Bandwagon, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Jul-Aug), 1962. Note: Only some articles are included in this online edition. Many illustrations are not included. The Circus Historical Society does not guarantee the accuracy of information contained in the information in these online articles. Information should always be checked with additional sources.
Seldom since the night of the famous "Tea Party," had Boston's bustling waterfront known such excitement! For on this crisp fall afternoon in the year 1807, a beautiful stud of high spirited horses, their glossy coats gleaming in the sun, were being unloaded from the deck of a weather-beaten sailing vessel, just arrived from Barcelona. These were no ordinary mounts that came dancing skittishly down a steep gangway to paw the solid wharf planking with impatient hoofs. No indeed! Such fancy fillies could only be Circus Horses!
And Circus Horses they were in fact! Trained and jointly owned by two former French riding masters, Victor Pepin and John Breschard, who, having recently completed a highly successful tour of Spain with their educated steeds, were now seeking to win new fame and fortune, here in America.
After disembarking their seafaring troupe; Messrs. Pepin and Breschard requested permission of the Boston Town Council to build a wooden amphitheatre in which to present a series of circus performances. However, this petition was denied on the grounds that the clergy of the city considered such entertainment to be entirely too "frivolous" for those sober times! Whereupon the two Frenchmen hied themselves to the more liberal environs of nearby Charlestown, where they immediately began to erect a "Circus" at the end of the Toll Bridge, "Just across the River from Boston."
Meanwhile, despite the "Holy War" being waged against it, many good citizens on both sides of the river, would be watching the progress of this exciting new venture with eager interest! For ever since the departure of John Bill Rickett's Equestrian Troupe in 1795, the fun loving populace of Boston and its vicinity had subsisted on a variety of somewhat less stimulating amusements. To be sure; The One and Only Elephant in America - An African Lion - Two Living Ostriches - Rope Dancers - Jugglers - "The Wondrous Invisible Lady!" - and a host of other itinerant attractions, had been on public display from time to time, but the thrills engendered by Rickett's dashing steeds and daring riders, were definitely missing from the scene!
Then, on the night of December 10, 1807, the doors of Pepin & Breschard's "New Circus in Charlestown" were thrown open to the public for the first time. "Box one dollar. Pit 50 cents. Children half-price." And those "Improper" Bostonians who had crossed over the bridge to be on hand for this memorable occasion, witnessed a prodigious display of equestrian feats performed in the ring by Messrs. Pepin and Breschard, Madam Breschard, and several former pupils of the two riding masters. A closing feature, billed as "The Incombustible Horse" - must have warmed things up a bit in the drafty Amphitheatre, since said steed "Will remain immovable and undisturbed in the midst of the most scorching fire."
Following the successful debut of their Circus, the Proprietors announced to "The Ladies and Gentlemen of Boston" - that they were opening a Riding Academy in conjunction with the former enterprise and all pupils would have an opportunity to exercise the circus horses! Apparently this classic example of good showmanship paid off handsomely at the box office, since the combined establishments remained in Charlestown for six months before leaving for a stand in New York City.
Subsequently, Pepin and Breschard returned to their Charlestown Circus with an enlarged Company on September 5, 1809, and were at this location until September 30, when a "Benefit Performance" was staged for Victor Pepin - which featured a "Grand, Pantomime Spectacle" called "The Battle and Death of General Malbrook" - performed on foot and horseback by the entire Company. Then, in an after-notice of the public, Messrs. Pepin and Breschard stated "That they had received such encouragement, that they intended to return in two years and erect a brick Amphitheatre in the center of Boston." However, this plan evidently fell through and we hear no more of these colorful circus pioneers, in so far as New England is concerned, until the summer of 1819, when Victor Pepin opened a four week's engagement with his Troupe, at the Washington Gardens Circus in Boston.
Whether they were aware of it or not, our two Frenchmen were carrying that most catching of all germs, the "Circus Bug," when they landed in this country because it was not long after the opening of their Charlestown Circus, that one Anthony Roulstone decided to hit the sawdust trail! Roulstone was the proprietor of a riding academy located at Haymarket Place (near the bottom of the Mall), in Boston, and observing how successful Pepin & Breschard were with their equestrian combination, he sought permission of the City Fathers to operate a circus at his establishment. However, the church leaders of Boston were apparently still reluctant to expose their parishioners to such "immoral" entertainment, since more than a year passed before the way was cleared for the presentation of the first "American Circus" in this historic city.
Roulstone's Amphitheatre, as it was originally known, opened to the public on the night of May 31, 1809, and featured a Grand Display of Horsemanship, very much on the order of Pepin & Breschard's Circus. Roulstone gave a stirring exhibition of equestrian acrobatics while riding at full speed in the nickering light of the ringside flares. Other members of the company followed with still vaulting - military evolutions on horseback - tumbling, etc. - The "whole" to conclude with "The English Tailor's Journey to Brentford!" - starring the renowned comedy rider - "Mr. Stewart of London."
Performances continued to be given at the Amphitheatre through June and July, but for some unknown reason, Roulstone's name was omitted from both the billing and the program during these months. In fact, with the exception of the aforementioned "Mr. Stewart" - an entire new company of riders were featured in the early summer activities at Haymarket Place. Then, Roulstone's name finally reappeared in connection with the Amphitheatre, when he advised the public of an Equestrian Exhibition to be given under his sponsorship on August 3, 1809. Later, we find him joining forces with the other Haymarket Troupe, on the roster of the Boston Circus, in 1810.
Following the demise of this selfsame Boston Circus in the summer of 1816; a highly successful showman, in the person of James West, appeared on the New England scene. West, and his combined Equestrian-Dramatic Troupe, had been warmly received in this country upon their arrival from London and now in the Spring of 1817, after making a brief appearance in Boston - the Company was encamped across the river at Pepin & Breschard's "Late Circus" in Charlestown.
West opened his "New Amphitheatre" for business on the night of May 2, 1817 - and during an eleven week's stay at this location, the public was treated to a rare potpourri of equestrian displays - ballet dances - tight rope walking - comedy turns - and dramatic spectacles! The highlight of this memorable engagement came when President James Monroe visited the show on July 3. Other less desirable visitors to the Amphitheatre, were those "Females of a Certain Description" who were sternly admonished "Not to seek entrance to the Boxes!"
At the conclusion of their stay in Charlestown, West and his Troupe headed for New York City over the Boston Pike - breaking the long jump with brief engagements in Worcester and Hartford.
Thus ends the saga of these earliest travelers along the Old New England Sawdust Trail.
In the article on the U. S. Motorized Circus appearing in the Jan.-Feb. issue of Bandwagon it was mentioned that no photos had turned up of the India, Asia, Russia, and Mexico tableau sides that were sold to the West's Worlds Wonder Show by Robert Schiller about 1924. This represented four of the five tableau sides alleged to have gone to the West show. Fortunately for all interested in circus wagon history, CHS member, Paul Horsman, who along with his partner, Art Gunther, operate the Circus Farm in West Fryeburg, Maine, has sent in photos of the Mexico and Russia tableau sides used in show fronts on the West Carnival about 1929. Photos No. 1 and 2 show the respective tab sides and were copied from originals appearing in an article on the West show in a 1929 issue of Circus Magazine. There were many of these issues of Circus Magazine which were actually used as programs for a number of circuses and carnivals. This particular issue had Miller Bros. Shows printed on the front cover. The Mexico tab clearly shows the title but the Russia tab shot is not clear enough to definitely make out the title although it is easy to see the block with the title. The old Russian Imperial Coat of Arms with the double eagle, the spires of St. Petersburg, and the droshky clearly pronounce this as the Russia tableau. (Note: The Russian Imperial Coat of Arms is the same that appears on side of the Ringling Bros. Russia tableau wagon shown in December issue of Bandwagon).
Photo No. 3, also furnished by Horsman, is a photostat taken from the May, 1917, issue of Popular Science, which carried an article on the U. S. Motorized Circus when it was being framed and expected to go out for the 1917 season. Clearly shown in the photostat is the Mexico and South American tableaux. The appearance of the Mexico tab in this article and in the West Shows article in the 1929 Circus Magazine prove positively in photographs that some of the Spellman tabs did go to the West show. Prior to this we only had verbal testimony given some 35 years ago by Bob Schiller to Bill Woodcock.
As can be seen from the photos of the show fronts, two wagons are used for each front, each wagon having a tableau side mounted on it. Additional carved panels are used on top of the wagons and a panel bearing name of the show connects the two wagons over the entrance. Note that the frigid Russian tab depicting life in the frozen north is used to decorate the front of a red hot Philippine Serenaders show. As someone said, only a showman would think of something like that.
Horsman has also lately contacted some people who once served on the West carnival in the 30's. One man confirmed that in 1932 the show still had the Mexico and Russia show fronts and that one was used for the minstrel show and one for a girl show. These were the only Spellman tab fronts in use at the time so evidently the others West had must have been discarded prior to 1932. The Mexico and Russia fronts then disappeared sometime before 1941 as evidence is on hand they were gone by then.
Photo No. 4 - South America Tableau, Robbins Bros. Circus about 1928. Circus Farm Collection.
Photo No. 4 also furnished by the Circus Farm is a good, clear, front and side view showing the South America tableau on Fred Buchanan's Robbins Bros. Circus about 1928.
CHS member Charles Kitto of Beloit, Wis., added some information concerning the Spellman tableau wagons that were used by Robbins Bros, in the period 1924-31. Kitto reported that he caught the Robbins Bros. Circus May 17, 1929, at Beloit, Wisconsin, and that the show used the United States tableau as the No. 1 bandwagon while the famous old Two Hemispheres Bandwagon which Buchanan had picked up a year earlier at Bridgeport was relegated to the center of the parade and was used to carry American Indians dressed in full regalia. Others have reported this was the case when they caught the show about the same time. Evidently Buchanan felt that despite the fact Two Hemispheres was a larger and more famous old bandwagon that still the wagon bearing the title of the United States should lead the "Parade of All Nations" that he was featuring that year. Whether this was standard practice as long as the Two Hemispheres bandwagon remained on the show until sent to Granger, Iowa, quarters in mid-season 1930, when the train was cut, I don't know. The Belgium tableau pulled by a truck lead the parade for the final season of 1931.
The membership owes a word of thanks to members like Paul Horsman and Charles Kitto who have come forth with information and photographs of great interest to the Society. (Note: Kitto also sent a photo showing the Two Hemispheres in parade in 1929 but was not printed due to space limitations). In the opinion of this author this is the way the Circus Historical Society should function. The sharing of information and photographs through the pages of the Bandwagon by the various members is one of the best possible ways to insure a healthy condition for the society and to promote a steady and sustained growth in number and quality of members.
The Barney Show
On the 19th of June, the court okayed a lease of about one-fourth of the King equipment to three former King show staffers who planned to operate a circus starting Monday (25) from Nazareth, Pa. The new operators of the Kaye-Miller Enterprises were R. E. (Bobby) Miller, legal adjuster; "Red" Larkin, superintendent of concessions; and Eddie Keck, auditor.
Under the provisions of a lease agreement recommended by both King and Maley, the three to pay $1,000 weekly rental for nine trucks, light plant, seats, three elephants, liberty horse act, and pony drill. An "Earnest money payment of $1,500 was made by the three to Maley at Middletown, Conn., on June 16th.
At first they planned to use the same title as the previous units, because of the supply of press material on hand, and label the show "Independent Unit," but this plan was changed when they received a good deal on some billing paper from the Neal Walter Printing Company in Eureka Springs, Mo., including the use of the old title "Barney Bros. Circus." The new owners purchased an orange and blue tent from a man called Davies in Skaneates, N.Y., that had been used for summer theatricals. It was a 100 with one 40, and seated 2,500.
The show was framed at the Nazareth Fairgrounds, near Allentown, Pa., with the help of the performers and many of the nearby townspeople. The area was just buzzing with activity. Orlo Sparton re-lettered the equipment and marque to read Barney Bros. Circus, and he repainted the poles and ring curbs. Tommy Marvin, wrestler by profession, worked over all the equipment and saw to it that it was put in perfect running order. Bert Pettus was in charge of the show's three elephants, Nellie, Wilma, and Jennie.
The Allentown Call Chronicle, ran a series of articles on the new circus and its activities at the Nazareth Fairgrounds. It mentioned that about 100 persons were all working together to put the show on the road.
The Sparton Trio were practicing daily on their wire, as well as the Alberto Zoppe riding troupe. Members of the Poodles Hanneford Troupe were to join shortly after the opening, along with some other Beatty acts.
As the show neared its opening dates, dealers in the area said that it could have anything it needed on credit, so it seemed that the people of Allentown, Pa., opened up their doors to the show, and played an important part in getting it rolling again.
The show opened on June 25th to a light turnout.
"Jelly Roll" Rogers had a small band doubling in the big show and the sideshow. Warren (Billy) Wilson was the show's agent, and the R. E. McAfee menagerie was managed by Ernie Vaughn.
Eddie Keck acquired several tractors from the General Motors Motorama show, and, in all, the show then moved on 14 trucks and trailers.
Route for the first week was scheduled as Bangor, Pa. (26); Hacketstown, N.J. (27); Washington, N.J. (28); Phillipsburg, N.J. (29); and Lehightown or Slatington, Pa. (30). (There seems to be some question as to the route, but the Billboard has listed it as such.) Robert Good recalls seeing the show on a hot day at Easton, Pa. where the attendance was "pitiful." According to Wilson, the agent, the show was to operate on a low nut, make short jumps, and would route along the Eastern Coast all season. He said that there was a possibility that the organization might play Long Island later in the year.
Program, with Phil Escalante announcing, included webs and ladders; Jean Midgley, trapeze; Frecion, swings; Phil and Betty Escalante, wire and traps; Captain John Smith, horses and ponies; the Zoppes; the Orlo Spartons; Hollywood Canine Revue; Arean Duo; and clowns Whiteside and O'Donnell. Alberto Zoppe was the equestrian director.
Very little is known about the show's progress at this point, until it was reported on the 28th of July that the Barney Bros. Circus had suspended operations on the 18th of July, when its three operators were detained by state authorities at Patton, Pa., on charges of alleged violation of labor laws. Orlo Sparton was put in charge of the Barney equipment, while it was stored at Altoona, Pa.
Meanwhile, back in Macon, Ga., the court proceedings were continuing, with Floyd King taking the stand.
King said that he had "regretfully reached the conclusion" that the King Bros. Circus could not be operated under "present conditions." And he recommended that all the properties be sold "to satisfy, as far as possible, the great number of claims" against himself and Maley.
"It would take considerable capital and at least two or three weeks time to set a route and resume engagements with any sort of a chance of success," the circus owner told the court. "Without this capital, there isn't a chance."
King recommended that all the show's animals be sold at once and that the trucks and other equipment be returned to Macon for an auction of the lot or piecemeal sales in the fall. He believed in this manner the property, which had a cost value in excess of $300,000, would bring the best prices. The new trustee, Durward Mercer, taking Bailey's place was authorized to make arrangements for sale of the property.
The trustee also was given approval to ratify any additional leases of the circus property before advertising the court sale.
King then proceeded to list the many places in which the circus property had been stored since the opening of the season.
Parade equipment, including two floats, two chariots, and four miniature cages were stored at Winder, Ga. The fighting lion truck with lion was at the zoo in Atlanta, along with an elephant, a semi trailer, a llama, water buffalo, sacred cow, and other animals.
Stored at the Miller Bros, animal farm, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., were two elephants, a camel, and one Ford truck. One semi with six horses were near Asheville, N.C. Left at Erwin, Tenn., were a pole truck with 20 aluminum poles and a semi used for hauling seats. The air calliope on a panel truck was left at Princeton, W. Va. One tractor was in a shop at Radford, Va., and another truck was at Pulaski, Va.
King revealed that his personally owned wild life exhibit, with 14 cages of animals, a tent, and an International truck also were left in Radford. A Chevrolet truck was left at Christainburg, Va.
A Ford tractor was left in Bluefield, W. Va., and a sleeper was left on the showgrounds at Niles, Ohio. Another sleeper was left on the showgrounds at Salem, Ohio, and the steam calliope with a Chevrolet tractor was under attachment at Steubenville, Ohio. Another truck was left at Dowington, Pa.
The referee ordered the trustee to locate the so widely scattered properties and to determine if any funds could be realized out of them.
All the other properties that left Macon with the Eastern and Western units in April were at Middletown, Conn., Stroudsbury, Pa., and Nazareth, Pa., King told the court.
Meanwhile, Maley was still trying to get the court's okay to try to open the show again. He was confident that he could bring it back to Macon as a big winner in the fall.
Sale of the equipment was delayed by the Barney Bros, lease, and also by the possibility of leasing, to Tom Kennedy, 12 units and some animals at Middletown, Conn. But these negotiations fell through at the last minute. It was planned by the trustee to offer the King animals for sale in the near future and to arrange for the liquidation of the other property during the next 60 to 90 days.
In the middle of July, Paul Kelly, of Peru, Ind., acquired the Wirtz interest in the former Cole Bros, elephants, horses, and trucks that had been on the King show. However, the number of elephants involved and amount due on the mortgage were in dispute. Kelly later dropped his claim to three elephants and was given possession of nine elephants, plus horses, ponies, and a truck through a court decision.
Great interest was being shown in the steam calliope which the show owned, since it was one of the few still remaining in the country. Mercer requested court permission to sell the calliope.
A few of the King trucks were started on the trip from Connecticut to Macon. They stopped off at Stroudsburg, Pa., upon receiving word that Barney Bros. Circus had closed.
Meanwhile, several of the mortgage holders had asked the trustee to release the properties on which they held titles as security, but at the time, none was released.
One of the first to request release of property was the St. Louis Arena Corporation on a claim of $22,000 allegedly remaining due from the purchase of some of the Cole Bros. Circus equipment more than two years before. In the schedule of liabilities filed by Maley and King, this debt was listed at $10,000 to $12,000.
Mercer, the trustee, stated that if all the property could be brought back to Macon, the sale of same would yield more money to the court. But, on the other hand, it was estimated that it would cost between $2,000 and $3,000 to bring it all to Macon.
On July 28th, the steam calliope was offered for sale, its total value being in the excess of $10,000. The air calliope also was offered for sale by the court, at the Mercer Motor Company at Princetown, W. Va.
C. C. Groscurth, owner of the Blue Grass Shows, presented the highest bid for the steam calliope. These were about a dozen bids, with Groscurth offering the high figure of $3,000.
Originally, King and Lucio Cristiani paid $6,000 for the calliope, plus freight and other charges of about $500. But claims against, including storage and attorneys' fees, amounted to more than $1,100.
J. E. Wilhauck, of LaFayette, Ind., was the successful bidder of the air callione. with his offer of $1,385.
The Maley Show
At about this time, Mrs. Esma Maley, president and general manager of the Esma Maley Combined Circus corporation left Macon to take charge of a new show being organized in Stroudsburg, Pa. The show was tentatively set to open on August 18th.
Mrs. Maley negotiated a lease of some of the former King show equipment from Mercer for a weekly rental of $250. Most of the equipment with the new show was to be acquired from other sources Mrs. Maley stated.
The Corporation purchased a new 100 foot round big top with three 40's, and tentatively set the opening of the Maley 3-Ring Circus for Stroudsburg, Pa., on August 18th.
Ads began appearing for openings in all departments and family acts doing two or more.
Then word was received that they had set part of their route. Opening on the 18th at Stroudsburg, Pa.; Monday (20) at Burlington, N.J.; Hammonton, N.J. (21); Westerville Grove, N.J. (22); Penns Grove, N.J. (23); Newark, Del. (24); Elkton, Md. (25); and Vienna, Va., on the 26th.
On the evening of August 22nd, on the outskirts of Elmer, a horse van carrying some of the Alberto Zoppe stock overturned en route to Penns Grove. The truck, which was driven by Carl Haggerty, was carrying six horses and two ponies, besides two other show members.
All of the animals were quickly freed except one horse which was freed upon the arrival of the fire department. After the van was up-righted, they continued on to Penns Grove, where the show was to be given on North Virginia Avenue, across the street from the Regional High School.
The show had a good opening at Stroudsburg with a strong afternoon and better evening house. The opening performance featured Alberto Zoppe family and Cucciola, Marion Seifert, Bert Pettus and family, Harry Rooks, and others. Ora O. Parks was handling the press.
No concession department was in operation because the necessary equipment had accidentally been included in the stuff that was taken to Peru, Ind., which had been claimed by Paul Kelly. The show stated that concession manager Tom Kennedy went to Peru to reclaim the equipment.
The show then had a real short jump to Burlington, N.J., for its Monday's date. The lot had been changed at the last minute to a location just about two miles from downtown Burlington, and on the other hand, only about two miles from the Hunt Bros. quarters.
By 2 P.M., only three units had arrived on the lot, a house trailer, stake driver, and the big top canvas truck. A shortage of drivers to move the show was said to be the reason. A double row of stakes was planted in the ground, and the new tent lay on the ground in bundles. Enoch Bradford and about three men were there from the show. After standing around for a few hours, what few men they had, loaded up the canvas and pulled up the stakes.
Reports were that their Tuesday stand at Hammontown, N.J., was also lost.
On the 22nd, a portion of the show which was scheduled to give performances on the Fowler Farm site at Westville, N.J., was stranded and temporarily seized by the county SPCA officials.
Six hungry animals, 2 hyenas, 2 lions, a polar bear, a hippo, were fed by agents for the state until the circus could move them to Penns Grove, N.J., their next date.
Under the direction of Ray Crawford, state agent for the SPCA, and James Mele, Deptford Townshop dog warden, the animals were fed scores of bales of hay, canned fish, and horse meat and bread.
The SPCA took action late Wednesday night, when the animals showed signs of hunger, there being no signs of show personnel anywhere. Meanwhile, the city police contacted the show, and they were assured that the animals would be picked up, but when they did not arrive for them, the SPCA fed and watered them again.
Finally, a man who identified himself as Lawrence Higgins, a circus fan, interested in seeing the show go on, arrived and paid the bill of $40 for protection and feed of the animals. The show eventually moved on to Penns Grove after the truck drivers were satisfied that they would get their money and be able to return to their home in Stroudsburg.
Between Hammonton and Penns Grove, it was noticed that two or three trucks were stranded along the highway broke down, one being the light plant.
The show finally arrived at Penns Grove, and how long they stayed there is not known. Henry Vonderheid, of Von Bros. Circus, did visit the show with the intention of buying their small elephant. When he arrived, most of the trucks were on the lot, although the big top was not up, the cookhouse and wildlife tops were. Henry didn't buy the bull, because this was the one that was brought over by the Atlantic Fertilizer Co., and had been dropped from the sling while being unloaded and she was crippled in one leg. It was noticed that the show carried three titles, the original King Bros. Circus, the short-lived Barney Bros. Circus, and the current Maley 3-Ring Circus.
The show finally gave one performance at Penns Grove, under two middle pieces, and then they called it quits.
They blamed their failure on the lack of drivers and other help. The show said that they were fully organized and had sufficient help, but lacked financial backing.
They hoped to receive the backing they needed in a short time, and planned to reopen on Labor Day at Charlottesville, Va., but this never materialized.
After the show folded, Mercer flew to Penns Grove to take possession of the stranded Maley 3-Ring Circus. He indicated that he planned to sell the equipment "as quickly as possible."
Mrs. Maley faced a claim of several thousand dollars from Mercer for unpaid weekly rental and the failure to return the equipment to Macon, Ga., as provided in the rental contract.
The King equipment used to make up almost the whole Maley show was spotted at two locations. About 20 trucks, a brand new big top, seats, props, horses, and other animals were at Penns Grove. A light plant and other equipment were reportedly in Hammonton, N.J., under attachment.
After the failure of the two leased shows, Mercer stated that Judge Johnson would not consider any further leases. So he set about to take a new inventory of the property and began to piecemeal it.
A lot of equipment was released to Bailey, the first receiver who had control of it, to sell. The first taker was James E. Strates, owner of the Strates Shows. He bought most of the animals left on the show. These included three elephants at Stroudsburg, Pa., Mona, Alice, and Margie, and the elephant trailer. Strates also bought the large hippo at Penns Grove; the polar bear, the tank trailer, and miscellaneous cage animals including two lions and two hyenas as well as the cage truck. The amount of the purchase was not revealed, but Bailey said it was "less than one-third the book value of the animals."
Several auctions were held at the Macon quarters in order to clear the Central City Park for the upcoming Georgia State Fair on October 15.
Some examples of the successful bids were: A large box of circus wardrobe and costumes, 50 cents; cookhouse table and chairs, $6; motor truck, $65; two ornamental circus chariots, $35; complete set of heavy ring curbs, $2 per ring.
Most of the buyers were either auto part dealers or junk yard operators. Unsold were a circus bandwagon, whose ownership was disputed, a 130-foot round top with three 30-foot middle pieces, claimed by the U.S. Tent and Awning Company. (Maley later said that he thought some boys club in Macon ended up with the bandwagon, but its whereabouts is unknown.)
Two diesel light plants were sold to Shan Bros. Shows for $3,500. These were valued at $15,000 and the trailer for $1,000 that they were mounted on.
Some of the shows equipment was bought by a man, who lived on the outskirts of Bridgeton, N.J. He had originally owned an auction house, but when it failed, he bought three trailers with all the seats, platforms, chairs, stringers and jacks, and was going to open a dance hall on the same location. The dance hall later failed also.
Three semi's, less tractors, were all seat trucks, except that one had a compartment in the front that carried sideshow gear. Two were flatbeds with low sides, and the other was a van body that carried the chairs. All these were eventually sold to Harry Hunt.
Hunt bought the cookhouse, concession truck, pole truck, two sleepers, and some other King material, and stated that he planned to "cut it up in little pieces."
He had also received some aluminum tent poles, of various sizes, assorted rigging and some seats. Much of the rolling stock, Hunt claimed, had very little value, but it would have given a circus promoter a head start on framing a show, even though it was in poor shape and too heavy for the road.
Jack Mills, purchased all of the King aluminum center and quarter poles from Hunt, along with two low-bed drop trailers. These were probably the ones owned by the dance hall.
By the end of November, most of Bailey's equipment had been sold. Some commercial concerns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania purchased some of the items that the Hunts didn't buy, and the King office trailer was brought from Penns Grove to Macon, where it was stored.
Mercer later offered for sale the two Indian elephants, Carrie and Louise, that were located at Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
In August of 1957, the court proceedings were finally brought to a close. Mercer filed a final report showing he realized a total of $48,012.10 from the sale of the circus assets, once valued in excess of $300,000. The sum on hand included about $22,000 realized from the sale of the home of Arnold Maley.
Mercer filed for $3,000 for his services in the court action. T. Baldwin Martin, Jr., and Denmark Groover, Jr., attorneys for the trustee, filed claim for $10,000 plus expenses. Paul M. Conaway and Jack J. Gutier, attorneys for King and Maley filed their application for a total fee of $2,000 for legal services rendered to the bankrupts.
Liabilities totaled $406,341, with wage claims totaling $88,000 and tax claims amounted to $92,000. The total unsecured claims was listed as $142,268. No funds were left, after paying the attorneys, to pay any part of these three claims.
Last mention of the King show came late in 1957, when James H. Drew, Jr., owner of the James H. Drew Shows bought some of the equipment from an auction at Winder, Ga.
Drew's high bid of $3,300, gave him a hand-carved goldleaf circus bandwagon, four miniature cage wagons, a clown patrol wagon, four chariots, a low-boy trailer, a truck load of harness, trappings, and miscellaneous property. He had planned to add a circus atmosphere to his carnival, and use the wagons for a street parade during his fair dates.
Some of the wagons that Drew received, were later acquired by the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vt., and are on display there now.
Thus, ended the once mighty King Bros. Circus
The author would like to thank Joseph T. Bradbury, Bill Elbirn, and Fred Pfening for their continued help in preparing this story. Also to William T. Biggerstaff, Gordon Borders, Robert Good, Richard Reynolds III, Mrs. K. Jones, Floyd King, Everett M. Smith, John Van Matre of the Bannerline, Tom Parkinson of the Bandwagon, Harroy O. Smith, editor of the Winder News, Ted Bowman, Chang Reynolds and Sam Brown.
Any additional material or photos that the members might have on this fiasco, would be appreciated if it were communicated to the author at Burbank, Cal.
King Western Route
7 Thomaston, Ga.
9 La Grange, Ga.
10 Newnan, Ga.
11 Roanoke, Ala.
12 Anniston, Ala.
13 Gadsden, Ala.
14 Ft. Payne, Ala.
16 Scottsboro, Ala.
17 Athens, Ala.
18 Columbia, Tenn.
19 Gallatin, Tenn.
20 Glasgrow. Ky.
21 Campbellsville, Ky.
23 Danville, Ky.
24 Frankford, Ky.
25 New Albany, Ind.
26 New Belford, Ind.
27 Bloomington, Ind.
28 Columbus, Ind.
29 Shelbyville, Ind.
30 Connersville, Ind.
1 New Castle, Ind.
2 Anderson, Ind.
3 Marion, Ind.
4 Columbia City, Ind.
5 Fort Wayne, Ind.
6 Celina, Ohio
7 Defiance, Ohio
8 Fostoria, Ohio
9 Elyria, Ohio
10 Willoughby, Ohio
11 Ashtabula, Ohio
12 Conneaut, Ohio
14 Bradford, Pa.
15 Olean, N.Y.
16 Hornell, N.Y.
17 Corning, N.Y.
18 Sayre, Pa.
*19 Elmira, N.Y.
*21 Ithaca, N.Y.
*22 Auburn, N.Y.
*23 Cortland, N.Y.
*24 Utica, N.Y.
*25 Canastota, N.Y.
*26 North Syracuse, N.Y.
28 Scranton, Pa.
30 Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
30 Hazleton, Pa.
31 Berwick, Pa.
1 Bloomsburg, Pa.
2 Lehighton, Pa.
4 Pottsville, Pa.
The Western unit cancelled the dates (*) because it couldn't meet the equipment standards set in New York State. On one day notice, the advance was able to book the show into two dates during this period, they were Towanda, Pa., on May 23, and Tunkhannock, Pa., on May 26th.
King Eastern Route
1 Macon, Ga.
9 Athens, Ga.
10 Elberton, Ga.
11 Winder, Ga.
12 Winder, Ga.
13 Marietta, Ga.
14 Cleveland, Tenn.
16 Oak Ridge, Tenn.
17 Newport, Tenn.
18 Erwin, Tenn.
19 Abingdon, Va.
20 Marion, Va.
21 Pulaski, Va.
23 Staunton, Va.
24 Lexington, Va.
25 Radford, Va.
26 Bluefield, W. Va.
27 Beckley, W. Va.
28 Charleston, W. Va.
30 Logan, W. Va.
1 Huntington, W. Va.
2 Portsmouth, Ohio
3 Chillicothe, Ohio
4 Logan, Ohio
5 Marietta, Ohio
7 Parkersville, W. Va.
8 Clarksburg, W. Va.
9 Weston, W. Va.
10 Fairmount, W. Va.
11 Morgantown, W. Va.
12 Wheeling, W. Va.
14 Steubenville, Ohio
15 Sharon, Pa.
16 Greenville, Pa.
17 Meadville, Pa.
18 Niles, Ohio
19 New Castle, Pa.
21 New Kensington, Pa.
22 Jeanette, Pa.
23 Clairton, Pa.
24 McKeesport, Pa.
25 Greenburg, Pa.
26 Latrobe, Pa.
28 Cumberland, Md.
29 Hagerstown, Md.
30 Chambersburg, Pa.
31 Hanover, Pa.
1 West Chester, Pa.
2 Norristown, Pa.
4 Bethlehem, Pa.
5 Stroudsburg. Pa.
6 Newton, N.J.
8 Morristown, N.J. or Dover, N.J.
8 Somerville. N.J. or Clifton, N.J.
9 Hackensack, N.J.
11 Danbury, Conn.
12 Naugatuck, Conn.
13 Middletown, Conn.
Reviewed at Sandy Springs, Ga., Saturday, April 21, 1962.
After a successful initial season in 1961, Bob Snowden brought his circus, bearing the well known title of King Bros., into the beautiful residential suburb of Sandy Springs, a short distance from downtown Atlanta, on the Saturday before Easter, April 21, 1962. The show was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club which had a tremendous advance sale. The weather was the finest for Easter weekend in many years and business was just as good. The day before at Rome, Ga., the show had given three shows and the advance sale in Sandy Springs indicated that three also would be necessary, however, many people taking advantage of the superb weather left for quickly planned weekend jaunts to the lakes and mountains. Even so the matinee was filled to capacity with some standees and the evening performance between three-fourths full and capacity. Sideshows and concessions did very big business.
The show is owned by Bob Snowden, Frank McCloskey, and Walter Kernan. Snowden is manager and began his career as a circus owner in 1960 when he put out the Duke of Paducah Circus. The show has the McCloskey and Kernan touch and that is immediately noted in the way the show is loaded, the way it moves, sets up and tears down. It is first class all the way, neat, clean, and presents a performance adequate for big city suburbs as well as smaller towns and is geared to be a real winner. Floyd King routes the show in addition to his other duties on the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus. His former partner, Arnold Maley, is in the wagon and Mrs. Esma Maley handles the reserve seats.
King Bros, is a smaller version of McClosky and Kernan's larger show, the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, and several instances of interchanged equipment and animals is noted. Although the show is practically the same size as last year many equipment and mechanical improvements have been taken place.
The big top is an 80 ft. round with one 40 ft. middle and two 30 ft. middles manufactured by the Leaf Tent and Sail Co. of Sarasota. It is made of traditional white canvas trimmed in red and blue and served as the menagerie-sideshow top on the Beatty-Cole Circus last year. The sidewall is blue and white striped. Top uses 4 aluminum center poles, one row of 15 aluminum quarter poles and one row of wooden side poles. Center and quarter poles are painted silver and wooden poles are red and white. Back door curtains are red and white striped. Big top is in good condition and looks practically new. The tent is a push pole type.
Seating capacity is somewhat larger than last year as longer stringers were constructed during the past winter at Sanford, Florida, winter-quarters. Blues located on both ends are 9 high. Reserves, using comfortable red painted chairs constructed placed on the ground) and 6 high on long side (includes 3 rows actually placed on the ground) and 6 high on the short side, which also includes one row on the ground. Show has approximately 750 chairs. Many chairs were stenciled in black, Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros, and evidently came over from the larger show. Red and white striped canvas bunting is used in front of reserves and above that is placed about 3 ft. of tennis netting. The netting is lowered at start of the performance. With seating coming almost to ring curbs there is little or no room for a track and no walk-around spec is presented. Performance is given in three rings with ring curbs made of wood and painted red and white.
Lighting is adequate with two bulb clusters huns from center poles.
The electric organ played by Isla Garcia is mounted inside her trailer which is backed into the back door a few feet. The rear panel of the trailer is removed when the organ is in use. Rest of the three piece band is located on the ground immediately in front of the trailer. Band consists of J. Schlarbaum, trumpet and band leader; Ray Sasko, drums, and Isla Garcia, electric organ. Largest percentage of music played for the performance is old standards with one or two regular circus marches and gallops thrown in. Band sounds very good and strong.
General interior of the big top is neat and clean and presents a pleasing appearance.
Sideshow menagerie top is a 50 ft. round with two 30 ft. middles. Canvas is white trimmed in red and blue with blue and white striped sidewall. Top is a push pole type also built by Leaf Tent and Sail Co. Three aluminum center poles, one row of aluminum quarter poles, and one row of wooden side poles painted silver arc used. The elephant semi and horse and pony semi are stationed in front of the tent. Both of these vehicles have folding metal panel banners which fold out to form the sideshow bannerline. Each panel has five very colorful banners painted by Snap Wyatt of Tampa. Small colorful flags are attached to the top of the panels. Red and white striped canvas bunting extends from bottom of the banners to the ground almost completely disguising the trucks, and presents an extremely neat appearance. In the sideshow are housed 2 elephants, 1 dromedary, and a cage truck of 4 dens housing 1 lion, 1 leopard, 3 monkeys, and 1 baboon. The dens extend the entire length of a semi trailer but are only half the truck body in depth leaving room to load various sideshow properties. The sideshow is operated by Charles Roarke and features usual attractions of this nature with Duke Kamakua's Hawaiian Troupe as special act. Sideshow prices are 35c.
Other canvas on the show includes a 20x20 green Coca Cola top used for the cookhouse, and the small concession stands.
Midway attractions consists of a walkthrough Calcutta Reptile pit show operated by Roger Boyd. Tickets go for 15c and the semi used is very colorful, decorated in red, white, and blue. Show also has a pony ride using 6 animals. Midway concessions include a grease joint and two concession stands using the same very colorful red and white striped material used for the sideshow bunting. The marquee looks new and is in red, white, and blue with blue and white sidewall.
Two elephants, both Indian females, are carried. They are Norma and Mary from the Beatty-Cole 1961 herd. A third elephant was scheduled to arrive shortly. Matt Laurish works the elephants in performance and John Holder in the lot work.
Motorized equipment is in very good condition. All units are newly painted and all except a couple have been lettered. They present a beautiful picture on the lot. Color scheme used is solid red for cabs, with semis and truck bodies painted red with the title in yellow trimmed in blue or orange. Plenty of yellow and blue scroll work is used for decoration on most of the vehicles but only a few have been numbered.
Truck lineup is as follows: No.; Show No.; Type; Contents; Make; Color and Comments
1.; 32; semi; Walkthrough, Calcutta Monster pit show. Loads concessions and midway properties. Tractor has mounted stake driver.; GMC; blue tractor, white semi
2.; 42; semi; Elephants (2) sleeper in front end. Has sideshow banner panels attached.; GMC; red
3.; - ; semi; Stock truck. Horses (1), ponies (6), donkeys (3), dromedary (1). Has sideshow banner panels attached.; GMC; red
4.; - ; semi; Cookhouse, kitchen equipment and sleeper. Has water tank on tractor.; GMC; red
5.; - ; semi; Ticket and office wagon.; Chev.; red
6.; - ; semi; Sideshow equipment. Cages along one side const, of 4 dens with 1 lion, 1 leopard, 3 monkeys, 1 baboon.; GMC; red
7.; - ; semi; Seats, stringers, planks, poles.; GMC; red
8.; - ; semi; Seats, chairs, props.; GMC; red
9.; - ; straight; Canvas loader.; Ford; red
10.; - ; straight; Light plant. Sleeper in one end. Rest rooms in other end. Pulls the electric organ trailer.; Ford; red
11.; - ; panel; Miscellaneous props.; Ford; white, pictorial
All units are compactly loaded. There is no wasted space and most of the van type vehicles have sleeping compartments in the front end. The No. 32 semi has as colorful decorative scheme as it has ever been this reviewer's experience to see. It is basically white with blue and red trim. The lettering features red and white striping and blue stars inside the outlines and is most attractive.
Matt Laurish, who works all of the stock acts in the performance, also has his Chevrolet tractor and semi stock trailer on the show. His semi is painted solid white and carries one horse and 8 ponies. Show owned lead stock consists of 1 dromedary, 1 horse, 6 ponies, and 3 donkeys.
The show puts up plenty of colorful stock lithos and red, white, and blue half and one sheet dates. A few outdoor daubs were also observed with one using the old Charlie Sparks slogan, "A Supreme Achievement in Clean Amusement." The large shopping centers and business areas nearby were well papered.
Roger Boyd, fellow CHS member, serves as Equestrian Director and Announcer and runs the performance with mid-season timing and efficiency. The 1962 performance is as folows:
1. Swinging ladders. Ring 1, Rose McConnell; Ring 2, Mrs. J. Schlarbaum.
2. Canine Review. Trained dogs in center ring worked by Matt and Mary Laurish. (These well known and personable show folks never fail to present the finest in traditional circus entertainment).
3. Clowns. "Who Wants to be a Clown Gag."
4. The Great Cucilla (Pietro Canistrelli). Very versatile act consisting of comedy acrobatics, roly boly, juggling, and risley act on a four foot platform. This is a very fine act.
5. Ring 1, monkey riding pony; Ring 3, dog riding pony. Worked by Matt and Mary Laurish.
6. Another versatile act by Marguerite and Ann Spitzer, talented daughters of Happy Spitzer, veteran circus clown, in rope spinning, and unicycle and juggling on an extended platform.
7. Clowns. Boxing gag.
8. Miss Kantana (Lillian Parbok) in single trapeze act.
9. Trained dromedary and pony in center ring worked by Matt Laurish. This type act which is shades of Al G. Barnes is not seen very often these days but when it is presented is always very well received.
10. Clown walkaround.
11. Pietro and Joyce Canistrelli Ladder Balancing Act. This is outstanding and was highly applauded.
12. Cloud swing with Georgie Lake.
13. Matt Laurish and his high school horse in center ring. A fine equestrian number.
14. Unicycle act in Ring 1 by the Margaret Ann Trio. Performed by the Spitzer family of two young ladies and a boy.
15. Liberty Ponies (6) in center ring worked by Matt Laurish.
16. Iron Jaw Act featuring Kantana. This lovely lady begins the act dressed as a belle in the Gay 90's and finishes in modern 1962 attire much to the delight of the male audience.
17. Riding act featuring Miss Barbara (Fairchild) and her horse, Goldie. This talented young lady presents a fine exhibition of bareback riding in the finest of circus tradition.
18. Aerial Ballet. Two girls on web featuring Rose McConnell and Miss Schlarbaum.
19. Trained elephant, Mary, worked in center ring by Matt Laurish. Ordinarily the entire bull herd will perform in this act.
20. Happy Spitzer and his trick mule, TNT, and cart. This is very good and sends them home happy.
No after show is presented. Costuming is good and colorful showing much new wardrobe. Georgie Lake and Floyd Moser handle the clowning chores adequately.
The show plays sponsored dates and so far has lined up some good civic club sponsors. Immediately prior to beginning of the afternoon performance Equestrian Director Boyd introduced the president of the Kiwanis Club who thanked the audience for the good turnout and explained the club's use of the funds raised. This is a goodwill gesture which should pay good dividends in the future and should be a daily feature.
Ticket prices are $1.25 for adults and $1.00 for children with 50c additional for reserves.
The show looks much larger on the lot than what is expected of a circus in the 10 truck class. However, some 15 privately owned trucks, trailers, and automobiles swell the number of vehicles parked on the lot. A real break in the weather gave the show a big boost while on the lot in Sandy Springs. The lot was freshly graded and could have been a nightmare in the rain. It was located about two blocks from the business district on the main six lane street into downtown Atlanta. Police permitted parking on the curb lanes and a large parking lot directly across the street proved adequate. A check with the sponsor indicated them to be highly pleased financially and with the calibre of the show in general.
Clyde Bros. Circus has imported a high wire act, the Great Davilan Troupe, which features the seven-high pyramid. The act came here from Bogota, Columbia . . . Charles Blaum has been with Dub Diggan's shopping center show but now has left to rejoin the Black Hills Passion Play at Spearfish, S.D. He will set up the road tour that takes the production to Florida in the fall.
Graveside services for Frank Braden were conducted at Watseka, Illinois, his home town. F. Beverly Kelley, cohort of Braden in the Ringling press department for years, gave the eulogy. Tom Parkinson attended.
John M. Kelly caught the Ringling show in New York and visited with Art Concello, John North and Pat Valdo . . . Harry Shell is playing calliope for the Circus World Museum . . . Wilbur Deppe bought two elephants from the St. Louis zoo.
Bob Hickey, former circus press agent, has returned to San Francisco and the "Ice Follies" . . . Al Butler is with "Sound of Music" in Chicago . . . Tom Parker is in Chicago . . . Frank Whitbeck has moved from a suburb into Los Angeles . . . Frank Morrissey was in St. Louis recently to handle press for the Royal American Shows.
Riverboats made news. The Avalon, equipped with a calliope, was auctioned at Cincinnati, and will hereafter be tied up at Louisville as a tourist attraction. At St. Louis, the Showboat Goldenrod was gutted by fire. First word was that it would be rebuilt.
Clyde Bros, signed the Aberdeen, S.D., Shrine show date for 1963 . . . Sideshow man Ward Hall has written a play with a show plot and it is scheduled to go into rehearsal in New York in October . . . Tige Hale, former circus bandmaster, who has been in the carnival business more recently, is playing 17 weeks of Wisconsin fairs with the McKenna rides and attraction. Hale has a fun house. He'll also play Georgia fairs . . . Polack press agent Walter Slebbins prepared this year's souvenir program . . . Estelline Pike will be back with Hubert's Museum this summer. She made some dates for Pete Kortes. Tony Marino is with Royal American side show, operated by Dick Best, and Sadie Anderson, the spotted girl, is in Best's Riverview Park show at Chicago.
Among the acts listed for the circus MCA will book for Hubert Castle as fairs this fall are: Aerial Hustrais, Ronnie Lewis Trio, Flying Artons, Armor Troupe, Thurston Trio, Pasters' Horses, Rocco Lewis, Portis Sims' Liberty Ponies, Bobo Barnett, Kayo Green Animals, Downie Bros. Elephants, Pink Madison Elephants, Portmar's Jockey Dogs, the Gutis, Melitta & Wicons, Sikourski Duo, The Strongs, Micheletty Troupe, Mlle. Carmette, Michaels' Boxer Dogs, Miss Ikada, Anna Delmonte's Chimps, George Bruno, Bob Johnson and Myriam France.
Beatty-Cole has prepared a special three-sheet date for use in Wisconsin and especially at the Circus World Museum. The poster lists all nine stands the show will play in Wisconsin. They are Janesville, July 22; Milwaukee, 23-24; Racine, 25; Kenosha, 26; Sheboygan, 28; Delavan, 29; Madison, 30, and Beloit, 31.
In the short span of two months, the "Wizards of DeLand" have taken a title from public domain, framed a beautiful ten truck show, promoted a staffer to managership and put on the road a sure pop winner. In itself the title has long since been forgotten but for the record it was used during the 1900 and 1901 seasons by James H. Gray and Willie Sells, a nephew of the famous brothers. Following the two seasons of partnership Willie came out top dog and formed a new partnership with Martin Downs and changed title to Sells & Downs. During all seasons, the show was a flat car operation moving on about fifteen cars. The title was in limbo until Frank McCloskey and Walter Kernan framed a ten truck unit with Beatty equipment and took it on a short but successful winter tour of Florida in 1960-61.
Actual construction of the present show was begun during the early months of 1962 with equipment coming from a variety of sources and the show was not completely framed when it took the road for its first stand in Palisades Park, N.J., in April. Work was continued while the show made this lengthy stand formerly held by the parent Beatty show. The midway was in use as well as the big top but this only as a menagerie top. Beatty's big top, seats, props and light plant were used for the date as business is large on week-ends here. An additional note of interest is that the King Bros, title was combined with Sells & Gray for the date but none of the King equipment or personnel was used.
Following this stand that closed on Sunday, April 29, the Beatty show, which had been showing at Commack, Long Island, moved into the park and all equipment was reshuffled and both shows left for their under canvas stands. Sells & Gray first date was May 1 at Phoenixville, Pa., and when caught by this writer was only at its second date of one dayers.
Under the guidance of Bill English, former Beatty sideshow manager, S & G was in here for the Fireman's Association and played on the Ash Memorial Park grounds. Foul weather had plagued the show for two days and a late matinee was given to a two-thirds house. Ramon Escorcia and his five piece band played the show in overcoats but the customers were alive and were treated to the following program:
1. Spec, (eliminated because of lateness)
2. Wallaby's, 2 people trampoline act in center ring
3. Dog acts in rings 1 and 3
4. Single bull in center ring worked by Frank Dailey
5. Perch act, 3 people
6. Single traps over rings 1 and 3
7. Clown gag, 5 joeys headed by Bob-O
8. Newman family, 4 pony drills in rings 1 and 3
9. Clown gag
10. Newmans single posing horses in rings 1 and 3
11. Swinging ladders over all rings
12. Juggler, center ring
13. Clown toothache gag
14. Newman's bear cubs, 2 each in rings 1 and 3
15. Web's over rings 1 and 3
16. Clown gag
17. Bulls (3) in center ring worked by Frank Dailey
All acts are well costumed and the performance seems about standard for a show of this size. No concert is given and the show at this time has no printed program. (Ed Note: A wild west concert has since been added).
The big top is a new white push-pole top trimmed in red and blue, an 80 with 2 30's and one 40 made by Leaf of Sarasota. The ten foot wall is blue and white striped. The center poles and quarter poles are aluminum and side poles wood painted white. Seating, estimated about 1200, has front and back end blues nine high and both long and short side grandstand is four high chairs with two additional rows of jokers. Interior lighting is two chandelier poles at each ring bank but no overhead lighting. Bandstand flanks the back door and has Escorcia, leader and trumpet; John DeFronzio, sax; Al Musilek, baritone; Leo Lewis, trombone, and Al DiOrio, drums. This oufit cuts a nifty 75 minute performance Bally paneling in front of reserves, ring carpets and ring curbs are all in red, green, and yellow.
Out in front the midway has the look of a much larger show and is geared to get the bucks. Office wagon sits at the front end of the midway on the left side followed by the annex with two trailers fronting the joint. Each has three panels painted on the sides plus two fold out panels which gives a long banner line. Left side features a pony ride, semi mounted big snake pit show and large grease joint. An apple and floss stand is in center of the midway. All midway trimmings are in red and white striping. Annex top is 60 with 2 30's, white with blue and white wall. Featured here are three platform acts, one cage semi with lion, tiger, ocelot, monkeys, African porcupine and chimp, the three bulls and one camel. Originally the show bought the M. A. Miller trio of Katie, Ola and Helen but some switching has been done with the Beatty herd and only Ola remains from the original group. Bessie and Conti have been added from the Beatty herd.
All trucks are in excellent condition and painted white with the title and scrollwork done in various combinations of green, blue, orange, red and yellow. The tractors are all in red and mostly are Chevrolets and GMC's. No lettering or numbering has been done on the tractors. Only two units are unlettered, a straight bed chair truck and the big top and annex canvas loader that came from Dory Miller. Show loads as follows:
Semi No. 23 Office and concessions
Semi No. 43 Horses and ponies, sideshow panel front
- Sleeper, sideshow panel front, stakedriver mounted on tractor frame
- Light plant, mech. dept. and sleeper
- Cookhouse and sleeper
- Bulls and camel
Semi No. 33 Seat planks, jacks, stringers and poles
- Snake show 53 Cage Trucks
- Big top and annex canvas spool
- Chairs Trailer
- Big show props, pulled by chair truck
The advance lists Arthur Miller as general agent, Arthur Bitters, press, and Jack Lewis, bill car with three men. On this stand no paper was evident show day as a rival show had papered the town the day before and pulled everything in sight. Other staffers and department heads include:
William English, general manager
John Cloutman, secretary and treasurer
Corky Clark, supt.
Ramon Escorcia, bandmaster
Wm. Mitchell, electrician and mechanic
Wm. Hjorst, asst. electrician
John Ange, asst. mechanic
Jos. Mitchell, annex boss canvasman
Geo. Manley, props
Cy Murray, cookhouse
Chuck Fuller, annex manager
Robt. Langin, 24 hour man
Frank Dailey, menagerie and bulls
Dick McLaughlin, concessions
Geo. Gifford, front door
Wayne Newman, ring stock and pony ride
Geo. Vincent, contracting agent
W. C. Smith, contracting agent
Larry Thomas, press and story man
The show is geared as most of its competitors to work either with or without promotion and should have no trouble repeating as it is clean from all angles. General admission is priced at $1.25 and 75c with a small additional amount for reserves.
Other equipment noted is a twenty by thirty marquee, a small annex marquee and a twenty by thirty cookhouse. All canvas is white and made by Leaf. Power is supplied by an I-H Diesel purchased from Hunt Bros, and the complete show is adequately lighted.
Originally the show was scheduled to make a swing west through Ohio and backtrack into the East again but due to so many shows contracting in the Mid-Atlantic states the balance of the route will be generally through the Mid-West before heading South.
Manager English welcomes fans on the lot and CHS member John Cloutman in the wagon will glad hand all old friends after his several seasons off the road.
Sells & Gray King Bros. Performance, Palisades Park
1. Chet Juscyk, lion act
3. Trampoline acts, Wallaby's ring 1 and Tito's ring 3
5. Morris's seals; Zoppe's dogs; Newman's bears
7. Rolla-Bolla, Freddie and Ortans Canestrelli
8. Web and ladder act featuring La Norma (Fox)
10. The Victors, tight wire; The Latinos, bounding rope
11. 8 horse palamino liberty act worked by Adolph DelBosque
12. The Dorchester; Ola Ming, hair swing; Freddi & Co.
14. The Wallendas, high wire
15. Ernie Wiswell's Funny Ford
16. The Riding Dorchesters
17. Foot slide, Herbie Weber
18. The Flying Goannas
20. Oscar Cristiani elephants; Beatty elephants; Buckles Woodcock elephants
Clyde Beatty & Cole Bros. Circus
July 1, Port Huron, Mich.
3, Mt. Pleasant
4, Bay City
7, Traverse City
9, Grand Rapids
11, Battle Creek
13, South Bend, Ind.
15, Kankakee, Ill.
17, Lafayette, Ind.
18, Bloomington, Ill.
20, Burlington, Iowa
21, Sterling, Ill.
22, Janesville, Wis.
25, Waukegan, Ill.
26, Racine, Wis.
August 1, Dubuque, Iowa
2, Freeport, Ill.
4, LaPort, Ind.
9, Springfield, Ohio
10, Muncie, Ind.
14, New Castle
16, Middletown, Ohio
20, Ypsilanti, Mich.
21, Elkhart, Ind.
22, Ft. Wayne
23, Benton Harbor, Mich.
Aug. 24 to Sept. 3, Lakefront, Chicago, Ill.
Famous Cole Circus
May 14, Memphis, Mo.
15, Eldon, Iowa
17, Columbus Junction
18, Mt. Liberty
21, Mt. Carroll, Ill.
June 1, Batavia
5, St. Carhes
15, Island Lake
Cristiani-Wallace Bros. Circus
May 21, Pottstown, Pa.
22, Somerville, N.J.
23, Levittown, Pa.
24, Lakewood, N.J.
28, Nyack, N.Y.
29, Danbury, Conn.
June 1, Westboro, Mass.
3, Portsmouth, N.H.
4, Portland, Maine
11, St. John, N.B., Canada
14, Windsor. N.S.
18, Yarmouth, N.S., Canada
22, Woodstock, N.B.
24, Mont Joli, Que.
25, Riviere du Loup
27, Cao de La Madeleine
30, St. Jean.
Mills Bros. Circus
June 12, Greenfield, Ind.
14, Columbia City
15, Bryan, Ohio
21, Mt. Gilead
27, Beaver Falls, Pa
July 2, Franklin
4, Salamanca, N.Y.
7, Grand Island
24, Ludlow, Mass.
25. Turner Falls
August 1, Holbrook
2, East Bridgewater
4, Westerly, R.I.
6, Yorkton Hts., N.Y.
7, Hopewell Junction
9, Scotch Plains
May 1, Grifton, N.C.
8, Great Bridge, Va.
9, Deep Creek
12, Princess Ann
14, Chesterfield, C.H.
15, West Point
23, King George
24, Prince Frederick, Md.
25, Upper Marlboro
26, Severna Park
29, Kent Island
31, Rock Hill
June 1, Delaware City, Del.
2, North East
4, Morton, Pa.
8, Mt. Wolf
12, Beaver Springs
13, Centre Hall
14, Beech Creek
15, Chester Hill
July 2, Centre Township
3, East Rochester
4, Penn Hills
5, West Middlesex
6, New Springfield, Ohio
16, Brook Park (Cleveland)
King Bros. Circus
June 25, Lambertville, N.J.
July 2, Baldwell
3, Red Bank
5, Toms River
8, Aberdeen, Md.
9, Harrisburg-Middletown, Pa.
11, Mt. Union
Carson & Barnes Circus
May 15, Baron. Calif.
19, Paso Robles
20, Pismo Beach
21, Santa Maria
22, Morro Bay
26-27, San Jose
June 1, Lakeport
3, Fort Bragg.
Sells & Gray Circus
May 14, Waynesburg, Pa.
16, St. Clairsville, Ohio
21, New Lexington
27, Mt. Union
June 1, Loveland
2, Lawrenceburg, Ind.
6. Celina, Ohio
7, New Bremen
10, New Carlisle
16, Mt. Vernon
22, East Palestine
July 1, Linesville, Pa.
2, Middlefield, Ohio
Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros. Circus
May 20. Savre, Okla.
21, Elk City
28, Ponca City
June 1, Joplin, Mo.
2. Pittsburg, Kan.
9. El Darado
14. Didge City
16, Scott City
21, Junction City
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or means
Last modified February 2006.
without written permission of the author and the Circus Historical Society, Inc.
Last modified February 2006.