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Message Archive: Messages 3601 - 3700




3700. Japanese troupe 1800s, 18 Jun 2011 - I'm looking for any information on a Japanese circus troupe from the 1800's. I found them in Luton boarding in a hotel in the 1871 census. The troupe was managed by a Frederick Bleckman, 35, from Amsterdam his wife Pamot Bleckman, 29, from Yeddo Japan. The troupe were Hasingame Harskitchi age 30 from Yokahama, Hasingame Tommy kitchi 11, Kagami Godapor 27, Kagami Katzougora 45, Kondo Fondokitchi 35, Kondo Torrakitchi 13, Kondo Yapokitchi 18, Ongawa Torrakitchi 18 [my gt gran's brother-in-law] all from Yeddo and Hasingama Magadgiro 26 from Osaka. I have photos of Ongawa his wife Isabella Hunter and daughters Jane and Isabella taken in Vienna also his daughter in Nurnberg. The story was that Ongawa fell from the high wire and died in Nurnberg in the winter of 1891. Kondo Torrakitchi [his brother] died in 1926 in Manchester. I wondered if anyone had any posters etc related to this troupe. Thanks, Josie. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3699. Trick rider, 18 Jun 2011 - My grandfather Roscoe aka Rosco Ghent said that he had a cousin who performed with the circus. The cousin was a male and rode six horses at once. Since my grandfather was raised in Ohio and married my grandmother in Kentucky. I am hoping that a circus travelling in Ohio or Kentucky might reference a trick rider who could ride six horses at once. I would imagine he travelled with the circus from 1930s until 1950s or so. Please let me know if you have heard of this trick rider, I seem to remember that he ran away to join the circus at the age of 14. Please send any information to sunnylady9@aol.com. Cindy. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3698. Milton Zeis, 14 Jun 2011 - Hello, I was wondering if you might be able to shed some light on a project I am working on. I am writing a book about Milton Zeis. He was a famous tattooer and he also ran a large tattoo supply business. the book is going to be a biography with examples of his machines, catalogs, books, commercial flash ect. We are in the process of researching and gathering source material right now. I have met with Zeis's 2 daughters Joanne and Mary and they confirmed that Zeis traveled with The royal American shows and with the Cole brothers circus early in his life (1911-1930 roughly). Later in his life he performed with the shrine circus and started the "klownarabians" a shriner based clown group. I am trying to track down any specific info regard Zeis. Any sort of documents or pictures would be of great help. The early parts of his life when he was traveling with the circus is pretty foggy. We are not sure if he was tattooing then or performing magic or as a clown. Our goal with this book is to preserve his legacy for those that have come after him. We also want to have an accurate resource for people interested in his life and work and provide solid reference material for tattooers/collectors. Thanks! Much respect, Scott Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Jun 2011 - Royal American Shows, the large railroad-based midway associated with the Sedlmayr family, came out for the first time as such in 1923, an outgrowth of the prior Siegrist-Silbon carnival. The title had been utilized in the first decade of the 20th century on a little-known outfit owned and operated by King Ziemer. Bob Goldsack and Fred Heatley have published a summary book about RAS, now out of print, but much other material is available in various collections and also in the weekly trade magazines "Billboard," "New York Clipper," "Greater Show World" and other resources.
        The Cole Bros. circus title has had numerous applications by various showmen. It originated with Toronto showman Martin Downs 1906-1909; W. H. Coulter had it 1912-1913 and it was also used on a re-make of the Campbell Bros. for 1913; brothers J. Augustus Jones and Elmer Jones had it 1916-1917; Elmer Jones soloed 1918-1924; and finally Floyd and Howard King 1929-1930. The 1929-1930 tours were written about by Joseph T. Bradbury and published in "Bandwagon," which is available as a back issue. The title remained dormant 1931-1934 and then went to Jess Adkins and Zack Terrell for 1935 and has been in near constant use since that time, unto today.
        The "klownarabians" ["klownabains per Eldridge] or "Uncle Miltie" might be found in various Shrine-sponsored circus programs. The CWM library yellow tickets can serve as a finding aid to those entries. I suspect that if there were meaningful entries therein in Zeis's name that Chuck Eldridge would have included them in his on-line cameo biography of Zeis. http://www.tattooarchive.com/history/zeis.htm
        A quick check in the census records on HeritageQuest didn't provide any hits for Milton/Milt Zeis, but a search with a better search engine might yield some results. Social Security records, military service documentation, city directories, etc., may also provide some landmarks along his lifeline. The Shrine temple where he was a member, or perhaps the national organization, might have a record of his membership and activities.
        If a chronology of Zeis associates him with specific times and places, a searching of winter quarters lists and show routes might reveal more about his traveling show days. Routes could be scanned for Rock Island and/or Rockford, IL engagements; they may have provided the most ready means for Zeis to have joined a troupe for all or part of a season. Knowing when he relocated from one city to the other would assist in that search, which could also include scanning the local newspapers. One of the items on line includes the phrase "Seattle[']s Premier Tattoo Artist," so perhaps that city is also part of his story? The contact address on the item is Rockford, IL. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3697. Leon and Lemon Shows, 13 Jun 2011 - I would like to learn more about the "Leon & Lemon Greater Combined Shows." As I understand it Charles F. Leon (born 10/31/1861) had been a gymnast (from Waterford, CT), while riding a horse and jumping to the ground, he slipped and fell and the horse stepped on his calf causing severe damage to the muscle. Sometime later, he purchased his own circus together with a person named Charles Lemon. They conducted the Leon & Lemon Greater Combined Shows. I believe this is before Ringling Brothers Circuses and Barnum & Bailey Enterprises merged. There is also a cousin named Blanche Kramar Barnum who may help connect the Leon (possibly spelled Lyon before 1911) name. I am searching for information on the brass buckle I found in our garage 30 years ago. As I recall, the Barnum & Bailey Circus Info was on it, perhaps it was a rodeo type horse buckle? I would like to learn anything about brass buckles for the circus as well. Apparently there were some circus cards and posters collected by him but there whereabouts are unknown to the family. Any information would be appreciated klpennisi@aol.com. I love this site. It has been very educational. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Jun 2011 - A search revealed no entry for a title including both the Leon and Lemon names. It is possible that a modest overland circus that advertised only in the locality in which it traveled escaped notice by the "New York Clipper" and later title chroniclers. If you look through the Sturtevant list of circus titles on this website [start with Virtual Library on home page] you'll find a few uses of the Leon name in titles of the 1870s and 1880s. None are very well known. The Lemon name is well known as a variation on Lemen; there were three Lemen brothers in the business from the late 1880s to early 1900s [see Slout], but no relation to any Leon name in the title. There are a number of Leon-named acrobats to be found in Slout's "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle." Charles F. Leon is not enumerated there, but specific individuals are often obscured behind act names. There were also no suitable listings under Lyon [or Lion]. I'd recommend doing further searching from the family angle, city of origin/residence, etc., as that will supply a foundation for doing further searching in circus documentation. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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3696. Snyder Bros Circus, 13 Jun 2011 - My name is Iris and I am looking for any information on the "Snyder Brothers Circus". My great great Uncle, Lyman Adell, was a animal trainer for them. Thanks for your help. Iris Hickman, hickiri2@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Jun 2011 - Over the years a number of circuses had "Snyder" in the title, but the Snyder Bros Circus & Wild West of 1931-32 (owned by Frank Snyder) is the show that your great great uncle was a part of. Snyder Bros was a typical "mud show" of the early Depression era and while advertising for the show promised "Cages of Wild Animals", small towns that it played were more likely entertained by the "ponies, burros and riding monkeys" that were also on the bill. If Mr. Adell was with the circus in the spring of 1931 he was no doubt involved in the escape and capture of a small leopard in the tiny (pop. 500) town of Red Creek, NY on the evening of Friday May 1, 1931. Evidently the leopard had escaped the night before, the management of the circus didn't alert authorities. The next morning the wife of farmer George Reynolds found the remains of several chickens in the barnyard. She and her husband suspected a weasel was the culprit - and were surprised to find the leopard curled up in a nest in the henhouse. The circus (and perhaps your great great uncle) was notified and the leopard was "reunited with its mate" Not much is known about Snyder Bros today, however I do know that the Donaldson Litho Co. of Newport Kentucky provided them with at least one design of poster - however lithographs produced for that title by that long-defunct printing company are rare. The circus also provided a street parade, something that was not uncommon for small circuses of that time. Admission to Snyder Bros during the summer of 1931 was 25 and 50 cents - presumably farmer Reynolds and family would be admitted for free. Chris Berry

    Reply: 25 Jun 2011 - I appreciate the information you found for me! Thank you so much for your time and effort!! Iris

    Reply: 04 Feb 2012 - I saw this posting about Snyder Bros Circus – I believe my Great Grandfather was apart of this show (named in one of the Billboards), Vogel Rose Crawford he was a trapeze artist and tight rope act, “King of Aerial Thread”. Later I believe he was in an act “Aerial Crawfords” where my Great Aunt Rena Ruth “Baby Ruth” was in this act as well as a young child. I believe he was also associated with J. F. Sparks show and with J. S. Kritchfield (Kadell Kritchfield Show). Chris Berry – would you have any information for me?? Please email sherrymetzner@yahoo.com or reply to sherry.matthews@freight.fedex.com. Vogel was also linked to a Bernadette “Ernestine” Monette and an Iris Bayless, I often wonder if they travelled with him since my grandma and her sister did. Thanks, Sherry

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3695. Trapeze fall, Tasmania, 03 June 2011 - Good morning. I have been searching the web but have been unable to resolve my query, you may be able to help me. I was born in Hobart Tasmania in 1950 and have a vague memory of attending a circus with my family at the age of 4 or 5. I have a sad feeling that a female trapeze artist had a fatal fall during the performance. My memory is blurred on this as it was over 55 years ago but I was hoping to solve this. I am taking my grandchildren to the Lennon Brothers circus tonight and while I was once again looking on the net to resolve my memories I came across your site. I realise your site is US based but am hoping you have contacts here in Australia and I might find out more about the incident. Thank you, Carol. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Oct 2012 - I am the granddaughter of Kitty Gill, Australia. I’m not sure if she is the lady you are looking for information on. She was working with Bullen’s Circus in Brisbane when she fell from the Trapeze in approx Aug 1967. A bit after your dates. I am currently writing her biography, due out in 2013. After her fall, she was in hospital for approx 2 years and had 17 operations, mainly on her right arm. She never got full use of her arm again. Her career was finished after the fall at age 45. She lived on for another amazing 45 years, and recently passed away peacefully at age 90. She was also Australia’s world champion lady buckjump rider and labelled ‘Queen of the Rodeo’. She had an amazingly colourful and interesting life. If anyone has any information on this remarkable woman, I would welcome and appreciate any stories or memorabilia. Thanks Tania Maden.

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3694. Francis ‘Frank’ Holland, 31 May 2011 - Hello. My name is Catherine Holland Irwin. My ggrandfather used the name of Francis ‘Frank’ Holland back in the 1800’s, and we were told that he had been an acrobat with in the circus, as a member of a team called “The Holland Brothers” before he met and married my ggrandmother, Rebecca Weaver, in Atlanta. Their first child, my grandmother, Daisy Elizabeth Holland, was born in 1883. Our family always believed our name to be Holland; however, the possibility arose later that Frank’s given name might have actually been McHugh before he became one of the Holland Brothers. I am wondering if the John Holland described on your site could be the person with whom he performed? We know nothing else of his history, except that he was Irish Catholic. Is there any way to document his participation as a member of this circus family? Was there any other Holland Brothers acrobat/trapeze circus act? I would so appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you. Kit Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3693. Vancouver, BC, 31 May 2011 - I am interested in finding photos and/or stories on the circus events at Vancouver BC's athletic park in the 1930s. Alan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3692. Twins, riders, 31 May 2011 - I just found this site and it looks like you know everything about circus history. I have heard an old family tale about twins being in a circus, possibly in Germany, in the late 1800s or 1900s. Apparently they rode horses through flaming hoops which accidentally caught fire and either one or both died. Does anyone know anything about the incident or where I would go to find further information? I thank you very much, this an extremely interesting site! Shellie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3691. Sydney Young, 30 May 2011 - My father’s great grandfather, is Sydney Young. He was associated with Wirth family circus, In the 1890-1900’s, either as a performer with lions or as a manager. I have done lots of looking but never succeed to find anything of use. Does anyone anywhere know anything about this Sydney young. It would be so great to continue our family tree beyond him. George Young. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Feb 2012 - I saw a book at a flea market today that looked quite old. the title is "Pictorial history of the American Circus" the authors name is Alois Young. Any connection? Maury

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3690. Sweeneys, 29 May 2011 - I seek info on Beatrice Sweeney, Sweeney and Newton, The Sweeneys, and The Sweeney Sisters. Please tell me the names of all these Sweeneys, besides Beatrice, who is a relative of mine. I know little about any of them, including her. If you know when/where they were born, their parents' names, their spouses and children, and their dates/places of death, I'd be so grateful. Anything at all, including pics. My Grandma Sweeney was a Newton. Dk if there's a connection w/ the Newton performer. Gratefully, Mary Sweeney Abbey, Mayville, MI Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Jun 2011 - While we do not have any additional information on Beatrice Sweeney, there is a wonderful poster in the Tibbals Collection at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. It is for the Sells Floto circus, printed in 1919. Hopefully you can use this link to view the poster:
    http://emuseum.ringling.org/emuseum/view/objects/asitem/search$0040/4/
    title-asc?t:state:flow=5c4368fd-c4c1-4df3-8c00-5360e765d0ab

    Best of Luck with your search, Jennifer Lemmer Posey, Assistant Curator of the Circus Museum, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 15 Jun 2011 - A contortionist as well as iron jaw aerialist, Beatrice Sweeney’s act is described in Billboard magazine for March 31, 1923: "A small box was hoisted to the rafters and upon a volley of shots issuing from its interior, Miss Sweeney was glimpsed thru the smoke hanging to a rope by her teeth and whirling around at a dizzy pace. She was then lowered to the ground and after tying herself into a pretzel knot was again raised. This time she made an unconscionable number of revolutions while twisted up and earned a hearty hand from the spectators by doing so." This helps to better explain the images on the two different posters (for Sells-Floto and Ringling-Barnum) that illustrate her act in a short career spanning 1918 to 1924. In 1920 in Albany, NY, she fell nearly 35 feet due to faulty rigging and was in a hospital for about 12 weeks. As to the several acts with the name Sweeney, there are likely two individuals with the surname as two separate Sweeney acts are listed in the program booklet in a single display on Sells-Floto in 1921. And according to the 1920 Sells-Floto season history published in Bandwagon, the partner curiously changes (Newton, Nelson, Norton) but, since it could easily be a transcription error, I do not have the insert with the program in my copy of the show’s souvenir booklet to verify and there is no published route book for that year. The surname of the query writer’s grandmother might suggest that Beatrice was married. How does the writer know she is a relative of Beatrice if she is still seeking so much birth, death, marriage, sibling, etc., information? Just the family’s oral tradition? Some more information would be most helpful.
        It should be noted that the two posters spell her surname differently (with and without the letter e before the y). To see them, go to http://www.ringling.org/Resources2.aspx?id=418 and then click on “circus posters” or the image of the Ringling giraffe poster; once on the new page, type in only “Beatrice” in the search bar to find her two posters among the few retrieved. Her Ringling poster colorfully shows the start of her act (but the right image incorrectly depicts how she hung!) and the Sells-Floto poster cleverly shows the tricks she performed. Both were printed by Strobridge and the style difference (reflected as well by other posters for the two circuses) indicates the role of the circus management in the design process. We know from surviving correspondence just how intimately involved the Ringling’s, at least, were in the design process with their several poster printers but we don’t know if the Sells-Floto design was the result of directions from the show or freedom allowed the artists at Strobridge. These two posters might have been good examples to have raised such discussion in the recent Strobridge catalog, hence the reason I have some interest in Sweeny/Sweeney’s act. Richard Flint, Baltimore

    Reply: 19 Jan 2012 - Hi Mary, I'm Hannah Sweeney's granddaughter Bridgid, she was Aunt Bea's youngest full sister. Aunt Bea was married to Jesse Sour or Sours (not sure of the spelling)and they both passed away in the early 60's, I can't remember the exact year but I know I was 4 or 5 at the time. They didn't have any children but Aunt Faith, Aunt Pat and my mom Mary Jo lived with them after my grandfather died when my mom was 4, so starting in about 1929 or 1930. They had a boarding house in Pontiac and Aunt Bea also did hair. Beatrice was her stage name, her name was actually Bridget. Aunt Marie was also in the circus for at least one season, I think she was billed as the girl wonder, that was probably with Sells Floto, so maybe that's where the Sweeney Sisters comes from. James Sweeney and Mary Sullivan were her parents, the first set of children in the Sweeney family were Patrick, Julia, Bridget, Kate, Martha, Marie and Hannah. After my great-grandmother died, James married Florrie and they had 8 more children. Hope you get this info and it answers some of your questions. Bridgid Milosevich, Minnesota

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3689. Wintered in Hugo, OK?, 28 May 2011 - Are you an ‘old timer’ that wintered with any of the circuses based in Hugo, Oklahoma through the years? As part of an oral history project being conducted by Juliana Nykolaiszyn (juliana.nykolaiszyn@okstate.edu) and Tanya Finchum (tanya.finchum@okstate.edu) with the Oklahoma State University Library, we are currently looking for showfolks to interview about wintering in Hugo, circus work, along with any history or traditions passed down as we try to preserve the past for future generations to come. Please contact us through e-mail or by calling Juliana directly at 405-744-3101 for more information on participating. Thanks! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3688. Ridgway Brothers, 23 May 2011 - I would be grateful if anyone could send me any info on the Ridgway Brothers who were Gymnasts/Acrobats in the Circus and Music Halls in the 1850s onwards. They appeared to be in the UK but travelled to America and Australia. Thanking you in anticipation. Janette C. Ridgway Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 May 2011 - The late John Turner, in his book Victorian Arena - the Performers Volume 1 has them listed: RIDGWAY, Thomas: Acrobat. died 2 August 1880 aged 37 years. One of the Ridgway Trio. RIDGWAY TRIO : Acrobats and tumblers. A Mr Ridgway noted at Henglers Liverpool in 1863/64. Three brothers noted at Henglers, London and Hull in 1880 performing double somersaults on the shoulders. Including E and T Ridgway at Henglers in London in 1880/81. A Miss Ridgway, lady equestrienne appeared at Henglers in Covent Garden at Christmas 1888. In Victorian Arena - the Performers Volume 2: RIDGWAY, Charles. Acrobat and gymnast. Father of the Ridgway family of acrobats. Died aged 82 years. RIDGWAY, Edward: Acrobat. One of the Ridgway Trio at Henglers in London 1880/81. Ted Ridgway was a good long-distance single somersault leaper. RIDGWAY, George: Acrobat, later circus proprietor. Son of Charles Ridgway. Killed in a railway accident in Australia in 1928 aged 60yrs. Was in Australia with his brother Charles and their families. There is also a brief mention online at http://www.circushistory.org/Frost/Frost8.htm (Frost’s Circus Life and Circus Celebrities, chpt 8): "About two years ago, one of the Brothers Ridgway met with an accident at the Canterbury Hall, while practising. Some weeks afterwards, it was currently reported that his injuries had proved fatal. Subsequently, however, a gentleman engaged in the ballet at the Alhambra, and who, at the time of the accident, had been similarly engaged at the Canterbury, was accosted one evening, while returning home, in the well-known voice of the young gymnast who had been reported dead. Turning round in surprise, he saw that it was indeed Ridgway who had spoken, looking somewhat paler than he did before the accident, but far more lively than a corpse." Does any of this help? jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 19 Jun 2011 - Hi Janette. My name is George Jones my mother was Nelly Jones nee Ridgway one of the flying Ridgways. She was the performer who was shot out of the cannon and caught by her sister Beryl. I have quite a lot of old photos and such pertaining to the Ridgways circus if anyone is interested. George

    Reply: 27 Jun 2011 - The Ridgway brothers worked in Argentina in December 1872. The newspapers announced five brothers Ridgway but the only names mentioned in the program were J. Ridgway, G. Ridgway and a boy named Albert. They made only five presentations in Buenos Aires, the company was directed by the magician and ventriloquist W. Goodison. I research in the circus history of my country and would appreciate if someone could send me a picture or drawing of the brothers Ridgway or one of them. I have the newspaper ads and I can send them if for someone they are useful. Cesar Ortega fliaortega@netverk.com.ar

    Reply: 11 Apr 2013 - I'm a researcher with the Australian Television program "Who's Been Sleeping in My House?" (ABC TV 8pm Friday) http://www.abc.net.au/tv/whosbeensleeping/
        I am interested in hearing from anyone with knowledge of the history of Ridgway family. A home we are researching has a link with Nellie Ridgway (Mrs Ellen "Nellie" Ridgway Dowd) who was the wife of Mr A. P Dowd and was living in Nambour in Queensland when she passed away at age 80 (in 1952). If anyone has any information or photos relating to her connection to the Ridgeway circus family, I'd be very grateful. Please call (02) 8333 2205. Regards, Adam.

    Reply: 05 Aug 2013 - Hi George, I am Robert Ridgway, George Ridgways son, and would be interested in any photos in relation to Ridgway,s circus. My phone number is 0405747519. Rob Ridgway

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3687. Goodman Wonder Show history, 22 May 2011 - I just happened on the Circus History site and saw your were searching for Goodman Wonder Show information. My Aunt Mary, age 96, was in the Goodman Shows, just found out from one Billboard article her Fantasma show was under an Eddie Farrari, new name to what she has told me. She lives here in CA now. I have many of her old show photos. She was in the Exposition in San Diego 1935, Fort Worth Texas, and I am thinking Arkansas. Oddly I fell into the Billboard website when I was searching a show "boyfriend" Julius B. Schuster who was in the Riley's show. Let me know if you have any suggestions for me to locate more info. I would love to add to her story especially before she passes. Thanks, Jeanne in CA Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Jun 2011 - CHS message 3309 will lead you to a published history of the Goodman Wonder Shows, a large railroad carnival. The California Pacific International Exposition at San Diego in 1935-1936 can be explored at this website: http://www.sandiegohistory.org/calpac/35expo11.htm. The site includes a textual history, postcards, video, etc., but takes some exploring to see it all. Other material will turn up in Google searches for "California Pacific Exposition". The 1935-1936 issues of "Billboard" will provide weekly news columns on activities at the exposition and about the showmen engaged at the site. There are also several videos of the exposition on YouTube, with a few glimpses of the midway.
        The Fort Worth activity may be the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, as per: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southwestern_Exposition_and_Livestock_Show. Google searching will yield more coverage.
        I'm not familiar with any significant exposition in Arkansas, but there has been a large state fair for many years [first in 1868]. It's possible that the Goodman show provided the midway for the undertaking. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3686. Seth B. Howe's Circus Giant, 21 May 2011 - Would anyone have any info concerning a circus giant that was with the Seth B. Howe show in the 1860's? Does there exist an annotated listing of all the known circus and dime museum giants that appeared in the USA and Canada from 1800 to 1870? Thank you, R.L. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3685. Trapeze fall 1940s, 20 May 2011 - As a child in the 1940’s in Cleveland, Ohio I witnessed what turned out to be a fatal trapeze fall. The only details that I can remember is the person who fell was a female, I don’t think it was a solo act and I don’t think she was working alone. I have been thinking about my reactions to being a witness to this accident and would appreciate any information anyone might have. Thank You, Lynn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3684. Gerrit Keizer, midget, 19 May 2011 - I am writing a novel about Gerrit Keizer (1874-1946), a Dutch midget, heigth 98 cm. He went twice to Amerika: July 1893 he had success at the American Theatre Roof Garden as a vaudeville artist, according a review in NY Times. Some years before (when?) he worked for an American circus and made a tour along New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Toledo, Pittsburg. I'd like to know the name of the circus he worked for. Gerrit keizer used artistnames like Prince Mignon, Captain Fourmi. In 1891 he worked for Circus Fernando in Paris. Jan van der Mast Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 May 2011 - Look for Gerrit Keijzer “De tentoongestelde mens 2003 auteur Bert Sliggers conservator Teylersmuseum Haarlem Nl.”(H. Best-Otte)

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3683. Blanche Sloan, 19 May 2011 - Looking for any information on Blanche Sloan who appeared at the Empire Theatre in Queen St., Cardiff, Wales, in 1902. At one time she was with Barnum & Bailey Circus. Thanks, Brian Lee Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 May 2011 - Blanche, born May 1870 in Nodaway, Iowa, USA Death about 1966 in Porter County, Indiana. Residence 1910-1930 Queens Ward 4, NY. Many articles available in Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Indiana). Famous brother: Tod Sloan (James Forman Sloan) horse jockey - very little information on his sister in his book Tod Sloan. Brother: Cassius Sloan. Brother: Fremont Sloan - buried in Kokomo, IN. Father: Samuel Sloan - and his father was William Wand Sloan (Slone) and so on. Mother: Martha Jane Young. Child: Carmen Sloan Gillen 1893-1978. Her home is featured in a book, Beyond the Bungalow. Other newspapers: The Daily Northwester, Oshkosh, WS August 26, 1899; The Sandusky Daily and The Sandusky Evening Star, August 1902; The San Antonio Light; The Mansfield News, Augus 1891; Valprasio, IN Vindette; The Indianapolis Star. Victoria

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3682. Bruce's Greater Shows, 17 May 2011 - Was there a travelling circus, perhaps in the 1930s, in the U.S. called Bruce's Greater Shows? My father used to tell me stories about this circus for which he said he worked many years ago, probably in the 1930s. Paul Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 May 2011 - Refer to previous CHS message 2334 on this topic. A simple Google search for "Bruce Greater Shows" also turned up a few hits. Searching with other names and terms might reveal more data. The carnival news columns and want ads in "Billboard" magazine will be your best source of information, supplemented by digital newspaper files and any surviving personal papers or business records.
        There was also a H. A. Bruce circus, named for Howard A. Bruce. He was the husband of Grace Hall, of the famous Hall circus family of Evansville, WI. They formed the Bruce circus in 1914 and continued it through 1935. There is a modest amount of information about it in the book "Badger State Showmen," pages 68-69. The research files for the book, deposited in the Circus World Museum library, will have further documentation. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3681. Benjamin Balthaser, veterinarian, 11 May 2011 - Clyde Beatty had a Jungle Zoo Circus in Lauderdale Florida. I believe in the 50’s-60’s. My siblings are saying that his veterinarian was Dr. Benjamin Franklin Balthaser. Is there any way to know if this is in fact true. Dr. Balthaser was a vet in Lauderdale Fl at that time but I would really like to know if he was the vet for Clyde Beatty’s animals. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 May 2011 - Clyde Beatty had a zoo in Fort Lauderdale from late 1939 through the mid-1940s. The zoo he had in the early 1960s was in North Miami. This doesn't answer your question but may help in your research. Dave

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3680. Robert Atterbury, 11 May 2011 - My name is Anna Peterson Daniels and I am trying to see pictures of my father Robert (Bob) Atterbury and would like any info anyone might have of him. My birth mother is Donna Lockard and was with him back in the 70's. I was born in 1970 and would like just to see pictures of him.Color ones if anyone has them. I would so appreciate this if anyone can help me I'd apperciate it greatly. I am looking for pictures of him performing and while young. Anyone can contact me at anytime. Please look me up on facebook-Anna Peterson-Daniels. Thank you, and may all your days be circus days. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3679. Charles Harold Webb, 10 May 2011 - Looking for information on Charles Harold Webb. He was born about 1886 in Alabama and is listed in the 1910 federal census in East St Louis, Illinois as a circus showman. He was in Suffolk County (Long island) NY in 1930 and married Amory Eberl there in 1931. In 1935, they and two children by her previous marriage were at RFD 1, Orlando, Orange County (outside city limits). In 1945, they were on Clark Avenue in Orlando. Dan, Syracuse, NY. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3678. Princess Paulina, 09 May 2011 - Dutch book author seeks any documentation, announcements, photocards etc. of 'Princess Paulina' a.k.a. Paulina Musters, a Dutch midget performing at Proctor's Theatre in New York City, 1895. A year earlier, she performed with Samuel Lockhart's Circus in Europe. Please contact me at openplek@hotmail.com. Thank you! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 May 2011 - Look for Princess Paulina “De tentoongestelde mens 2003” Bert Sliggers conservator Teylersmuseum Haarlem (H. Best-Otte)

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3677. Crowninshield's Elephant, Old Bet & Edward Savage, 04 May 2011 - Dear Folks, This is actually for the understandably electronically (by e-mail) elusive & otherwise wonderfully prolific Dick Flint. Since he recommends forwarding queries to you folks, here it is. A few years ago, Mr. Flint mentioned in a Buckles Blog comment that Edward Savage actually purchased Crowninshield’s Elephant in 1797. This is certainly news to me. However, at the time, a young portrait artist, John Wesley Jarvis, was serving his apprenticeship in the Savage studio.
    Within just a couple years after Jarvis set up on his own, Savage turns up as the owner of Old Bet. I have good reason to believe that she was the elephant who appeared here in Louisville in 1809.
    Being the year that Gen. George Rogers Clark lost his leg, it is doubtful that he was one of the onlookers, but his namesake, George Rogers Clark Sullivan recorded it in a contemporary letter to Clark’s nephew, & Jonathan Clark, the Gen.’s brother, mentioned it in a short note in his diary. A fuller presentation about the excitement generated in the school children over the event was published 70 years later, & became a popular story over the next generation.
    Hoping that I’ve gotten your attention, my question is where did Mr. Flint find out about the Savage connection to Crowninshield’s Elephant? Of course, any other information on the tour of Old Bet to KY would be appreciated.
    I should explain that I am a reenactor/researcher with Locust Grove, home of Clark’s sister, Lucy Clark Croghan. Every year the family gathers together by candlelight at Christmas in a public open house, & every year it is once again 1809. The Gen. has come to live out the last years of his life in the comfort of his sister’s home. All the family gathers, young & old alike, including brother Jonathan, as well as a number of school boys. What a great tale this would be to tell around the fires as the family recalls the events of the past year. Yours, Jamie Eiler. PS: Most of the portraits in the home are by Savage’s student, John Wesley Jarvis. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 May 2011 - The discussion of Savage and early elephants appears in my "Entrepreneurial and Cultural Aspects of the Early Nineteenth-Century Circus and Menagerie Business" in Itinerancy in New England and New York edited by Peter Benes (Boston: Boston University, 1986), pp. 131-149.
        In a letter to a Dr. Morse dated July 4, 1797, and now at the New-York Historical Society, Savage indicated that his brother had “the Care of the Elephant and will always be found where She is …” (I never meant to imply or state that Savage owned the elephant as the evidence is inconclusive, just that he was associated with her). This would be the first or so-called Crowninshield (the name of the captain of the ship on which she was imported) elephant that disappears after her trek to Savannah, GA, in March 1799.
        The Boston Independent Chronicle for May 24 and June 11, 1804, is my source for Savage acquiring the second elephant to arrive in America. At the time, Savage operated a museum in New York City, an occupation not uncommon to quite a number of early American artists. In 1802 Savage had purchased Gardiner Baker’s New York museum (this is the museum later acquired by Scudder and then Barnum) and about 1812 he opened another “New York Museum” (and part painting gallery) in Boston's Boylston Hall (the Boston operation eventually gets absorbed into what becomes Moses Kimball’s Boston Museum).
        There is little question that the elephant in Louisville was Old Bet, the only one in America for a number of years. She was in Richmond, VA, in early May 1808 and the next known location is New Bern, NC, in Feb 1812 where she was headed north reaching Alexandria, VA, in April 1812, then Wilmington, DE, Philadelphia, and Trenton, NJ, all in May. Your reference helps fill a gap and the two contemporary manuscript references you mention are welcomed since they are also accounts different from the usual newspaper sources. - Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

    Reply: 11 May 2011 - Richard Flint has kindly responded to your basic query, but you may want to broaden your knowledge of the early elephants with further investigation. It is a subject matter that has generated considerable errors in the tertiary accounts, and challenged even the best of secondary compilers to get it right.
        The late Stuart Thayer published three summary works on early elephants in America: "One Sheet," Bandwagon, Nov-Dec 1973, page 33; "The Elephant in America Before 1840," Bandwagon, Jan-Feb 1987, pages 20-26; "Elephants in America 1840-1860," Bandwagon, Sept-Oct 1991, pages 34-37. He did not mention the 1797 Edward Savage piece of correspondence, although Flint’s reference to it appeared a year before his 1796 to 1840 summary was printed. The reason for this omission is unknown.
        Thayer associated Edward Savage solely with the second elephant in modern North America, imported in 1804, and not the Crowninshield beast. In both papers, his Savage connection was a piece, presumably a descriptive advertisement, in the "Independent Chronicle," a Boston newspaper, dated June 28, 1804. Flint (1986) cited earlier issues of the same title in his 1986 writing.
        Savage’s older brother was John, identified as a Philadelphia merchant in secondary documentation. It was in that city in July 1795 that Edward Savage reportedly exhibited a circular panorama of London and Westminster, the first seen there. It was perhaps his first attempt at being a showman, which manifest itself in different ways later in his life. The presence of the brothers in Philadelphia suggests where Savage’s brother may have come into contact with the owner of the Crowninshield elephant, reported later to be a Mr. Owen, covered below. Edward Savage remained in the city to 1801.
        Thayer (1987), probably following Shettel (1929, http://www.circushistory.org/Scrap/Scrap29Jul.htm), reported that the license for the exhibition of the elephant at Baltimore in 1796 was sought by one John Carrier, a name otherwise unknown in elephant annals. That may be accurate, or could it be a mistaken reading of “Owen” in cursive handwriting? If the name is given correctly, perhaps he was an Owen associate, a local merchant or hotel keeper, etc., who would benefit from the exhibition of the beast. The original record of the Baltimore commissioners needs to be examined. The transcription is at:
    http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/baltimore-from-old-catalog/records-of-the-city-of-baltimore-special-commissioners-1782-to-1797-itl/
    page-19-records-of-the-city-of-baltimore-special-commissioners-1782-to-1797-itl.shtml
        The late 18th century Ashepoo, SC incident involving the Crowninshield elephant invokes the name of "Mr. Owen" as the companion to the beast. Refer to John Davis's memoir, "Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America" (1803) site:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=7HEFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=asheepo+elephant&source=bl&ots=JXAuv6rafD&sig=
    8SOZL6ezx79XqEVq2t8e46leBJE&hl=en&ei=EYHGTZTLH4PDgQe_y_TKBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=
    0CBYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=asheepo%20elephant&f=false
        Therein he names the location as Asheepo, NC, which friend Richard J. Reynolds III has pointed out as incorrect. The correct community, Ashepoo, South Carolina is along the way from Charleston, SC to Savannah, GA, likely the same route as today’s US Highway 17, per Richard’s suggestion.
        This Mr. Owen, a Welshman, is presumably the same man that Vail’s "Random Notes on the History of the Early American Circus," (1934, page 12) affiliates with the sale of the elephant in April 1796; however, it’s unclear if the name and homeland knowledge originated in the 1796 newspaper he cited, or in Davis’s 1803 volume and Vail assumed the same knowledge applied in 1796. If Owen was indeed given in the 1796 account, he would have been the owner during the time of the reported 1797 Savage brother care-giving to the beast. Vail (page 13) assigned Owen to residing in Philadelphia, the city of residence of the Savage brothers, but provides no reference per se.
        Davis wrote: "so I departed after breakfast from Asheepo [sic], with Mr. Owen, his elephant, and his monkey." Davis presumably believed that Owen was the owner of the elephant, which is how Thayer read it. Davis termed him the "elephant driver," declaring he was a native of Wales and stated that the animal was from Asia, the identification made possible by an African gentleman, also present, who had seen larger beasts in his native land. No mention was made of any care-giver or companion to Owen.
        Vail set forth the Ashepoo date as 1796, but the title page of the 1803 volume specifies the applicable time period of Davis’s American travels as 1798-1802. The 1796 dating was accepted by Thayer, who may not have seen the actual Davis book in pre-Google Books days. Davis took leave of Philadelphia on September 22, 1798 [page 46], followed by a five to seven days passage by ship and further time spent journeying, suggesting an elephant encounter in Ashepoo in October 1798. Somewhat surprisingly, Shettel (1929) correctly dated the Davis encounter to 1798.
        Flint (1986) wrote that Crowninshield elephant could not be traced after 1799. Thayer (1987) subsequently traced her through 1801 and suspected she may have been alive as late as 1806. Flint did not reference the post-1799 existence of the Crowninshield elephant in his essay in “New Worlds, New Animals” (1996).
        Vail (page 15) errantly combines coverage of the first beast with the one acquired by Savage in 1804. He misinterpreted references to the second animal as being the first. The same is true of this 1951 article, which properly develops the 1796 importation, but then goes astray: http://www.nhmag.com/editors_pick/1928_05-06_pick.html Numerous followers have similarly veered off the path by not independently questioning the content.
        In a final quirk possibly involving Owen[s?], Thayer (1973) noted that one John Owen was a witness to the August 1809 contract between Hachaliah Bailey, and Andrew Brown and Benjamin Lent, for the second elephant. It’s not known if he was one and the same as the beast owner at Ashepoo in 1798.
        In summary, those seeking to understand the existence of the early elephants would be well served to challenge all tertiary writings and even the best of secondary compilations, and to always seek the primary documentation whenever possible. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 21 May 2011 - Concerning the Crowninshield Elephant. A few years ago I seem to recall coming across an English newspaper article dated ca. 1810, which appeared to indicate that an elephant that was then performing there had recently been said to have been in America. (I should have bookmarked that article,as I was busy looking up something else). If true,It very well may explain the mysterious disappearence of it in America. Most likely if it had died in America, its carcass would have been dissected and sent to either a museum in Philadelphia or Boston. Most of the elephants imported to America in the early 19th Century were due to British agents in the East India Company at Bengal India if im not mistaken. K.C.

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3676. RBBB, Columbus OH, 04 May 2011 - Where does the RBBB train park to unload in Columbus OH? Thanks, Paul Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3675. Half-man/half-woman performers, 02 May 2011 - I'm doing research on half-man/half-woman performers in sideshows, particularly in the 1930s. I'm having trouble finding information, if anyone had some leads primary or secondary I would be really grateful! All I have is press release type newspaper articles, but nothing which indicates how people reacted to the men-women, how common/expected they were in sideshows, or anything like this. Thanks, Ann Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 May 2011 - Perhaps you better start with my books on back end carnival shows - Girl Show, Seeing Is Believing, and the latest - Circus and carnival ballyhoo - sideshow freaks, jaggers, and blade box queens. It has a lengthy coverage of half men/half women presenters, gaffs, etc. enjoy. Al Stencell

    Reply: 14 Jun 2011 - Ann, On the less-than-serious side, several years ago at a Circus fans' convention sideshow entrepreneur Bobby Reynolds recalled an occasion when a new fellow on his show was fixed up on a date with the half man/half woman. Afterward, when asked if he had had a good time, he replied, "Yes and no." James E. Foster, Scottsville, VA

    Reply: 06 May 2011 - Ann, Google "Bobby Kork". I remember noting that there is some repository that houses much info on him. - Tom H.

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3674. Santa Barbara, CA, 01 May 2011 - What dates were the circus in Santa Barbara, CA at Peabody Stadium? 1948 to 1960? Also, the name of the circus. Susan. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 May 2011 - From 1948 to 1952 the Billboard noted the following circuses at Peabody Stadium, Santa Barbara, California. - Polack Bros Circus western unit July 27-29, 1948, Polack Bros Circus western unit Aug 2 -3, 1949, Polack Bros Circus western unit June 26-27, 1951, Polack Bros Circus western unit July 7-8, 1952. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

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3673. Stirling-Fillis Circus, 01 May 2011 - I'm looking for any information on the R. Stirling-Fillis Circus, which came to the U.S. in 1904 from South Africa. I have a drawing done of the ship, Doune Castle (a Union Castle Line Intermediate Steamer), which my grandfather did and it is surrounded with signatures of other passengers on the ship. He and my great uncle came to the U.S. on this ship. Joan. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 May 2011 - Joan, Go to wikipedia and look up Louisiana_Purchase_Exposition. In 1904 Frank Fillis produced what was supposedly "the greatest and most realistic military spectacle known in the history of the world". Different portions of the concession featured a British Army encampment, several South African native villages (including Zulu, Bushmen, Swazi, and Ndebele) and a 15-acre (61,000 m2) arena in which soldiers paraded, sporting events and horse races were held and major battles from the Second Boer War were re-enacted twice a day. Battle recreations took 2–3 hours and included several Generals and 600 veteran soldiers from both sides of the war. At the conclusion of the show, the Boer General Christiaan de Wet would escape on horseback by leaping from a height of 35 feet (11 m) into a pool of water. Admission ranged from 25 cents for bleacher seats to $1.00 for box seats, and admission to the villages was another 25 cents. The concession cost $48,000 to construct, grossed over $630,000, and netted about $113,000 to the Fair—the highest grossing military concession of the Fair. Also cut and paste this link for a nice page on the show.
    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F1071EFB3F5E12738DDDA80A94DD405B858CF1D3
    I hope this helps you? jim@stockley.co.za

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3672. Rebecca Bustard, 30 Apr 2011 - I am searching for my great, great aunt. Her name was Rebecca Bustard (possibly known as Rissie Bustard/ Muller). She apparently left her home in Glasgow,Scotland when she was 13 and, rumour has it,she joined the circus or was possibly abducted by the circus! She became an acrobatic dancer and I have evidence that she lived in London and Paris. She was born in Glasgow in 1879 and died aged 38. She married an Austrian hairdresser, Jean/John Muller in 1909 in London. Records say he 'deserted' her about 1912 in Paris. After this she had bouts of ill health and returned to her family in Glasgow.She eventually died in the city poorhouse in 1917. I have lots of information about her life in Scotland and London but I can't find any links regarding her life in Paris or her link to the circus.I'm intrigued to find out how a young girl at that time would develop the skills to be in a circus when she had no circus background. Could anyone shed any light on this? I'd really appreciate any information. Thanks, Lynne. (lynnebustard@btinternet.com) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3671. Mystery novel, 30 Apr 2011 - I'm wondering if there is a place here to ask - or if you know - the title of a book from the 70's or 80's. The main character was some kind of a secret agent with a photographic memory on the run. He's traveling around Europe and somehow circuses are involved. It was one of those pulp type mysteries sort of like the Ross MacDonald genre but I don't think he was the author. Thanks for your help. Angie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 May 2011 - I believe its Circus, By Alistair MacLean. My daughter is reading it at the moment. Hope this helped. Shelle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circus_%28novel%29

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3670. Mills Bros. Circus, 29 Apr 2011 - I am trying to get information on The Mills Brothers Circus. I would like to know when they came to Hamilton, NY. I know they were there in 1952 but I know they were there at least twice after that and those are the dates I am looking for. During one of those visits my father, an attorney, was hired to represent the circus. I thought is was due to a truck falling into a corn field but my brother remembers it was due to an elephant running away into the corn field. With what I have already found this last seems to be a real possibility. I remember Jack giving us free tickets to the menagerie, box seats and the opportunity to eat with the performers after the matinee performers. We were particularly excited about joining the clowns and the aerialists who seemed magical to us. The next time they came to town we got the VIP treatment again. Several years later they were in Madison, NY and we went again. Jack recognized us and again, the VIP treatment. It was glorious. Also, during the mid fifties did the circus travel by train and if so did they actually come to Hamilton by train? any help would be greatly appreciated. The entire Hamilton Central School Class of '63 has been burning up cyberspace in the last few days encouraged by Water for Elephants and we would love to have our fuzzy memories enhanced. Ann Hogg Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Apr 2011 - Sorry I can't help you on those specific dates. I can tell you, however, the Mills show was always a truck show and never moved by train. Jerry

    Reply: 30 Apr 2011 - The Mills Bros. Circus played in Hamilton on Saturday August 2nd, 1952. They always had Sundays off. I don't have all of the years routes for the Mills Bros. so I will give you this much - they did NOT go there in 1950, 1951, 1958, 1960 or 1961. If you are asking did ANY circus travel by train in the 1950's, then the answer would be YES. If you are asking did the Mills Bros. travel by train, then the answer would be NO, they never did. I know this isn't the definitive answer you are seeking, but it helps you get closer to the answer you want. For a better answer but more time consuming, you should go through the local newspapers which are usually found on Microfilm at the Public Library or sometimes at a Historical Society. It's fairly easy to scroll through July and August of each year and find the year's they played there. You might even find your elephant story in the 1952 papers. Bob Cline

    Reply: 03 May 2011 - The Mills Bros. Circus played Hamilton Aug 2, 1952 and then returned on July 14, 1955 and also played the town again on June 20, 1956. The show only played Madison, NY on Aug. 14, 1965. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

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3669. Royal Bros. Circus, 27 Apr 2011 - Readers may find interesting a website I did documenting my Summer in 1973 with the Royal Brothers' Circus as it traveled thru the Northern fringes of Ontario Canada. Here is the link: http://mycircussummer.weebly.com/ Steve Friedman. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 May 2011 - I and John Frazier owned Royal Bros. Circus on a 50/50 basis from 1973 to 1976 when I dissolved the partnership with John to build a new circus titled Martin and Downs - Canada's Tented Circus. I'm now working on a memoir of my 30 odd years around shows, 19 of them as an owner. I'd appreciate you contacting me at: stencell@sympatico.ca, Al Stencell

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3668. Arthur Bros. poster, 26 Apr 2011 - I have an Arthur Bros. circus poster with a clown beating a drum inside the drum is a picture of Christiansen's horses. Anyone know anything about this poster? Majestic poster press produced it. The bottom reads, "Riverside Santa Fe lot" Mon. Apr. 2. Bill. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Apr 2011 - The Arthur show wasn't out long and 1945 seems to be their only year when April 2 fell on a Monday. Jorgan M. Christiansen's horses was a very high class act. Majestic was in Los Angeles and printed posters for many of the west coast shows. Dave

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3667. Electric lighting, 26 Apr 2011 - In the New York Clipper, August 09, 1913, was this: "One of the latest provinces wherein electricity furnishes light at night under the big canvases of the great modern circus, a veritable city that is always on the move, and must therefore be completely self-contained and portable. Open flame gasolene torches or gas lamps have lighted circuses for many years, but this season two of the largest tent shows in the world, Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros., are equipped with their own power plants for lighting the big top and smaller tents by electricity."
    Since we know that the first use of electricity for lighting was on Cooper & Bailey in 1879, would it have taken this many years (circa 33 years) for the use of electricity to be described as innovative on big shows such as Ringling and Barnum & Bailey? How long did it take for the big shows to adopt power plants for electric lighting? Were the smaller shows still using gasolene or gas in 1913? Just curious. Judy Griffin. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Apr 2011 - Early traveling circuses staged only a matinee because they had no means available to illuminate the expanse of the pavilion at night. Oil, generated gas, naphtha, limelight and other novel and patented systems were tried in mid-century, with some success, enabling the scheduling of two shows per day, a matinee and evening performance. To some degree the lighting mimicked that in theaters and other landed structures, but also differed in some instances. It marked the beginning of the "chandelier," chandelier man, chandelier wagon, etc., all specialized circus activity.
        The early circus electric lighting systems, 1879-1880, utilized extremely bright open arc lights, such as those used later, within shielded directional housings, as "spotlights," for dramatic effect. The open arc fixtures were so impressive that some shows kept them operational in daylight. There were drawbacks, especially the glare, which some competitors identified in rat sheets. The generators supplying the current were powered by a steam boiler and reciprocating steam engine, making the apparatus fairly heavy and awkward, with a lag time to powering up. After the technological novelty wore off shows returned to oil, generated gas and other combustible fuel illumination systems.
        In the interim, incandescent bulbs and power distribution systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications flourished. The Pearl Street substation was opened in New York City about 1882. A "Jumbo" lighting system was installed in a home in Appleton, WI in the 1880s, and still stands today. Eventually the controversy between DC and AC power was also resolved, to make distribution economical.
        An electrical lighting system suited to the special needs of traveling shows was devised and given a trial on Ringling in 1909. There was limited use for selected applications prior to then, by 1903. Actual incandescent lighting and electrification was delayed until 1913, as per your reference. Internal combustion engines, which could start to power a generator almost immediately, replaced the steam power plants.
        The delay was like many in American circus history; specialized circus needs weren't always addressed by designers and suppliers; traditional methods were embraced long beyond that witnessed in general commerce; and capital investment was minimized. "If it's not broken, don't fix it" was observed, and the technology also had to be amenable to ready, local repair, no matter where the show was situated. Lacking lighting, a show could be interrupted, as occurred just a few weeks ago in Detroit.
        The circus lighting topic has been addressed in print by a host of writers: "Billboard" and "Clipper" columnists; Sturtevant [in "Billboard"]; Earl Chapin May and George Chindahl in their books; Thayer in "Traveling Showmen" ; and Robert Loeffler in "White Tops," to name a few Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3666. Circus, Orange Co, CA, 23 Apr 2011 - I am trying to remember the name of a smaller circus based out of Orange County California that had its' owner pass away in the mid 1970's? The circus had its home office in Orange County California, either had its owner die in say 1974 or 1975 or he became seriously ill? Hopefully by narrowing it to those 2 years will help. Hopefully you will be able to help me. My name is Brian Cook and my e-mail address is briancookis@yahoo.com. Thank you for your help. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3665. Howard King, 23 Apr 2011 - Looking for information on Howard King, owner 1930s. Pat. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Apr 2011 - Howard and his brother Floyd King were in the circus business a long time. They owned many shows with different titles such as the Sanger's Circus from 1919 to 1920, the Harris Bros. Circus in 1924, the Walter L. Main Circus from 1925 to 1928, the Gentry Bros. Circus from 1926 to 1929, ( Note there are two shows out at the same time ) and the Cole Bros. Circus in 1929 and 1930. Howard King took out the Rice Bros. Circus himself in 1934. If you will click on the highlighted "Search" at the top of this page and type in Howard King, you'll find several different articles that have content about Mr. King. Most of those issues are available as back issues through the CHS. Have you tried contacting the Circus World Museum Research Library in Baraboo, WI? The can search their "Yellow" cards which are a real quick compilation of notes on people, shows, etc. This is a fee based search that is minimal in cost and will save you lots of travel expenses and time in trying to track down other answers. Good Luck, Bob Cline

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3664. Eddie Steeple, 23 Apr 2011 - Some friends are trying to locate long time Bear and Chimp Trainer Eddie Steeple (Billie Joe, Dubo) who they have lost contact with. Any information would be appreciated. WRAC. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Apr 2011 - Hello Dorita: I ran into Eddie a few years back on one of Chewy Davenport’s Shows here in the Twin Cities. I believe Eddie had married a Davenport relation and is based in Texas. The Davenport Clan should know how to get hold of him. Neil Cockerline, Minneapolis, MN

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3663. 1947 Ringling cookhouse veteran, 22 Apr 2011 - I traveled with Ringling Circus during summer of 1947 after working on the lot in Eire, PA with the cookhouse gang under Al Welsh, the best boss I've ever had. I was shown to the train, where I got the middle of 3 bunks in a converted WW II hospital car, and to the porter, to whom I paid a small amount regularly for a towel, soap and access to wash water. Our train was the first of 4 carrying the show, and was first out and first in, to the next town, to which we traveled most nights. We didn't move on weekends, in the larger cities, which included payday. Our job was to load and unload everything in the cooktent, which was large - as big as some big tops. This included long picnic tables, boxes and boxes of plates and silverware, cooking gear and table coverings - 2 kinds, as performers and laborers' were totally different: rolls of greasy feeling oilcloth , compared to sparkling gingham tablecloths. This tent was divided down the middle by a canvas wall, separating completely the two groups, with the kitchen roughly in the middle. I tried to walk downtown in every town I could manage, and explored the citiies of Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit quite a bit. But the others had little interest in exploration - they felt "the lot" had everything they needed. This was a great adverture and wonderful summer, and would be glad to talk about it further. Ed Merrilees emerrilees@cox.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3662. Slang phrase "23", 21 Apr 2011 - I hope one of your circus historians can help me. I'm researching the history of the slang phrase "23" (meaning "get out, be off with you, scram"). The earliest print reference to this phrase (that I've been able to find) dates to 1899, but its origin is probably several years earlier. (In 1905, "23" fused with "skidoo" to form the catchphrase "23-skidoo.") Several sources claim that "23" was originally circus slang. Here's a typical account, offered by George A. Kingsbury, a theatrical agent, producer, and manager:
    "It isn't new at all. I knew it fifteen or eighteen years ago, and as a matter of fact every circus man did. I used to be with a circus at that time, and every man in the circus line had as a by-word the number '23.' It meant 'get out,' just as it does today.
    "That way in which that meaning came to be attached to the number was very natural. You may not know it, but in every ring show there are just twenty-three numbers on the programme, and the last is the Roman chariot race. Well, when a tented show plays a one-night stand, pegs are pulled and every bit of canvas is moved as soon as possible after the performance. The canvas men and hangers on of a circus work very hard, and while a performance is on they lie down to rest and generally to sleep. The boss canvas man knows well where each man is to be found, and as the show draws to a close there is a cry outside the tent of '23.' The sleeper wakes and the whole crew is active, for it is the signal to prepare to move, or 'skedoo.'"
    My questions are: 1. Is it true that late 19th-century circuses there were always (or even typically) 23 acts on the program? It seems to me likely that this claim is false, and that the number of acts would vary substantially from circus to circus. But I haven't been able to locate any programs to corroborate this.
    2. Origins aside, is there any evidence that "23" was used as circus slang during that time? I would be very grateful for any expert insights into this matter, and would be pleased to acknowledge any contributions in my final research paper. Thanks very much! Chris. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Apr 2011 - I never heard of a circus connection to the term. In fact I have read that the expression originated around the corner in New York City where the Flatiron Building is located and where Broadway crosses both East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. Supposedly the wind was so high in the neighborhood that back in the days of long dresses one could occasionally get a glimpse of a girl's ankle (be still, my heart) and when this happened the guys would say, "Twenty-three skidoo." Dave

    Reply: 22 Apr 2011 - Establishing Kingsbury’s circus affiliations would be the place to start to verify his story about the traveling show origin of "23." If you provide the year for Kingsbury’s statement, "fifteen or eighteen years ago," it would indicate a general period when he would have been with shows. The only circus affiliation I could discover was a George A. Kingsbury employed on the Sells Bros. #2 advance car in 1889. That places him ahead of the show, not with it.
        Kingsbury died on August 15, 1934, age 68 (birth year c.1866). His obituaries in "Billboard" and "Variety"” make absolutely no mention of his work with circuses, but state he had been in the theater business for forty years (start c.1894). As an adult at eighteen, the minimal data would seem to bracket his circus work between c.1884 and c.1894. His later life was generally in Chicago.
        A quick check of circus programs suggests nothing fixed in terms of the number of displays in a circus performance. Given Kingsbury’s testimony for 23, and his single known employment with Sells Bros., you could look at programs of that circus and also their second show, S. H. Barrett [both of which also utilized various titles in the 1880s]. In addition to actual programs, you can find them in route books, perhaps "New York Clipper" and newspaper reviews, etc.
        A Google book search revealed the 1899 statement: "The little party was joined here by a bunch of late comers, bringing the number up to the skidoo hoodoo---23." ["Thirty-Sixth Annual Report, Maine Press Association," 1899, page 10] Coincidentally, the "hoodoo" number, 13, also pops up for the first time in 1899 findings. Fourteen years prior, in 1885, two sloop-yachts, the "Daisy," from a Harlem yacht club, and the "Hoodoo," from New Jersey clubs, were in a competition, the latter beating the former by 13 minutes. Perhaps this has something to do with the origin or perpetuation of the number 13 as being a "hoodoo." It's possibly in the time frame of Kingsbury's circus years. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 23 Apr 2011 - American slang is notoriously hard to document as it tends to be very short-lived and regional. "23 Skidoo" supposedly became popular in the 1920s, but originated in 1906 – according to at least one online source. "Skiddo" is supposedly a later variation of "skedaddle." That dates from the American Civil War meaning to depart or leave quickly, usually in the context of retreating, but again, its origins are vague.
        One source mentions horseracing as a source for the "23." As there was only room for 22 horses side-by-side at some tracks, poor #23 would start behind the pack, thus having to move quickly at the start if horse and rider had any hope of competing – "23 skidoo."
        "Perhaps this has something to do with the origin or perpetuation of the number 13 as being a "hoodoo." The fear of the number 13 may have begun with the Greeks who had 12 gods. It's linked to the Last Supper as there were 13 present — 12 disciples and Jesus. The Knights Templar fell out of favor with the king and were all but destroyed on Friday October 13, 1307. And dozens more possible explanations. Lance Burton

    Reply: 30 Apr 2011 - Thanks for your responses!
        Dave: I'm aware of the Flatiron explanation, but I think it's a false etymology. I've found examples of "23" used as slang as far back as 1899, and the Flatiron building wasn't built until 1902. So the "23" part of the phrase could not have derived from 23rd Street. Early sources do mention the wind turbulence caused by the Flatiron, but I've not found any contemporary reports that mention the phrase in conjunction with the building. Sources for the Flatiron explanation that I've been able to find date back no further than 1955, so I think it was just fanciful speculation.
        Fred: Thank you very much for the information you've found on Kingsbury. That he could have been an advance man for Sells Bros. makes sense. I'll do some research into Sells Bros. and see what I can find out. I too had come across the reference in the annual report for the Maine Press Association, and was very excited to find it. Unfortunately, the Google Books document is actually a compendium of annual reports starting from 1899. If you look at the page before the "skidoo" reference, you'll see that the excursion being described in the account actually took place in the summer of 1908. Also, thanks for the information you've uncovered about "13 hoodoo." I would love to find out when 13 started being referred to as the "hoodoo number." (So many numbers, so little time!)
        Lance: Although I'm convinced that "23" comes from horseracing, I think the "22-horse limit" explanation is false. In the earliest source I've been able to find, the "22 limit" was attributed to English, not American, racetracks, and the claim was that the 23rd horse would not be permitted to run. But examination of 19th-century accounts of English horseraces shows that it was not uncommon for up to 26 horses to compete in a race. The later version you refer to appears to come from a jockey named Patsy Morrison, who also claimed to have coined the phrase himself. But my examination of horseracing data from the 1890s suggests that no racetrack in the US or Canada had such a limit. And it's worth noting that when Patsy made his claim, he was being arraigned for drunkenness and was facing a year of hard labor. The judge was so taken by Patsy's story that he reduced his sentence to 23 days.
        Thanks again. I am grateful to you all. Chris Stern, chris@cstern.com

    Reply: 01 May 2011 - Chris, what's the publication date of the Kingsbury account that you originally referenced? Thanks for the correction on the compendium contents; it's a challenge in some scanned volume identifications. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3661. Dick Berg, seals, 21 Apr 2011 - Am looking for info about Dick Berg and his wife Dorothy Jo who worked with seals. The Hollywood Seals. I found a photo with Dick Berg and his Seals in New York entertaining JFK jr. I also know they performed at Pacific Ocean Park, in Santa Monica, Ca. I also remember them visiting us with there two busses, on for the Seals and one they lived in on the road. I also recall watching them at a circus, but have no clue as to which one. Any info would be great. Robert Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3660. Clown, exploding car accident, 20 Apr 2011 - With the opening of the movie “Water for Elephants” scheduled for this week, there is some publicity about actor Robert Pattison’s childhood circus experience that I would like more information on. The 24 year old actor claims to have been "traumatized" as a small child when he was taken to a circus and witnessed a clown die in an "exploding" car accident. Doing the math on this, that would not have been more than 20 years ago. Does anyone recall this incident? What circus? Where and when? Was this a Shrine Clown or a professional? Jim Cole Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Apr 2011 - The readily available biographical data on Robert Thomas-Pattinson indicates that he was born and raised in England, in Barnes, a suburb of London. Thus, your search for the origin of his childhood experience should likely be undertaken in that nation. Given a birth date of May 13, 1986, there ought to be some newspaper or trade paper database that can substantiate, explain or refute the account. Perhaps one of the British viewers of this exchange will recall such an incident? Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 03 May 2011 - As a regular reader of this message board, I have noticed in the past that a great many people seem to recall some terrible circus accident - a falling trapeze artist - an animal trainer viciously attacked by a big cat - or in Mr. Pattinson's case, an exploding clown car. In these recollections, the accident always results in a death. I'm no psychologist, but would like to suggest that a young child who witnesses a death-defying circus act for the first time is perhaps so overwhelmed by the spectacle that - in their imagination - they add the death part themselves. I'm certainly not suggesting that anyone is consciously lying, but a young child's imagination is a powerful thing, and if all these recollections did end in someone's death, there wouldn't be any circus performers left. Rick Whelan

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3659. Den Stone, 18 Apr 2011 - Hi, I am looking for any kind of information on Den Stone (Dennison W. Stone), and especially for anything about his "Troupe of American Indians", a group of Mohawk he traveled to Europe with in 1879. I would be more than grateful for anything anyone can come up with, since all I have so far covers their European tour, but I have not been able to find information about the performers themselves, the organization of the show or about Den Stone's activities other than those covered in the articles on this site. Thanks, Katinka (Friedberg, Germany) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Apr 2011 - Barring the possible existence of Den Stone's personal and business papers, the best possibilities for finding further information would be: New York Clipper or other theatrical trade journals of the time; any heralds or couriers (handbills and circulars) issued by Stone; digitized newspapers in the US and Europe; and immigration documentation in the US and Europe. If you're very lucky, maybe one of the participants in the tour left a memoir, or was interviewed in later years about their European tour. He was born and later a resident of Burlington, Vermont. You might check newspapers and archives in that community, and the state library or historical society.
        Stone's portrait and a biography are in Clipper, April 27, 1878, page 36. An obituary for him, possibly not entirely trustworthy, is in the Clipper, April 30, 1892, page 126. He was also the subject of a cameo biography by Day, printed in one of the Barnum & Bailey route books in the early 1900s and also the Clipper: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1958Jan.htm. Sturtevant and Chindahl knew of these and Slout accessed the resources when compiling his biographical dictionary. You might also check Slout's edited writings of Charles Day (Day was Stone's press agent in 1878) and the unpublished memoir of Dingess, a typescript of which is at Circus World Museum. His brother Eaton Stone was involved with the presentation of Indians in 1855. See: http://www.circushistory.org/Thayer/Thayer3m.htm
        If the Mohawk nation came under the domain of the BIA, archives of their records might also be consulted. Check with the National Archives. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 20 Apr 2011 - "Show Indians" as they were called by the BIA and the entertainment field performed under contracts held by the the Indian agencies. The contracts were under the jurisdiction of the BIA. The Souix Agency in SD has given their records to the National Archives in Kansas City, MO. I have a few copies of them. A few years ago none of these records had been cataloged so you just had to go through boxes of them. I don't know that anyone has done research on this practice which was still pursued into the late 1930s. It would be quite an "eye-opener". Billie

    Reply: 27 Apr 2011 - Thank you both for your helpful replies, they will surely keep me busy for a while. Regards, Katinka

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3658. Troupe Lafaille, 18 Apr 2011 - Looking for any information concerning the Belgian acrobat group 'Troupe Lafaille'. Appreciate any help or any leads. Regards, Sarunas Peckus. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3657. Rauschenbach or Martine, performers, 17 Apr 2011 - "Human Corkscrew, Human Snake," John Wilmer Martine aka John Rauschenbach, circus performer 1898-1905, maybe after. Seeking info on my "Grand Uncle". Supposedly joined circus about 1898 went out West somewhere, after turning 18 and leaving German Orphanage in Baltimore MD. He returned to NYC and was quite the ladies man and NYC society guy, engaged to a Senator’s daughter, etc. Got arrested in 1906 in NYC for defrauding the government & larceny. NYC high society all drove to courthouse to demand release. Nice to have friends. I think he eventually left USA and wound up in Paris France after WWII, per my Grandfather’s Obituary in 1952. I have seen some bio’s here on Human Snakes/Contortionists, but most are women. I have newspaper articles from NYC, Baltimore, and San Francisco papers on arrest, and possible photos, though I think the photos are of my Grandfather in Vaudeville acrobat act, not Uncle John. Family rumor has it that someone in my family, was the voice for the MGM Lion roar. Uncle John?
    Also, seeking information on my Grandfather, Frederick Julius Rauschenbach, b. 1875. Was circus/vaudeville acrobat and tumbler. On back of photo is scrawled "Refined Comedy Acrobats," Martine Carl * Rudolf. Part of a 2 man team.? He may also be known as "Fred Martine." I believe was cast in 12/26/1916 production of "Merry Christmas, Daddy!", ran 2 nights in the Sam Harris Theater. In a letter from a family member, states, "worked with a partner in a tumbling act whose name was "Martino Lawande" (spelling suspect). He dropped the "O" and substituted an "E". Not sure if that was name of the act or name of partner? Rick Rauschenbach, Seattle WA, rickrauschenbach@yahoo.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 May 2011 - Seems he may have been known as “Jack” Martine and possibly “Martyne - the Human Snake.” Frederick M. (Rick) Rauschenbach Jr.

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3656. B&B Ranch, FL, 16 Apr 2011 - When I was a kid, 12 years old, 1963, I had a horse that I boarded at the B&B Ranch in Ft Lauderdale Florida. The Circus (I thought The Ringling Bros; Barnum and Bailey?) rented out the front pastures of this ranch and set up the circus. The elephants were staked out and they made these huge craters in the ground that were there forever! You could hear the cats growling and roaring, the horses (our horses) had to be kept way out in the back pastures, far away from all the circus animals. All of us kids got free admission to the circus. When the circus left all the grounds had to be sprayed and somehow made safe for our horses to be back in those pastures. I was young and my memories are dim. I am trying to find any kind of documentation of this event taking place at the B&B Ranch. Maureen. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3655. Charlie Palmer, 15 Apr 2011 - Dear All. Is there anyone out there who can put me in touch with Charlie Holland Palmer? Regards, David Morton. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3654. Miller, circus, 15 Apr 2011 - Looking for information on the circus that was brought by Ringling brothers in the 20’s or 30’s or earlier. I was told as a child that my great grandfather owned this circus. His last name Miller and was married to a little person that performed in the circus. She died in Albany New York. jmmilam@charter.net. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3653. Trapeze, Hogg/Oval, 15 Apr 2011 - I have come across a picture of my great, great grandfather who was a trapeze artist/strongman in a travelling circus in Europe at the outbreak of WW1. He was married and had two children. In the picture there is my grandmother who looks about 3 and my grand-uncle who looks about 2. The story goes that all the circus equipment was confiscated and my great grandparents made their way to England and changed their surname to Oval. My mother, unfortunately, destroyed any birth/wedding certificates when my dad died, but I do remember seeing a marriage certificate where the surname Hogg was changed to Oval. Has anyone got any information that would help me trace back further. I have no first names except the children, my grandmother's name was Margaret and my uncle was James. Pat Taylor. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3652. Orton Circus circa 1930-1935, 14 Apr 2011 - I am looking for someone that is still living that would have been involved in the Orton Circus circa 1930-1935. We have heard that there is someone still in Adel, IA - maybe an older woman that we can contact? We are looking to find out if she would know my grandmother, Myrtle Flynn Baker, possibly going by the name Sara Lynn - she worked as a dancer and possibly in vending. There is a cousin of ours that might have been in contact with her, but we are not able to obtain the information on how to contact this woman from her at this time. I really would like to meet her and hear what she has to say about it. Also, Myrtle had a son in 1935 - possibly with a man going by the name Al Roberts that worked there at the same time but died in Jan 1935 in a car accident in a snow storm. Could you please direct me to someone that would know this information? Thank you! Ashley Troyer. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Apr 2011 - There are a number of Orton family descendants living today, Iowa, Florida and elsewhere. Their family circus heritage dates to the 1850s. The best known of them is William H. "Buckles" Woodcock Jr., a retired elephant man, circus historian and now a blogger. You can reach him via his website: http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/ He'll be able to connect you with Orton family members. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3651. Savannah Milam, 14 Apr 2011 - Looking for any information on trapeze artist named Savannah Milam last seen in Arkansas in the 1920’s. She known for using her teeth to spin as part of her act. Savannah was a aunt that became missing in the late 20’s or in the 30’s my father stopped getting postcards from her, she sent some had her picture on them. All of her pictures and letters have been lost due to time and divorces and moving over the years. Thank You for your help, Robert Milam. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3650. Monkey, Bob Duley, 13 Apr 2011 - I’m trying to find any information I can on my great Grandfather’s circus he had somewhere in Ohio around 1920. I don’t have his name or the city. His main attraction was a monkey they called "Bob Duley" who would go up in a hot air balloon and parachute out. Evidently when times became hard, the vendors who worked at my Grandfathers circus stole the money and forced him out of business. He ended up selling Bob Duley to someone who used him for another attraction, jumping out of an airplane, which I understand Bob Duley didn’t much like. I don’t have really any other family members to ask, so I’m hoping this may sound somewhat familiar. I’m hoping for any info for photos. Thanks, Margina. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3649. Irene Kelly, 13 Apr 2011 - I am trying to find an ancestor who joined the circus. Her name was Irene Kelly and lived in Leavenworth, Kansas. Born 1883/84. A elder cousin stated in a letter to me years ago that she ran away from home and joined a circus never to return to Kansas. Her parents were William L. Kelly (died in 1888). Her mother was Mary Jane (Jennie) Kelly who remarried. Her husband at the time Irene was about 14-15 was George Hildebrand in Leavenworth. Irene Garrett Watson. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3648. Carlos Desfassiaux, 08 Apr 2011 - I search information about Carlos Desfassiaux, musician of the circus Orrin in 1900 th ???. All informations about him. Thanks a lot, Laurent. An article of Le Monde Paris 1900:
    [Attempted translation: "The journey began one cold winter day, days at sea were eternal, the improvised musician Carlos Desfassiaux found a world completely limited to the confines of a ship who wanted to leave his 55 years had a question about coming to America and triumph, behind German had become the Countess of Fex, his wife and he had created a son Paul, the homesick and missed, but certainly the circumstances forced him to accept the proposal of the Family Orrin as a musician and master of ceremonies show that will soon be presented in Mexico in 1900, in the steam Virginia., which years later was blown up with dynamite .- large number of immigrants traveling to America, fortunately for Charles the old boat had a piano in the center of dining room, and once again found peace and quiet sitting for hours playing French folk music much appreciate your passengers, one of those nights seemed eternal, is fixed behind the window of a cabin that was in front room, observed after the glass a beautiful girl, the same beauty that impressed him boarding the night was the first woman who had shaken after the mourning that will cause their abrupt separation of the Countess de Fex, certainly was in love and only for it was ready to conquer."] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3647. Mr. Fenton, acrobat, 06 Apr 2011 - I'm sending this to ask more info on the acrobat Mr Fenton in your write up below. Would he by any chance be Walter or Wally Fenton? If so would you be able to tell me more about him as he's my great grandfather and I'm trying to learn more about him. Cheers, Claudine.
    "The war in China has resulted in the loss of Tate & Warren's Circus, which was traveling there. It was in Tientain(?) when the Chinese bombarded the foreign settlement, and the company, most of whom lived at the Cafe Franc??, lost all their effects, the cafe being burned. The circus horses were taken for army use and the seats used for firewood. Mr. Fenton, an acrobat, who got away, has contradicted the rumor that Mr. Pflueger, the manager, had been killed, but says that George, of the Metropole, Shanghai, has been severely wounded in the head by a bullet. Later advices regarding the subject comes from Fred Meteor at Singapore, who writes: "I may tell you that most of the company is here, and open with the United Circus Agu. 13. The following would be glad if your would make it known to their brother and sister artists that they are still living: The Meteors, flying trapeze and globe artists; Brothers Zenobia, hand balancers; W. W??e, jockey act rider; Brothers Rice, horizontal bar performers; Cento, juggler; Mr. and Mrs. Sherman(?) and H. Benham(Renham?), clown." New York Clipper, October 6, 1900, p. 699.
    Killed at Tien-Tsin. Evansville, Ind. Aug. 7. - News of the death of George Peters, of Princeton, Ind., has been received in this city from China. Peters was manager of Warren's Circus, which was started in this city two years ago. He was killed at Tien-Tsin June 14 while the parade was going on. Warren and Peters were old showmen, and were well known in the Central States. They spent last season in Japan and six months ago went to China. Billboard, August 18, 1900, p. 5. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3646. Spiff The Clown, Robert Owen, 06 Apr 2011 - Does anyone know his email address? Happy Tunes. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Apr 2011 - Spiff the Clown is now located in Bartlett NH with his wife Marion (Sam the Clown). They met when working advance for Big John Strong Circus in 1982. Current email address is mrggowen@ncia.net. Rob Owen

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3645. Hagenbeck circus 1920s, 05 Apr 2011 - My grandfather, living in Vienna, worked with the Hagenbeck circus, making a trip to South America in 1927, 28, and/or 29. He was an animal trainer/handler. His name was Horovatz first name Alois, I think. Does anyone have any information on this time period or knowledge of any published pictures etc? Barb in Canada. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Apr 2011 - Look for hagenbeck 1920 www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. Mevr. Best-Otte

    Reply: 25 Apr 2011 - The Hagenbeck´s came three times to Argentina, with the menagerie in 1910 and with the circus, including Brasil and Uruguay, in 1928/29 and 1937. On the first circus visit the animal trainers announced was Rudolf Mathies with the tigers, Richard List with the bears and Albert Jeserich with the camels. I have a photograph showing all the members of the circus, perhaps among them was your grandfather. Cesar Ortega. fliaortega@netverk.com.ar

    Reply: 05 May 2011 - I am not sure if I have read that name in it but there is a book by Pual Eipper titled: Circus: Men, Beasts, and Joys of the Road. The author accompanied Hagenbeck Circus in the summer of 1929 to Sweden and spent 20 long days with performers of many nationalities including Czechs and Austrians who were recruited for the tour. It was right after they came back their South American tour. Since you grandfather is from Vienna, he was likely with the circus by this time. The most important animal trainer whose name reoccurs frequently is Rudolf Matthies (tigers) but there are others. It was long time since I read the book for a research about an African group which was with the circus at the same time and could not remember all the animal trainers/handlers mentioned. Good luck anyway. Bo

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3644. Circus posters, 03 Apr 2011 - I am writing to you as a last resort. I have done some research on 2 vintage posters I have: 1 - Tiger - Blue Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth Marked P-4, app 23 1/2 X 32. 2 - Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus - Clown with elephant and tiger Marked P 14? app 36X23. I know you know what posters I am referring to, However, my question is thus. Out of all of the posters that I have come across in my searches, they all say they can be shipped in tube, or fold marks, staple marks, etc. I understand that the posters went out as promos and in the souviner handbooks so they would be folded and have staple marks. My two posters are like thick cardboard and have no creases or staple marks. They can Not be rolled up. They do "look" very old - prob the repros made by Ringling Bros around the 1976's or so. I aquired these at an Estate Auction and just fell in love with them. I am not looking to sell them, I just would like to know why mine are like cardboard and everyone elses are normal posters. It doesn't look to me as if the previous owner had attached them to cardboard. It has been professionally done as if by the manufacturer - Stonebridge Litho Co. The picture is not seperating from the cardboard and seems to be a seamless job. I paid $25 each for them. Please help me solve my Circus Poster Mysteries. Wendy K Lively, Ammon Idaho. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Apr 2011 - I don't have the answer to your question about the cardboard, but I wanted to tell you that Strobridge (not Stonebridge) was the company that printed the originals on these. However the P-4 and P-14 numbers indicate yours are repros as you had suspected. They were sold at novelty stands in the lobby but usually not on board. Whitey

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3643. Deland, phantom clown, 03 Apr 2011 - I am searching for a description and location of the once area in Deland, Fl. where Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus use to stay. There is a set of barren train tracks near by. I am doing research and an investigation on a phantom clown that has been reported to be seen in that area. Any info on this location to help me find it or any info on the ghostly apperation of this clown please contact me, Thanks, Chris. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Apr 2011 - What you are probably looking for is the April 1942 event when the Johnny J. Jones Carnival was displaced from it's winter quarters at Deland, Florida due to the advent of World War II production. The help the war effort the carnival was evicted/asked to move from its buildings so that the area could be turned into a war production plant. If you go to the Library of Congress website there are a number of photographs files under the Deland Pool which was the project title to make the buildings available. John Polacsek

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3642. Muscicans, circus, 01 Apr 2011 - Hello! This is Megan Huddleston, 34, of Crozet, Va. In addition to being fascinated by circus history, I am a touring musician and railroad enthusiast. I am interested in finding out about musicians that may have traveled with the early circuses using the railroad. Does anyone have any information or leads you'd be willing to share? Thank you! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Apr 2011 - Sverre O. Braathen published several papers about circus music, musicians and bands in the CHS journal "Bandwagon." Bob Kitchen also did worthwhile pieces on early bands and Ned Kendall, an early bandleader. Stuart Thayer wrote a biography of Carl Robinson. You can locate these articles, and more, and dates of issue by going to the Bandwagon article indexes by clicking on "Bandwagon" on the home page. It may be possible to purchase the back issues containing these pieces, or to secure copies via interlibrary loan.
        You could also look for Gene Plowden's biography of Merle Evans, a bandleader about whom much has been written. Charles P. Conrad is currently working on a couple books on the topic and watch for them in the hopefully not-too-distant future. Two books by Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, Ragged But Right, and Out of Sight, provide insights on black musicians with traveling shows.
        Other pieces of interest would include Earl Chapin May's "Keeping the White Tops in Tune," in Shrine Magazine, September 1926; "Music Needed in the Circus," Pittsburgh Post, August 9, 1903; "Circus Musicians," published in numerous newspapers in 1886; "Circus Bands and Leaders of the Past," Billboard, December 7, 1929, page 101; "Circus Band Plays Major Part," White Tops, April-May 1937, [two pages]. Many more could be referenced. Simple Google and other on-line searching in article and newspaper databases will reveal many references. Use a variety of terms to broaden your search discoveries.
        The Windjammers Unlimited, Incorporated have long published a journal that has included considerable documentation about the circus music topic in all of its ramifications. You would do well to seek out their "Fanfare" journal. They hold two concerts per year. I composed a piece in 1993 titled "The Triumphal March of melody" that has been reprinted several times and provides a summary of the topic.
        The secondary and tertiary literature on the topic is extensive, exceeded by the amount of primary documentation in libraries and archives in many communities. You mentioned "early" in your message. Of itself that has no specific meaning. You might clarify that aspect of your desire. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3641. Carroll Circus, 29 Mar 2011 - I am looking for information about the Carroll Circus which I believe was around in the 1800's. Possibly connected with it were Dennis William Carroll and Cyrene Carroll. Cyrene Carroll married a Charles William Bailey in 1862. I mention this because there is some connection along the line with the Bailey and Barnum Circus. Any information would be appreciated. Pam. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Apr 2011 - There were several circuses involving the name Carroll. If you go to William L. Slout's book, "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle," on this website, you will find some of the proprietors named Carroll, notably Barney Carroll. http://www.circushistory.org/Olympians/Olympians.htm There are others given in the listing of circus titles compiled in book form by Robert L. Parkinson. Others are in the list of circus titles compiled by C. G. Sturtevant and given elsewhere on this website. [Virtual Library] Those before 1860 would be detailed in Thayer's "Annals of the American Circus 1793-1860." Thayer would have published a biography of Barney Carroll, but lacked a suitable portrait.
        Be advised that the Bailey of Barnum & Bailey was actually James Anthony McGinnis, born 1847. In his youth he took the last name Gordon, that of his older sister's husband, and eventually Bailey, the name of his circus mentor, Fred Bailey, in the 1860s.
        You may have a connection to a Bailey-named circus or circus man, of which there were many; check Slout's listings and the other resources noted above. It will take further delineation of the relations of the people you mention to identify the specific circus and circus people. Knowing the geographical locations of your persons of interest might prove helpful. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 08 Apr 2011 - Thank you very much for this answer. Its just the type of information that I wanted to know. Hopefully, I will be able to look up the information myself.

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3640. Mary Ann Ahearn, 29 Mar 2011 - Please can you help me in my search for this lady, really hope you can help me. Tight rope walker in John Scott Circus before she was married. She married in 1886. Her name was Mary Ann Ahearn born 13/06/1862. Thank you, regards, Angela. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3639. English Circassians, 28 Mar 2011 - Je suis descendent de circasiens anglais qui tene un cirque a norfolck avent guerre j ai 88 ans et peu etre il ya encor de la fammille la bas car le père de mon père et reste la bas et son mort pendant la guerre de 40 je suis denise clarck habite en indre et loire la chapelle sur loire 37140 rue du canal [Attempted translation: I am descended from English Circassians tene a circus Norfolk Advent j ai war 88 years ago and still be somewhat of fammille the bottom as the father of my father and the rest down and died during the war of 40 I'm denise Clark lives in the Loire Valley Loire chapel on Canal Street 37140] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3638. Thomas Allen Lynn, 28 Mar 2011 - Hi, I am wondering if you might have any historical information for the above referenced? He is my great grandfather, and I was told by his daughter (my aunt), and her brother (my grandfather) that Thomas was in the Sparks Circus, left for a short while, and then returned. I am guessing the years would roughly be late 1920's, and then rejoining in the mid 30's. He lived in Union Town, PA, but I am not sure where he joined up with Sparks. I searched your site but did not see him there. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Victoria. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Mar 2011 - I am trying to find info on my grandfather who was in Sparks Circus in the 1920's and middle 1930's. He was from Pennsylvania and his name is Thomas A. Lynn Sr. I don't even know what he did in the circus. He died in a fire in Mattamoros Mexico in 1967 at 71 yrs old. Any info on his career in the circus would be great. Thank you, Sharon A. Lynn

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3637. Doty Bros Circus, 25 Mar 2011 - Do you have information on Doty Bros Circus, Dayton, Ohio about 1929. I purchased a small circus wagon. Want to know more. Harold. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Apr 2011 - The Doty Circus is a title that a circus model builder made up when the scale model Doty Circus wagons were created about 1929. I believe some eighteen in all were created, and they are of no particular show, just someone's imaginary show and title. There is no reference to a Doty Circus being on the road. Google the Doty Circus and usually photos of the model circus wagons show up. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 11 Apr 2011 - I want to clear up some misinformation I came across while looking for information about the location of my family's circus wagons. The Doty Brothers Circus was a real circus menagerie started in 1929 by my grandfather, James R. Doty in Dayton, Ohio and rebuilt by my father, Bill Doty in the early 1960's in Brookville, Ohio. The original circus built by my grandfather burned down in 1935 in Forest Park Amusement Park in Dayton and all was lost. No circus wagons were salvaged, only the wheels and a few wagon chassis. My father used those wheels and the chassis as a pattern to build 20 new circus wagons and bought in exotic birds and animals from around the world to display in these wagons at fairs and grand opening events and promotional events around the greater Dayton area until 1965 when he contracted with Gooding Amusement Co. out of Columbus, Ohio. This took him and his circus to fairs throughout the midwest as part of the gooding midway. I personally traveled with my father when school got out each summer and was the circus clown. I can assure you that the Doty Brothers Circus was real and I have the circus banners in my garage to prove it. It is not an imaginary show or title and, with a little research, you will find that I, Bill Doty Jr, am telling you the truth. My biggest regret is that we didn't keep the circus wagons when my father quit traveling with the circus-that is why you have one of the wagons. We are trying to locate these wagons again so that we can have that part of our lives back as a reminder of our circus tradition. If you would like more information about my family's circus please feel free to contact me at bill.doty76@gmail.com. Thank you.

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3636. Greater Sheesley Shows, 24 Mar 2011 - I am searching for informtion on the Greater Sheesley Shows that visited Lindsay, Ontario in the summer of 1928. I would like the show route for 1928. I am seeking information on my Grandfather, George Leighton Seymour, who was a musician with the show. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Carolyn Vos. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Mar 2011 - Bob Goldsack published a 20-page, illustrated article giving a history of John M. Sheesley and his Mighty Midway in his "Midway Journal Illustrated," Vol. 1, No. 1, 1996, pages 16-34. A 1928 view of the Sheesley midway is included. Goldsack includes a synopsis of the 1928 route, but not all of the dates. The show crossed from Rochester, NY over to St. Catherines, followed by Kitchener, Hamilton and Kingston. There were some Quebec dates, then back into Ontario at Three Rivers, Sherbrooke, Valley Field, Peterborough and Lindsay, before a return to the US. The MJI is long out of print, but perhaps Goldsack [Nashua, NH] has some back issues, or possibly a library will have a copy that can be photocopied. It is surely the best available coverage of this midway available today.
        You could find exact dates by checking the newspapers in those cities, either in the city or perhaps in the provincial archives. There will be advertisements for the midway. There would also be running commentary about the entire 1928 tour on the carnival pages of the weekly trade journal "Billboard." You can ask your librarian to locate it for you via interlibrary loan. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 29 Mar 2011 - Thank you so much for the informtion. I now have a place to start looking. I am assuming there would be no mention of my Grandfather because he was a musician and not a staring act as far as I. You have been very helpful.

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3635. Montreal ca. 1840's, 18 Mar 2011 - Alexander La Croix travelled from Paris to Montreal ca. 1841, with a circus. He is said to have been a horseman and expert swordsman. He crossed over to the US prior to 1848, as he served in Mexican-American War. Have been unable to locate any immigration info to Canada. Any direction from Circus Historian familiar with that era, greatly appreciated. Michele, descendant from Lakeville, Mn. USA, lacroix26@gmail.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Mar 2011 - La Croix isn't mentioned in Thayer's comprehensive "Annals of the American Circus 1793-1860," at least by his given name. Perhaps he assumed a name to remain anonymous? You can use the compiled routes in the Thayer volume to ascertain engagements in Montreal, along with searching of the local newspapers. It may also be possible that he came directly to the US, but later stated an entry via Canada for other reasons.
        Be aware that the circular structure that housed a performance that we now call a "circus" was originally termed a "circus," from 1793 into the 1830s and beyond. That can lead to confusion; some writers have mistakenly credited certain performing circuses to such establishments, when indeed there was no ring show but another form of entertainment in the "circus." These could even be limited equestrian exhibitions and not a true circus. The admonition would be to examine in more detail the context and accuracy of the report placing La Croix with a circus coming from Europe to Canada, which is the crux of your search.
        You can also search through Slout's "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle," doing a search for performers that came from Europe [France] in the appropriate time frame. Historian Dominique Jando is very familiar with both French and American circus history and you might appeal to him for further direction. Perhaps your man came along in a role other than named performer, as a supporting member of the crew. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3634. Circus Day, 17 Mar 2011 - Hello everybody! Here's Ayrton Mugnaini Jr., from São Paulo, Brazil, a journalist, songwriter and popular music researcher. I had a query some two years ago, which was kindly answered, and so I come back with another, and a simpler one, I hope. Why is the 15th of March called Circus Day anyway? Thanks in advance! Cheerio, Ayrton. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3633. Prof. Dennis Magner, 16 Mar 2011 - I am researching Dennis Magner, famous horse trainer/tamer and need any information that anyone might have on him. Including the name of his circus and where he might be buried. I have tracked him down to the Jamestown, NY area in 1916 but cannot find any reference to his whereabouts after that year. Any information would be appreciated. Thank You. Sealmath. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Mar 2011 - Professor Magner's Trained Horses, Turco, Gifford, Blind Billy and Tommy were put together as an act in the early 1870s. Blind Billy did an act of walking erect and sitting down. Tommy's act consisted of throwing riders and also acting vicious tearing the jacket off a man in the ring. The Magner & Company's Great Sensation Show was out in 1874 playing Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Th act primarily played indoors for a number of years and at fairs. John Polacsek

    Reply: 23 Mar 2011 - John, Thank you for your reply. I found it very educating. In an earlier message that I left that you had responded to (#1456) you had mentioned his circus records, some of which were located at the Ohio Historical Society as well as some scattered in a number of circus collections. I was able to locate the records in the Ohio historical society but I was wondering if you knew exactly who had the remaining pieces of his circus records. Also, do you know of anyone that might have pictures or possibly a video clip? You had also mentioned a book that you were writing about circuses on the great lakes. I was wondering if you had completed it yet and if so, what is its name and where might I be able to obtain a copy of it. Do you also have any other advise on where I might be able to extend my research on this man, I am primarily trying to find out information on how he lived his later years and ultimately where he might be buried. Thank you again for all your help.

    Reply: 25 Mar 2011 - You might check the compiled "Variety" obituaries. Perhaps they picked up the notice of his death, although his direct involvement in the trade was rather limited? Google seems silent about his later life as do available digitized newspaper files. You might scan agriculture, horse-related, animal husbandry and veterinarian journals, as his passing should have caused some remark in those communities of interest. I would also search for the papers of notable contributors to his books, in the event that correspondence survives in their papers. Contacts with libraries associated with colleges and universities having animal science libraries might also prove worthwhile. If he had any offspring, tracing their whereabouts might prove fruitful. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 26 Mar 2011 - Thank you so much Fred for all your wonderful suggestions.

    Reply: 06 May 2011 - When you misplace your files on a particular subject it is a problem, and I have not completed my research on circuses that traveled the Great Lakes. The files at the Ohio Historical Society are mainly it as only a few envelopes have shown up in other collections, nothing of great historical interest. The good Professor Magner appears to have started out from Bucyrus, Ohio in 1873 with a show. It was under canvas and the review mainly states that it was 'no circus, there will be no pad riding and other circus performances, but it will be as the bills say, a strictly moral entertainment, blending instruction with amusement and chiefly designed to exhibit the wonderful power to be acquired over horses trained and handled by Professor Magner's system.' There was a small charge for admission for the purpose of securing seats. A special premium will be given out to the boy or man who can ride Tommy best. The pony told fortunes by picking out the benevolent in the audience, the homliest bachelor, etc.The Prof. gave a short lecture on treatment of the horse, and showed how his ponies are taught many of their most interesting tricks. The show in Bucyrus reported "fun was fast and furious, the pony threw the boys as rapidly as they got on his back. The money after deducting the small expenses, was put in proper hands to distribute to the poor. This was a worthy charity." Prof. Magner after several months residence in Bucyrus went with his troupe to the West. His troupe was composed or gentlemen and ladies some of them being members of the Episcopal church in good and regular standing. Little route of the 1873 show exists after Bucyrus, and in 1874 he expanded his show and actually had a circus that went around the Great Lakes. In 1880 he was back in the circus/exhibition business and opened the show in Bucyrus, Ohio.It was similar with the Professor giving a lecture on how he manages horse and a exhibition showing how to break and manage horses with safety.The show also carried Professor Leon who walked a rope from the ground to the top of the centre pole. The Leon Brothers also performed athletic feats and the Bryant Brothers did their act on the horizontal bar. There was also Mr. Deverner, the great contortionist, and Miss Kitty Compton the highly accomplished Vocalist and character artist. The show played through northwest Ohio and then disappeared. As for video there is none of this show, I have only found a period lithograph of Professor Magner's Trained Horses, Turco, Gifford, Blind Billy and Tommy. John Polacsek

    Reply: 28 Jun 2012 - John, How did you come to know all of this about Professor Magner's circus? Sealmath

    Reply: 07 Jul 2012 - If you want to know more about a circus you follow the route and read the local newspapers. It is usually only in the local newspapers that you can find details about a particular show's performance and or what went on during the stay in a town. Fortunately the archives for part of the show is at the Ohio Historical Society and once you know where the show played by the lot contracts, etc. you need to read the local newspapers for details. John Polacsek

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3632. Alice Joubert, 15 Mar 2011 - Am looking for photos of my mother Alice Joubert who was a trapeze artist with either Bowell Circus or Cole Bros. Around about 1946. My name is Jennifer. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Mar 2011 - Alice, did you mean Boswell in South Africa? jim@stockley.co.za

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3631. John (Jack) Fanning, 15 Mar 2011 - I am looking for information on a circus performer named John (Jack) Fanning. He was originally from West Haven, CT. He would have been a performer about the turn of the century. I believe he performed in high wire acts but, do not know this for sure, as we have no records during his circus years. Is there a source that list circus performers, the circus they were with and their job descriptions? He was injured and then became and aeronaut in hot air balloons and performing stunts. Thank You. Rosemary Roddy (rroddy131313@aol.com). Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3630. Alfredo the great, 14 Mar 2011 - We are doing a "history of magic" project, and we drew a "Alfredo the great" 1911-1962. I cannot find any information on him, other than that he was murdered. Could u please assist with anything u might have? Thank u so much! Please reply to Debbie.cooper@standardbank.co.za. Best regards, Debbie. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3629. Tom Engel, 14 Mar 2011 - I just learned that my great-uncle Tom (Thomas) Engel worked for the Royal American Shows that came to the Minnesota State fair, probably in the 1920-1930 time frame. He may have had some type of "game of chance" booth. I would appreciate any ideas on how to track down information about him. Thank you. Phil. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Mar 2011 - Tom, Based on the information I have, which is admittedly not complete for the early years of RAS, they did not start playing the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul until 1933. If the time frame you have (1920-1930) is correct, then your great uncle may have traveled with another show. If the time frame involved is in fact 1933 or later, then you would probably have to check each issue of Billboard magazine (weekly) and hope to find his name. If he did not work directly for Royal American, but was an "independent", then the search for his name would be more time consuming as independents were not always mentioned in Billboard articles. I was told by a member of the Sedlmayr family that all RAS show records were destroyed several years ago. You may want to contact the Minnesota State Fair. Their historian may be able to tell you what carnival played the Fair in the 1920-1930 time frame. They may also have a record of your great uncle's name as an independent. Fred Heatley, Royal American Shows, Historian and Author

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3628. Shill Bros. Circus, 13 Mar 2011 - I am looking for any information on the Shill Bros. Circus the names I am really interested in besides all of them are: Charles Allen Shills and Wilma Mize. Thanks you so much for any help. Glitz. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Mar 2011 - Parkinson's "Directory of American Circuses" lists a Shill Bros. Circus, with R. W. Shill, proprietor. But there is no date listed for the show. You might want to contact Circus World Museum's Parkinson library: http://circusworld.wisconsinhistory.org/About/ResearchCenter.aspx.

    Reply: 21 Mar 2011 - I find no record that a Shill Bros. Circus title existed. In 1928 the Zellmar Bros. Circus owned by George E. Engesser changed the title of the show to Schell Bros. Circus on September 10th. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

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3627. Isaacs, clown, 10 Mar 2011 - A very long shot but maybe you can help. I am based in the UK. My great auntie recently passed away but over the years passed on some sketchy knowledge about my great grandad being a circus clown - an acrobatic clown. The details are sketchy but we do know his surname would have been Isaacs and that he travelled to the USA with either Fred Karnos Circus or Barnum and Bailey. He travelled over to the USA with Charlie Chaplin. Of course he may have had a stage name which we do not know. We also know that my great grandfather travelled back to the UK on a passenger boat which was torpedoed of the coast of Ireland. This was either the Lucitania or the Mauritania. My grandad was one of the survivors. I have checked the lists but of course can't see his name. Any information you may have would be fantastic. I only wish I had asked more questions to my great Auntie. Thanks for your help, Jamie. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Apr 2011 - Hi Jamie. I'm replying because I've come across almost exactly this question years ago - for a different person, minus the Lausitiana question, which is riveting. Mouthwatering question for research addicts,and therefore once subject on the alas now defunct webforum of the Galloper. The question being, having heard -also from an older person in the family, only that person was still alive- about how another relative had performed all over the US supposedly with Fred Karno and Charlie Chaplin. And interestingly, also having worked in the circus there. And the riddle was solved, this way:
        First of all, you have to understand how memory and oral history works a bit, then you look at the time frame, what was happening on two sided of the ocean around that time (and lots of to and fro) and probabilities. As in that case also, the subject, as you can be certain to say of your greatgrandfather, was not a member of the famed Fred Karno tour including Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel in 1910-1913. That's too welldocumented, and all involved pretty much known. Added in this case, to fit the time frame, your g-grandfather would have had to have stayed working in the States for such a long time it's very unlikely he would have returned to Europe on the onset of war, in another capacity than in the Allied Forces. In the former case the question poster had thought that, with the only one US Karno tour, that involved Chaplin, this was probably simply not true and a hash of facts and fantasy, and he'd only fibbed back home that he'd worked with/ known Chaplin. But the older relative remained adamant, and had made it a matter of honour about 'not being demented' etc. Only had no docuentation to back it up. We were much in favour of the older relative and these were the findings:
        Fred Karno, in Britain, before and after his 1910 of the US that lost him Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel to fame, employed lots of people in rapid succession. You have to understand he was a despicable, horrible, exploitative, narcistic personality and most of the comedians working for him, hated his guts. This, however produced an almost army-veteran kind of buddyhood under people who had survived him for more than one season. Fred Karno-troopers were in great great respect with peers and producers alike.
        By the late twenties, Charlie Chaplin had a blooming Hollywood studio. Fred Karno himself kept to-ing and froing over the ocean, came back to Chaplin, more or less to beg work, instead of the other way round, in 1928. Which was not a succes. But Chaplin's studios did more than make films. Around that time the film would still be part of a full variety performance, musical accompanyment and usually one or two vaudeville acts where the least a Saturday night audience in a market town in the Midwest would expect. And not the same one every time. Something new every year And the studio itself booked and provided this entertainment.
        In other words, Chaplin upon the release of a film, would need stream of variety acts to be dispatched through the US with them. A 'film carrier' -the person who brought the films and looked after them, two acts, and a pianist, and someone's wife to take care of the laundry was the typical outfit for this. It is likely that your greatgrandfather was employed by Fred Karno in London, managed to stay sane and fit and not go bankrupt, probably had some years of circus experience too, and be able to pay his own passage over to the US where he had, either through an agent, or by personal sollicitation, a contract of performances for Charles Chaplins studios. Either that or he came over with another of Fred Karno's ventures to the US. So the story can be true that he worked with both Karno and Chaplin, only seperately from each other. Chaplin did have an active role with the performers he employed for the variety programmes of the films, having them alternate states, fitting their acts with the themes of films, etcetera. But it wouldn't have been a constant employment for anyone longer than the run of the film.The Circus was made in 1928, so the variety program would have a higher need for (acrobatic clowns). It's probable that this might have been the one that got your g-grandfather employed with Chaplin. Then followed City Lights in 1931 before this mode of working disappeared because the next film was Chaplin's first sound film. The logical step for a former circus acrobat or clown after regular work all over the US for a few years, would be to seek employment with a circus. Circus was booming in the thirties, and there were also the State Fairs, the Keith Circuit, etcetera. Unfortunately, in the memory of people in Britain and Europe, 'A (big) circus in America' was and is synonym with Barnum and Baily's (and or Ringlings) and will be remembered as such, whether the relative actually worked for them or not. But it could also easily be Cole Bros, it might be Hannefords. Cole Brothers would be the most likely for someone who'd worked the studio variety circuit to join- most connected to the movie industry. The problem with finding your relative through screenings of Chaplin films in different places, as we found before, is that the US census doesn't correspond with the films involved. There is alas no 1928 or 1929 or 1931 census, only a 1930 one, and that is the one year in those four that he wouldn't have been working for Chaplin, and might have been anywhere. I hope I've provided you with some direction at least. Natasha Gerson ngerson@gmail.com

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3626. Circo Hermanos Mantecon, 09 Mar 2011 - Is there anyone who remembers or has family that might remember my grandfather’s carpa/circo Hermanos Mantecon? I believe it may have traveled thru Mexico (Nuevo Leon) and Texas (Laredo) in the 1920’s – 1930’s. There are pieces of info on the internet about Tello Mantecon (my uncle) but no information on Grandpa. Joseph Mantecon Macedonian. Andrea Mantecon, Sacramento California. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3625. Side show, Munchkins, 09 Mar 2011 - When I was a child the Circus was set up behind Montgomery Wards in Ft. Worth. In those days little kids wore a harness and it had a little leash attached at the back so in crowds like at the circus the kids would not get lost as easy. Well we were taken to the circus because the Munchkins were advertised to be there. And, my brother and I go loose. We were found and put up on the stage with the Munchkins, the Bearded Lady, and the freaks. The Munchkins wanted to teach us their presentation and dance with them we were given straw Charlie. You put your left hand on the one in front and held the hat in your right fluttering it and kicking out toward the audience with your right foot. The song went like this "Hi naba Hi naba what do you say and what do you know, Hi naba Hi naba tip you hat and say Hi!" These munchkins had a dialect and we interpreted neighbor as naba and repeated it exactly not knowing what a naba was. Our folks were by now in the crowd and screamed those are our kids! I would love to hear from anyone who knows about this as my brother and I are the only living witnesses. Regards, Dave Martin. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3624. Poster strip, 09 Mar 2011 - I recently found a poster titled 12 colossal tents and it has a strip along the right side which again gives the information regarding the show. What is the significance of the information on the side of the poster? Thank you for your help in advance, Eileen Murtha, murmac1908@verizon.net, Wilmington, Delaware. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3623. Dick Francis, Chipperfields, 09 Mar 2011 - I am trying to find out what happened to a guy called Dick Francis. He was a crooner type singer in the early 1960's with Chipperfields Circus for a time. He made at least one appearance on TV following the release of a single record called "It Must Be Magic/ Take Me In Your Arms." Has anyone heard of him or known him? My Dad brought him back to our house a couple of times for dinner when the circus was in our town, along with a couple of guys who were either tumblers or wire walkers and went by the name of ... something twins. Can anyone help? Jenny. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Mar 2011 - I remember Dick Francis on Chipperfields, it was 1960, the twins were the Australian brothers, the Shipway Twins who worked a parallel bar act. He was only there for part of the season. Very hard to find him on the 'net, all searches turn up the jockey/author jim@stockley.co.za

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3622. Norman David Brown, 09 Mar 2011 - Norman David Brown was working for the circus as an accountant and maybe a clown in about 1920 to 1933. He died in 1933 in York Pennsylvania. He lived in Detroit, Mass., Maryland, Key West. He was married in 1926 in Key West. Can I find any information? Or can you direct me? Beatrice. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3621. Leonard & Mayme Stroud, 08 Mar 2011 - We are looking for information or photo of Leonard and Mayme Stroud who were in the wild west show that Barnum and Bailey took to Europe 1897-1902? We have seen them in one of the long narrow photos done of the whole show but don’t know the year. Leonard and Mayme were my husband’s Uncle and Aunt. L. Swink, swink1ok@yahoo.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3620. Catriona Macleod, 07 Mar 2011 - My name is Marina im looking for Catriona Macleod, who may be connected to the circus. I was born 21/12/1968 Cessnock District Hospital NSW. I was put up for adoption. Does anyone know of Catriona Macleod, I have just been told she is my birth mother. Hope some one may know something. My Email is tina62@live.com. Thank you for reading my email. Many Thanks, Marina. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3619. Harry Simpson Butler, 07 Mar 2011 - My father's father, Harry Simpson Butler, probably died in 1929 or 1930. My understanding is that he was a catcher for trapeze performers in a circus. Any information that you have would be appreciated. Rebecca Butler, Folsom, Louisiana. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Mar 2011 - Hello Rebecca: Contact the Special Circus Collections at the Milner Library at Illinois State University in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. They specialize in American Flying Trapeze Acts and their Curator Steve Gossard is an expert on flying trapeze acts. He or their Special Collections Librarian Maureen Brunsdale are probably your best resources for finding information on your ancestor. Good Luck! Neil Cockerline, Minneapolis, MN.

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3618. Laura Ida Booth, 07 Mar 2011 - Can anyone tell me if and when Laura Ida Booth of Tennessee joined the circus? We think she did between 1890-1894 about age 17. Think she may have run away from home and join John Robinson Circus during that time as it passed through the Grundy/Franklin/Coffee County, Tennessee area. Thanks for anything that might help me find information on her. She later was had a Vaudeville/contortionist act after marrying Charles W. Asburn. Thank you so much, Carol Hicks, Hoopeston, Illinois. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Mar 2011 - I'm wondering if this Laura Ida Booth is the same Laura Ida Booth who claimed in 1909 that John Wilkes Booth was her father. Tom

    Reply: 13 Mar 2011 - I have been searching for information on Laura Booth, circus performer and actress. She worked in the circus on the flying rings, wire, and trapeze and was also billed as dancers, contortionists, equilibrists, and acrobats with her second husband Charles Levine, believe his real name was Charles Asburn. May have been part of Robinson's circus and the Welsh circus at one time during 1886 to 1900 and may have worked in one of the circus acts with the Flying La Vans. She was also married to Lewis A. Howard and Isaac Driver 1914 and 1917 respectfully and died about 1924. She always claimed to be the daughter of John Wilkes Booth. She also may have gone by the name of Jennie Lewis who was married to Don Montague Sutherland although this could have been another Laura Booth. Any information you might have on this performer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Carol Hicks

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3617. M. L. Clark & Sons, 05 Mar 2011 - My great grand father was employed with the M. L. Clark show. His name was H. C. Long, general agent. Any info on him would help, he was there around 1914. Paul. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3616. Flying Trapeze, 04 Mar 2011 - Hello everyone. I am doing research for a story I am writing that includes a character who is a flying trapeze artist with an American circus. Even though it will all be fictional, I still want to have some degree of accuracy (for example, the character will not be doing a triple somersault). The story is set in the early 1880s over a period of years. My main questions are: 1) When were catchers added to a flying trapeze routine?; 2) How did trapeze artists practice and learn their craft in this time period?; 3) What were the costumes like then? (Most of the photos I have looked at date later then my setting.) Thank you for any answers or directions for further research you can provide, Amelia Lacey. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Mar 2011 - Catchers with aerial acts were invented in about 1860 with an act called a "casting act," but this was not literally a trapeze performance. Casting acts employed two or more catchers, or casters, hanging from stationary cradles. These casters would toss the leapers, or flyers, back and forth between themselves. The original riggings for casting acts were ladder-like structures.
        By 1866 (possibly even earlier) a French aerialist named Julio Buislay had invented an act called the "Niagara leap" (generally called a "leap for life" in the profession), in which a flyer would swing off on a trapeze to a catcher hanging upside-down. The catcher held a small trapeze bar which the flyer caught at the end of his leap. In this act the catcher was not in motion and the flyer did not return to the flybar. Instead, he either descended to the floor by a vertical rope, or web; or dropped into a net. The flyer then would cross the theater to climb into the balcony and swing off for the next trick. The fore-mentioned acts were most often performed in theaters and music halls at this time. The big aerial acts were not used under canvas until the tents grew tall enough to accommodate the riggings.
        In 1876 an aerialist who called himself the "Marquis de Gonza" invented the complete flying return act, consisting of a platform or pedestal board, a long flybar, and a shorter catchbar-much like the rigging used in the leap for life. In the flying return act, however, the catcher was already swinging when the flyer swung off from the pedestal board. The flyer did a trick, the catcher and flyer made a wrist lock, they swung through, the flyer swung back to the flybar, and again to the pedestal board from whence he had begun. This was a great feat of timing and skill for its time. Gonza, working as the catcher with the act, hung with his shoes fixed to the flybar, but very soon the catchers began hanging in what is called a "deadlock," with their hocks intertwined in the cables of the catchbar. Considering the fact that the bar to bar flying act was invented by Leotard in 1859, these developments took place in a remarkably short time-less than 20 years. Most of these performances are virtually obsolete today, however, the classic flying return act has remained popular for well over 100 years. Steve Gossard

    Reply: 07 Mar 2011 - Thank you so very much! I was hoping to get a reply from you because I had seen mentions of your book but since it is out of print I had been unable to find it locally. Thank you for clearing up some of my terminology. I complete agree with you in that it is remarkable how quickly they were able to develop these skills so that's why I was hoping that it would fit within my story's world and it seems like it will. Amelia Lacey.

    Reply: 25 Apr 2011 - Julio Buislay performed the "Niagara leap" in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in January 1864. Cesar Ortega

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3615. Mabel Stark, 03 Mar 2011 - Hello, I play Mabel Stark in the Living History program for the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Thousand Oaks, California. Do you know if any live footage exists of Miss Stark? I would like to study her voice and movements. Thank you. Mary Carrig. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Mar 2011 - Mary, Mabel Stark was in 2 Hollywood features Doubling for Barbara Stanwyck in Lady of Burlesque and for Mae West in I'm no Angel. These are both available in DVD I believe. It might be good for her animal handling technique, which as I remember was always very civilized and ladylike. She was not like Clyde Beatty who would generate excitement with a pistol and great roaring of his charges. She spoke succinctly and it might have been in German to her cats? I was very little. Try the MGM catalog of shorts, since I'm sure she did a few promos for them. If I find anymore details I will advise. Bless you! R.T.

    Reply: 18 Mar 2011 - Mary, Remembered 2 more appearances and a cameo. Mabel Did a few stunts with tigers in 1922 Warner Bros vehicle: A Dangerous Adventure. Also - She did stunts on camera and controlled animals off camera for King of the Jungle starring Buster Crabbe in 1933. She is listed as a cameo performer in Greatest Show on Earth from 1952. Haven't spotted her yet, but I did spot Demille controlling a dog act just before the song 'Jumping Jacks" - what fun! There seems to be a great deal of misinformation circulating. Her act is described as 'sexualized' but my memory does not bear this out. Mabel was and always acted very much the lady, in her white leather outfits that were not provocative but protective. A jungle cat might be trained but never tamed! Once in a while a playful swipe of a paw might result in a deep cut. She was always very careful and kept her wits about her, which is why she was able to still be performing in the late 60's prior to her death in 1968. I hope someday to go down and catch your turn at 'doing' Mabel! Bless you! R.T. Carr III

    Reply: 20 Mar 2011 - There may be footage of her performing at the Circus World Museum archives in Baraboo. Also, Mabel Stark worked at Benson's Wild Animal Farm during the 1930's. Benson's was located in Hudson, New Hampshire. I believe there is a Historical Society in Hudson. You could find out through the New Hampshire Historical Society. Either one might have some archived footage as well. Also, there is a messageboard for Bensons at http://www.bensonsanimalfarm.com/ If you post your need on it they may be able to help. Good Luck! Rob Owen, Bartlett, NH

    Reply: 06 Apr 2011 - There is some good film of Mabel Stark working tigers in one of the “Circus Boy” TV episodes (late 1950’s). The episode is called “Major Buffington”, and it may still be available on DVD. It shows her practicing outside doing a barrel roll with a tiger, and a roll-over tiger. Part of the series was made at Jungleland in Thousand Oaks. Jim Cole

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3614. Twin girls, 02 Mar 2011 - Am trying to locate twin girls who spent summers in WV with their grandmother while parents "traveled with the circus" (or carnival). Grandmother’s name was Theiss, but I’m not sure if she was maternal or paternal grandmother. No special need to locate them; just wondering where they are now. We spent a few summers together, but I don’t recall their names. Thanks for any help, Jak. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3613. Human Cannonball, 02 Mar 2011 - Good morning, I hope you can help me. As you can see my name is Judy Brace, I am trying to locate any information about Mr. John Vander wigs he was born in 1912. His birthday is this month he will be 99. A group of people friends his acquaintance are putting on a Birthday Party for him He is a member of our Amvets Club in the Grand Rapids Michigan area. He has spoken to me on occasion that at one point in his life he was one of the first human cannonball for Barnuman &Bailey Circus. I would say back in the 1930’s-1940. We would so much like to do something special for the event for him we are not sure what is act name may have been or if he used his original name. If you could find any posters information that could be printed from the Historical Internet it would be a wonderful surprise for him. Judy Brace, jbrace@leesteelcorp.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Mar 2011 - I have been trying now for couple of weeks to locate any possible posters of a gentlemen by the name of John Vanderwigs his 99th Birthday will be next week he has told us he was one of the first Human cannonball person for the Barman Bailey Circus. I had originally had given dates back in the 1920-1930 I spoke with John last week and he said he was 1955 in Sarasota Florida. I would so much like to have some kind of poster for this special event. His wife has passed away and his only son was killed in the war. He is a kind soft gentle man I hope you can find something for his celebration. I am from Grand Rapids Michigan am looking forward to hearing from you soon. Judy Brace

    Reply: 06 Apr 2011 - Well a happy 99th birthday, but the human cannonballs on Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus were at that time the Zacchini family from Italy. Jim Cole

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3612. Man On A Tightrope, 01 Mar 2011 - I just saw the amazing film "Man On A Tightrope" that is supposedly based on a true story about a Czech Circus and their dramatic escape from behind the Iron Curtain. Does anyone know where I might find out more about the true story? I know Neil Paterson wrote a novel prior to the movie (which is now out of print), but that's all I"ve been able to find out. Thanks in advance! Michael. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3611. Joe Lemke, 25 Feb 2011 - I'm looking for imfo on Joe Lemke and his chimps. Thank you! Robin. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Feb 2011 - I worked with Joe Lemke on the Gatti Productions Continental Circus in 1979 and 1980. He had the chimp act and a gorilla parody act and did the color book pitch at intermission. There was also a couple that worked with him in those two acts. I believe they had worked together a long time. I know Joe Lemke had been a regular on the Gatti show for a long time and continued to work for them until bad health forced him off the road. I know he worked with some very old chimps as well as young ones. You might get more information through Gatti Productions or showfolks in the Seagoville TX area since that was they wintered. I was a clown on the show and worked color book sales for Joe. He had a unique style and pitch. Sorry I can't give more details but this is all from memory. Rob Owen (Spiff the Clown) Bartlett, NH

    Reply: 02 Mar 2011 - Hello Spiff! I worked with you on the Big John Strong Circus. bjscircus@yahoo.com

    Reply: 06 May 2011 - Hello to Bob Owen and Marion - hope you are both fine. I always appreciated the fine job you did for me as clowns on Super Circus International. One of the few times I met Joe was when he was playing Edmonton, Alberta for Gatti. He and Kathy English ( Kathy had worked for me several times) arrived on our lot (Martin and Downs) about 30 miles out from the city. Bucky Steele had ranged up and left in the middle of the night with his elephants leaving Patti Gatti with no bulls on her big Sat. Shrine date. Joe wanted to know if I could bring Betty in and work their 3 shows. Betty was leased from D.R. Miller.
        Since the bull was loaded in our stock semi that also held the generator it was a big problem until Carl Conley who had his liberty horse act on the show volunteered his truck. it took some time to get Betty loaded. I grab some wardrobe and we went in and closed her morning show and then opened her matinee and then went out and closed out matinee, then loaded up Betty and opened her night show and then back out to close our night show. I'm sure Betty thought I were nuts.
        I'd never worked in a big building with an act - so when those 8 spot lights hit me and her in the ring I couldn't see a thing. At one point I didn't know where she was or where the damn bull tub was. The next show I wore shades. Anyway Joe and Patti were ever so grateful and insisted I take a bunch of bill from them. We just wanted to help out. Hey Bob get in touch. (stencell@sympatico.ca) Al Stencell

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3610. Wallas Hupel, clown, 23 Feb 2011 - Looking for info on a clown by the name of Wallas Hupel he would be my great uncle worked for Barnum and Bailey circus between 1880 and 1920. Maybe later not sure of dates going be the birth dates of his sister which was 1860. I have a picture that I got from my Grandmother of him and a possable partner. If you can give me any info on him I would be very greatfull as I'am doing my family geneology, was he married, did he have children, when did he die. thank you for any info that you may have contact me at cathywilder48@yahoo.com or 1-360-532-2090. Thank you again. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Mar 2011 - Hi thought I would send another message have not heard anything on a clown that worked for Barnum and Bailey Circus between 1880 and 1920 by the name of Wallis Hupel. If he was married, did he have any family? He would have been born about 1862 or so, do you have any death date on him? Would like to know where he performed did he have a partner? In the picture I have of him he is with another clown in a chair, and he is standing and has a white outfit on that looks like a waiter or butcher no makeup. I would be glad to send you a copy of this picture if you would like it for your records or circus history. Please contact me at this email as I have changed to cathywilder48@yahoo.com since my last email to you. Phone # is 360-532-2090 in Hoquiam, Wa.

    Reply: 01 Apr 2011 - Working as a clown for forty years with one circus, especially Barnum & Bailey, would make the individual well known and frequently documented. If he's not in the 1881-1886 Barnum & London route books on this website, nor in other compiled rosters available for Barnum & Bailey [clowns are often listed in the opening seasons reviews in "New York Clipper" and "Billboard"], it suggests several possible explanations. There is a chance that he dropped his real name and worked under one or more aliases, or as part of a team of two or more performers. He may well have been with circuses, but with others beyond the well-known Barnum & Bailey [which existed under that name 1888-1918]. Clowns were also hired to work the stage, vaudeville, variety theater, etc., even carnivals with circus back end shows.
        A quick check of census records for the names Hupel and Huppel listed only a Wally Hupel, a farmer in Belma precinct, Yakima County, Washington in 1920, age 50, married to Ida, age 51 [T625/1945/118]. She was born in Indiana, his birthplace was Illinois. There was a hit for a May 1944 "New York Times" obituary for a Mrs. Wally Hupel, formerly Ida Howell, characterized as a "well known comedienne." You'll need to purchase the article. There's also an obituary for her in "Billboard," June 3, 1944, page 33: "HOWELL - Ida (Mrs. Wally Hupel), 70, former dancing and singing comedienne, in Port Orchard, Wash., May 16. Survived by her husband, a former circus clown and animal trainer." That should provide a point to get started with other vital statistics, local cemetery records, local newspaper obituary, etc.
        Ida Howell was listed in a November 22, 1892 "New York Times" review of a slate at Tony Pastor's as a "pretty girl who sings her songs well." http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F60F1EFD385C17738DDDAB0A94D9415B8285F0D3 You will get other "hits" for her in 1891-1893, by doing a Google search for "Ida Howell" along with terms like dancing and clown. If she's on the same bill with a clown, acrobat, etc., it may be the great uncle that you seek, under his stage name. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3609. Fleming Sisters, 20 Feb 2011 - I am looking for a circus poster for Astley's Circus circa 1850s featuring the Fleming sisters, famous equestriennes of the time. Does anyone have any information please? PlasWregin.Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Feb 2011 - Do you have any more information about these Fleming Sisters? 1850s is just at the end of Batty's tenure and the beginning of William Cooke's lease on Astley's? I have looked through all my Astley posters and didn't spot them. They are not listed in either volume of John Turner's "Victorian Arena - the Performers," and John did manage to list most performers of the era, even obscure ones. Might they have used a different surname? jim@stockley.co.za

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3608. Carl Otto Kordell, 18 Feb 2011 - Hello. One of my relatives, Carl Otto Kordell, born 1880 and his wife, Louise Ann, born 1871 moved from the UK and I believe were circus performers in the state of New York. Do you have any record of this pair please/ Vic Johnson. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3607. Isaac Van Amburgh book, 18 Feb 2011 - I have seen cover of book "A Biographical Sketch, I. A. Van Amburgh History of the Animals." Issac A.'s photo is prominent on cover. Elephants named were Boliver, Ajax, Pizarro, Hannibal Jr. & Jenny. He is brother I believe of my grandma Lydia T. (d/o Edgar) VanAmburg grand dad. That is to say I think he was Edgar's uncle. Edgar was dad to my grand ma Lydia T. I was wondering if you have the biographical family history on Issac. I doubt it is possible to get a copy of the book. Thank you for our kind reply. - Mrs. Joan Burke of Pa. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Mar 2011 - A brief biography of Isaac A. Van Amburgh is on this website, in the Virtual Library area that you can enter via the main page. Look in Slout's volume, "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle." It relates his birth at Fishkill, NY on May 26, 1808, of German [also given as Dutch, perhaps derived from Deutsch, meaning German] stock. http://www.circushistory.org/Olympians/OlympiansU.htm
        His death occurred in Philadelphia on November 29, 1865. His grave is in St. George's Cemetery, Newburgh, marked by a suitable tombstone. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=18803963. Inscribed above his name and dates is that of perhaps a brother, William A. Van Amburgh, June 4, 1810-February 27, 1863. A sister residing in Gayhead, East Fishkill, also survived him. Isaac reportedly remained a bachelor his entire life.
        There is a Van Amburgh biography in Google Books that tells of an American Indian heritage, etc.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=09AGAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA246&dq=isaac+a.+van+amburgh
    &hl=en&ei=GK9vTcisK8Oclge6hN1v&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=
    9&ved=0CFAQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=isaac%20a.%20van%20amburgh&f=false
        This 1874 biography has more of a ring of truth to it. His father died when he was young, his mother taking Benjamin Hutchings as her second husband.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=LyInAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA399&lpg=PA399&dq=isaac+a.+van+amburgh+1808
    &source=bl&ots=VkcNhavcsE&sig=X-zg5SzKkUhZQNyR0qatVgaQ6to&hl=en&ei=jKtvTYHqFsWqlAe8zOFC&sa=X&oi=
    book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=isaac%20a.%20van%20amburgh%201808&f=false
        Several daguerreotypes exist that were originally thought to portray Van Amburgh. Subsequent research, published by Stuart Thayer in "Bandwagon" in 1986, confirms that they actually portray a contemporary, Jacob Driesbach. Further confirmation of Thayer's work will appear in the near future. See: http://www.circushistory.org/Thayer/Thayer3h.htm
        If you search further in Google, digitized newspapers, etc., as well as contacting Fishkill and circus repositories you should be able to ascertain the man's relationship to your family. Thayer's "Annals of the American Circus 1793-1860" will also be of value.
        A quick check of Google Books turned up a digitized 1860 version of the booklet you mention, of which there are numerous variations. This on-line version lacks the cover.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=KmYXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA13&dq=intitle:van+intitle:amburgh
    &hl=en&ei=nLJvTcn1EMH_lgf8s7F_&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result &resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
        Other copies will be found in libraries, historical societies, etc. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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3606. Circus/road show 1939, 13 Feb 2011 - Hoping somebody in this community is able to steer me in the right direction. I’m trying to figure out the name of the traveling circus/road show that my grandfather joined during 1939. He was from the Tigerton, Wisconsin area. Some clues are found below from letters that he had mailed home to his mother. Any suggestions/leads would be most appreciated. Jami Moran, Brimley, Michigan
August 18, 1939: Rock, Michigan. Says road show is from Texas, three people working it. Boss played 6 instruments at one time and they call him "Coyboy Mac". They live in a trailer house. Told his Mom to send the next letter to him at Drummond Island, Michigan. He was 15 at this time.
September 14, 1939: Alanson, Michigan. This address came from Indian River, Michian
September 26, 1939: Atlanta, Michigan. They are having the show in halls now because it's to cold to use a tent. His gave his Mother this address: Elmira, Michigan in care of Mac McRae
October 7, 1939: May River, Minnesota: Heading to North Dakota. Told his Mother to send the next letter to Federal Dam, Minnesota. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Feb 2011 - Not knowing what show it was the best would be checking the local newspapers in that time frame I would think that would covered in their news of the day. Ned Kronberg

    Reply: 15 Feb 2011 - Was your grandfather a musician? Or, did he want to see the country as a tent roustabout? Can "Coyboy" be "Cowboy"? Could this be a reference to "Cowboy Mac" McClintock, an earlier singing personality and his traveling show? In 1950 there was a group called "Cowboy Mac's Texas Rangers." There are some Google hits under these names, but not much. You'll have some difficulty in finding news papers from really small communities in 1939. It was the year after one of the worst in the Depression. Perhaps newspapers from nearby county seats might be a possibility? You might try the pages of the weekly show trade journal "Billboard," which published routes for just about every type of traveling entertainment, if they were supplied for printing. It might be procured via interlibrary loan, or could be seen in a few larger libraries. The on-line coverage doesn't reach back, as yet, to the early 1940s, or 1939. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

    Reply: 06 May 2011 - You might want to check out Texas Ella's Wild West. She had a small tent show out around these years with a half dozen performers or so. She also played up in the north U.S. and even a short stint in Canada. Al Stencell

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3605. Wirths Circus, 12 Feb 2011 - How would I research my father's time in the Wirths Circus? I believe he was with them around 1953 his name was Jim Leeon, and a family friend Brian McGregor who I believe had a bit to do with one elephant in particular. They have both since passed, however any stories or information or photo's of them during their time then would be greatly appreciated. Julie theclan@struthers.id.au Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3604. Ada Titsworth, bareback rider, 11 Feb 2011 - I'm looking for info on an Ada Titsworth born in NY abt 1894. She was said to have been a bare back rider in a circus. It was also said that she got hurt from a fall, which led to cerebral hemmorhage. She was living in Chanute, KS at the time of her death at age 82. This is all the info I have on her. Her mother was Elizabeth (Lizzie) Lilley Titsworth King, her second marriage was to Robert King born in IL in 1842. You can contact me at childofgod006@yahoo.com. Thank you for your time. Brenda. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3603. Barnum & Bailey poster, 10 Feb 2011 - I was given a Barnum and Bailey poster with a roaring tiger on it and it has a date on it, the date is either 1914 or 1916. Since it was damaged a bit I got it custom framed since it was so large. But my parents want to know if it is an authentic Barnum and Bailey poster and not a reprint or photo copy. Can you maybe guide me in a direction that may help me? I would of asked my relative that gave it if the poster was authentic or not but he passed away. I hope you can help. - Jennifer M. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Feb 2011 - For starters, what are the dimensions? In some (but not all) cases this can be a dead giveaway that the poster is a repro, of which there are many out there. Where did you get the possible dates; is there a date printed on or pasted onto the poster? Does your poster have fold marks as if it had once been neatly folded and included in a program booklet as a souvenir? A little more description might give some reader the clues he or she needs to answer your question. Most Barnum & Bailey posters listed on eBay are reproductions so we have grown wary. The original owners probably knew this but after a generation this information is often forgotten. Regards, an old collector

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3602. Alex Glasscock, 10 Feb 2011 - I am looking for any information about Alex Glasscock who owned tent show in early 1900's, he was my great grandfather and I only have one picture of him. I'm trying to locate more photos or stories about his circus, I was told he left home at the age of 11, and started performing with his trick dog. He lived in Blanco Texas and died in San Antonio Tx in 1951. The name Hagen & Wallace was the tent show name?? He sold his circus to Ringling & Brothers in 1918, all of his 10 children performed in his circus that traveled. Email: karen_hrachovy@yahoo.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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3601. Photo identification, Chipperfields, 09 Feb 2011 - Can anybody tell us where, when & the date of photo of Chipperfields Circus Mack crane lorry with 2 trailers, which have gone over the parapet of a bridge. The bridge may be railway or river. There is a county boundary sign of Wiltshire in the photo. There are 2 young boys stood next to the parapet looking on at the crashed lorry, with its rear wheels still wedged over the bridge coping stones (could be laying on top one of the trucks below it, which seem to be in undergrowth ?) We concluded that this picture is on the Wiltshire border. Other county unknown. On the back of the photo is written Bath & Wilts (but unsure/believe it’s Gazette ). The crane lorry has the chariot style body fitted. Is it possible this was when the chariot style body was removed, after this accident, & then used without it. Is the Reg No HOT 879? Following the accident did this vehicle have the chariot style body removed? (we have photos of this vehicle without the chariot body) or is it the other one KGX 140? We know that the crane from KGX 140 was mounted on the AEC Gun tractor. We know that HOT 879 was taken to South Africa & left in Pretoria in 1965. How many people & who were in the crash? We hope they weren’t too injured. Many thanks for reading this & hoping someone can assist with our research. Chris Wild. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Feb 2011 - The accident happened at Sally-in-the-Woods, near Bath - nobody was hurt and there were no trailers involved. I think this was KGX140 (Diesel) and was on the advance kingpole gang run by Bob Fossett. My notes have it that the crane from this vehicle ended up on AEC Matador TBW597G? I drove it in the 1970s after the show got back from South Africa (A real pity my father didn't keep more detailed notes on the transport) The engine was still running after the crash and one of the crew climbed down and pulled the stop - will get more of the story for you later, when I can get hold of George Pinder. HOT879 was a petrol Mack usually driven by Tommy Wall
        Pity you can't post the picture here - I spoke to George Pinder for you. His wife Christine's uncle, Bob Fossett ( her dad's youngest brother) was driving, her brother Jeff Fossett was with him. The old mack started to get a roll on, Jeff shouted "she's going Uncle Bob", but Uncle Bob said, "no, I've got her"! Jeff shouted, "she's going", Uncle Bob shouted "JUMP". Jeff jumped from the right side of the cab and Uncle Bob from the left ( left hand drive,of course ) and they watched her go over the bridge. After the dust cleared, the engine was still running so Jeff climbed down and shut if off. After it was recovered and pulled back up onto the road, they jumped on the bonnet to straighten it and then drove it on to the next ground! It was working on the advance kingpole unit at the time, (Chipperfields were moving once a week and had two complete sets of kingpoles and rigging so that one set could be put up a few days before the circus reached the next town) so it was doing a lot of double trips. George asks if you have a better photo as we only have the old newspaper cutting that Christine's Dad kept in his wallet. George says you seems to know a lot about the transport? If you contact me on email, I will put you in touch with George Pinder, he can give you the date and you can swop UK Circus transport stories? jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 22 Feb 2011 - Thank you very much for posting the above request from me. Also thanks to Mr Jim Stockley who we are now in personal contact with, re this subject, which makes very interesting reading for us all. The information he has been able to give us has been very helpful in our research of the photograph. Best wishes for the future of this great history website! Chris Wild

    Reply: 23 Feb 2011 - You can post your photo at bucklesw.blogspot.com. You will find a Link on this site. Billie

    Reply: 05 Mar 2011 - Hi, The Mack over the wall is KGX 140, note the two different cranes, I have a video of this one putting up the poles. HOT 879 had the body removed, both Macks went to Africa, I have a photo of this too! The Matador TBW 597G had a completely different crane, which my brother put through the back window of a double decker bus, policeman asked, what are you doing? delivering a bus, where do you want it? need anymore information? Regards, Charles

    Reply: 06 Mar 2011 - Very nice to see my cousin Charles Chipperfield joining us here on Circus History. Welcome, I hope this is the first of many posts, jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 10 Apr 2011 - Hi all, sorry I’ve not been on website recently, but have had a spell in hospital. Now back in action again. Thanks Charles for your input, we have all obviously guessed now that the MACK over the wall is KGX 140. From the newspaper picture we now know there were no trailers involved. One question has evolved regarding the MACK that went to S. Africa, all information & photos only show HOT 879 went. Alan Pepper from Stanmore Middlesex did quite a lot of research to discover who had MACKS & FWD’s (fair & circus). He says that this tractor (KGX140) didn’t go to S. Africa & was converted from a petrol to a deisel. The lists I have by Alan Pepper were revised in March 1997. I think Alfie Gunner said the same thing. Your piece about your brother putting the crane through the rear window of the bus was interesting. Charles, can you tell us where/when that was & do you have any pictures? TO JIM: did you receive the photos that we emailed you? Regards to all, Chris Wild

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