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Message Archive: Messages 3101 - 3150



3150. 1950s circus, 02 Nov 2009 - Hello, Was anyone at the circus in the very early 1950's when JFK was present? Jack ( John Yancey ) and his wife Eloise were attending and in the row directly behind JFK. Please email me if you have any photos or info on this. Thank you, Robert Jones, indepenrn@gmail.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3149. Harmston Circus, Royal Menagerie, 02 Nov 2009 - I have in my possession, many Harmston Circus and Royal Menagerie artifacts. I have photographs of the entire group touring Angor Wat. I have photographs of Clarence Bruce and family. I have posters. I have letters from Clancy Bruce to a friend in the USA from about 1905 til about 1920. I'd like to find his family! Sincerely, Jennifer Ballard-Neal-Wittenberg. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Nov 2009 - Hi Jennifer, What years does your memoribilia cover? My family was with the Harmston Circus. I don't know of Clancy Bruce, but my circus ancestors traveled and moved to the USA during those years. I would like to learn more. pjc3219@att.net

    Reply: 06 Nov 2009 - I am also interested in Harmston. (see also topic #309. Harmston's circus in the archives of www.circushistory.org). In particular I am looking for details on any of the Cooke family who travelled with them? I know John Welby Cooke was there, riding with Jennie Harmston-Love. There used to be a Harmston website, (www.dharmston.freeserve.co.uk - but it has since disappeared). I copied some of the entries, there was a "Charles Bruce" listed as Bandmaster. It didn't give a year, it just said . . . "In the Far East, William Batty Harmston Proprietor and Equestrian; Jane Harmston Equestrian (wife of William but became Harmston-Love when she married Robert Love); Robert Love Circus Manager; Charles Bruce Bandmaster. There is a list of artistes and a route of sorts. Email me (either of you) if you want any of it or have a pictures of Cookes? jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 06 Dec 2009 - Hi Jennifer, I’m very interested in your post. My mother told me that Vera Bruce was my half sister so I am trying to find out all I can about the Bruce family. Clarence was apparently born in Hong Kong (not sure when – early 1900s before 1910) and Vera was born in Singapore about 1905). According to my mother, Vera and I have the same father, Bertie Kirwan, and Vera’s mother, Anna Lange later married Charles Bruce, a musician). I am particularly interested in Clarence’s birth details. My father left me a photo of Clarence performing his trick riding so there must have been a connection between the two of them. Lak2au@yahoo.com.au

    Reply: 29 May 2011 - Jennifer, I am researching my Bruce relatives, especially Charles Harold Bruce, his son, Clarence, daughter Vera and wife Anna/Annie Lang/Lange. They are like missing puzzle pieces of which I would love to fill in. Most of the data that I come across is usually based on Vera with some sort of reference to the others. The reason that I am writing you is that I saw your posting #3149 and it appears that you have information relating to this family, especially Clarence. I hope that you are willing to share some of that with me. If you are willing to talk to me about Clarence, please contact me at jas1a@yahoo.com. If you are not willing to talk to me, please contact me just the same so that I'll know, sadly, of course. Thanking you for your time and patience. Best regards, James A Cook

    Reply: 27 Sep 2014 - My grandfather was Joe Jenkins the trick motor cyclist, he died in India is buried in New Delhi. My father was called William and his sister was called Vera both born in India. Are there photos of the troop that would show Joe Jenkins at all please. Kind regards, Louise

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3148. Truppe Lafaille, 02 Nov 2009 - My name is Dr. Sarunas Peckus and among other things I am an avid antique pipe collector. A number of years ago I was lucky enough to purchase a very fine meerschaum cigar holder. Carved on this cigar holder were four what appeared to be circus acrobats. On the base of the carving was an etched inscription "TRUPPE LAFAILLE".
    After an extensive search through the Internet sources I found that the Truppe Lafaille was indeed listed as an act in the Barnum and Bailey circus roster of July 16, 1910. Upon further research I was extremely lucky to find a postcard with the likeness of the truppe manager, one J. Lafaille. I also purchased a postcard depicting the truppe doing the same acrobatic act as was carved on my cigar holder. It indeed was a lucky coincidence that a dealer in France just so happened to put this card up for sale at the exact moment when I looked.
    Now I was wondering if there is any additional material on this group that might be in your archives. Such as possibly some posters, additional postcards or any other pertinent information that I was not able to find up to now. I would like to ask you for your help. Thank you. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Nov 2009 - Many years back I sold Fred Bradna's albums to Fred Pfening and I believe there was a picture or two of this type pipe. You may want to contact Fred in the CHS for further information. Bradna would have been on the show at this time. Bob Good

    Reply: 29 Nov 2009 - I would like to thank Bob Good for his suggestion. Unfortunately I was not yet able to get in touch with Fred Pfening concerning the troupe Lafaille. Any help would be appreciated. Regards, Sarunas Peckus

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3147. Sells & Gray 1901-02, Allard & West, 01 Nov 2009 - My Grandfather was in the Sells and Gray railroad show in 1901 and 1902. I have the original cards for the comedians Allard and West. I would like to know where this show performed and if there is any information about my Grandfather Alfred John West and Al Allard his partner. They had a dog named Jep who was part of the act. The family once had a trunk of my grandfather with his picture as a clown on the inside of the lid of the trunk. I didn't get a picture of that. Thank you if you can help. I see the names Sells and Gray railroad show but I don't seem to find any information about this show. Karen mayne. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3146. Desparados, leap for life, gadbin 11, 01 Nov 2009 - I am looking for any information on a circus act in the early 1900's possibly at the Barnum Bailey circus - the act was the Desparados - leap for life - gadbin 11 - an act jumping 80 foot down onto a slide. Can anyone help me with any information as I believe my grandfather was part of the act and was also known as gadbin 11. (ndsl@lineone.net) With thanks, Natalie Tuck, UK. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Nov 2009 - Hallo Natalie, it isn’t much, but I can tell you that Ernest Gadbin (from Germany) worked on Ringling Bros. as “Desparados” just before World War I. Much later, to be exact in 1950, I saw a Hanny Gadbin Rex doing the same act in circus Circus Jos Mullens in Holland and in 1949 she worked in the German circus Fischer. Best wishes – Charly Ross

    Reply: 06 Nov 2009 - On page 246 of his book "This Way to the Big Show" (1936), veteran circus press agent Dexter W. Fellows recalled the Desperado act: "this German acrobat gave circus audiences the greatest, heart-stopping thrill of any dare-devil performer I've ever seen." Fellows described the cigar-box sized platform as being sixty feet high in the Garden, the diver looking like a puppet in a jersey and trousers, reaching a speed of 100 feet per second. The bottom of the slide curved upwards, enabling Desperado to land on his feet. "Others who attempted the same stunt wore leather armor to take up the shock, but Desperado depended entirely upon iron muscles and steel nerves." "He would look down upon a house held in deathly silence, and then leap." "Hearts may cease to throb" was how the program explained it. Fellows identified the man as Ernest Gadbin. I'm sure that the New York papers, the "New York Clipper" and "Billboard" all provided coverage of this thrilling presentation.
        To what degree the diver utilized any padding or an impact "apron" is unclear. The slide extended some distance upwards, as seen in photographs, but it must still have been thrilling to see anyone leap from a high, elevated platform downward to the inclined slide, with no safety appliance of any type in use.
        An article in "Everybody's" magazine in 1910 set his salary at $600 per week:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=4eMtAAAAYAAJ&dq=desperado%
    20circus&pg=PA118#v=onepage&q=desperado%20circus&f=false.
        This account from the 1910 "New York Times" describes the act and identifies Desperado as a young German, but gives no name for him:
    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=
    9905E3DA1430E233A25753C2A9659C946196D6CF.
        A second article in the "New York Times" provides further data, including the name Ernest Gadbin and details of how he accomplished the act. He inflated his lungs before diving, the air serving as a "pneumatic cushion" by his account:
    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=
    9907E5D71430E233A25750C0A9629C946196D6CF .
        "Desperado's Terrible Leap for Life" was with Barnum & Bailey at least one season, 1910. This link will take you to a 1909-dated lithograph portraying the act:
    http://www.bridgemanartondemand.com/art/104487/
    Poster_for_Barnum_and_Baileys_Circus_showing_Desperados_Terrible.
        He was also the subject of another circus poster, dated 1910, by famed artist Adolph Friedlaender:
    http://www.circusmuseum.nl/index.php?option=com_memorix&Itemid=26&task=
    topview&CollectionID=28&RecordID=5214&PhotoID=TEY0010000575
        Henry Ringling North, informed by his Uncle John Ringling, who likely hired the "mad German" Ernest Gadbin, reported a corn meal application lubricated the slide or "toboggan," and also stated that the slide curved upwards at the bottom, depositing Desperado into a net. North set the diver's speed at a mile a minute (60 miles per hour), which equates to 88 feet per second, with a jump height of 80 feet. ["Circus Kings," page 148.] The elevation was stated in some other sources to be 80 feet when staged in Madison Square Garden. One 1896 source set the height inside the Garden (1890-1925, designed by Stanford White) at 59 feet, from the floor to the bottom of the roof trusses. The trusses probably had a vertical depth of ten to fifteen feet.
        Under canvas, the big top poles could reach no higher than 60-feet, the length of a flat car, and were likely less, lowering the height at which the platform could be placed inside a big top. There is a photograph documenting such a diving act, perhaps Desperado, outdoors, at the Brockton, MA fair, possibly in the lens of Frederick W. Glasier. There were no limits on how high the platform could be placed outdoors, but side winds would have been a major concern, if they forced him off the route to the slide.
        Gravity accelerates objects at 32 feet per second per second. If one assumes a liberal, full 80-foot height, the dive lasted 2.2 seconds [time = square root of (distance divided by gravitational acceleration)]. In 2.2 seconds, Desperado would have achieved about 70 feet per second (48 mph); at 60-feet, his maximum velocity would have been 62 feet per second (42 mph). These are not quite what the publicity reported, but surely hair-raising to the performer and viewer.
        Desperado was adequately thrilling in 1910 to be recalled in a synopsis about thrill acts published in the August 1933 issue of "Popular Science":
    http://books.google.com/books?id=-ycDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86&dq=
    desperado+circus+german&source=bl&ots=LAykuy0r1X&sig=sz-
    N3tfaJGvPhgE6e7QubZIpA5Y&hl=en&ei=F-PySonKL4b-McXu_egF&sa=X&oi=
    book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CBcQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=
    desperado%20circus%20german&f=false.
    The author was notable B&B and RBBB employee Fred Bradna, assisted by Earl Chapin May. Desperado was then still alive and well.
        The diving act was revived for 1931 with the Orland-Mara Sensation, which appeared on Ringling-Barnum. This duo was also the subject of a special poster. In this instance, a woman clasped the back of a man as they dove from the elevated platform to the slide. The poster and also a photograph of the act are in the Taschen book "Circus," page 611, which also has the Desperado poster on page 613.
        There's a gathered group of images and other data on diving acts like Desperado's in the vertical file at Circus World Museum, under thrill acts. It includes views of act photos and other material. The late Tim Holst, RBBB's Vice-President of Production and Talent, often drew inspiration from circus documentation to conceive or revive new acts. This is how RBBB's "Ariana" feature came into being, after Tim saw a Barnum & Bailey poster of the human arrow "Alar." Tim told me that he'd found the elements necessary to re-create the Desperado act, with a skilled high diver, but I don't know if it ever came to fruition before his untimely passing. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 17 Sep 2013 - Thank you to those that have messaged some information. I am of the belief that the man in question is my grandfather Josef Karel Kokes aka Mr Gadbin 11 grosste sensation der welt, le sensational plongeon de la hauteur d'un 6 stage - Berlin-Treptwo, Velodrom et Concert-Jardin - Berlin 1912. (aka les cokes, aka joe cooke, aka cooke equilibrates sur tables et chaises, cooke from orpheum tour USA,). I have the article and posters but still trying to find more details and perhaps people he worked with. As he has named himself Gadbin 11 he has obviously either worked or followed in the footsteps of Ernest Gadbin. Natalie Tuck (nee Kokes) ndsl@lineone.net

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3145. Riggs circus, high wire act, 31 Oct 2009 - I am seeking information about the Riggs circus (high wire act) in the early 1900’s. This was my father’s adopted family. My sister has an original poster, but no more information. My father is deceased and we do not have living relatives to ask. Thank you. Lori Riggs. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3144. Thomas and Joyland Shows, 31 Oct 2009 - I'm looking for any information on the Thomas and Joyland Carnival and Side Shows that was part of the midway at the Marshall Co. Fair in Moundsville, West Virginia in the 1960s. Anything I can find about the Thomas and Joyland Shows would be helpful. Onedollar 27. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Nov 2009 - The Major entertainment publication of the times was the Amusement Business. These can be found in some libraries and on microfilm perhaps as an interlibrary loan. This will be the best starting place to learn about them. You can search the local newspapers around the time of the fair. Sometimes there were articles about the carnival people and that might have focused on this carnival. Check with your local historical society. You might even find a few photos of the fair. If any exist about this carnival, you might see an address painted on the trucks. There is also a Carnival Musuem located in Gibsonton, Florida. There is someone around there during the winter months when the carnivals are not travelling. Try this website to get you heading in the right direction. http://museumoftheamericancarnival.org/index.html I hope this helps you a little bit. Bob Cline

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3143. Small circuses, 30 Oct 2009 - Hi, I'm a New York-based writer doing research on a potential piece about American circuses. I came across your website, which has been hugely helpful. I'm looking for information on small circuses in America, if any still exist - not the large ones like Ringling but smaller, more local ones. Do you have any ideas on how I could find this information? Thanks for your help. All best, Ben Tarnoff. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Nov 2009 - There aren't nearly as many family owned circuses as there used to be but there are still some good ones out there. Some of the titles you would want to find would be the Lewis and Clark Circus, Billy Martin's All star Circus, Alain Zerbini Circus, Walker Bros. Circus, Vidbel Old Tyme Circus, Circus Pages, Culpepper and Merriwether Circus, Circus Vasquez, or some of the bigger one ring circues like Kelly-Miller Circus, Universoul Circus or Big Apple Circus. When you talk about the big circuses there are the Carson and Barnes Circus, Circus Vargas, Cole Bros. Circus, and the Ringling shows to look at. Bob Cline

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3142. Welsh Bros. 1886, 28 Oct 2009 - Would there be any information on where the Welsh Brothers Circus toured in 1886? Are there circus records that go back that far? I have a few of the dates, but several holes. Thanks in advance for any information. Ron Cartlidge. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Oct 2009 - Most references note that the Welsh Bros. Circus started in 1892. You might want to check your dates, did you mean 1896? JP

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3141. John "Happy Jack" Snellen, 28 Oct 2009 - Does anyone have a biography of John "Happy Jack" Snellen, boss canvasman of Barnum & Bailey in the 1910-1918 years. He was B&B's version of Jimmy Whalen on the Ringling show. I have a number of questions - (1) Did the nickname "Happy Jack" arise because he was always smiling and pleasant or was it because he evinced a dour and grumpy mien? (one of those reverse things like calling a 6'-5" guy "Shorty") - (2) When did Snellen first erect that monster 8-center pole big top on B&B? - Richard Reynolds. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: May 16 2014 - Happy Jack was my grandfather, I never knew him but the stories were wonderful. I would love to have more information on him. My mother was with him a lot and also pictured in Life Magazine with the Circus, I am trying to figure out which one. I am pretty sure it was in the 30's. I understand he was a very happy man. Kitty Ring

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3140. Arnold Inauen, 28 Oct 2009 - Is there an accident between an animal and a person, called Arnold Inauen or Arnold von Auen or Arnold von der Aue in the year of 1914 or 1915 in circus in the US reported? Arnold Inauen was a yodeling artist. Thanks for any help! Dr. Urspeter Schelbert, Wissenschaftlicher Archivar. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3139. Bonheur Bros. circus, 27 Oct 2009 - Hello, I recently discovered that my first cousin twice removed, Edward Bernard Brennan /Brannan (1871-1956) and his wife Maud (1877-1957) were performers with the Bonheur Brothers Circus. They were enumerated with James, Howard & Amos Bonheur on June 3, 1900 in Farmington, Stafford county, Kansas, along with other performers. I would like to learn more about this circus, if possible. Can anybody please advise me? Thanks! Ellen (Elliott). Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Oct 2009 - I was glad to see this message! I became interested in this wagon show while reading the New York Clipper in the 1890s. They painted their wagons yellow, the "jonah," of show colors, and made a big deal about it, at times refering to their show as the "Yellow Wagon Show." Their show seemed to have both circus acts and variety hall acts, but not riders. I did not read the Clipper for 1900 and later, when your Edward Brennan/Brannan and Maude were probably with the show. My notes, up to and including 1899, do not mention a Brennan/Brannan. Edward Keetch, who is also in the 1900 Farmington, Kansas census was with the show a number of years. A book on the show was published: "Troupers of the golden mascot: or, Tales of the yellow wagon shows," by Louis Wood, Des Moines, Iowa: Kenyon press, 1904. However, it lists very few of the people who were with their show. The show seemed to travel only west of the Mississippi, including the Southwest. Judy Griffin.

    Reply: 24 Dec 2010 - Hello, I recently came across your post on the CHS website. I too am searching for information on this traveling show. I have found information regarding my great grandfather. He seemed to be employed, part of this show or friends with Maude and Edward. His name was Henry A. "Gus" Carey. I have been researching him on ancestry.com and had some help with find him in relation to Edward. They, meaning, Edward, Maude and Henry all died in the same place in Texas. But now I am wondering what the connection is, so do you have any information on where is show traveled. I am interested as to when they began performing and where, as well as, the route of their performances. I know that Henry married my great grandmother is Oklahoma in 1903 and then disappear in 1904. Seeking any information you might have. I am now fascinated/intrigued to learn more. Cris

    Reply: 05 Dec 2011 - Thank you Chris and Judy for replying to my post 3139 regarding Bonheur Brothers Circus (Edward Brennan/Brannan). Unfortunately, I have uncovered no other information regarding either my relative or the Circus. In the 1893-1894 City Directory for Topeka Kansas, Edward is listed as a music teacher. Several members of this branch of the family were musically inclined. I’m going to try Google news archives and see if I can find anything. Ellen Elliott

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3138. Elephant headdresses, blankets, 27 Oct 2009 - I have several vintage elephant headdresses and blankets. They belonged to J. Sam Houston who used them as backdrop in his traveling museum. I believe one has a name on it. Can anyone give me the name of any experts in the subject? I can provide photos and dimensions. Lynne Bell, b3725@aol.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3137. Southsea common 1950-60, 27 Oct 2009 - Hi I'm looking for details of performers in the circus that visited Southsea common in 1950-60. B Foster. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3136. Trampoline images, 26 Oct 2009 - Hi, I'm wondering if you can help? I am a researcher on the BBC2 programme Flog It! - a popular antiques programme. Within each programme our presenter takes time out to look at something relevant to the local area and we create a 10 minute insert on this subject. Recently we have been looking at the history of trampolines, and how it became the Olympic Sport that it is today. What I am ideally looking for is HIGH RES jpegs of old images featuring trampolines, from the circus, country fairs - anything to highlight where it could be found originally before it was made into a sport. If scanning the images are a problem, we could do this here for at the BBC and send the images back to you. So, if you own the rights to any images that you could supply us and grant permission for us to use please email me at claire.parry@bbc.co.uk. Claire. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Oct 2009 - Search with the word Trampoline on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. High res versions can be ordered.

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3135. Retired performers, 26 Oct 2009 - Hi, my name is Megan Dillon. I'm a photographer and I'm currently in my last year of photography in Griffith College. I did a project with the Dublin juggling society and with clown club a few months ago which was a lot of fun. The project I am doing this year is on retired circus performers or semi retired. If you know of anyone that lives in the Ireland or England it would be great if you could send me there connect details or any other details on my project. Thanks, Megan. email: megansphotographs@yahoo.ie. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3134. Flamingo Park 1968/9, 26 Oct 2009 - I am trying to find anyone with knowledge of anyone working at Flamingo Park in 1968/9 season. George Bancroft was the Manager of Cowboy City, Lyndan Bergman was the main stunt artist, with horses; bull whips, and knife’s, Jack Unalle, also with whips, and knifes most part was the crazy Indian; Lyndan’s close friend, with Scotty a Canadian Indian, George Bancroft was the Cowboy City Marshall, + Pete, Jason, and back up team. Do you remember Pinky the Palamino, or the big grey Charlie? Many stable girls, actors, worked with the horses over the two seasons, please contact if you know the whereabouts; very sad but in the early 80s Jack Unalle died. Maureen. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3133. Patrick or Emmett Hogan, 25 Oct 2009 - Hi, I am looking for any info on an Australian man, Patrick or Emmett Hogan, he died in 1962 aged somewhere in his late 60's. He was a very tattooed man, as in, all over his body. He was known to be a slack rope walker? and travelled in America, may have been known as Da Silva. Karen. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3132. Sun Bros. 97, Wiley Ferris, 24 Oct 2009 - Looking for information about Sun Bros Season 97 near Akron, Ohio in particular. In addition, I am trying to find information on Wiley Ferris Jr., The Youngest Clown in the World who was part of the Sun Bros season 97. I have 2 circus photo cards of Wiley Ferris Jr from season 97 that I have digitally restored and will make the digital photos available if it will help. Thanks, Cary. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Oct 2009 - Cary, here's two items on Wiley Ferris Jr.: "Sun Brothers' World's Progressive Shows. Latest additions are Willie Ferris and wife, . . . Master Willie Ferris, four years old, will appear in our parade as 'The Yellow Kid from Hogan's Alley.' . . . New York Clipper, February 6, 1897, p. 781. "Sun Brothers' World's Progressive Shows . . . Wiley Ferris Jr., four and one half years old, is the child clown and will be featured. . . ." New York Clipper, April 30, 1898, p. 145. - Judy Griffin

    Reply: 15 Mar 2010 - Regarding the digitally restored photos of Wiley Ferris, Jr., I would be very interested in receiving copies by email, if possible. Wiley Ferris, Jr. was my husband's grandfather. Thank you very much for your reply. Becky Mead (Ferris)

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3131. Richard Allen (Blackie) Koehler, 22 Oct 2009 - Hello, I am seeking any information about Richard Allen (Blackie) Koehler who travelled with a circus in the 1940's as a "special agent". I found a reference to him in Volume 48, #2 of the Bandwagon and will order it but would love to hear from anyone who recognizes the name. My mother ran away to the circus as a teenager and lived with Blackie for a period of time. I was born in 1946 as a result. She told me that he was a "troubleshooter" and smoothed the way with local sheriff's for the circus to come to town. He was apparently somewhat older than she was. She did not recall, if she ever knew, his age, where he was from, whether he had any family etc. I don't even know whether he knew of her pregnancy. I tried to find out about him several times over the years but without a date of birth or SSA number, and with no knowledge of this type of research, I had no luck at all. A chance conversation with a friend found this site and I am stunned and thrilled to actually find his name mentioned. Now I am excited to seee what else I can find. I have no idea which circus he was with. Incidentally, I was the second child my mother produced in this way. My older brother's father was William "Red" Powell, an elephant trainer. My brother was able to meet his paternal grandparents while we were still teenagers but his father was deceased. Our mother, Judith Squyres, died in 1995. Thank you very much for any information you might be able to pass on to me about Blackie - or about Red for the benefit of my brother's surviving sons. Clytie Koehler. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Nov 2009 - This is my first visit to this site; I'm not an expert and arrived out of pure curiosity, but your story intrigued me and I ran a search on ancestry.com 'cos I was logged in anyway. It threw up your father's WWII draft registration card (name matches, and employer given as Pollack Bros Circus). It gives his date of birth, place of birth, height, weight and so on. Says that he had tatoos on both arms :) I bet if you searched a bit more on that site, there might be other information, it's a big site. You can get free trials for a week or so. Good luck. Camilla
        A quick follow-up to my earlier message: it seems as if the correct spelling of the circus your father worked for is actually Polack Bros. They're mentioned in numerous posts archived here. It seems they were highly regarded, and I'm sure someone who knows more than I do will be able to give you more information soon. Also, I did a little more searching on Ancestry and although there aren't a huge number of hits for your father, there are one or two more bits of solid essential information regarding his date of death, where he is buried, etc., so if you don't already have that information I would certainly recommend that you take a look.

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3130. Circus, Australia 1914, 22 Oct 2009 - I am trying to trace Edward Bush, who was with a circus in 1914 as an acrobat, he was born in Philadelphia in 1887 and married an Australian girl Rebecca in 1914 in Melbourne. Does anyone know what circus would have been travelling through Australia at that time? Thanks for your help. Sue. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3129. W. W. Cole's, Santa Fe 1884, 20 Oct 2009 - Per Robert Torrez in his book entitled UFOs Over Galisteo, in October 4, 1884 the Santa Fe New Mexican Review (newspaper), reported that the W. W. Cole Circus came to Santa Fe, NM. Santa Fe isn't listed in the circus routes for that time period. And the railroad spur line from Lamy wasn't completed until 1892. In order to perform in Santa Fe the equipment and animals cited in the article would have to have been carried by wagon to Santa Fe. Is there a logical way to tie this information together? Dianne Rossbach, Mary O'Nette the Clown, Albuquerque, NM. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Oct 2009 - The W.W. Cole Circus in 1884 was a railroad show that was doing a west coast tour going through California from the north to south, and the complete route is not available. The show played Los Angeles on September 27, the 28th was a Sunday (no show), and on September 29 they were in Colton, Calif. headed east. The October 4, Santa Fe reference looks like a review so the show would have been there prior to that date or that date since newspapers were usually published in the morning. October 5 was a Sunday, and possibly a travel day if the show went overland. On October 7 the show was in Albuquerque, New Mexico and by October 13 it was in Dodge City, Kansas. The show probably traveled by railroad to Lamy which is 18 miles south of Santa Fe, then moved overland to the date. (In 1880 the W. W. Cole Circus was moving from Nevada west to Colfax, California by rail. A part of the circus went by rail a distance of 17 miles, and another part went 12 miles across country.) So by routing the show overland they were able to play Santa Fe. You would need to check the local newspaper for the actual date of the show in Santa Fe.The traditional route of the railroad shows heading east from California is illustrated by the John Robinson 1887 route - Tucson Az., Benson Az., Wilcox Az, Deming NM, Silver City NM, El Paso Tx, Socorro NM, Albuquerque NM, Las Vegas NM, Raton NM, Trinidad Col, Dodge City Kansas. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 29 Oct 2009 - You might check the reference regarding the spur from Lamy being completed into Santa Fe in 1892. In October 1891 the Adam Forepaugh Circus was through the area and used the A.T. & S. F. Railroad. The show played Trinidad, Col. on Oct 3, Las Vegas NM on Oct. 5., and on Oct. 6 they played Santa Fe, NM. The show's route book noted - Weather good. Business light. 25 Gillie cars, 5 to each section, were used in order to hold our train down on way from Las Vegas to here. On Oct. 7 the show played Albuquerque NM and on Oct. 8 Socorro NM. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 15 Nov 2009 - I happen to be writing an article for The Santa Fe New Mexican just now about the Mexican circuses that used to play all through New Mexico, and am grateful to find this additional information. According to the Santa Fe Southern Railway website www.sfsr.com/, the Lamy-Santa Fe spur is 129 years old, marking a completion date of 1880. That is correct within a year or so, and there is a long history here of how the RR subsequently influenced the growth of Santa Fe. The Railyard area has recently been restored after decades of decline. There were many warehouses, businesses, and not a few bordellos near the Railyard - and a huge amount of freight came through Lamy and then up to Santa Fe as well as passengers.
        A colleague is writing an associate story about where circuses camped (both from Mexico and US organizations) -- it's on the west side of town, off Agua Fria Street near one of the elementary schools. The area is now all built up of course, but a mural on the school includes circus images. Pre-spur, the circuses would have come up the very challenging La Bajada hill from Albuquerque here, or down through Raton Pass in the eastern part of the state near the Colo. border - also a tough haul.
        I worked for The New Mexican for the past 20 years both as a freelancer and on staff, but don't have access to our microfilm papers at this time. A library search, as suggested, might help secure more data for our Albuquerque correspondent.
        The CHS Website is always an excellent source of material and information. I found some useful and interesting articles just now in the Bandwagon e-file. Craig Smith

    Reply: 27 Nov 2009 - There are a number of reasons why various lots were used. The Al. G. Barnes Circus played Albuquerque August 28, 1933 and the synopsis sheet noted the following. Lot cost $100 and 20 reserved seat tickets plus $10 for cleaning the lot - the cost was $50. less than the last time they used it in 1931. The lot was inside the city at East Tijeras & Commercial and it was owned by the Springer Transfer Co. The cost was to be $150. if the price of admission plus reserved seats is $1.00 or more, so the ticket price was shaved and the show saved $50. on the lot. "This was an old lot rejuvinated and price is $50. less than we paid last time here. Contract calls for lot owners to do cleaning and fill any low spots that might be needed in event of wet weather." When the show returned October 22, 1934 they used the same lot and the price was the same. JP

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3128. Forepaugh trade card, 20 Oct 2009 - Hello, I am inquiring about some background history to a patent medicine trade card in my collection. In doing some background research on this card, I ended up with more questions than answers. Pardon if this thread of questions seems overlong but I want to provide as much background information that I can. Scans of the card are available at my blog www.thisoldpaper.com for further reference.
    The card in question is for Hood's Sarsaparilla. The reverse of the card lists a playbill for a concert to be presented after "Forepaugh's Great Show". Via your site and others, I believe I have this card narrowed down to 1883-1885, since those were the years that Forepaugh billed his show as such. But unsure on this.???
    The next question concerns sale of patent medicines in circuses generally. I found one other card online, again for Hood's Sarsaparilla, but this one an ad on the back for Barnum's. Was it a common practice to hand out cards during the circus to invite people to stay for later shows? Would a concert like this be considered a 'trailer' or a proper part of the event? Was it common for patent medicines such as Hood's Sarsaparilla to be sold at the circuses, sort of like how 'candy butchers' would sell candy? Lastly, was it common for 'variety shows' such as this one to close out the evening after the circus? Where would it perform? The line-up on this card includes song, dance, minstrelsy, and wrestling, and a play 'Fun in a Barbershop', which seems like a typical 'variety show' type line-up. And another very similar playbill (same front, different back) I found online lists the main play as being 'Burlesque on Mikado'. This would support the 1883-1885 date range for these cards.
    Also curious about a possible connection between these playbills and E.F. Albee and B.F. Keith, both of whom were circus-men before being among the first of the vaudeville promoters. "American Vaudeville: Its Life and Times by Gilbert Douglas" tells of Albee and Keith taking a knock-off version of Mikado on the road in 1885. Is there possibly a connection between them and these cards, or is that completely implausible? The stuff I've read on Albee and Keith tends to de-emphasize their earlier work with the circuses and really only pick up when they started into 'vaudeville'. Besides any answers to the above questions, general pointers to the following would be super-helpful: More detailed info about Forepaugh's circus 1883-1885, any type of resource concerning a marketing agreement between C.I. Hood & Co. and any circus (Barnum, Forepaugh, etc), lastly, the presentation of 'variety show' type entertainment along with the circus.
    Also interested in further references on any of the performers: "Lynch & Euson" (irish specialties), "Phil Gibbons" (ethiopian personator), "Sallie St. Clair" (song and dance), "Dilks & Gray" (musical mokes), "Henrietta Corbett" (vocalist), "Sadie Connelly" (song and dance), "McManus & Crowley" (wrestlers), "James Donohue" (clog and jig dancer). I found a few references to Phil Gibbons but not so much on the others. Thanks so much! Daniel E. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3127. El Circo Barranco, 20 Oct 2009 - Does anyone have any information on El Circo Barranco, Albuquerque, NM (and nearby areas), late 1800 to early 1900’s, largest Circus of that time. My Great - Great Grandfather, Felix Lopez Cardenas was a circus man who could hold 5 men on his shoulder & his son, my Great Grandfather Jose Lopez Cardenas was an acrobat, his brother Andres Cardenas was the “clown of the circus”. Lived in Pena Blanca, NM & Questa, NM. Felix grew up & lived with a family named Duran. Family born in Guadalajara, Mexico. Looking for photo’s or information. Thank you for your time & consideration! Esther. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3126. Betty Jo Swiger, 20 Oct 2009 - Trying to find any info regarding Betty Jo Swiger (Golden) who traveled as a nurse with Ringling from the late 40's thru 50's. Anything would be greatly appreciated. She was from Clarksburg, W.VA. and girlhood friend of my mother. Thanks, Lynda K. Lance. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3125. King's Royal Charriot-King of Babylon Royal Charriot, 20 Oct 2009 - I am looking for any pictures for the King's Royal Charriot-King of Babylon Royal Charriot. Any ideas where this wagon is kept? I would like to try and construct a 1/6 scale model as close as possible to the original. I would be happy to pay for any quality pictures or close ups of the wagon and carvings,undergear etc. Best Regards, Don Doerner, Canada, Member of the circus model builders. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Oct 2009 - Is the vehicle you desire to model the tableau constructed for the 1903 Barnum & Bailey circus, the one familiarly known as the "king's float"? If you're not certain, you might provide a word description of your chosen piece. You can also communicate with the CMB Supt. of Construction, Richard Britton. They may already have a suitable plan for the vehicle. To the best of available knowledge, the 1903 B&B wagon passed from existence in the 1920s. One view of it is on page 38 of the Fox & Kelley book "The Great Circus Street Parade in Pictures." Fred Dahlinger

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3124. Flying Alizes, 19 Oct 2009 - Hello I am looking for information on the Flying Alizes. They performed at Bertrimills circus at Olympia around the 1950s. Looking for the name of Joe. - Beverley. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Feb 2010 - I was searching for information on the ANTARES trapeze act. I was helped by this person who was in touch with Roger Alizes, Yuri Gridneff (yuri@blackpoolcircusschool.co.uk). Liz

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3123. Circus high divers, 18 Oct 2009 - Dear Circus Historians, I was curious if there exists/existed a more official or slang name for the Circus High Diver performers. Also, if you have any resources regarding famous divers, that information would be incredibly helpful as well. Thank you so much for you time. Best, Garrett Hansell. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3122. Stoodley family, 18 Oct 2009 - Hi, please can you help me. I'm looking for information on the Stoodley family. I've found them on your site ref page 16, Charles, Emma and Ida, but no more information. Their father also was a circus proprietor in the 1891 census, he married Matilda Paston, and Charles, Emma and Ida were her children. Thank you in advance for you help. Dawn and Barry Paston. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Oct 2009 - The article you refer to is in the Mar-Apr 1982 Bandwagon. It is on Alfred Clarke's circuses. The Stoodley's were with his show in 1881, when it toured Ireland. Judy Griffin.

    Reply: 27 Mar 2011 - My name is Brenda Stoodley my Grandfather's names is Gernald and his sisters are Emma and Ida. Please send me anything you have on them, that would be a great help to me. My e-mail address is Quilters@myfairpoint.net thank you. Hope to hear from you soon.

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3121. Rushville, IL, 17 Oct 2009 - I am writing a family history book and one of the stories told by my deceased mother was about the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus coming to the little farm town of Rushville, Schuyler County, Illinois, when she was a young girl. The year would have been between 1912 and 1920. I'd like to know the year. Thank you very much. gajcole.Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Oct 2009 - Oral traditions often rely on common or familiar names when filling voids, especially when identifying the circus that came to town. The Ringling Brothers Circus did play in Rushville, Ill. but it was on July 13, 1889. None of the three shows owned by the Ringlings played Rushville, Ill. between 1910 and 1925. It is probably the Gollmar Bros. Circus, also out of Baraboo, Wisconsin, that played Rushville, Ill. on September 1, 1922. The season review for this show can be found in the Jan./Feb. 1965 issue which is on this website. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 02 Nov 2009 - Thank you for filling the "void." Much appreciated. gajcole

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3120. First horse, 17 Oct 2009 - In which year did the first horse appear in a circus? Trevor doing research into different horses.Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Oct 2009 - I think I am quoting the late Stuart Thayer correctly in saying (on the subject of early circuses) that a circus by definition included a horse, a rider and a clown. Whitey

    Reply: 23 Oct 2009 - The year for the first horse in an American circus is 1793. Exhibitions of horsemanship took place before the first "circus," which is critically defined by the presence of a circular ring in which the performance was staged and additional acts on the ground [i. e., acrobats] or in the air [rope walker]. No ring, no circus, though one can get into some difficult definitional battles on the topic. Fred Dahlinger

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3119. Clowns, Ringling-Barnum 1944, 17 Oct 2009 - Hello, my name is Andrea. I am a senior in college with a history major and human development and family studies minor. A requirement for graduation in the history major is to write a 30-35 page paper. I decided to research and write my paper on the clowns who could have been present at the Hartford Circus Fire. I have a 1944 Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Program that lists the clowns of "The Big Show's Congress of Clowns." Now, I have to find information on them. I was wondering if anybody knew anything about any of the following people, especially the more obscure ones.
    Felix Adler; Jack Le Clair, Jr.; Al Albrecht; George Levino; Jimmy Alphonse; Tom Lightfoot; Ducky Ames; Frank Luley; Dick Anderson; Howard Marco; Three Balarges; Bob Martin; Bangs Duo; Danny McPride; Barton Bean; Lou Montgomery; Charles Bell Trio; Paul Mortier; Jeff Bishop; Willie Moser; Johnny Brennan; Joe Nauten; Beaver Brooks; Harry Nelson; Al Brown; John Nelson; Edgar Budlong; Alex Neuberger; Arthur Burson; Nat Nevins; Ted Butterworth; Alvin Peck; Clayton Chase; Jerry B. Picot; Harry Dann; Seth Pillsbury; Smiles Davis; Bernie Pisarsky; Al Dickerman; Monte Plew; Frank Ditmar; Dudley Pond; Everett Doane; Harry Rittely; Mike Dovol; Vic Robertson; Sam Doxon; Frank Saluto; Adolph Frohm; Frank Screamo; Homer Goddard; Skinny Shelton; Ed Gore; Carl Stephens; Fred Grant; Albert Stone; Herman Gunter; Joe Teemer "Tee Hee"; Pete Hand; Harry Toole; Bob Harwood; Howie Townsend; William Hedge; Elmer Travis; James Hermwall; John Tripp; Paul Horompo; Trymer's Lilliputian Clowns; Lou Jacobs; Tiny Tunn; Albert James; Adrian Turner; Sig Jarro; Harry Varco; Joe Jenkins; Joe E. Ward; Paul Jerome; Walter Ware; Lester Jones; Bemis Waterhouse; Paul Jung Trio; Bob Weaver; Emmett Kelly; Paul Wenzel Trio; Kewpie Kern; Ed Williams; Bob Kerr; George Wilson; Bernhard Klima; Ernest Young; Jack Le Clair. Thank you so much! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Oct 2009 - Hello Andrea: You are a very lucky young woman indeed, as Jackie LeClaire, Jr., who was a young clown on the Ringling show in 1944 is still alive and well and living in retirement in Sarasota, FL. He was with the show at the time of the fire and has recounted his personal story involving the fire for various audiences over the years. He is probably the only clown on your list, who is still alive and vividly remembers the events of that day like they happened yesterday. He now has his own web-site, through which you can contact him. Just do an internet search on Jackie LeClaire and you should be able to find his web site easily. – Neil Cockerline

    Reply: 28 Aug 2010 - If you still need info on Arthur Burson, my husband is a relative of Mr. Burson and has quite a bit of information about him. All I know is that he had a high wire act (he invented the Slide for Life) and when he was too old to perform he became a clown. He was also in the movie "The Greatest Show on Earth." Karen.

    Reply: 20 Sep 2010 - This is just a very late 'thank you' to Mr. Cockerline and Karen who replied to my question, question 3119. I really appreciate you both taking the time to answer. I am sorry my appreciation is shown so late. Karen, I have already turned my paper in, but I would love to hear about any information you may have. Thanks! Andrea.

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3118. Wazan troupe, Richard Bodessa, 15 Oct 2009 - I am trying to find out anything on Wazan circus troupe and an acrobat by the name Richard Bodessa. Thank you, Tyler Mel. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Oct 2009 - Hello: The Wazzan Troupe was a group of “Moroccan” tumblers during the 1950s-1980s. Antar Wazzan, who was the head of the troupe is still alive and currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife Beverly, who is President of the Jan & Bill Biggerstaff Tent of the Circus Fans Association of America. Antar is probably the most knowledgeable individual when it comes to the Moroccan Tumbling Troupes of that time period and he would know of the various tumblers in most of the troupes. You can reach him through the Circus Report, which is published bi-weekly by the Biggerstaffs in Las Vegas. Neil Cockerline

    Reply: 16 Oct 2009 - Bill Strong spoke about the Wazan troupe on his circus blog http://yesterdaystowns.blogspot.com/ There was mention of members' names and when they worked with who. Just search his blog thoroughly. Bob Cline

    Reply: 30 Oct 2009 - Three photo’s (1950) of the Wazzan troupe on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng

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3117. Warzan circus, 15 Oct 2009 - I am looking for a circus out of Casablanca, Algeria from the 1960's by the name of Warzan. Can you help? Patty. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Oct 2009 - Hello: I think you mean “Wazzan.” See my reply to question 3118 above. Neil Cockerline

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3116. Dolly Dutton, 14 Oct 2009 - Yes, I was wondering is anyone had a picture of Dolly Dutton a dwarf in the circus. My GG Grandfather Fred Decker traveled with her on the side shows. Thanks, Charlene. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Oct 2009 - Here is a webpage I created about Dolly which includes photos. www.quasi-modo.net/Dolly_Dutton.html. Regards, Tom H.

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3115. Sideshow acts 1860-1900, 13 Oct 2009 - Pitchcards, Pamphlets, etc. on displays/sideshow acts 1860-1900. I'm looking for access to actual pamphlets that were given out (or purchased) at an exhibit/display particularly during the time of Barnum's American Museum(s). The early pamphlets often framed the exhibit and gave a brief "history" and bio of the act. I'm interested in these pamphlets, as well as the later shortened versions printed with photos (pitchcards, etc.). I am especially interested in exhibits that displayed abnormalities, such as dwarves, giants, monsters, etc. and how they were framed. I'm in California, and most of the libraries I would love to examine are on the east coast (I wish traveling wasn't so expensive!). Are there any digital collections of such things? I would appreciate any leads. Lena Reynoso, lena@curatorofoddities.com, University of California, Berkeley, www.curatorofoddities.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3114. Janna Beers, miniature circus, 13 Oct 2009 - I have been unsuccessful with Google and the CHS internal search engine to find "Janna Beers". Taken from a promotional postcard showing her and her miniatures: "TWINKLE CIRCUS - "Little Stars of the Big Top" Animated miniature circus - Built by Janna Beers of Ft. Worth, Texas. A former Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey showgirl, she makes 3 inch tall circus artists perform daring feats, highlighting the beauty and excitement that is the circus!" J.D. Productions, P.O. Box 161393, Ft. Worth, Texas 76161 (no longer listed as a business). Jim Stegall. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Oct 2009 - Jim, if you've exhausted possibilities such as her marriage and death [check local county filings], movement into a care facility [another family member's home, etc., often hard to ascertain], Facebook-type listings, etc., try and inveigle the Ft. Worth newspaper to do an article about your search for her work. Piggybacking your interest about her creations on a story about RBBB coming to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area increases local interest. Ms. Beers or someone that knows her might respond. Another path might be to ascertain when she was with RBBB and to then contact other cast or crew members from that time period. There are RBBB employment records readily available for 1938-1956, and some supplementing them into the 1960s in the CWM library. Have you tried Jackie LeClaire, who knows a lot of past RBBB personnel? Beers may be her maiden and professional name, not married name. The use of zip codes started in 1963, so her circus experience is likely before that date. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 23 Oct 2009 - Thanks Fred, I have been in Houston the last few days and somewhat remiss in getting back to check the message board. I along with many others appreciate all your responses on this message board. Your suggestions are on my list. I wanted to start with you first. Again, thanks to you and all the others who respond on this message board. Jim

    Reply: 10 Aug 2013 - I am trying to reach Jim Stegall. I am Jana Beers from Fort Worth Texas and I make the animated miniatures called "Twinkle Circus". Would love to hear from you. I am on facebook now under Jana Beers (Jana with one "n").

    Reply: 11 Aug 2013 - Jana is my sister. Her email is jannadee@airmail.net. Doug

    Reply: 16 Sep 2013 - Thanks Doug, I have had some issues with Facebook and unable to use it as I wish so thru a long drawn out process I will no longer have a Facebook account. I have been in and out at home because of business travel since I took vacation in late July. I plan to contact Jana via the email you provided. Jim

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3113. Great Rosario, tightrope walker of the past, 13 Oct 2009 - Hello there, I am trying to find info about my great grandfather, Rosario, a tightrope walker. I believe he was part of a circus troupe in the thirties or forties, maybe even the fifties. Our family origins are connected to the Belleville, Ontario region. If you may be able to direct me to where I could begin researching, I would appreciate some guidance. Thanks. Donna. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3112. William David Broadfoot, Amelia Ducrow, 11 Oct 2009 - We are looking for any reference to William David Broadfoot and Amelia Ducrow. William was born 26.9.1813 and died 5.1.1852 Amelia was born 16.4.1811 and they were married 25.12.1835. William was a stage manager for Andrew Ducrow for a period of time. William died in Edinburgh. Could anyone give us any information as to his death and where he might be buried. Thank you, Tony. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Oct 2009 - Lovely to see posts on this era! Do you already have John Turner's entry on Broadfoot from his 'Victorian Arena - the Performers'? if not I can re-type it and post it for you? John had him married to "Emily Ducrow." You have the exact date, do you have the certificate to confirm the name of Andrew Ducrow's sister as "Amelia"? very best, jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 14 Oct 2009 - You'd also benefit by getting hold of this book: "The life and art of Andrew Ducrow & the romantic age of the English circus" by A. H. Saxon. Rgds, Dave (daviepage@btinternet.com)

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3111. Wm. P. Hall, 10 Oct 2009 - I have been researching the activities of Wm. P. Hall for about two years now. I have been to the Circus World Museum Library and gone through the Hall papers there. I have been to Lancaster, Mo to his home which now serves as the Schuyler County Historical Society Museum and gone through the papers they have. I've contacted two other CHS members that have a couple letters in their collections. I'll be giving a presentation at the CHS convention next year on Mr. Hall.
    My question is would anyone have any letters, cancelled checks, contracts, telegrams, etc. from Wm. P. Hall in their personal collections that I could get a scan by email or a photo copy of? ( I'm not asking for your copy, just what it says ) I would greatly appreciate any and all forms of communication from the Hall business. Thanks, Bob Cline, fivetiger@shtc.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Oct 2009 - Awesome project, Bob! Hall is one of the great behind-the-scenes figures in circus history. As you probably know, Buckles grandparents (on his mother's side of the family) had dealings with W.P. Hall. He might be a good resource if you haven't already contacted him. -- Paul Holley

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3110. Art Rammer, wire walker, 10 Oct 2009 - Art performed between 1909 and 1914 with several troupes starting with the Cevene troupe, the Etta Leon Troupe, the La Vilas Troupe and the Lozano Troupe. Art performed with the Gentry Bros Circus,1909 the Sun brothers Circus 1911 & 1913, and with Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus,1914. Art also performed on the vaudeville circus. Also, I have photos of the various troupes. I have just completed his biography and have it available. I would like to find more about the other members that performed in the various troupes. Michael Rammer, mrammer@aol.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3109. 2 Florida showmen, 09 Oct 2009 - Hello Folks, I am trying to get in touch with John Pugh, who I understand may have knowledge of performers from the 1940-1960's era. I was directed to send my inquiry to you rather than attempt to contact Mr. Pugh directly. After reviewing your discussion board, I am sending along this email, however I did notice that the discussion board does not allow for the posting of photos with the inquiries. I am attaching a few photos in the hopes that if these can be used with my inquiry, someone may recognize or recall some memories or other photos not yet seen.
    I am attempting to learn more about 2 specific entertainers and any performers in their acts. The first entertainer is Kirk Adams, who died Aug 8, 1967. He had an "Educated Dogs and Pony" show, and also worked with monkeys. I am uncertain of the span of Kirk's career but I would estimate it was late 1920's thru early 1960's. His obituary stated he worked for the Cole Bros Circus and the Sonja Henie Ice Show. Kirk was twice married (first to Tilly Smith and second to Helen Hart) and lived in the Holly Hill area. He and his wife were was friends with the second entertainer and his wife.
    The second entertainer was Carroll Miller. Carroll was twice married (first to Pauline Darrow and second to Irma Hatch) and lived in Holly Hill, Florida from approximately 1944 until his death in 1958. Carroll's career would have been from approximately early 1920's to early 1950's. He was a ventriloquist and magician, who was born in Vermont and I am told made a name for himself as "the Second Houdini of Middlebury, VT" with a rope trick his performed early in his career. He eventually moved into the circus circuit and I am uncertain if he worked with Cole Bros Circus or not. I do know he worked with King Reid Shows, but I do not know if that was folded in to Cole Bros or bought by another outfit. I have also heard he performed at local schools and public broadcast television stations in and around Holly Hill and Daytona, but I have not found any proof of this.
    I would very much appreciate any information, stories, and photos which could be shared about these 2 men. Regards, Sherwin Miller. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Oct 2009 - Hello Sherwin: Do you mean Erik (or Eric) Adams, Sr.? He was a well-known small animal trainer that worked with dogs, ponies and monkeys. He also had a son, Erik (or Eric) Adams, Jr. that had a trained chimpanzee act back in the 1970s-80s and also was a decent handbalancer. I last saw Adams, Jr. work in Lansing, MI back in the 1970s, 1976 I believe, and I seem to remember Adams, Sr. assisting Jr. with his act. Are you sure your dates are correct as well? Neil C. Cockerline

    Reply: 18 Oct 2009 - Hi Neil, Thanks for the response, but I do actually mean Kirk Adams, who lived on Moravia Ave in Holly Hill, Florida. Also, I am certain on my dates of birth and death, but the career spans are my best guesstimate. I am unfamilar with the Erik Adams you mentioned. I do not believe Kirk or his second wife, Helen, had any children of their own. They were however, raising Helen's 2 boys from her first marriage, but I do not believe either of these boys went into the circus business.
        To update my previous posting, I learned to my dismay that the photos I included in my original posting could not be attached. I have also learned of some of the other organizations Carroll Miller was part of (and I believe Kirk Adams may have been also). These organizations were O. C. Buck, World of Mirth, Continential Shows, Grass Shows and Ringling Bros/Barnum & Bailey. Part of Carroll's career was in ventriloquism and I have contacted Venthaven, which deals with all things from ventriloquism. I have obtained a photo of him and a letter corresponding with that organization over interest in his dolls. As for his act as a magician, I have read one Bandwagon entry, www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1968Jan.htm.
        Comments on Various Articles: Regarding the Forepaugh equipment. An old Al G. Barnes trouper, claimed that Al G. picked up some wagons at that auction, perhaps also canvas, etc.
        In reference to the Sig Sautelle circus going on rails in 1913. The Sautelle show was on rails in 1904 or '05 as I have the season route of same. Incidentally after the big Sautelle railer was done, Sig had a two-car show which folded in mid-season in 1919 and was auctioned off in Red Lion, Pa. From then on, Sig seemed to be around carnivals in side shows, doing magic. The late Carrol Miller once told me that Sig taught him the famous silver dollar palming trick. If memory serves, Sig passed on in 1928, well up in his 80's.
        This entry seems to have the correct Carroll Miller, even though his first name may be missing an "L". I am unfamilar with Sig Sautelle, but the item about sharing a magic trick would be in a good time frame for the Carroll Miller I am looking to learn more about. Carroll was born in 1901 and would have been old enough for a veteran to show him a thing or two about magic. The article was written in 1968 and Carroll would have been dead 10 years by then, hence "the late Carroll Miller". I also learned that Carroll's son from his first marriage, Carroll Jr. was also involved in the circus life after he came out of the navy.
        As an additional side to these 2 men, I have learned they were friends with Donald and Evelyn Borst, who were also living in the Holly Hill area and Donald was involved in the circus business. I do not know if they were all in the same circus outfit, but possibly these additional names may trigger a memory in someone out there reading this. It is my understanding that Holly Hill was were the circus folk wintered. I look forward to more responses from the experts on this discussion board. Regards, Sherwin Miller

    Reply: 09 Nov 2009 - Hi Folks, I wanted to share a location to find photographs of the folks I have mentioned previously. In my search to learn more I have shared the story and photos with Buckles Blogspot (http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/) and he has posted the photos as of Nov 6th. Hopefully a look at these photos will provide additional information to trigger memories of these men and women. Regards, Sherwin Miller

    Reply: 30 Oct 2010 - Hello. My name is Carol Vos, maiden name Miller. My father is Carl Miller and my grandfather was Carroll Miller, the entertainer. My father and mother also both performed in the show. I have newspaper clippings of how they traveled the east coast. My dad trained monkeys, was a knife thrower, magician etc. My grandfather was a magician, ventriloquist, animal handler etc. Irma Miller also performed. Please contact me and let me know what information you are looking for and why. My dad is 85 years old and I am sure that he would be more than happy to talk with someone about his days in the carnival. Thank you.

    Reply: 07 Nov 2010 - I was searching online for information about Kirk Adams Dog and Pony Show and was directed to this site. I lived in Holly Hill, Florida, from 1945 to 1955 (ages 5 to 15), at 119 Walker Street corner of Florence Court. The Kirk Adams show spent the winter a few blocks away on Moravia Street. It was always so exciting to see the big circus wagons arrive. We little kids in the neighborhood were allowed to ride the ponies on Sunday afternoons for fifty cents. At first I rode the little Shetlands, but when I got older I graduated to the black and white show ponies, Dolly and Lady. There was a young man named Albert Hart who traveled with the Kirk Adams show. He had a moustache and rode a motorcycle, and all the girls had a crush on him. I would love to have more information about the Kirk Adams show because I'm thinking of writing an article about it. Carolyn Long, Washington DC

    Reply: 23 Nov 2010 - Carolyn, please contact me at circushistory@gmail.com. Your link to a request to add my email address to avoid your spam blocker did not work. Judy Griffin, CHS webmaster.

    Reply: 30 Mar 2014 - Info on Kirk Adams. Thanks, Mike Metz

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3108. Gordinier Family Circus, 08 Oct 2009 - My great grandfather and his brothers ran a circus in the Midwest called the Gordinier Family Circus. The family was based in Newark Missouri. Any info would be appreciated. Paula. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3107. Betsy Ross King, 08 Oct 2009 - I’ve recently been looking through some old letters and pictures of my mother’s and have found 2 letters to her dated 1936 from Betsy Ross King. Mum used to love Gene Autry and obviously saw Ms Ross appearing in The Phantom alongside him, and it looks as though she sent her several fan letters that finally caught up with in Oregon and Utah. I was wondering if Ms Ross has any descendants out there, maybe still in the circus business, to whom these may be of interest for keepsakes? Here’s hoping anyway! Jan Long. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3106. Benny Fox circus, La Tosca, 06 Oct 2009 - Hello, I have two separate questions and hope that someone could give me a little history about each. In Dec 1944, The Benny Fox "Star Spangled Circus" performed for soldiers at Camp Cooke, California. The headline act and queen of the circus was La Tosca, the lovely lady bounding rope performer and at that time reportedly the world's only female performer. Earlier, she had performed with Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus for a few years. What can you tell me about the Benny Fox circus, La Tosca, and what exactly is a bounding rope performer? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Jeff Geiger. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Oct 2009 - Hello Jeff: First, Bennie Fox and his wife were performers first and foremost, and like many performers, he could produce his own circus by hiring independent acts and combining them with his own acts to produce a show. This is what he did for the shows at Camp Pendleton, I am pretty sure, and once that date was completed, the acts would go their separate ways, thus the Bennie Fox Circus show might only appear in that format with that particular line-up of acts once. La Tosca was Tosca Canestrelli, a member of that famous Italian Circus Family, members of which are still performing today. La Tosca was known as the Queen of the Circus for her regal beauty and her spectacular act on the bounding rope. She is the only woman in history to have accomplished the double backward somersault on the bounding rope and few of her male counterparts regularly performed the feat. A bounding rope act actually used a true rope i.e. a woven jute or hemp rope like that used on a sailing vessel, as opposed to a wire as in tightwire, slackwire or highwire. A bounding rope would be rigged fairly taught, but there would be a spring mechanism located somewhere in the rigging, which would allow the performer to jump on the rope and gain up and down momentum, similar to a trampoline. With that up and down momentum, the performer could execute amazing leaps and jumps that could not occur on a wire. Probably the greatest male bounding rope performer was an Indian man who performed as Bombayo back in the teens and 20s and eventually appeared here in the USA. It is claimed that Bombayo taught La Tosca her incredible act, but she certainly had the genes from her family that was well-known for all sorts of acrobatics and balancing acts. La Tosca died in 1994, but her grand- or great-grand nephew(?) Ricardo Canestrelli did a superb low wire act in the 1970s-80s that included backward and forward single somersaults on the wire, which may be considered even more difficult when accomplished on a wire, especially the forward somersault, where the performer during the execution of the trick, losses sight of the wire completely and is required to accomplish a “blind” landing. Hope this answers some of your questions. Neil Cockerline

    Reply: 01 Dec 2009 - Thank you Neil for your kindness in taking the time to answer my questions. This is great information. All the best to you! - Jeff Geiger

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3105. Walter L Main Circus 1918-1924, 06 Oct 2009 - For the last ten months or so I have been building a chronology of circus history from all the sources at my disposal which is far from what I would like. I am a member of CHS since about 1974, and have Bandwagons since 1954, and from 1962 to date and a few White Tops, plus numerous books about the circus. But I see no articles on Andrew Downie's Walter L Main Rail circus for 1918-1924. Are there any sources? Kenneth W. McGarity CHS 2066, kenbarweb@aol.com. Thank you. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3104. Marcelino Orbs, clown, 05 Oct 2009 - Busco informacíón sobre el payaso español Marcelino Orbes. Gracias, Javier Plana De Arriba, www.creadoresdeocio.com. [Translation: Seeking information on the Spanish clown Marcelino Orbs. Thanks, Javier Plana De Arriba] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3103. Joe Beach, clown, 02 Oct 2009 - I am looking for history or any information about a Clown named Joseph (Joe) Beach. Joseph also had a grandson that traveled with him by the name of Walrath (Wally) Joseph Beach. I believe Joe traveled with Clyde Beatty and/or Ringling Bros & Barnum Bailey in the mid to late 1930's and 40's. Wally went on to work closely with both of the 2 circus families but also with Cole Bros. Circus, booking shows and traveling with them. Wally also opened and managed the Storrowtown Tent Theater in W. Springfield, MA where the Big E fairgrounds are. He also managed the Paramount Theater in Springfield, Ma along with so many other ventures! Always a positive, friendly & adventurous person with a great imagination and sense of adventure! If you have any information on either of these fine people, their Son/Great Grandson would love to know about it! Thank you so much! Laura. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Oct 2009 - I knew Wally Beach from the early 1960s until his death in 2003 at age 79. I also remember his grandfather Joe who died in 1964 at age 81. I recall, for example, driving with him and another circus fan to see the Al G. Kelly-Miller Bros. in 1964 when that show tried to recreate the concept of a circus parade—but definitely not of the caliber that Joe Beach recalled! The family was in the orchard/nursery business and was from the Pioneer Valley region along the Connecticut River and Gramps, as Wally always called him, had run away from home to join the circus. He was largely a working man on shows but just what he did was always elusive even for Wally to discover and Wally often would ask me if I had any documentation about his grandfather (there was another Joe Beach, an agent, active in the 1930s-40s but of no relation). Joe was, as I recall, with Leon Washburn, Sig Sautelle, Walter L. Main, Wallace, Buffalo Bill, Sparks, and Pawnee Bill for the years around the turn of the 20th century. Joe had a son also named Wally but I never heard much about him except that he was in the theatre business in New York for a time. However, the younger Wally was essentially raised by his grandfather in Springfield, Mass. They did not travel with shows but were active circus fans making a wide circle of friends in the vaudeville, circus, and theatre world of the 1930s-50s. After Wally graduated from high school in Springfield he went in the Army just before the end of WWII and was involved in producing entertainment for the troops. By the 1950s he was a publicist for theatre shows and in 1956 joined Ringling early in the season doing radio PR until the circus closed their under-canvas operation for good in mid-season. Afterwards, he was a booking agent including time with the Hunt Bros. Circus and as a summer publicist for some of the early musical theatres-in-the-round. In 1959 he opened the Storrowton Music Fair in conjunction with producers Lee Guber, Shelley Gross, and Frank Ford. The tent theatre was located behind the several New England state buildings by the historic village structures assembled to create the idyllic Yankee town green of Storrowton Village on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. The Music Fair, under a tent that came from O'Henry in Chicago, was a great success in the area, and gathered immense PR coverage (a credit to Wally the showman) including some full page pieces about his beloved “Gramps” and his circus life. For many years during this time Wally penned a weekly column, “Hometowner’s Show Whirl,” that appeared in the Sunday “Springfield Republican” newspaper. I still have a record issued by Storrowton’s Dixieland Band that provided a bally for theatre-goers before the show began, further evidence of his flair as a showman. However, by 1967 the tent theatre was faltering and it was soon acquired by Ann Corio of “This Was Burlesque” fame and her husband. In later years Wally had his hand in a variety of small operations in the Springfield area. He was briefly ahead of the Beatty-Cole circus for less than a year and later booked the then-new Royal Ranch Wild West circus about 1971. He tried to revive the old Paramount theatre in downtown Springfield but was not able to do much more than a fresh coat of paint to a faded lady and rename it the Julia Sanderson after the great singer and theatrical star from Springfield; it was never open more than a small number of weeks as it struggled to find stage shows and an audience. I saw less of Wally in the 1980s though I recall he managed a couple of movie houses and booked some small touring shows but was ever-optimistic about some ambitious new show that he hoped to launch. One of my fonder memories is visiting the Big E with him in the early 1990s when the fair had some historic circus wagons recreate a horse-drawn circus parade on the fairgrounds. Wally and I followed the parade for its entire route, each of us beaming from ear to ear! I don’t think he aged a bit from the years I first knew him until my last visit with him in a nursing home a few months before his death in 2003. But he never lost his affection for the circus and touring theatre and your description of him as “friendly & adventurous person with a great imagination” is accurate. In his last years he managed a Christmas shop near Holyoke, Mass. His wife Bobbi survived him as did a son, also named Wally, born in the early 1970s. – Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

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3102. Fireman's helmet, 02 Oct 2009 - Hello, Does anyone have any information that can help me solve the mystery of the initials on this old fireman's helmet I have. I wonder if it was used in a circus? It's an British fire helmet originally black, but now painted red with blue border, painted yellow cone (across top) & white initials C H that are intertwined (in a strange font). I wonder if it's a Chipperfields circus helmet? I can't seem to find anything on the internet about it. Regards, Chris Wild, Circus Fan. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Oct 2009 - Hello Chris, Red and Blue were our colours on Chipperfields Circus, and in the 1950s/early 1960s we did have a fire-engine and fireman (Robbo Robinson) but I don't ever recall him having or wearing a multi-coloured helmet such as you describe. Other than the colour, why do you think it came from Chipperfields? jim@stockley.co.za

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3101. Circus bears, 01 Oct 2009 - Hi, could someone tell me if circus bears still hibernated in the winter months. I’m just wondering if it was cold for instance like in the northern hemisphere winter did they still want to hibernate or was it unnecessary because they were being fed daily? Thanks, Caroline, Perth, West Australia. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Oct 2009 - I am a retired zoo man, not a circus animal trainer but here is my guess. As a rule, in captivity bears from the temperate or polar zones don't 'hibernate' because they are fed, and the environment is not all quiet or suitable for a long fast and sleep. In zoos even in cold climate, unless special arrangement is made (a secluded den, for instance) by the staff, bears don't hibernate and I assume circus bears do the same. Ken Kawata

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