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June 9, 1900
August 25, 1900
September 15, 1900
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October 6, 1900
November 3, 1900
December 8, 1900
January 23, 1904
February 13, 1904
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March 5, 1904
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January 20, 1906
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December 22, 1906
This is a new department in "The Billboard." It is an experiment. If it pays we will continue it. If it does not, we will not. It is not an idea of our own. We have been importuned by many of our readers to devote some little of our space to tent show news. . . . We did not decide to make the attempt until late, and the matter has been hastily compiled - slung together any ond way . . . We will be glad to have newsy letters and items of interest from correspondents. We will publish all news, but it must be news. All long screeds of self-adulation and personal puffery will be cut out. Our circus route list will also be a feature of our columns hereafter. No routes ahead will be published without sanction of the show . . .
The Old and the New Paste
Since Arthur S. Hoyt, of New York, introduced his novel cold water paste, the bill-posting world has been asking, is it as good as the old kind? Is it cheaper to use the new paste?
Hoyt claims that his paste contains no lye, acid or chemicals of any kind. In fact, he says that it can be eaten without the gum in it, and this it will not turn colors on the posters. This would indicate that there is merit in his article.
The cost of the cold-water paste, figuring at the regular rate, f. o. b. at New York - not counting labor - when compared to the old paste, amounts to about 25 per cent more. But considering the labor in preparing the cooked paste and the delay incidental to its use. The two will be found to about on an equal basis. The plan of mixing your paste where and when you need it is of inestimable value, especially to cross road and circus bill posters, for it enables them to do more work and to cover more ground on account of the convenience of preparing.
The inconsistency of municipal authorities is nowhere more apparent than in the relative treatment accorded circuses and street fairs. A street fair promoter gets free license, free water, free light and closes up and fences in important streets in the center of the town. In addition, merchants go down in their pockets and dig up big money in the shape of subscriptions to help the fair along and draw people into town. The circus draws as many people, pays for all it gets, and is taxed outrageously into the bargain.
Every circus license in the United States is illegal. This is a fact. It is an opinion held by dozens of eminent lawyers that State, county and municipal licenses are a hindrance of inter-state commerce and consequently invalid. If circus men would get together, creat a fund and secure counsel and carry a test case to the Supreme Court of the United States, they would win as completely and emphatically as did the drummers in the fight against the drummers' tax.
The larger shows have now and then argued against fighting excessive licenses. They have asserted that they could afford to pay them, because they kept down the number of small shows. The fallacy of this argument is demonstrated by the large number of tent shows that take the road this season. There are 168 - think of it!
Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee are the worst offenders of all the States in the matter of high circus licenses.
The new circus rate on the Southern railroad is a ripper. Just to acertain what the new order meant, a prominent circus agent asked for a rate from Memphis to Chattanooga on a one-section show making four stops. He was informed that it would be $1,525. The South will not be so good next fall, even if cotton is ten cents, at this rate.
The old Protective League of American Showmen is as dead as a door nail. It can not be revived, but for all that, there is a crying need of a similar organization.
Billboard, May 28, 1900, p. 5.
The total number of tent shows now on the road numbers 177. Up to this writing (May 19) we have not heard of a single failure.
Billboard, June 2, 1900.
Columbus, Ohio, May 24. - Mrs. Peter Sells, in affidavits filed to-day, denies that she endeavored to secure witnesses at Chattanooga to swear falsely as to her husband's relation with Mattie Schultz. Affidavits are submitted by E. A. Holland, W. E. Mougar and Judge Hagerty to the effect that Sells' agents in Chattanooga circulated stories that any parties testifying for Mrs. Sells would be arrested, and that his intimidated them to an extent that valuable testimony could not be secured. George Koontz, of Hardin County, who testified against Mrs. Sells, filed an affadavit that he has sworn falsely.
It will be of interest to the dealers in wild animals and proprietors of manageries to know that recently a conference was held in London, at which the powers owning territory in North Africa were represented, for the purpose of providing rules for the protection of the larger game of the Soudan, where wild animals are still numerous. Hunters are to be excluded during the breeding season. Already agreements are in effect for the protection of the wild animals in the Zambezi Valley and for the preservation of the elephant in parts of Central Africa and other large game in Rhodesia. These measures have been adopted because some of the larger animals are in danger of extinction. For example, giraffes could be purchased in 1876 in London for $120 each. They are now quoter there at $8,000.
Billboard, June 9, 1900 (excerpts).
You can read the complete issue of this issue of Billboard: Billboard June 9, large pdf file. You can download Adobe Acrobat online (free).
All hail to the man who can heal all our ills,
When salary day comes with a package of bills;
Who sits in the wagon and opens his wicket,
Rakes in all the wealth and hands each one a ticket.
Who? who of us all but looked anxious for Sunday?
And thought of the call that awaited us Monday?
May he never again take such desperate chances
As he took once before in the wilds of Arkansas.
When against some one's impudence loud be protested.
And swore at the guy, and of course was arrested.
Never never at all - never swear to be true
To the way of the woman; this world wanders throught.
As full of contentment, of joy and of peace,
As you heretofore found with your little valise.
May you live, and your portrait hang high in Fame's gallery,
And heaven preserve you to pay us our salary;
And when at the end of this life, and its season,
You account for its stewardship, may you have reason
To hold up your head and stand firm and erect,
And the manager, God, find your books "all correct."
We wish you ten thousand returns of the day
You commenced in the wagon the first of last May;
And wherever we go, or where fortune may call,
You have the good wishes and thanks of us all. - Joseph A. Gulick (1877)
Cleveland, Ohio, June 2. - (Special) - A lively discussion took place in the Council Chamber, a day or two ago, over the ordinace to tax circuses and Wild West shows $250 a day. Mayor Farley said: "Cleveland is getting to be a big town. There are many kids in this town who like to go to a circus. I like to go myself and smell the sawdust; it reminds me of the time when I was a boy. You want to look at this thing in a liberal manner. The country boy brings in his best girl. He buys her soda water and many things. He comes to town to cut a swath, and he isn't afraid to spend his money. He isn't like the fellow who comes to town to attend a church gathering - the fellow who comes with a clean shirt on and $2 in his pocket, and never changes either until after he leaves town."
Billboard, June 16, 1900.
Importance of Minor Shows
When W. C. Coup and Dan Costello came out of the West and induced P. T. Barnum to return to active show live, their unparalleled success for a time quite dwarfed competing tent exhibitions. Not only did their "World's Fair On Wheels" draw enormously, but their methods of business conspired to destroy the smaller shows, and it was not long before Mr. Barnum had the audacity to proclaim over his signature that if the people would patronize him alone he would be the better able to supply them with all their amusements. As the original Barnum show profited prodigiously, it soon became a part of their theory and practice to pay, largely on the ground that they could afford it, while their rivals could not. This policy sent up the prices of bill boards, lots and licenses to exorbitant figures, to the injury of such stable managers as L. B. Lent, John H. Murray, Hyatt Frost, O. J. Ferguson and others.
After the failure of the original Barnum Hippodrome, Mr. C. Coup undertook management on his own account, on a small scale at first and afterwards more largely but unsuccessfully, bing "hoist by his own petard," and not able to compete with the giant shows of Barnum & Co. and Adam Forepaugh. Mr. Coup found the public wanted neither a small show nor a medium one.
When the "Flatfoots," Avery Smith, John J. Nathans, George F. Bailey and Lewis June, became managers of the Barnum Show, their agents did not endeavor to ascertain the highest price they could pay for boards, lots and licenses, but it was hard work to inaugurate an immediate reform.
Adam Forepaugh once remarked to one of his staff: "I want a contractor who knows the value of money and has traveled with some one who has been pinched for dollars." He found him in the late James A. Robinson, who had served with John O'Brien.
While the great big shows of Barnum and Forepaugh slaughtered th small shows by taking the large towns and excursioning the smaller ones, they also came to give little encouragement to native talent. Experienced agents scoured creation for new names and new features, while the few shows en route employed but few American artists.
The enormous show having arrived at the practical limit of size and attractions, the public in the last few years has showed a readiness to patronize a smaller show at a lesser price of admission - a state of affairs which augers well for the American arena.
The minor show is the hope of the future tent show. The minor show in the past has produced the Sells and the Ringlings, and out of the rings of the smaller shows will come the performers of the future. The small show is also the educator of the coming manager and the coming advance man, and it is a hopeful indication that one is not obliged to be many times a millionaire - on the bills - to exhibit under a white tent. Charles H. Day, Whitneyville, Conn., May ??.
A New Trust
A corporation has just been formed in Charleston, W. Va., to control the trained wild animal market of this country, if not, indeed, of the world. The charter of the company was filed a few days ago in that city, and Frank Bostock seems to be at the head of the things, as the company will be known as the Franck C. Bostock Wild Animal Importing and Exhibition Company. Bostock practically controls the trained wild animal market of the United States to-day, and his brother that of England. There are large interests in this line in Germany and France, and it is proposed to consolidate most of these.
The Juvenile Circus
The juvenile circus is now much in vogue, says the Anacoda (Mont.) Standard. For two or three days preparations were in progress for a great show on the vacant lot east of Dr. G. T. McCullough's residence. The boys collected a creditable menagerie, and had a circus that was pronounced by those who saw it to be all that was advertised, which is more than can be said of any other tent show that ever appeared here. Another juvenile show that spread its canvas on the north side did not have such a good record. The show itself was alright, but its proprietors were out of luck. Their menagerie consisted of a caged coyote and a pen of rabbits. During the intermission the coyote broke out of his cage and ate up the rabbits. After he had devoured the rest of the menagerie the coyote struck out for the hills and the backbone of the show was broken.
De Wolfe Wrong
Dear Sir - For the benefit of Mr. Fred C. De Wolfe, author of the article, "The Great American Circus," in the May number of The Junior Munsey," kindly give space to the statement that he is wrong in saying that the Forepaugh people were the first to put on the spectacle of the "Queen of Sheba." He is mistaken, and entirely so, as it was the John Robinson Show which originated the above, and, indeed, we were the first show or circus to introduce the spectacular feature. Several other sins of commission occur: for example, he claims that there are but two fifty-cent shows in existence - the Forepaugh & Sells and the Ringling Bros. Shows. As an humble attache of an institution that acknowledges no peers, and one which was in existence long before Mr. De Wolfe or either of the other shows named were born, kindly allow me to say in your most circus of all papers that the John Robinson Show is a fifty-cent or big show. . . . F. B. Wilson, Press Agent John Robinson Shows.
Billboard, July 7, 1900.
Buffalo Bill Robbed
New Haven, Conn. June 30. It has just come to the surface that "Buffalo's Bill's" receipts have been drained for several weeks by dishonest employes. Suspecion was cast on Starr L. Pixley, of New York, a brother of the late Annie Pixley, the actress. He was arrested shortly before the Wild West Show began its exhibition here. He was taken into custody by local detectives at his post of ticket taker. Soon after his arrest the police also arrested George M. Monnell and Herman J. Leonard, both of New York, charging them with conspiracy. Pixley is said to have confessed that for five weeks he and the two men whom he implicated have defrauded Colonel William F. Cody to the amount of from $3,000 to $5,000 by stealing tickets. From one hundred to two hundred tickets, it is alleged, daily have been secreted by Pixley and sold by Monnell and Leonard. Pixley had about ninety tickets in his pockets when he was arrested.
Andrew Carnegie simply can not give his money away as fast as it piles up, although he tries valiantly. He suffers keenly and lives in constant dread that he will die rich. He hopes to deplete his income by giving a public library to every town in America. If that fails there is only one recourse left him He will have to back a circus under Frank Robbins' management.
Billboard, August 11, 1900.
A dispatch from Asbury Park, under date of July 27 says: "Founder Bradley has astonished Asbury Parkers by putting the blue laws in operation against the poster girl, and at his command the skirts of all the poster girls posted up along the boardwalk have been forcibly lengthened by the addition of broad bands of white paper, which completely hide the maidens' shapely legs."
Billboard, August 25, 1900.
You can read the complete issue of this issue of Billboard: Billboard August 25, large pdf file. You can download Adobe Acrobat online (free).
Elephant Stops Express Train
A few nights ago the Federal express, west bound, was stopped four times between New Haven and Stamford, Conn., in each instance without apparent reason. The thing began to get fatiguing to the trainmen and passengers. Finally one of the brakemen, who was once a circus attache, solved the mystery. In a special car at the end of the train were four baby elephants, which were being shipped from one of the Gentry Bros.' baby elephant and pony shows, one of which is exhibiting in Bridgeport at present, to another at New Rochelle, and the barkeman sat them down as the culprits. His suspicions were proven well founded when, a few minutes after the train got under way after the fourth stop, one of the little fellows reached up with his trunk and gave the cord a good yank. The brakeman, to save the stopping of the train for nothing, gave the go-ahead signal on the cord and then cut it out from the elephant car. The rest of the ride toward New Rochelle, where the car was switched off was without incident.
Marina Park in Dispute.
Bridgeport, Aug. 7. - There is a dispute between the Barnum heirs and some of the property holders about Seaside Park, and the Park Commissioners, regarding the flat-iron shaped piece of ground opposite Marina, the late residence of P. T. Barnum, and which is now a part of Seaside Park. There was a provision in the will of the late Mr. Barnum that the plot of ground mentioned should revert to the city after ten years, and become a part of the park system. During the ten years, however, the estate was to keep it in good condition, and at the end of that time the city might accept the ground if it chose, on condition that no trees or anything over six feet high was to be planted on it, excepting statuary or a monument. The common council accepted, the proposition at the time the offer was made, and the plot has just been turned over to the city, the ten years having expired.
The park commissioners do not want to accept the piece of land with the restrictions imposed by the will. They maintain that the ground is merely an opening for the residents adjacent thereto, and of no practical benefit to the park system, because it is away from it and across the roadway from the park proper. The plot in dispute is sometimes called Marina Park, and is 370 feet wide at the heel, in Waldemere avenue, and about as deep till it comes to the rounded apex. The commissioners have not formed any plans for its future, and have not thought of planting any trees upon it.
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