential removal of layers of clothing, a sort of caterpillar to butterfly type of transformation or "metamorphosis." Recently, some "quick change" wardrobe acts, wherein layers are shed virtually instantaneously before the eyes, have been featured as an act itself. There is actually a history of such acts on the stage, although using different techniques.
Clown wardrobe is a specialty as it involved creating an entire character/persona with facial make-up, skull cap and/or wig, extraordinary shoes and sometimes fixtures or devices that were part of a walk-around "gag." Some clown wardrobe was mechanized, the action part of a gag. There are some cases where clowns also provided small wardrobe accessories for animals, such as to convert a diminutive dog into an elephant. Clowns sometimes had their own segregated dressing areas, often termed "clown alley," which was derived from a European phrase.
This is just a sampling on the topic, pertinent mostly to the overland circus of the early 19th century and the railroad shows from the 1870s to the 1940s. Others could add much more. You really need to access a major collection or two to provide you with a broad overview of the topic. I recall starting a file on the topic in the CWM Library vertical file and that might be a start. The work is appropriate and good luck! Fred Dahlinger
2148. Forepaugh-Sells poster, 13 Nov 2007 - Have a Forepaugh-Sells Strobridge poster featuring "Tapirs." Any idea as to the year? Gary Payne, email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies. If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.
2147. Jethro Webber, 11 Nov 2007 - My parents moved to Yakima, WA in 1980. We lived next door to a retired circus performer who had a calliope. I rode in the calliope in a parade that year. The logo on the side said "Jethro Webber". I haven't been able to find any information about Jethro Webber or Weber or his circus. Any information and/or photos would be most welcome. Please respond to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, Liz Ferrin, Santa Barbara, CA. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies. If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.
2146. Circus Ponies Mexico, 11 Nov 2007 - Does anyone have any information or photo's about circus ponies in Mexico? Particularly appaloosa spotted ponies. I am searching for the origins of some ponies. email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2145. Circus Jimmy, 10 Nov 2007 - I am seeking information about "Circus Jimmy" whose name was James Sly, a Quinault Indian from Taholah, WA; circa early 1900s--1920s. Gene Woodwick, exhibits curator, Ocean Shores Interpretive Center. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2144. James Fox Bradley, 10 Nov 2007 - Would anyone have any information on a theatrical manager/actor, James Fox Bradley? Around 1920 he was involved in some kind of entertainment which involved various circus type acts - you know, strongest man etc. In 1909 he was living in Brixam. Any information would be valuable. Kind regards, Liz Bradley. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2143. Kenneth Kilpatrick sword swallower, 10 Nov 2007 - I was adopted at birth and recently found my maternal birth family. They told me that my father, Kenneth Kilpatrick, was a sword swallower in the circus. Is this a familiar name to anyone? I realize this was quite some time ago. Are there any archives that I could search? I was born in 1951. He was married at the time to my birth mother, Lydia Philips Kilpatrick. I'd appreciate any information. Thanks! Kristi in Illinois. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2142. Fowler Bros., 09 Nov 2007 - I am looking for information on a small circus based out of Twin Lake, Michigan called the Fowler Bros. 3 Ring Circus and Wild West Show, circa the 1930s. Is there any information on where they traveled throughout the years they were together? Thanks, C. Broersma. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2141. Pardon A. Older, 09 Nov 2007 - Information about Pardon Austin Older is appreciated. He was a descendent of mine. I do have some information on him and his family to share. Carolyn Older Salk, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2140. Davis family, 09 Nov 2007 - I am looking for info on the Davis family of tightrope walkers/trapeze artists. Thanks, simon taylor, email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2139. Minert deOrlo, 07 Nov 2007 - I am trying to locate information about our Circus Fan tent namesake, Minert deOrlo. If anyone has any pictures please contact me at the following address firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, Barb Moore. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2138. Zelda Brothers, 06 Nov 2007 - am looking for anyone who can tell me about "The Zelda Brothers" contortionists in the early 1900's to 1927's. My great grandfather was one of the brothers. Not actually brothers, but friends that worked together in the circus. They called themselves The Zelda Brothers. My Great Grandfathers name was Paul C. Auchenbach, from Reading, PA. Thank you for your time. Lisa Angstadt, West Reading, PA, email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2137. Email address change, 06 Nov 2007 - To all of our friends and associates: We have changed our eMail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You and have a Circus Day! Bob and Jean Spivey. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2136. Victor Leibowitz, 06 Nov 2007 - I am trying to ascertain whether a relative of ours by the name of Victor Leibowitz was a member or employee of the Ringling Circus in the 1920's. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Please reply to email@example.com. Thanks, Melanie. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2135. Don Smith, 06 Nov 2007 - Do you have any information on Don Smith of Farmington, Michigan? Is he as we think a Circus photographer? Any assistance would be appreciated. Thank you, Kay Burris, R&R Enterprises. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2134. San Antonio Circus, 06 Nov 2007 - I am looking for any information about a circus that may or may not have been based out of San Antonio, Texas. I am researching a Universal Newsweel story (date unknown) entitled "Midgets get short end as circus closes." The partial newsreel clip is in black and white and features seveal scenes of small people employed in various work. Any information about a circus that has closed in San Antonio during the years 1929-1967 would be most appreciated. Emily Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2133. Ambrose Means, 04 Nov 2007 - I am researching info. on my dad, Ambrose Means. He performed in the Young Buffalo Bill show, the 101 Ranch, 2 Bills show and also with Col. Cummins. He went to Africa to rope a gorilla for the Sells-Photo [sic] Circus and was recommed by Buffalo Bill Cody, who also recommed him to go on a trip to Africa to rope wild animals in 1910 with Buffalo Jones. Would you have any billboards of him in any of these shows? Thanks, Eagle Means Jones. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2132. Cole Bros. 1949-50, 04 Nov 2007 - I am looking for any information from or about anyone on the Cole brothers circus from 1949 and 1950. I was with the show both of those seasons and would love to hear from or about Pat O'Reilly, Dolly Dale, the St. Leons and especially Vander Barbette who was the aerial director. Thank you so much. I would appreciate any information. Betty Paterson Smyth, St Lucie West Florida, email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2131. George Crocker, clown, 04 Nov 2007 - I am searching for information about my grandfather, George Crocker, who was a "clown" with Cole Bros. Circus, probably around 1900-1906. He was also with the shows that featured Wil Bill's Wild West Shows. His brother traveled with him, but was called Roy Crawford. Apparently Roy had a tryst with one of the Indian maidens who traveled with Buffalo Bill's show, and left the circus "on the run." Barney Bailey staff said he traveled with Cole Bros. I would appreciate any information. I have been to Sarasota and went through their archives but could not find anything. Thank you, Marolyn Seanor, MAROLYNS@TAMPABAY.RR.COM. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2130. Wither's Band, 04 Nov 2007 - Looking for information about Joseph Withers, Wither's Band. Trying to connect this circus person and band to Civil War musician band. Would be grateful for leads to photo, bio material. terry schaub, firstname.lastname@example.org. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Tracing Withers' Civil War service is likely to be another methodology requiring an entirely different line of research. There are people and guides available that can direct you in that regard, if you've not already established that connection. If Withers led a band during the war, it's possible he engaged some of his comrades for later circus work. Be aware that the turnover in circus bandsmen was high, as the traveling life was not for everyone.
The circus employment listings in Slout likely came out of an obituary in a later issue of the "Clipper," date unknown. A check of census records for 1860 and 1870 might establish his residency and that would lead to another angle on establishing his Civil War activity and how it might relate to earlier [1857, Dan Rice] and later [1866 and later] circus work.
George F. Bailey's circus bandwagon, featuring an elevated "Golden Horse" and complete with Withers band and pulled by an exotic elephant and dromedary hitch, was photographed at Kilbourn City, now known as Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, on June 6, 1868 by H. H. Bennett. The original glass plate still exists in the possession of the Wisconsin Historical Society. The image has been in print several times. A link to the image at www.wisconsinhistory.org. Click on search, then type Kilbourn Circus Parade in the pictures search window. Fred Dahlinger
2129. Florida train wreck, 03 Nov 2007 - When I was a young girl my Uncle Harry H. Mull gave me a pair of white squirrels that he said had been captured in a pecan orchard owned by his friend a Mr. M.M. Black who I believe lived near Madison, Fla. I think my Uncle Harry lived in Jacksonville. Uncle Harry said the white squirrels had escaped when a circus train crashed. I lived in Brevard, N.C. and kept the two squirrels in a big cage in the back yard until my Father could not find work in or near Brevard and had to move to Kinston, N.C. My grandfather who lived in Brevard said he would take care of my squirrels for me. He accidentally left the door open and the squirrels escaped. They have survived and are now all over Brevard and have become famous. When I told my story about how the white squirrels escaped from a train wreck I was more or less laughed at. I was trying to find information about a circus train wreck that occurred near Jacksonville or Madison, Fla. I saw in your circus history that a Cole Bros. train wreck occurred enroute to Minnesota on 6-27-45. Would you be so kind to tell me how I could find out if this wreck was in Fla., or if you have any history of a circus train wreck in Fla. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Barbara Mull Lang. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2128. Smokey the (black face?) clown, 02 Nov 2007 - I have a photo of "Smokey," he appears to be a black face clown from "CRC shows (cole rogers circus?)." Name listed is "Herbert Miller", photo is dated 1937. Any other info on this man? I didn't find any info on your website, but I may not have worked it correctly. THX for any help! Tim. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2127. Circus equipment, 31 Oct 2007 - I work for a teaching circus called Skylight Circus Arts. I am trying to find the history/background for the various pieces of equipment we use such as the Devil Stick. Why is it called the Devil Stick? Where did it originate from? etc. I would also like these questions answered for the Diabolo, Spinning Plate, Clubs, Poi and any other circus equipment. I would be most gratefull if someobody could come up with the anwers to these questions. Thank you! email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2126. Cole Brothers train wreck, 31 Oct 2007 - Searching for information on a Cole Brothers Circus train wreck 1940's to 1950's. I have, as part of a circus collection, 8 photographs of this train wreck but no information about it. I'm guessing on the era by the clothing and the wrecked cars say Cole Brothers Circus. Thank you, Nancy K. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2125. George Sinclair Biddall Freeman, 30 Oct 2007 - I am looking for information on my Great Grandfather “George Sinclair Biddall Freeman” (Born in 1875), Father George Samuel Freeman, married to Ruth Ethel Pearson in 1906. We know he was a travelling musician but have been unable to find out any more about him. We think his nother was married twice – once to a Mr Biddall, once to a Mr Freeman, but this might be entirely wrong. I would be very grateful for any help in tracing my ancestors. Thank you, Libby. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2124. Wild West Show, Belgian Exposition of 1910, 29 Oct 2007 - The exposition began in April, 1910. The bill simply listed the “Theatre du Wild West”. It was probably based in Colorado, since most of its performers came from there. I have been unable to locate the name of the show or any further information about it. There was a major fire at the Exposition in August, and a verbal story indicated that the show was forced to come home. Many of the performers are on the manifests from Ellis Island so there may be support for this story. Is anyone familiar with this particular wild west show? Any ideas on how to find more information? Lynn Williams-Murphy, Centennial, Colorado, firstname.lastname@example.org. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2123. Thompson Submachine Gun in Circus history, 28 Oct 2007 - This may sound odd, but I am searching for any information about the Barnum & Bailey circus having at one time a 1929 Packard with a Thompson Submachinegun. Possibly as a sideshow, or a get your picture with a gangster car, etc. I may have run across the car's previous owner (now deceased) and want to know what history there is about this. I also know where the gun is, I am in the process of buying and transferring it through the ATF. I am trying to find the car now - I think I know where it is (in Michigan). Any leads you can give me would be appreciated. Is there a recent history of the B&B circus written anywhere? I would assume this was from the 50's or newer. My real interest is in the Thompson, I am a Thompson collector. Thanks, Mike Wank. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2122. Nashua, NH June 1887, 27 Oct 2007 - Does anyone know of a circus that passed through Nashua, NH late in June of 1887? Family stories report that my great-grandfather was injured by a circus train as a child. The report of his injury in the Forty-Fourth Annual Report of the Railroad Commissioners of the State of New Hampshire indicates the the train was B & M and that the injury occurred on June 25, 1887. The only mention of the circus was from long-dead family members. Any clues would be appreciated. Kevin Farley, email@example.com, Candia, New Hampshire. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2121. Human Rocket Documentary, 26 Oct 2007 - I am currently working on a documentary with Native Voice Films on human rockets. We are trying to locate people who worked many years ago, as human rockets. These are people who launch themselves out of cannonballs, usually within a circus setting. For example, Mary Connors. However, they do not have to be located in the UK as we can travel abroad. I am hoping to get in contact with some of these people as soon as possible. Do you know how I can contact them? I am most grateful for your help. Kindest regards, Natasha Tsangarides. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2120. Bertram Mills Circus, 25 Oct 2007 - I am trying to find information about Bertram Mills Circus after the death of Sir Bertram, between 1939 and 1960. Thanks for your help. Dr Chrystel Hug, London. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2119. Abandoned Circus Butler PA, 25 Oct 2007 - I live in Butler, PA and came across an abandoned roadside circus just off of Route 422 on keck Rd 6 mile east of Butler. The sign out front read: "Welcome to Circus Town" "Main Entrance." The attraction has long since been abandoned and overgrown with weeds and trees. There is a main structure with over a dozen smaller buildings behind it including the remnants of a high wire trapeze. I was wondering if you could give me any history on the site. I have attached a couple of photos. I would greatly appreciate any information you could provide me. Thank you for your time. Andrew J. Kiss, firstname.lastname@example.org. [Note: graphic attachments are not displayed on the CHS discussion board - J. Griffin] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2118. Rail Car Origins, 24 Oct 2007 - Has anyone assembled a list of origins (original railroads?) of any of the Circus Rail cars? Pardon if this is here & I Missed it. Best, Dave Pierson. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
The great majority of show passenger cars were of wooden construction, and some of those were outfitted with steel underframes after about 1910. Many of these cars were also altered to look more modern, with window changes and steel sheathing applications. Steel passenger cars, while in use by railroads in the first decade of the 20th century, were not a major factor in show existence until the later 1920s. Some circuses continued to use updated wooden cars into the 1950s. Also, be aware that dozens and dozens of system cars also went to carnivals, theatrical shows, UTC outfits and so on.
Few if any of the elephant, stock, flat and box cars that were in show service originated with system railroads. The tariff schedules for show transport were based on the number of cars, not their length or weight. Thus, show cars were typically from 40 to 80% longer than system cars. On the other hand, system railroads found longer cars unsuited to their typical car-loading practices. There are cases where some system cars were adapted for show service and there are some unproven claims that certain extra-length show cars originated in private corporation ownership. It was more common for shows to lease system cars for temporary use, as after a wreck, to temporarily replace bad order cars and so on. There was a lively business in the rental of cars by the U. S. Rolling Stock Company, Arms, Venice, Burton and other firms to shows. Leasing a train of cars was an alternative to the investment of capital. Most all of this sort of activity also took place during the wooden car era.
Bob MacDougall has done considerable work in analyzing the history of RBBB train cars, particularly the steel cars that come on in the 1920s, the 1947 ex-Army cars and the subsequent Red and Blue unit trains. If you search the Bandwagon article index on this website, you will find reference to his multiple papers on the subject. They are all available as back issue purchases.
If you're interested in specific show cars, identify them by circus, year, number and name, if known, and perhaps someone will have done the necessary research. If not, it's a matter of working with available floor plans, window arrangements and other data to piece together a story. Fred Dahlinger
2117. Anna Agnes Schwarz, 24 Oct 2007 - I am looking for some information about my grandmother which performed in the Paula Busch circus in the 1920's, the Hagenbeek circus, the Knie circus, Norberk circus, and also the Arrasani circus and in 1921 she performed with the Moscow circus. Her name was Anna Agnes Schwarz (nee Rrinsch) and my grandparents had for a short time a circus called the Schwarz. I know that they were trick riders in the Sarrasni circus in Germany. Maybe you might have something about those great circuses and about my folks too. Thanks for looking and god bless. Andy. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2116. Mabel Mack, circus owner, 23 Oct 2007 - My great grandparents owned and operated a circus in the 1920's and 1930's, her name was Mabel Mack. I would appreciate any information that anyone would have about this circus or her or anything. email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2115. Pauline Wheaton, bareback rider, 23 Oct 2007 - I am attempting to find some information about a relative named Pauline Wheaton. She was a circus bareback rider in the 1890's. She died in South American of parrot fever. She may have been with the Ringling circus. Any help on where to find more information would be appreciated. Kim Whitehead, firstname.lastname@example.org. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2114. Dieter Wichert, 21 Oct 2007 - You have anything on wild animal trainer Dieter Wichert, who retired in 1982 and worket with Guenther Gebel Williams and then trained his animal acts for Hawthorne circus and Jungle Larry's Safary in Naples Florida in the seventy's? Please advise. Thanks, Dieter, email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2113. Brownings, 20 Oct 2007 - I am search for anyone who might recall the Brownings during the 1930's and 1940's that traveled throughout Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas etc. Any help would be appreciated. Bill. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2112. Hector and Lolita, 18 Oct 2007 - Hello Everyone, Has anyone heard of an act called 'Hector and Lolita' or of Ettore Begala, his wife Herma and his sister Paulina Begala. They did a variety of things from being a clown to an act with Dogs and dancing also trapeze work. They lived in Booth street Manchester in 1911 and worked at the Manchester Hippodrome Circus, it later became a music hall and was demolished in 1935. Thank you from Odette. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2111. Marguerita Bosco, carnival owner, 17 Oct 2007 - My grandmother on my fathers side, used to own the Bosco carnival in Montreal, Quebec in around 1918, and I am trying to find out more about her and her family. Her name was Marguerita Ernesta Bosco, the year 1918. She was a snake charmer. I would like to have some history of her and the carnival. If you can help. pls contact me. J. Green, Hamilton, Ontario, firstname.lastname@example.org. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2110. Hal Smith aka Hubert Castle, 13 Oct 2007 - My Grandfather was Hal Smith AKA Hubert Castle. I have many pictures of him, but would like some photos, videos, and or posters of him. Do you know were I should look, thank you for your help. Geoffrey C. Smith. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2109. Circus in Brooklyn, 13 Oct 2007 - I am looking for the name of the circus that performed in the "Canarsie" section of Brooklyn N.Y. I rode on an elephnant there when I was a small child. It was a thrill I never forgot, but I can't recall the name of the Circus. The event took place sometime 1938 to 1941. If anyone has this info I would greatly appreciate your reply. Bob Dadon, email email@example.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2108. Professor Baldwin, 12 Oct 2007 - I'm a historian with the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino, Ca. I'm looking for information on a high wire performer, who called himself Professor Baldwin, gave an exhibition here on October 30, 1886. Thank you in advance, Martin Simpson. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2107. Africans performers, 12 Oct 2007 - I am looking for any information about Africans performers, particularly from Togo and Cameroon, in German circuses in the period from 1910-1945, such as Krone, Holzmüller, Hagenbeck or Sarassani. Equally, can anyone tell me what an 'artist's apprenticeship' would entail in this period? Robbie Aitken, firstname.lastname@example.org. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2106. Ringling logo, 11 Oct 2007 - When did the blue colored globe that says "The Greatest Show on Earth" first appear on RBBB posters? Thanks, Don. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2105. Poster, 11 Oct 2007 - I was at an estate sale and found a huge poster that could only have been for a billboard. It was in excellent condition (obviously never used, and neatly folded) and complete. Actually, it was two posters: one was the very colorful yellow poster with the word Circus on it, with (from left to right) a clown, a female horseback rider, a woman working with a trained seal, and a woman being carried by an elephant. Again, this thing is huge! It's about twenty feet long and about ten feet high. The second poster was probably to personalize it, and was just blue lettering on a white background, and has the words "Hamid-Morton Annual Milwaukee Arena" and then a February date. Can anyone shed any light? I've searched some circus poster archives and not found this poster anywhere. My wife and I love it, but even with our ten-foot ceilings, there is nowhere for us to hang it! I'm sure it's worth something to a collector, but right now I'm just trying to gather information. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Rob. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2104. Buffalo Bill, 09 Oct 2007 - I have recently joined Liverpool Lighthouse, a charitable organisation based in Liverpool, England, as Creative Coordinator of a local history project. A group of 14-16 year-old students are researching the history of local entertainment over the last 150 years. Apologies for contacting you with what may seem to be a frivolous request, but I'm hoping you might be able to help us with our research.
I understand from your website that you may have some knowledge of Buffalo Bill's history. It is my understanding that he brought his Wild West show to Liverpool in the early 1890s and 1900s, but I can find very little information beyond that. Do you have any archive material which might shed further light on the subject? Thanks, Ed Barrett. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
The show played Liverpool on May 4 to 23, 1903. By then Salsbury was dead and the partnership was between Cody and circus man James A. Bailey. The show moved about on the train that had been built for the European tour of the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth 1898-1902. I believe that there is coverage of the B&B tour and also the train on some British show history websites. The local newspapers should have accounts of the show during the run of the engagement, as well as some advance publicity.
The performance was staged in a large, rectangular open area, surrounded by seating that was protected by a canvas canopy that encompassed it. The fourth side usually held a painted backdrop.
There are many books in print about Cody and his Wild West. Perhaps the best is still Don Russell's volume, "The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill." One that may be easy for you to obtain is "Buffalo Bill's British Wild West" by Alan Gallop . It provides a good bit of coverage on Cody's visitations in England, which took place in 1887, 1891-1892,1903 and 1904.
There are also many images of Buffalo Bill's Wild West activity on the Denver Public Library's website, though most of them are domestic views. Fred Dahlinger
Buffalo Bill (Colonel W F Cody) – Visited Liverpool to present his "Wild West Show" including Little Annie Oakley. The first visit was in 1891 when the performance was at Newsham Park. Later he returned to do another show at the old Exhibition Ground in Edge Lane.
The FamousS Colonel Cody, alias Buffalo Bill' brought his Circus to Leigh on October 3 1904. People where trampled underfoot in an attempt to see his spectacular show.The show was presented on a field off St Helens Road and Col Cody's performers and staff,between 400 and 500 arrived from St Helens by three special trains early on Sunday Morning. On Monday morning a marquee to accommodate 12,000 people was put up.There was a large crowd at the afternoon performance. special tramcars from Atherton,Tyldesley and surrounding districts were full with visitors. In the evening there was a tremendous crush and some disorderly scenes. Women and children were trampled on in the crowd round the ticket office but no one was seriously hurt.
He's even on youtube.com ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4wWCE9HN5k
Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Europe http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/732428.html
Buffalo Bill's Wild West show Tuesday April 28, 1903 http://century.guardian.co.uk/1899-1909/Story/0,,98922,00.html Upper Chorlton Road continues to be one of the busiest thoroughfares in Manchester, and after a fortnight of abnormal tramway traffic, constantly crowded footpaths, an army of zealous hawkers and a generous provision of police, the residents have almost forgotten the former secluded character of their district. The Wild West Show has achieved something very substantial in drawing so many Lancashire people to a suburb which is two miles from the railway stations and which is not easily reached by an almost unlimited number of persons within a limited period - say an hour in the afternoon and an hour in the evening - even with the assistance of the splendid electric car service. For, as always, everybody wishes to go by car at the same time, and, however long the procession of cars may be, it must have a limit, and that this limit has left the demand unsatisfied has been shown by the fact that the sixpenny buses and waggonettes from the city, not to mention the cabs, have done excellent business. On Saturday last, as on other days when the weather has been good, the stream of arrivals at the show ground continued for an hour or more after all the popular seats had been disposed of. In such weather as that of yesterday there has not been anything like the same demand for seats, and it has been under such circumstances that the disadvantage of distance from the popular centre and the railway stations must have made itself evident to the management. The organisers of the show, however, report that they have done exceedingly well, and they will be satisfied if their provincial tour progresses as prosperously as it has opened. Their prosperity has not been confined to themselves, and the Tramways Committee and the cabmen will suffer a sensible loss of income when the show leaves Manchester for Liverpool at the end of this week. It ought to be acknowledged that notwithstanding the succession of so large and miscellaneous a population as is attached to the Wild West — Red Indians, Mexicans, cowboys, Cossacks, negroes, and so forth — the good character of the neighbourhood has undergone no deterioration. The behaviour of our passing visitors of so many races and from so many lands has been excellent. Guardian Unlimited
http://www.guardian.co.uk/britain/article/0,2763,1535911,00.html How Buffalo Bill brought the wild west to Salford
David Ward Tuesday July 26, 2005 The Guardian. Few buffalo roam, or ever roamed, in Salford, the place famed in song as a "dirty old town".
2103. Alexander Ireland, 08 Oct 2007 - My grandfather, Alexander "Ollie" Ireland was a performer in the Ringling Brother's Circus for about 8 years. My mother knows that he drove a horse drawn charriot or carriage in the parades but we are trying to find out more about his days with the circus. We think he would have been with the circus in the early 1900s. We know after he retired from the circus, he returned to South Bend, IN and John North was his next door neighbor and would send a car for my grandfather and grandmother to take them to the circus whenever it came to town. Does anyone have any information on him or know where else I might look. Thank you! Shelley Matthews, email@example.com, Mahomet, IL. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2102. Al G. Barnes, 07 Oct 2007 - My grandfather Casper "Whitey" Jensen spent time the Al G. Barnes circus as a Boss Canvasman. I have set up a site with photos and things from his time with the circus. http://tyme2play1.blogspot.com/. I understand the importance of the circus history, and unfortunatly I never met my grandpa, as he was killed while traveling with Al G. Barnes. I wanted a way to share this with the circus community, so I started a blog after seeing the one done by "Buckles". To my knowledge, my grandpa was with Sell-Floto, Ringling Brothers (mention of him on CHS) and Al G Barnes. I am still scanning photos and stuff so I will continue to update my blog. Val Streit, Grand Daughter Casper "Whitey" Jensen. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
2101. Ephraim Williams, 07 Oct 2007 - Hello, I am the Lobster girl in the only true all human anomolies freak show of today! We are the 999 Eyes and you can see our website at www.999eyes.com. We love your website, it has provided our museum with valuable information. Shameless self promotion was not my motivation in writing you though. In my recent studies of the minstrel show I discovered a Man named Ephraim Williams, who was know by some as the "Black PT Barnum". I have only found a snippet of info on him though. Why has his name not made it into the popular consciousness? he seems certainly like a worthwhile figure! If you have any info, I'd be pleased to know! Also, I would be honored to provide you with info about our show! Thee Lobster Girl. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
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