Hobby Bandwagon, Vol. 5, No. 3 (April), 1950, pp. 3-4.
They speak of him as 86 years YOUNG, and it's an apt description. For the Reverend Doc Waddell, famed and unique chaplain of the tented world, seems to get younger as the years go by.
This Spring, he's starting his 78th season in show business, continuing his work as chaplain for life with the Mills Bros. Three Ring Circus. This Winter and early Spring, the onetime card sharp who, as he puts it, turned from "palmer to psalmer," has been busy throughout Ohio and the Midwest, speaking at Clubs, holding memorial services, preaching at numerous churches, and visiting prisons and hospitals.
Mills Bros. is rare in that it never shows on Sundays and doubly rare in that it is the world's only circus carrying its own minister. The Rev. Waddell's life story appeared in the July, 1949, issue of Coronet. The article detailed how, as William Shackleford Andres, the son and grandson of circus artists, he joined the John Robinson Circus, adopted the name of Doc Waddell - he worked on the circus with a partner, Kid Waddell, from which stemmed his name change - in turn was a river boat confidence man, agent for Edison's first motion picture machine, a circus press agent and barker, and, eventually turned to religion.
His conversion took its impetus from the day Doc, touring with the circus in southern Illinois, received word of the death of his father, a railroad engineer.
The former card sharp took up voluntary evangelism at first, and is now licensed to preach by the Methodist Church and International Evangelists Association. He conducts funerals and weddings for show folks, counsels circus workers and performers and holds daily Sunday School for circus youngsters - and has 100 per cent attendance. How? "It's simple," says the dynamic, white-haired chaplain. "Instead of the youngsters contributing an offering at this Sunday School, I give each of them a penny. They never miss a class."
Doc also gives church sermons and holds Bible classes in towns the circus visits, and speaks almost daily to civic and service clubs, or at schools. Life magazine spent two days with Mills Bros. Circus during the '49 season, a photographer snapping more than 500 pictures of the venerable old gentleman, and a reporter doing an accompanying story.
When the Mills Bros. Circus was formed in 1940 by Jack, Joke and Harry Mills, they knew of Doc, who has become a legendary figure through his long service in show business. Doc had reasoned, when taking up his religious work, that armies, prisons and hospitals had chaplains. "So why not the circus?" he asked. Some showmen and skeptics laughed at him, but not the Mills Bros. They made him chaplain for life with their show, which never shows Sundays, tolerates no games nor wheels nor objectionable features. Doc, who will be 87 in August, is a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, and makes his off-season home in Columbus. He's now aiming at living to be 100 and, as he puts it, "I'm tickled, being an Ohioan, at being affiliated with an Ohio circus, which has quarters at Circleville, so close to the territory I call home."
When April 15 rolls around, Doc will be on hand to give his prayers at the opening performances, officially launching the season, and, even before that, he will be traveling ahead of the circus, visiting communities it will play later in the season. When the show actually launches its road tour, he will alternate between traveling a day or so ahead of it, and with it, - carrying on his unique work as chaplain of the white tops.
Mills Bros.' 1950 edition, its 11th annual, carries a Mid-Century Celebration theme, stressing selected circus stars from 18 nations.
By way of further celebrating the opening of Jack, Jake and Harry Mills' second decade of operating their own show, the entire layout is housed in new white canvas, appropriately trimmed, and constructed this past Winter by the U. S. Tent and Awning Co. of Chicago. Big top is a 120 with three 40's with a double set of quarter poles, a vastly increased track, seating capacity of nearly 4000 and 12 foot sidewalls. The menagerie, side show, padroom, cookhouse and three marquees also are all new and Jack Mills has gone back to the good old days of circusdom by bringing back what once was the mark of all major shows: the special marquee between the big top and menagerie. Also scheduled as an innovation this year is the use of the new Kolite to brighten the main marquee.
The show, which featured two imported acts in '48 and four last year, this time offers a galaxy of them, plus a number of topnotch American performers who are familiar to CHS members. The show also has acquired two more elephants well known to circus lovers, Jenny and Trilby, formerly with the Hagenbeck-Wallace and Sells-Floto shows, respectively, for many years and recently of the Ringling herd. They join the already-famous Burma, who remains perhaps the fastest performing pachyderm in the country.
Among the many new importations are the Hanel Family, casting and horizontal bar champions the past two seasons with the Boswell Circus in South Africa, and the Charlotte Rickert girls, Dutch juggling aces. Also new to this country are Rosita and Torres, Cuban aerialists in an iron-jaw and trapeze balancing turn. Another newcomer to American circusdom, on his first U. S. sawdust tour, is Wimpey, formerly featured clown with the Bertram Mills Circus at the Olympia in London. He heads a flock of English and European clowns added to the Mills brigade, which also includes such American funsters as producer Alex Brock and Jack LaPearl, and which has been considerably enlarged over past seasons.
Another laugh-getter are the Sayers, English comics making their American debut with their comedy English automobile. The assemblage of imported troupes also lists the Bakers, jugglers and comedy hat tossers from Wales, also in U. S. debuts.
The Ming Sing Stars, Chinese contortion-balancing-juggling-acrobatic troupe, are new additions to the lineup, while two other foreign troupes, the Wallabies and Valencianos, have been returned from the '49 cast. The former, numbering 12 girl acrobats and young Johnny Pugh, son of the troupe's manager, is increased in size over last year, when there were eight members. The Valencianos, featuring Ussala, do trampoline and high perch acts, with Ursala also on trapeze and Spanish web work.
The Mills program's American stars are led by an all-time favorite, and one of the most popular members of the profession, Ray Goody, with his somersaulting tight wire stunts and also a fine slide for life which is presented as a production number with excellent costumes designed by Mayme Ward, who has done a tremendous job of dressing the show up in A-1 style this season. Her work is in evidence everywhere.
Frank Noel, with Mills in '48, is back after a year away from circus work, handling the bulls and his former wife, Virginia, is featured in the ever-thrilling head carry by Big Burma.
Aerialist Jacqueline Tolliver; Miss Ninon, from the Hanel Troupe, doing a variety of air specialties in the enlarged all-girl ballets; veteran scout Buffalo Ben; Indian Chief White Eagle and sister Catherine; Joe and Annette Dobas, with their perch and head-to-head balancing; the three fine liberty acts presented by equestrian director Capt. Bert Wallace who always keeps a show moving at a brisk pace; dogs and pony drills under the general direction and training of Bert and Jeannette Wallace; an enlarged string of well-costumed menage riders in a pretentous display; and Bob Mills and a 12-piece band, snappier than ever and outfitted in new uniforms, are other features of the 1950 show, easily the largest and strongest ever offered by the Mills brothers.
Show, as always, plays only under auspice, as a fund-raising medium, and will tour approximately 30 weeks. The Rev. Doc Waddell, who'll be 87 in August, is spryer than ever after a Winter which kept him busy on preaching engagements.
Much new equipment has been added, including a second stake driver-puller combination, elephant truck, new big top pole wagon, new cookhouse refrigerator, three new light plants, new concession truck, several more caged animals, and a gigantic horse van. Also, old big top pole truck was built over for menagerie canvas truck, several sleepers added and others rebuilt or converted from other trucks, and a new mechanical truck added.
Mark Roe is steward, Arthur (Hard Times) Leonard, electrician; Charley Brady, general superintendent; Don Mann, master mechanic; Frank Noel, elephants and menagerie; Allen King, transportation superintendent; Harry Mills, concession manager; Blackie Diller, ring stock; Mayme Word, wardrobe mistress; Frank Perez, side show manager; Fred Stafford, press; and, of course, Jack and Jake Mills, managers.
Cole and Rogers Circus of 1930 was a three car show consisting of one combination sleeping and dining car, two baggage cars 90 feet long with two side doors, one car had two end doors, the other only one end door.
Captain E. H. Jones was owner and manager with the following staff: Whitey Chapman, legal adjustor; Eric Jones, Big Show tickets and Auditor; Denny Helms, Superintendent; "Doc" Leon, pit show, reserved seats and announcer; Wallace Helms, reserved seat and concert tickets; Roy Haag, reserved seat and concert tickets; Bob Cook, transportation and banners; Eric Socolow, Privileges; Alex Jones, candy stand; Jimmy Potter, head butcher; and Leon Bennett, Side Show manager and inside lecturer.
The performers were Fred K. Leonard, equestrian director; Bobbie and Bette Zenero, (Betty Zenero is now Bette Leonard, president of the C. H. S.); Bill and Jenny Lerche; Ruth and Neil McCray; Johnnie the jumper, the greatest jumper of all time, (this man would run and jump over two elephants, three horses, and a pony without any approach of any kind, lighting on a straw tick); and George Whittie. Clowns were: Roy Woods, Fred Salmon, and two more names that I have forgotten. The band consisted of 10 men with Joe Domineck as leader.
There were eight cages including one cage of monkeys; one cage with two large lions, one male and one female; one cage with two leopards; one cage with pumas; one cage with small animals-sloth bear, ocelot and badgers, the cage having three partitions. The pit show had the smallest horse on earth. We also had a candy stand wagon, light plant wagon, a band wagon with a four horse hitch, calliope on a Ford truck, which was also used for Big Show ticket office. There were 35 head of stock including two elephants, two camels, four large work horses, two high school horses, six wild west horses, including two bucking horses, one mule, sixteen ponies including the pit show pony.
We loaded the baggage cars as follows: In the one end of one car was loaded two elephants and two camels up to the center door. This was made like a box stall with a door in the center. Then come all wild west horses and two saddle horses with another partition across the car, then another partition, the four work horses last across the car in the door and the props had a very small space in the rear.
The Big Top was a 90 foot round top with two thirty foot middles. This top with all stakes and poles and the seats were loaded in the other end of the baggage car with the doors that opened out.
The other car which has doors at each end as well as the middle was loaded with the cages, band wagon, and light plant in one end, then the side show canvas and equipment and the ponies in the other end. I also, was loaded in the same end with the ponies sleeping above them.
The side show top was a 50 foot round with one 30, the sideshow had four platforms, dancing girls, wild animal cages, elephants and camels. The entire outfit was gillied to and from the lot in four knock down wagons (running gear only with planks). Trunks were loaded in the bandwagon. First load to the lot was the big top canvas, poles and stakes. The next load was the prop boxes, followed by the sideshow and seats. The canvas spread was Big Top, side show, pad room, candy stand and pit show.
The concert was in charge of Chief Keyes and company and presented trick and fancy riding, trick roping, sharp shooting, impalement act, and finished with bronc riding. It was a very good all around Wild West.
Many persons viewing the show on the lot vowed that it could not be loaded on two cars but after doing it night after night I'll swear it can be done. Many a time on a wet night, the canvas was too bulky with moisture to be loaded into the end of the car. When that happened Willie Carter and I unloaded the elephants and made them stomp on the bundles to squeeze out all the water they could. The canvas was then put in the car and the bulls pushed the end doors shut. As Bill Woodcock once aptly put it, "When you loaded one of those shows, any thing that stuck out, you just took a saw and sawed it off."
"Cap" as he was affectionately called, was one of the finest bosses in show business. It was a joy to be on one of his shows, and today, when old timers get together, they all bewail the passing of the two and three car shows.
As compiled by Joseph T. Bradbury. Hobby Bandwagon, Vol. 5, No. 3 (April), 1950, pp. 8-13. [Note: over the years, Bradbury did update and make corrections to this list.]
I would like to thank everyone who has aided me in the preparation of this list of old circus wagons. Without your cooperation it would have been an impossible task. A short history as to origin, and service of each wagon is given. We received a good bit of conflicting information as to the history of many, but did as best we could in assembling it and applying it as logically to the wagon in question as was possible. Many people will probably disagree with the history given in some cases. If so, please write what you believe to be correct. In that way, eventually we shall have a complete record, history, and data on every old wagon still in existence. This list will be kept current. Periodically, any changes, additions, or losses will be printed. If any readers, at any time, get any information on old circus wagons not listed, or any changes or corrections in this list as now printed, you will be doing all a great favor by writing to me . . . or to the editor of the Bandwagon, and let us have the information you have received.
I am appealing to everyone, who loves and treasures these old masterpieces, which are as truly and fine a part of American culture and art as anything, to make every effort to get information about the locations of them. Many very beautiful old handcarved bandwagons, calliopes, and tableaux have just completely vanished. We have every reason to believe that all have not been destroyed. Within the last three or four years more has been done to preserve these old wagons, than in the previous 25. Several individuals and organizations desire to restore more if they can locate some. Of course, our hope is that before long all of these old wagons will have been completely restored to their former glory, and that no more will be allowed to rot and ruin because of sheer neglect, or willfully destroyed for the measly pieces of iron they might contain. - Joseph T. Bradbury
Near railway siding are parked 5 baggage wagons, all in poor condition, that were last used in 1945 on Arthur Bros. Circus. All were formerly Hagenbeck-Wallace and last used by that show in 1938. Note: Three other wagons, including the Mother Goose Tableau, same history as the other 15, were destroyed by fire.
Long Beach Zoo, located on the Pike. Has 1 cage wagon formerly on Al G. Barnes Circus. Has another cage with rubber tires on it, of unknown origin.
Lucas Kidde Land, 2521 Riverside Drive. Owns 1 small cage wagon of unknown origin. Has lettered on it "Dingling Bros. Circus."
Bradley and Kaye Amusement Co., 8506 Beverly Boulevard. Owns 13 old wagons, most of which are in excellent condition and are frequently used in movie rentals. They were recently purchased from the U. S. Tent and Awning Co. "Swan Wagon," originally built for Adam Forepaugh, later on Christy Bros., last on Ken Maynard Circus in 1933; "Palm Tree Tableau," originally built as Sells Bros. cage, later on Christy Bros., last on Ken Maynard Circus, 1933; "Three Mirrored Tableau," formerly an Christy Bros. and Ken Maynard Circus; "Tableau," with 4 mounted figures in corners and 2 on sides, formerly on Christy Bros., last on Ken Maynard Circus; Ticket Wagon, heavily carved, originally on Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show later owned by Christy Bros., but not used, last on Ken Maynard Circus; Ticket Wagon, with painted designs, formerly on Christy Bros., last on Ken Maynard Circus. This wagon is the poorest of the 13; Steam Calliope, formerly on Christy Bros., last on Ken Maynard Circus; Combination Cage and Tableau, beautifully carved with 4 animals and 2 mirrors on sides, and 4 corner statues. This wagon was originally built for Barnum & Bailey, later on Christy Bros., last on Ken Maynard Circus. Note: the author has photo. of this wagon in England in 1898, on Barnum & Bailey Circus; 3 Cages, all formerly on Christy Bros., last on Ken Maynard. All have painted designs and sunburst wheels; 2 Baggave Wagons, formerly on Christy Bros., last on Ken Maynard. These will be used in MGM's new picture, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Louis Goebels Lion Farm, Thousand Oaks. Owns 4 old wagons. Red Ticket Wagon, last used on Arthur Bros. Circus 1945, formerly Hagenbeck-Wallace. Last on HW, 1938; White Ticket Wagon, formerly on Sells-Floto Circus; Baggage Wagon, old Chevrolet display wagon, last on Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1938; Baggage Wagon, last on Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1938.
The World Jungle Compound, Ventura Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Owns 40 old wagons, practically all in excellent condition and used for movie rentals. Elephant carvings from old Al G. Barnes tableau decorate the main entrance. 2 Cages, formerly Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1938, last used on Arthur Bros., 1945; 2 Cross Cages, formerly Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1938, last on Arthur Bros., 1945; 6 Cages, last used Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1838; Combination Dog & Blacksmith Wagon, one time giraffe wagon, formerly Hagenbeck-Wallace, last Arthur Bros., 1945; "No. 75 Tableau - Red Riding Hood on one side, Humpty-Dumpty, other (paintings)," originally built for Adam Forepaugh, later Hagenbeck-Wallace, last on Arthur Bros., 1945, Note: This wagon has always carried the No. 75; Tableau, with corner posts square design, formerly Ringling Bros., last on Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1938; Ticket Wagon, painted white and tiger on sides, formerly on Hagenbeck-Wallace, last on Arthur Bros., 1945; Combination Tableau-Cage, formerly on Ringling-Barnum, last on Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1938. This wagon was rebuilt by movie studios by putting seat with canopy on front of it. It was used in W. C. Field's picture, "Never Give a Sucker a Break," and last used in "Caged Fury"; No. 24, Water Tank, formerly Al G. Barnes-Sells Floto; 4 Small Cages, formerly on Gentry Bros. Dog & Pony Show; 2 Baggage Wagons, formerly Al G. Barnes-Sells Floto; 18 Baggage Wagons, last on Hagenbeck-Wallace, 1938. However, a few were used by Arthur Bros., 1945; Several Pieces of Circus Equipment, designed and built by movie studios, are on the lot. These will not be listed. The following movie titles have been painted on several of the old baggage Wagons and cages: "World Wide Wild West Show & Rodeo"; "Costers Circus & Carnival"; "Sargents Wild Animal Circus"; "King Lamar Circus, World's Greatest Menagerie"; Corey & Murray Circus"; "Great American Circus," - Note: This may have been the short lived 10 car circus in 1939.
Jimmy Woods Quarters, 4112 Delrey Ave., Venice. Owns 8 old tableaux, cages and ticket wagons. "Rhino Tableau," heavily carved, originally built for B. F. Wallace Circus, later on Hagenbeck-Wallace, and Al G. Barnes Circus; Swan & Fawn Tableau Den," originally on Adam Forepaugh Circus; "Three Mirrored Tableau," originally Forepaugh-Sells Bros., later on Golmar Bros., Yankee Patterson, and Al G. Barnes; Cottage Cages, gables built on top of cage, originally on John Robinson's Circus; Cage, with carved figures on the 4 corners, originally on Forepaugh-Sells Bros.; Cage, beautifully carved, origin unknown, probably Al G. Barnes; Cage, formerly on Al G. Barnes, and Miller Bros., 101 Ranch Wild West; White Ticket Wagon, heavily carved, formerly on Al G. Barnes; there is a steam calliope placed in a carved chariot, but Was designed and made by MGM Studio.
Jones Ranch, 111, 310 Sherman Way, Sun Valley. Owns 2 very good wagons. 1 Pole Wagon, history unknown, probably Al O. Barnes, Norris & Rowe; 1 Baggage Wagon, history unknown, probably Al G. Barnes, Norris & Rowe.
City of Bridgeport owns 2 cages with carved statues in corners. These were originally built for Forepaugh and later used by Ringling-Barnum. They are now used in the annual Barnum festival.
Museum of the American Circus, John Ringling Mansion. Owns 5 tableaux and 1 steam calliope.
"Five Graces" bandwagon, excellent condition, recently repainted. built 1878 for Adam Forepaugh, later on Barnum & Bailey, including European tour 1897-1902. Last paraded with Hagenbeck-Wallace 1934, last used on Ringling-Barnum spec, 1943; "Lion Tableau," fair condition, original gold leaf still on wagon, brought from Germany in early 1900's by the Carl Hagenbeck Co. Trained Animal Show. Later on Hagenbeck-Wallace, last paraded 1934; "Elephant Tableau," poor condition, brought over from Germany same time as Lion Tableau. Later Hagenbeck-Wallace, last paraded 1934; "Lion & Gladiator Bandwagon," formerly on Hagenbeck-Wallace, and last paraded 1934. Last used by Ringling-Barnurn spec 1943. Wagon is in good condition; "Lion & Snake Bandwagon," excellent condition, newly painted, formerly on Carl Hagenbeck Circus. Last paraded on Hagenbeck-Wallace 1934, and last used by Ringling-Barnum spec 1943. "Two Jesters" steam calliope, formerly Hagenbeck-Wallace and last used by Ringling-Barnum spec 1945. Fair condition.
Ringling-Barnum Winter Headquarters. Very few old wagons remain here. Nearly all including all Sparks were burned in 1946 to salvage the iron in them. "United States" bandwagon, originally one of the most beautiful ever built for Ringling Bros. It is in pathetic condition, ruined by sheer neglect. All paint and most of the carvings rotted off. The wagon cannot be moved, otherwise, it would be removed to the Museum; No. 46, No. 100, No. 42, No. 109 No. 140, and a couple more old style Ringling-Barnum wagons remain. The old color scheme may still be observed - red with title painted in white and green trim. Wheels and under pinning painted white with red and blue trim; No. 88, old style giraffe wagon, with sunburst wheels; 1 old cage with square corner posts, unknown origin and history. Cage painted blue; No. 110, electrical dept. wagon, formerly on Al G. Barnes-Sells Foto. Last used in 1938. The Barnes Foto color scheme may still be observed - red with title painted in yellow. Wheels and under pinning painted yellow with black trim; No. 101 baggage wagon, formerly on Al G. Barnes-Sells Foto. Last used in 1938; Dog wagon, formerly on Al G. Barnes-Sells Floto. Has sunburst wheels; Commissary wagon, formerly on Al G. Barnes-Sells Foto. This wagon has recently been painted and serves as an office; White ticket wagon, formerly on Al G. Barnes-Sells Floto. Has been completely painted silver and stencilled "Sideshow Dept." Used as office for sideshow; 2 baggage wagons, formerly on Al G. Barnes-Sells Foto; 4 baggage wagons, formerly on Al G. Barnes-Sells Floto, have been stripped down to flooring and front only and used to haul trash, etc., around the grounds. Note: All of the Barnes-Sells Floto wagons are in fairly good condition.
Although these next wagons are not old-timers, and have pneumatic tires, they are listed for information only. Cages 93, 732 71, 67, 68, 9-5, 74, 81, 88 Hippo, old-style wild animal act cages, in fact, all menagerie cages prior to 1949 are lined up in the wagon lot. Oldstyle stringer, jack, and plank wagons used prior to 1948 are there. Also, No. 243 old R-B Canvas truck. 1 old advertising car, 4 old stocks and about 30 old sleepers are parked on the railway sidings.
Museum of Science and Industry. 2 Tableaux, formerly on Gentry Bros. and last on Floyd King's 10 car Cole Bros. Circus of 1929-30; 1 Tableau, formerly on Gentry Bros. and last on Floyd King's 10-car Cole Bros. Circus of 1929-30. This tableau was formerly on Sparks Circus before going to Gentry. Note: All 3 of these wagons have been completely restored and were used at the Chicago Railroad Fair.
Block and Kuhl Dept. Store have restored the 3 following bandwagons & tableaux: "Asia" Tableau, formerly Barnum & Bailey, later Christy Bros. and last used by Cole Bros. 1935-1937; "France" Tableau, built 1919 for Frank Spellman's U. S. Motorized Circus, later on Fred Buchanan's Robbins Bros. and last on Cole Bros. 1937-39; "Lion & Mirror" bandwagon, originally called St. George & the Dragon. Built in 1878 for Adam Forepaugh, later rebuilt by Moeller Bros. for Ringling. Later used on Christy Bros. and last on Cole Bros. 1935-36.
Suttliff and Case Druggist Ass'n. "Mirror" bandwagon, completely restored, formerly on Golmar Bros., Gentry Bros. and last on Floyd King's Cole Bros. 1929-30.
Frank Myers, 312 First St. Has an air calliope which he made from parts of old wagons. The wheels are from a cage wagon of Fred Buchanan's Robbins Bros. The carvings came from an Al G. Barnes tableau at Jimmy Wood's Quarters, Venice, Calif. Note: All of the above listed wagons in Peoria have been completely restored, have sunburst wheels, gold leaf and are in perfect condition. They are used, horse-drawn in a parade every year the day after Thanksgiving.
Michigan City Zoo. 1 cage formerly on Hagenbeck-Wallace.
Miami County Museum. Has several statues and sides of tableau formerly on American Circus Corp. wagons.
Terrell Jacobs Farm and Winter Quarters. "Russia" tableau, fair condition, originally built for Ringling Bros., later Walter L. Main show, last used on Fred Buchanan's Robbins Bros. 1931; "Cinderella" float, formerly on Barnum & Bailey and last on Cole Bros.; "Cinderella Coach"; Bandwagon, air calliope, and several cages formerly on V & H Circus; 1 cage formerly on L. W. Hoffman Wagon Show; 1 Leopard cage formerly on Sells-Floto; 1 Cockatoo cage formerly on Gentry Bros.; several of Jacobs' animal cages which he uses on his show have carvings off old Hagenbeck-Wallace wagons.
Bradley Farm, 1 mile east, 3 miles north of Rochester. 6 baggage wagons last used on Cole Bros. 1938; small calliope last used on Cole Bros.
Davenport Museum Bldg., 11th & Brady St. "Two Hemispheres" Bandwagon, owned and completely restored by Col. B. J. Palmer. Originally built for Barnum & Bailey in 1903 and pulled by their 40 horse team. This is most famous of all parade wagons. This wagon was last used by Robbins Bros. in 1931.
Garganigo Museum of Antique Autos, 1 mile south on Mass. 31. "Golden Age of Chivalry" Tableau, excellent condition, built for and always used by Barnum & Bailey.
Ford-Edison Museum. Steam Calliope, built in 1917 and used by John Robinson Circus; "Africa" Tableau, built in 1903 and used by Barnum & Bailey.
Benson's Wild Animal Farm, 2 miles from Nashua on Highway Mass. 111. Giant Band Chariot, good condition, built in 1880's in England and used by Bostick and Wombell's Circus. This chariot was pulled by elephants and has the largest wheels ever observed by this author; Living Quarters Wagon, used by Mr. Bostick on the Bostick & Wombell's Circus in England. Note: The wagon contains 2 sections - a dining room and a bedroom, both excellently furnished. This type of wagon, which hasn't been seen since the old wagon show days should be a "must" for all fans visiting New England.
Bill Hames, owner of Bill Hames' Shows (Carnival). "Great Britain or John Bull Tableau, good condition, originally built for Ringling Bros., later on 101 Ranch Wild West Show and last used in 1931; Air Calliope, good condition, started out as steam calliope on Martin Downs' 1908 Cole Bros. Circus. Later rebuilt and last used by 101 Ranch Wild West Show in 1931; Old Wagon of English design used on the Bostirk Circus of England; 3 or 4 tableaux and baggage wagons, formerly on Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show.
Frontiersman Museum. "Columbus-John Smith" Bandwagon, originally built for Pawnee Bill Wild West Show, later used by Mighty Haag Railroad Circus, and last used by 101 Ranch Wild West Show in 1931.
Frank J. Walter. Bandwagon built for Great Wallace Circus in 1885, later used on Norris & Rowe Circus and last used in 1935 by Bailey Bros. Truck Circus in horsedrawn parade. 6 cages, pony size, originally on Gentry Bros. and Norris & Rowe Circuses; Twin red ticket wagon, formerly on Gentry Bros. Circus; 2 pony size fire wagons, probably the famous ones Gentry Bro. owned; Tableau, originally on Great Wallace Circus; several baggage wagons, formerly on Christy Bros.
George W. Christy. Double cage tableau, beautifully carved, originally built for Barnum & Bailey & Hutchinson. It was never used on Christy Bros. The title Barnum & Bailey & Hutchinson is carved on the sides. It is reported that Mr, Christy has sold this cage to Terrell Jacobs, but hasn't been moved as yet; 10 Baggage wagons, poor condition, formerly on Golmar Bros., later on Gentry Bros. and last used on Floyd King's 10 car Cole Bros. Circus of 1929-30, stands in a lot behind the old Christy Quarters.
San Antonio Public Library. White Twin ticket wagon, formerly on Gentry Bros. Circus; Tom Thumb Coach - Note: - The famous Harry Hertzburg Collection is housed in this library.
Dr. C. L. Karland Frischkorn, 338 Boush St. Steam Calliope, formerly on Gentry Bros. and last used on Cole Bros. 1929-30, has been restored. it has been slightly altered and has pneumatic tires.
FAMOUS OLD WAGONS STILL ON SHOWS
"America" steam calliope. Originally built as tableau wagon in 1903 for Barnum & Bailey, later on Christy Bros.
"Columbia" tableau, used as white ticket wagon, originally on Ringling Bros., later on Christy Bros.
Air Calliope, carved figures, formerly on Hagenbeck-Wallace and last paraded in 1934.
Famous Bell Wagon, built for Ringling Bros. in 1890's. Last paraded with Hagenbeck-Wallace in 1934.
World Of Mirth Shows
2 old wagons, formerly on Bostock Circus of England.
Royal American Shows
Ticket wagon, formerly on Tim McCoy Wild West Show, 1938. Note: - This is given for information only. This was one of the most modern and finest ever built.
In this note I have to report that Silvers Circus, for the first time in its 3 years existence, has now gone across from the Eastern States of Australia to the State of Western Australia.
In making the long journey by road it is necessary to cross a desert known as the Nullabor Plains. This desert is one thousand miles across and to make the distance is no mean feat. Some circuses have done the trip with comparative ease while others have had a tough time of it.
However, I will let you judge for yourself what sort of a time Silvers had during the crossing.
A couple of days ago I received a letter from a performer and this is how he described the trip. I quote from his letter -
"I will not tell you about our trip across the Nullabor. We were due to leave Ceduna (South Australia) on the Monday but did not get going until Tuesday as the roads were not too good.
The first day out we made good progress travelling 90 miles before lunch and a further 120 miles before dark, making 210 miles the first day.
Next day the trouble started. About a couple of miles out we came across a boggy patch. Mine was the first truck to get stuck in the mud and we had to unhook the caravan to get her out. We had to dig with shovels and put stones and bushes under the wheels. Finally we got her out then attached a long rope from the truck to the caravan to pull it out.
When this was done the next truck to try to get through was the canvas semi-trailer. Well, she went down so far that we couldn't see her wheels and the caravan behind was half buried.
Eventually we got the cookhouse truck and pulled her out with everybody standing in mud up to their knees, pushing. We moved on from there and later heard that some of the other trucks were stuck there, so we went back and that day was spent pulling each other out of the bogs.
We only travelled 64 miles that day. Then more trouble started. When the big horse semi reached the camp the grooms let the horses out for a run right in the middle of the Nullabor Plains with no fences on either hand for thousands of miles.
Consequently, when the grooms went to round up the horses they were no where to be seen. That night was spent looking for the horses without result. The next morning a search party went out but no luck again.
So the proprietors of the show decided to stay behind with some trucks and sent the rest of the circus on its journey.
We arrived at Eucla, (a siding, not a town) 75 miles from where we lost the horses, on the Thursday and did not leave there until the following Monday. The horses were lost for 6 days, and in that time the searchers had ridden hundreds of miles on horseback and by trucks.
In the end we had to employ "black trackers" - (Australian bush Aboriginal detectives who scent their quarry.) These chaps finally located the horses about 100 miles northeast from where they got away.
If we hadn't found them it would have meant a loss of three acts - Jockey, Principal and Carrying act.
Roy Gurney, an expert bushman who ably assisted in the search, said they could have ended up in Oiensland, or Darwin, thousands of miles away.
The last half of the journey consisted of a few breakdowns in mechanical trouble. However, we finally reached the town of Norseman at 3:30 a. m. on a Thursday 10 days from the time we started the crossing.
Believe me we were all very glad to see a few houses and shops again.
This is a rough outline of the trip and we are now looking forward to a good season in the West."
Unquote - I trust you will find this report interesting, it may serve to tell you how the other half lives.
Best Wishes. Sincerely, Sid Baker
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or means
Last modified November 2005.
without written permission of the author and the Circus Historical Society, Inc.
Last modified November 2005.