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Message Archive: Messages 951 - 1000

1000. Thank You!, 10 December, 2005 - With message one thousand, I thought I'd post a big thank you to all the people who take the time to reply to so many of the questions posted to the CHS Message and Discussion board. This board began August 1, 2003 and now contains a great deal of circus history, thanks to all of your replies. Judy Griffin, CHS webmaster and moderator of this board.
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999. Volaine Troupe, 10 December, 2005 - I am looking for imformation on a family of trapeze artists that were killed during performance possibly at Madison Square Garden 1910-1916. A family of seven called the Volaine Troupe, possibly based out of Florida. Five were killed leaving John Volaine, son, and Margeret Volaine, mother, the sole survivors. Joh Volaine was killed performing in Owen Sound, Ontario 1934. His strap to his teeth broke while spinning on a pole performing with no safety net. He also was applying to perform a 'slide of death' across Niagara Falls, Ontario just before he was killed. We are looking for any imformation or relatives still alive that can help with the history of this family. Thanks, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 24 January, 2006 - I am one of John Volaine's granddaughters. My father was John Frederick Volaine, born to Elizabeth (mother) and John (although) we are not sure of his true name yet. My father was born April 24th, 1919 in Florida. We are not even sure of that as he has a Quebec birth certificate that says he was born in Montreal on that date. A voters list that we got hold of claimed he was born in Palathea, Florida (not sure if that is the correct spelling). Wondered why you were wanting this info. Can you let me know as we are still trying to trace a lot of the events in my father's life and then his father and back to ?? My cousin has a done a family page for his side of the family and the volaine's were his mothers side and mine. We are filling in the details as we find them. Please get back to me with some details, perhaps we can help each other. Thanks, Connie Volaine

    Reply: 29 January, 2006 - I am a grandson of J.F.Volaine from my mom's side (her dad) and I have visited the site of our cousins kempffer and this has been what made me start to find out as much as I can about the "Rubber Man," in which is there is not alot of history so far. I think most of what will be anything will come out of Florida the circus state and some referrals to North Dakota's early newspapers. I have came across relating to census, but I am not positive of the information and have yet to look into it but I will and it will be shared for those interested. Anyone with info on the clan can email me. William Andrus at

    Reply: 21 October, 2006 - I don't know much about the History of this tragedy - But I have see the strap that failed to hold Volaine, his teeth marks still visible. Chris/Susan,

    Reply: 15 Mar 2009 - This was my grandfather - my father Edward - (has the strap he used). I can get you some pictures? Chris

998. Barnum & Bailey logo 1929, 10 December, 2005 - I have a quick question I'm hoping you can help me with. What type of logo did Barnum and Bailey use on its merchandise in 1929? I think it was the letters "BBC" set in a diamond, am I correct? Thanking you in advance. Amy Mann. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 12 December, 2005 - The Barnum & Bailey title was merged with Ringling Bros. for 1919 to create Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows. Their corporate logo was a globe with their trademark title "Greatest Show on Earth" included within it. One can find variations in the design. If "Barnum & Bailey" was used separately thereafter, it was rarely done so. Perhaps if you post a specific description of the item in question someone will better be able to assist you in what initially appears to be a quandary. Fred Dahlinger

997. Sideshow banner painters, 10 December, 2005 - I was a collector of banners during the 1970s and have since kept only an unusal collection of scrapbooks with 100s of drawings, photographs, invoices and personal notes from sideshow banner painters Ross - Hill. I'm interested in finding more information on these artists, Cad Hill, Chas Ross, Chas Schaffer, is there a place to find more information? Thank you for your help. Robert, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 12 December, 2005 - I was just at the Showfolks of Sarasota flea market. Billy Rogers from Gibsonton, FL had several books on the subject of side shows and banners for sale. He opeates a store in Gibsonton called "Pirates Treasure Cove." His ad in Circus Report lists his buisness phone as: 813 677-1137. No e-mail is listed. Jim Cole

    Reply: 12 December, 2005 - Depending upon the time frame of activity, that will determine what in-print resources might serve you best. There have been a couple books and at least two exhibition catalogs covering banners. John Polacsek helped with one, Randy Johnson et al, "Freaks, Geeks and Strange Girls." One of the exhibits [Illinois] covered Fred Johnson and the Hammer Galleries did another. Fred Pfening, Jr. also composed an article for "Bandwagon" on the topic and you should be able to locate it in the Bandwagon article index on this website. Also check Al Stencell's "Seeing Is Believing" and "Fairground Art" by Weedon and Ward. The bibliographies in each will offer further titles for checking.
        A primary place to start is with city directory listings, local history investigation, oral interviews with people that knew the principals, contacts with people with whom they did business, basic genealogical and biographical information, etc. If you need guidance, check with a local historical society or library with a local history department, or a convenient genealogical group. They're all willing to help in such searches. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 03 Oct 2016 - We have acquired an amazing circus banner done by the Ross-Hill studio. We would appreciate any information you could pass along to us about the studio and the painters. The banner is in remarkable condition and the work is wonderful. Thanks so much! Christine

996. Old Man of the Mountain Show, D & H shows, 10 December, 2005 - Old Man of the Mountain Show 1920s/1930s - New Hampshire - Later know as D & H shows. Am interested in finding out more information about what type of acts this show/carnival had. Also what happened to it and where I can do more research. Thanks. Unise Rosner - Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 12 December, 2005 - Joe McKennon's listing of carnivals, in his book "Pictorial History of the American Carnival," does not list a D & H. title. He does show "Old Man of the Mountain Shows" for 1929. The best source of information would be weekly issues of the magazine "Billboard," which carried a page and more about these traveling enterprises. Check with your local librarian about obtaining it via interlibrary loan. I'll copy the query to a couple carnival historians and perhaps they'll know more. Former New England carnival owner Billy Burr knows a good bit about regional show history and might be a good contact. You should be able to locate him via directory assistance in Hollywood, FL. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 13 December, 2005 - Thanks so much Fred Dahlinger - any information is better than none! This was my father's carnival when he was a very very young boy, so I am excited to do more research. Thanks and if you happen to hear of anything else, please let me know. Thanks again! Unise Rosner

995. Circus Canton, OH 1921, 09 December, 2005 - I am investigating the circus in Canton Ohio in 1921. Do you have any information archived about that location and date? Thank you, Sara DeHart, Ph.D., Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please do not send attachments, e.g., graphic images or photos.

    Reply: 09 December, 2005 - Circuses and those of us who enjoy their history haven't organized our data by city of appearance so you need to begin by searching the local newspapers for advertisements or feature stories about appearances by circuses. If there is a particular incident you are trying to discover, the local papers are always your best bet. Once you know what shows appeared, then it is easier to find additional data. For example, in 1921 seven mid-sized railroad circuses issued "route books," similar to a school yearbook. Several of these shows were of the size to appear in a city with a population similar to that of Canton. You could then locate the route books (Circus World Museum in Baraboo has all of the books for 1921) and gain whatever additional information you need. Route books included the full season route, staff and performer listings, program, and oftentimes a daily diary though this was less frequent for books issued in this period. Program booklets and other printed material for the shows you are researching also can be located by show title and year even if the particular samples you discover might not have been used for a Canton appearance. Many shows of this period were photographed by early circus fans and copies have circulated but may now be in a research library such as Baraboo's or in a private collection that you could discover through this discussion board. You should also examine Billboard, the weekly trade paper for the outdoor show business, for the times you know a circus was in Canton. Don't overlook the gossip columns! The Circus Historical Society's journal, Bandwagon, has published season-by-season histories of most of the major shows of the 1920s. Finally, if Canton was used as a winterquarters by some circus, this might have been reported by Billboard which, for a number of years, listed the towns where shows were hibernating in the magazine's expanded Winter or Christmas special issues (and, too, in some regular issues). Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

    Reply: 09 December, 2005 - To bad you picked 1921 as the major shows skipped Canton that year. Most shows make it a policy to play a town then skip a year, and Canton was no exception. In 1920 RBBB was there and in 1922 the Al. G. Barnes Show and also Hagenbeck & Wallace played there. Cannot say much for some of the smaller shows, you will need to check the Billboard for routes or read the local newspaper to obtain the data you seek. Ted Bowman Route Collection

994. Circuses, Normandy 1900-1905, 07 December, 2005 - I am trying to find information on travelling circus's in the Duzule area of Normandy during the paerion 1900-1905. My Mother in Law Name Marthe Louise Hamel joined a cirucus in France during this time. At the age of 6 years. She eventually became a Trapeze artist and toured Europe, America and India until approximately 1928. We are trying to follow her life until she retired. Any information would be welcome. Thank you, Jean Ross. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

993. George Allen, 07 December, 2005 - Seeking information on the current whereabouts of George Allen, about age 70. Worked for Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus in the 1960s in the office and also ran a snake show on the midway. Toured with Jim Nordmark on magic show in late 1960s into early 1970s. I last saw him in 1984 in Norfolk, VA area where he was running a bus station. Ralph Hood, Huntsville, AL, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

992. Animal training, music beat, 05 December, 2005 - I am a researcher at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, studying on music and the brain. I am interested in which animals (besides humans) can be trained to keep a regular beat on musical instrument, without ongoing cues. This question relates to some work we're doing on the brain bases of musical rhythmic abilities.
    I recently visited the Thai Elephant Conservation Center and saw an elephant keeping a steady beat on a bass drum, hitting it with a mallet held in its trunk. This elephant was able to keep a very steady beat (about 40 beats per minute) without any ongoing visual, tactile, or verbal cues from its mahout. (Often the mahout would walk away once the elephant started hitting the drum). It did this quite reliably several times over a few days of observation.
    This shows that at least one other species can be trained to keep a steady beat on a drum. Are there any other animals that have been successfully trained to do this? I'm particularly curious to know if anyone in the circus ever tried to train a chimp or monkey to do this, and if they were successful.
    Please note, the key thing about this behavior is that it involves keeping a 'steady' beat, sustained for a period of time. (The Thai elephant could go for two minutes or more). Thanks, Ani Patel,, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 08 December, 2005 - I just read something really interesting about how music affects training animals (the big cats in particular) in the book, The Training of Wild Animals by Frank C. Bostock, originally published in 1903. Frank C. Bostock was known as the "Animal King" back then. Kenton Cornish
    Reply: 10 December, 2005 - In consulting with a few of America's top animal trainers, I have determined that bad music has little effect on the quality of performing animals. Evidence of this can clearly be observed in many of todays circus productions. Jim Cole

991. Circus Ringmaster, 05 December, 2005 - My 8 year old son has to write a report on a circus related career. He has chosen a Ring Master! Where can I find out information such as what job does a ring master do, how do you train to be a ring master (college, lessons, reading, what else), who long does the training take, hobbies or volunteer, and what else could a ringmaster do other than in the circus. Please help with a web site, reference what ever. Thank you for your assistance and have a good day! Regards, John Duggan. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 06 December, 2005 - Speech and acting. Practice, practice, practice. RAG Troy, MI

    Reply: 08 December, 2005 - The ringmaster was originally the "master of the ring." He was the person, standing in the center of the ring, who paced the horse for the riding act(s).
        That was a different role than the equestrian director, who determined when the acts in the rings should change and signaled that decision. Initially the equestrian director used a bell; Al Ringling, serving as equestrian director for the Ringling circus, introduced the use of the mouth-blown whistle.
        The equestrian director, as exemplified by Fred Bradna, was formally dressed with top hat, red jacket, etc. His garb, and whistle, were later adopted by ringmasters. Fred Bradna wrote about his equestrian director position, taking great pains to differentiate it from that of the ringmaster, in his book "The Big Top."
        There was also an announcer in some shows, having powerful lungs and using a megaphone to announce the act changes caused by the equestrian director.
        In recent times, generally post-World War II, the ringmaster role has been re-defined. Today it's a combination of master of ceremonies, announcer, solo singer and production number performer. They haven't paced horses for years.
        The changeover relates to the availability of sound amplification, such that a single voice could reach an entire audience of 10 to 12,000 people under a big top, or in an arena. People generally recall Harold Ronk as expanding the role of the singing ringmaster; there were actually soloists singling with the circus band several decades before, but they did not serve a dual role as announcer.
        The role redefinition also reflected changes and advances made in other public performance venues. Stage variety shows and television asserted their influence.
        There are other personnel that generally manage the actual ring activity and act changes. Some circuses have eliminated the ringmaster role as superfluous, relying on a "theme" as the continuum of the performance, as opposed to introducing discrete acts.
        If you focus on the current ringmaster role as conducted today, the skills include: voice; singing; acting; ballet or dance; and other skills associated with drama, the stage and acting, including being physically fit. There is also work in public relations and other activity outside of the ring, including education. Some ringmasters have no formal training, simply being self-taught or trained in the job by family or friends.
        A Google search for articles about recent ringmasters [they are often aggrandized for marketing purposes, as it's a role that people recall and can identify], you will learn about their backgrounds and how they came to be selected to fulfill their roles.
        A number of ringmasters, such as Tim Holst and Jim Ragona, moved upwards into management roles. One past ringmaster, Kristopher Antekeier, wrote a book about his experience, but I believe that it's at a level beyond an 8-year old boy. There may also be some information on the current RBBB website, but I would strongly caution against relying solely upon it. They have merged the history of equestrian director and ringmaster, when in fact they were distinctly different roles. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 22 December, 2005 - All, Collin just finished his circus project and put on a show in his classroom for family and friends. We had a great time learning about the circus and appreciate the assistance we have received from the circus community. Thank you all for your help and we wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season. Thanks again! Regards, John Duggan

990. Beatty-Cole route mid 60's, 05 December, 2005 - Seeking route information for the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros show during the mid-60's. Specifically I'm looking for dates circa 1962-1968 when the circus would have played the Cheung County Fairgrounds in Horseheads, NY? (Suburban Elmira). Thanks a million! Ben Trumble. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 06 December, 2005 - The route cards for the show do not list the lot location. You will need to check the newspaper ads for that location. The show played Elmira June 27, 1963; June 6, 1965; May 22, 1966; May 14, 1967, and June 9, 1968. Ted Bowman Route Collection

    Reply: 07 December, 2005 - The Beatty-Cole show routes from 1959 through 1996 appear in their 1996 route book edited and published by Tim Tegge. The published route does not list Horseheads, N.Y., (where the Chemung County Fairgrounds is located) for any 1960s appearances but the circus frequently did appear in Elmira, less than 7 miles south of the fairgrounds. It could be that the fairgrounds provided the lot but that the published route listed, for mail purposes, Elmira since circus routes are most often published for the convenience of writing to people on the show care of general delivery at a local post office. The show appeared in Elmira on the following dates throughout the 1960s: 22 June 1960; 30 July 1961 (matinee only); 27 June 1963; 6 June 1965, 22 May 1966, 14 May 1967, 9 June 1968, and 8 June 1969. It did not appear in 1962 or 1964 nor in 1970. Hope this helps. Richard Flint Baltimore, MD

    Reply: 09 December, 2005 - Many thanks! For what it's worth the "Elmira" dates on route cards and paper were almost always played at the Chemung County Fairgrounds in Horseheads back then. Not sure if that was the case with earlier rail shows, though in the 1970's the siding for the Strates train was a pretty easy five minute walk from the fairgrounds. Anyway, June 6, 1965 was the date I was trying to find to date some photos. Great work y'all. Ben

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989. Malick, 04 December, 2005 - Everett Malick and Leah Annis Malick left NY and joined a circus. Everett could contort himself in all ways and Leah played a cornet in the band. Could you help me? They were born in the late 1800's but settled in Ky in 1904. I have no other info. Thank you, John. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 06 Aug 2007 - I don't know anything about the Leah Annis born in the late 1800's but do you know anything about the Leah Annis who lived in Niagara Falls, NY in the late 1950's or early 1960's? MJ

    Reply: 29 Dec 2007 - My Leah was deceased by 1936. Sorry!!! - John

988. Slapstick, 04 December, 2005 - Slapstick: coal scoop slap paddle 32 Rimfire. History and references would be appreciated. Fellner Smith, Camano Island, WA, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

987. Black Diamond and John Lewis, 04 December, 2005 - First of all, I understand that Black Diamond was buried in Kingsville, Texas. This was a huge Asian elephant I have seen pictures of, being hoisted by a crane to its grave. I think there is also an African that was trained by Hugo Schmidt from the Ringling show, at some Zoo in Tennessee. That elephant is a bull african.
Can anyone tell me about the Lewis Bros. Circus, was it owned by John Lewis or Hoxie Tucker? I am confused, because I know that Lewis started this show with a Silverlake in the late 60's, and was booking Clark & Walters here in Texas. He was building a show here. I know he also managed the Hoxie show, and he and Hoxie Tucker were in partners at one time, and then I understand he owned the show by himself later. Which is the truth, can someone tell me? Thanks, Dwight. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 09 December, 2005 - According to Robert Parkinson's Directory of American Circuses, Lewis Bros. Circus was owned by Jimmie Silverlake in 1973. Hoxie Tucker and John Lewis owned it in 1974 and 1975. John Lewis was the sole owner in 1976. Bob Cline

    Reply: 19 January, 2006 - John Lewis had no affiliation with Clark and Walters, he and Jimmy Silverlake were to take out Lewis Brothers in 1973, but dissolved the partnership before the season started, Jimmy leased the equipment that belonged to Lewis (elephant - Babe, blind in one eye, etc.). Lewis went back to the Hoxie Show. In 1974 Jimmy re-named the show Barnes & Daly, and the Lewis title was used on a second unit put out by Hoxie, the title was used in 75 also. Hoxie used the title but Lewis was never a partner. At the end of the 74 season Jimmy Silverlake sold out to John Strong who turned around and sold most of the equipment to Hoxie. In 75 Jimmy was the superintendent on Hoxie Bros. John Lewis took out his own Lewis Bros. in 76 but didn't make the season, went back to Hoxie for several years and tried again in the early 80's but with the same results as in 76. Also in 76 the Hoxie second unit was re-named Hoxie's Great American Circus. Last I knew John Lewis was operating a barbershop in his hometown, Bridgeport, Alabama. Bobby Fairchild

    Reply: 12 February, 2006 - The Lewis Bros Circus was owned by John Lewis & later Hoxie bought into it. It was later sold to Alan Hill & called Alan C. Hills Great American Circus.

    Reply: 22 February, 2006 - I beg to differ with Us2in412 but my reply on Jan 19th is correct, and Hoxie did not buy into Lewis Bros in 1974 " he owned it"! I was on Lewis Bros in 73 and Jimmy Silverlake owned it and was on Lewis Bros in 74 and Hoxie owned it, but they were two completly differant shows accept for the title! I was also on Hoxie's Great American in 1983 when it was sold at the end of the season to Allan Hill. What was Hoxie's second unit started in 74 thru 75 was called Lewis Bros, was called Hoxie's Great American from 76 thru 83 when Allan bought it! Bobby Fairchild

    Reply: 18 Dec 2008 - Actually the above reply of 19 Jan. 2006 is all wrong. I worked on the Hoxie show in 1972. Hoxie hired me as the Assistant Manager of the Hoxie show. At the end of the season, I started buying trucks, a tent, and purchased an Elephant from Boots and Dale Madden of Gainsville, Texas. I picked up the Elephant along with Bobby Gibbs and Gary Henry. Bobby asked me to come to Mission, his Winter Quarters and build the show. I met Jim Silverlake, and we were going to be partners in a new show called Lewis Bros. Circus. I painted many of the trucks. We later moved the show to Medora, Indiana, the old Clark and Walters Winter Quarters. I owned the seating, top, Elephant, Generator and most of the trucks. Hoxie asked me to come back to the Hoxie Show, and Jimmy rented the show from me and called it the Barnes and Dailey Circus. A couple of years later, I sold that show to Parley Baer and John Strong, and they picked it up in Grant, Alabama. Hoxie was with me when I closed the deal with the Califonia buyers.
        In 1974, Hoxie and I started the Lewis Bros. Circus again, framing the show with lumber from the dump, old trailers and trucks we had purchased a junk prices. I bought an 80 ft square end push pole top, with one 40 ft middle from a Tent Rental Company in New Jersey for $2,000.00. I along with Junion Ruffin, (Prince Bogino) went to New Jersey to pick up the top and a Generator I had purchased in Lavelette.
        We brought everything back to Miami, and framed the show. We hired Bobby Gibbs and his three Carson and Barnes Elepahnts for the season. It turned out to be a beautiful show, and Hoxie and I were 50/50 owners in the show, and I retained the ownership of the Title. We played Springfield, Ohio in 1974 for the Circus Fans of America, the show was jointly owned by Hoxie and me.
        I sold my half of the show in 1976 to Hoxie, and came to Bridgeport, AL where I framed another Lewis Bros Circus, with an old King Brothers Circus top I had purchased from John Pugh of Beatty Cole. The show Hoxie and I had owned, was named the Great American Circus. I framed the new Lewis Brothers here, and went on the road with it for two years. I closed it in New Jersey, and wintered it in Farmington, just outside Asbury Park.
        Throughout my years in the Circus business, Hoxie Tucker and I remained very close friends. I had worked in almost any and every capacity on the Hoxie Show, the Lewis Show, and ran Great American for a Winter Tour one season. I went back to the Hoxie show as Manager of the show, where I stayed until it closed for good, in Naples Florida. Alan Hill had bought the Great American show a year or so before, while I was the General Manager of the Hoxie Show. Alan never owned the Hoxie Title.
        After the Hoxie show closed, I opened my circus again, and ran it until October 1982. I closed the show in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. To the best of my knowledge, all of above is true and correct. I just hope I have the dates correct. Thank you, John W. Lewis, Bridgeport, AL

    Reply: 09 Feb 2011 - I'm trying to remember the name of the family that performed the high wire act for Hoxie Brothers in 1972-73. One sons name was Mario. He and his brother were on Captain Noah's childrens show. I saw this family perform at the shore in NJ and also in Bensalem/Phila. Pa. Are any of them still performing? I believe they also were part of Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus. BethAnn

986. Gargantua The Great's Luxury cage, 03 December, 2005 - Would anyone know if the custom built cage, made for the famous circus gorilla, "Gargantua", (who died November 5, 1949)still exists, and if so, is it available so one can have his photo taken in it? Thank you, Rufus Ledbetter, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 04 December, 2005 - The wagon still exists and is at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo. I think contacting CWM pictures could be arranged.

985. Pulled train cars, etc. with his hair, 03 December, 2005 - The Indian "Chief" who pulled Train Cars and such with only his long hair. Anybody know anything about him? What circus might he have been with in the 20s or 30s. Kaye, hotk777@BELLSOUTH.NET. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 16 June 2009 - My dad was with Ringling Bros. at this time and my dad showed me pictures of this indian, my daddy was in the train wreck in 1918. Dad was a high wire walker and trapeze artist, went by the name of the Great Cardee and Mitzee and Harry, his real name was Harry Paul Hotchkiss, have pictures of the wreck. Also owned the Great Smokey Mountain shows during the war. He never used a balancing bar, only an umbrella, any one with any info please respond, I am his son. jimmycody10.

984. Pinder circus, Anne Gow, Anna Stanley, 02 December, 2005 - On reading messages I noticed a Natasha Gerson had replied to a message for pictures of Pinder circus,she has pictures from early years and I would dearly like to know if she has any of my mother as a contortionist-acrobat-dancer. Her name was Anne Gow, stage name Anna Stanley. I have been trying for years to get any information on Pinders from 1935/41. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thank you, mary carlin. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 04 March, 2006 - Pinder circus was in Holland in the year 1885. See paper of 1885: Greetings, Frans J.J. de Gooijer, Naarden, Holland

983. Harold Osana, high wire, 01 December, 2005 - I am looking for some pictures of Harold Osana. He did a highwire act where, among other things, he would do somersaults on the highwire. This was seen in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in the early 1950's. I don't know the exact year, but I believe it was between 1951 and 1953. Does anyone know how I could find out what circus he was traveling with, or does anybody know anything about Harold? Thanks so much! Leah Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 02 December, 2005 - Hi Leah, Perhaps you are referring to Harold Alzana. He was on the Ringling Brothers, Barnum, and Bailey Circus for many years. He retired in Sarasota, Florida and passed away several years ago. I believe he was originally from England and had a high wire troupe, then worked as a single. I am sure you will hear from others as he was very well known and was one of the best in his field. Hope this helps. Bunni

    Reply: 02 December, 2005 - I believe you are asking about Harold Alzana, (real name, Harold Davis). He was a featured high wire performer with Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus in the late 1940's - early 1950's, and later appeared on various Shrine Circus dates. His wife Minnie also worked in the act. Portions of this great act can be seen in the movie "The Greatest Show on Earth", which is available on video & DVD. There is a beautiful RB&BB circus poster, drawn by Forrest Freeland, that depicts "The Great Alzanas". This poster shows up from time to time on e-bay. I was told that Harold came out of retirement (for one night) and performed for the last time at the Sarasota Showfolks Circus in the late 1980's. He passed away about 5 years ago. Thanks to Jenny Wallenda for much of this information. Jim Cole

    Reply: 03 December, 2005 - Additional information on the Alzanas. Harold's two sisters, Hilda and Elsie also worked in the act. Jim Cole

    Reply: 02 Aug 2008 - The Family Originated in Maltby, a Village close to Rotherham in South Yorkshire. Edgar, who I think was Harolds Son, had a High wire in his garden next to the road and you could often wach him. In the sixties after a series of shows at Circus Circus, most moved to Las Vegas to live, and carry on the show, Edgars eldest Son, Derick (and his wife), at the last moment, decided to stay behind and we worked together in the coal mine until 1987. I'm not sure, but can ask him as we live quite local, when or how the name turned into "The Derrico Alzanas, the sign was up in his garage. I remember that quite a few years ago Derick mentioned that his grandad had moved to Sarasota. We spent eight years working side by side down the mine talking about his travels and I would often shine my lamp on him and quip, "This must be better than Las Vegas mate! Bet your glad you did'nt go." He would walk along cables etc down the Pit. Also, he showed me a solid gold watch he has that was awarded to his Dad or Grandad for cushioning a sisters fall in Vegas, I think it broke his back but saved her from injury, and on the back it says something like "Awarded to Harold (or Edgar) and mentions what for, the Date and Imprinted with "Circus Circus" Las Vegas. Hope this is of interest. Brian

982. Double mirror-sided circus wagon, 30 November, 2005 - Can anyone tell me the original purpose and perhaps the history of the double mirror-sided circus wagon? thanks! Pamela. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 01 December, 2005 - Circus parade wagons had mirrors as early as the 1870s and perhaps before then. Mirrors initially represented value embodied in the wagon by the builder or owner; they were relatively costly. They could reflect the sun, as did the gilded carvings, making them more "resplendent" in the parade, like costly jewels. Some enthusiasts have said that mirrors were for parade watchers to see their own image, or others along the route. Parade routes are linear, so it was appropriate to have mirrors on both sides of the vehicle. Viewers lined both sides of the streets. Some may have been mounted on rear doors, but the wagon front was a location prone to difficulty; ladder grabs, reins and such. In later years, as mirrors became less expensive, they were an economical means to cover relatively large areas, as compared to wood carvings or scenic paintings. That's why we see parade wagons with framed mirrors after they became commonplace, household objects. It would be helpful if you identified by description or reference the specific one of interest to you. Fred Dahlinger

981. Billy Barton, aerial artist, 30 November, 2005 - I am researching Billy Barton, a professional aerial artist from the 1950s to around 1980s, I believe. He apparently did movie work. Thanks in advance for any help someone might be able to be. Joyce Nowell Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 02 December, 2005 - Billy Barton appeared in the 1962 movie "Jumbo". He had quite a lengthy career as a circus aerialist, and performed on the "cloud swing". He was often referred to as "Mr. Sensation" He passed away a year or 2 ago while working as a unit manager for a circus in the mid-west. Jim Cole

    Reply: 19 Oct 2007 - My name is Bob Reed. Billy Barton and I were partners from 1960 thru 1967. I have tons of stories and memorabilia about this remarkable man but remembering specific dates is a little difficult. That was so long ago. While auditioning for a show of her's, Mae West asked his name. He replied Billy Barton she said you should be called Mr. Sensation and it stuck. Every time he played Los Angeles she would attend and he would introduce her. He was invited to her home on each trip and there's a book's worth of stories about that relationship. Billy adored Mae - I have an original sketch of her by Billy who also wrote several of her skits. I did anything and everything during those seven years with Billy. I worked his cloud swing act from the ground and announced many of the shows he was on. I was his primary booking agent however with Billy you were never the PRIMARY anything. I was more of a buffer to negotiate favorable contracts, My God what a flood of memories. I was with Billy during the filming of Jumbo where I met the unbelievable character Barbette. When Billy and Barbette were together - sparks flew. They respected each other but Barbette always had to be the star and so did Billy. This was true in personal situations as well as public. I could go on and on. If there's anything in particular I can answer you can contact me at Bob Reed

    Reply: 29 Jun 2016 - I'd be very interested in corresponding with you about Billie Barton, he was a brother in law of mine; I married his half sister. Don Beattie

980. Big John Strong circus, 30 November, 2005 - Any information you can provide would be great. I joined the Big John Strong International Circus and Wild West Show in early 1979, in Belleville, Illinois. I was a prop setter, tent erector, general working guy. I remember the elephant Nina, who set up the tent. Her handler was a black gentleman and his wife was part of the trapeze act, I used to swing the ropes for her, I don't remember either name, they had a daughter that traveled with them around my age at the time, 17. There was also a sword swallower, juggler, fire eater named Lenny or Leo. The circus boss was Wally. And of course Big John. There was an older couple that did a western roping act and bull whips. There was also a horse/pony show by stage name Tex, but I think his real name was Fred. He had an assistant named Paula Brusius who I was madly in love with. She was from St. Louis Missouri and we met back up in 1980 and 1981 before I went into the military. Let's see what else. I drove the truck that all the workers slept in the back of. Any information that you can provide on any of the above people or acts would be greatly appreciated. Thanx, Mark Henkel, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 01 December, 2005 - Hi Mark - I know most of the people you are asking about. For you see I am John Strong the third. I was working for Ringling in 1979 so I was not on my Fathers Circus that Season. However my Sister Sandy was I think? Email me for her phone number at Nina the Elephant is on the Kelly Miller Circus with David Rawls. The handler on my dads Circus was was a black Man named Ron. In 1979 Ron's girlfriend was Chris. They married and did a cradel act for years called suger and spice. Now live in Mesa AZ. The sword swallower, Fireater was Leo Grip. He was a great act. He blew big fire balls and broke a block of cement on his chest. I did his Fire Act on the movie Batman Returns, also the sword swallowing. Circus Boss was Big Wally. He now drives truck in Lompoc Ca. My Father Big John Strong died in 1992 of Cancer. He is buried in Hugo Ok. at Showmens rest. Has a 10 foot stone with his picture in ringmaster costume craved into stone. He had his Circus going for 48 years. I took it out another 5 years and now have a giant Sideshow at Fairs and festivals. My mother Ruth is still alive and doing well at 88 years old and lives in Fillmore Ca. Sandy and Linda live close by in Thousand Oaks Ca. and Ventura. The Western couple doing ropes and whips was Barbara and Syvester Braun. The pony show Tex. I dont know? Sandy would know. Heidi Wendany was on Show than with her horses and ponies and dogs. Do you remember her? Well Mark I hope I was of some help to you? Email me if you want. Circusly yours, John Strong III,

    Reply: 01 December, 2005 - Big John's elephant Nina was trained and handled by Ron and Chris Pace. I don't believe they had a daughter at that time. They run a website at The sword swallower was Leo Greip. You might find him listed on Ron Perry

    Reply: 07 June, 2006 - Mark, I'm so glad John Strong's wonderful son replied to your message! I have often thought of him over the years. We had some contact when my Dad worked the show when in Santa Cruz County. He was a Sheriff's deputy and the Big Show came as part of the Sheriff's Circus fund raiser. I have seen John's Sideshow and it is great with vintage banners out front, and a real show inside with all kinds of real wonders including at time animal oddities, living and preserved, magic and of course fire eating and sword swallowing. I do not off hand know too many to do both! (Involved the throat for both.) No gaffs the real thing I can testify. Watch the BATMAN (2nd movie with Danny DeVito) footage. Batman goes by in the Batmobile and pulls a sword like object right out of John's Throat! I'm so glad he added his email so I can contact him directly. FYI when I was much heavier one of his folks broke the record for poundage while sitting on a bed of nails! He did this with me and another Saan Jose fat fellow standing on his chest and lower torso. Whenever I've run across him, last time was exhibiting a rare miniature horse, he's always treated me like family. Hope you get to meet him. Best wishes, R.T.

    Reply: 02 August, 2006 - Hi there! The animal trainer you are thinking of, Mark, is Fess Reynolds who trained all sorts of animals but was especially known for his Brahma bulls. He had an act that featured 6 of them, as well as a "solo" act with Frosty. His animal trainer assistant (for that season, lol) was me, Paula. I won't forget all the challenges of working with him or the Circus life in general. And I remember the people you do - including Sandy and her little brother. I am really thankful for that time in my life and of course, meeting you was pretty amazing as well.

    Reply: 13 December, 2006 - Bill Schrieber had ponies on Big John's show.

    Reply: 16 December, 2006 - When I was a kid growing up in Thousand Oaks, the Big John Strong Circus played at our school in the cafeteria! Park Oaks Elementary School. Recently, I went to a circus in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and there was an elephant by the name of Nina. I talked to a guy who was with the circus, and we got to talking about Jungleland. He said he was the manager there around 1967 or 1968. I may have the dates wrong. Anyway, I asked him if that elephant happened to be "Nina, the baby elephant" from Big John Strong's circus. He looked over at her, and said he never thought about it, but it could be. He also didn't know whatever became of Big John Strong and company, so I was really tickled to find this website. Thanks for the great memories!

    Reply: 01 May 2007 - Hi Mark, I am so thrilled to have seen this website as I was thinking of my brother Tim Janssen and John Strong circus!! He started around 1973 and I believe through 1979. He was also a tent erector, and held the rope for Chris who also worked Nina, the elephant. When they were here on the West coast (I'm from Lompoc),I travelled with them for a few cities. My other friend, John Maguire became a clown. I can't remember the "real" clowns name but he was a really nice guy. I also know Wally very well and Michelle who travelled with him. Chris and Tim had broken up and we were still invited to her wedding. Unfortunately, my younger brother and I couldn't find the wedding place. I'm also thrilled that John Strong III gave her website so I can contact her. I also remember Sandy, Wendy, and the sword swallower. I have many pictures too! I was thinking of my brother Tim because he died in a motorcycle accident 4 yrs. ago. I miss him so. It feels good to remember those memories! Thanks. Diane.

    Reply: 06 May 2007 - Mark, I remember you. I am Bill Schreiber and I was of course on the show that season. You bought a very nice camera, if I remember correctly, but someone stole it. For the record it wasn’t me and I have no idea who did! Ron Pace and Chris Kennington, now Mrs. Ron Pace, presented Neena (now called Nina) and did one of the finest cradle acts I have ever seen. They did not have any children. You may be thinking of a younger sister that Chris may have visiting with her, Darleen, I think, but am not certain about it.

    Fess Reynolds presented the 6 Brahman bulls (named in order that they circled the ring: Bill, Charlie, Rico, Angel, Tommy & Jerry – I swear I will be a babbling idiot when dementia sets in!) plus the single comedy act with Frosty. The older couple who did the whip cracking and rope spinning were Barbara & Sylvester Braun. Wally Wallentin lives with his wife in Lompoc and drives truck. The sword swallower and fire eater was Leo Griep aka Swami Amazo (also “Rollick Montbanc”), a fabulous showman who really knew how to present his stuff. I worked the show’s four black & white ponies trained by Don McLennan. They were Poncho, Honkie, Shorty, & Cookie – you tend to remember them in the order they worked. Neena is still alive and well and will be with the Kelly Miller Circus again this year. After you left and when the show was in its final few weeks of the season, up in northern California near Crescent City, as the show was making its nightly move, a local guy allegedly with a number of moving violations and possibly under the influence either fell asleep or otherwise lost control of his vehicle, swerved over into the other lane where Carlos Rivera and Sparky Washburn were driving the office trailer. Carlos swerved to try to avoid a collision but as he did the other driver swung his vehicle back into the passenger side where Sparky was riding, hitting it with great force. Sparky was taken to a local hospital in a state of amnesia. Several of us went over to see him after the show, but he recognized no one and it made him even more confused. Unfortunately no one realized it at the time, but Sparky (Don Washburn) was having meningitis and it seeped into his brain from injuries received in the accident. He never recovered, slipped into a coma and eventually died from the complications of the infection. Leo Griep’s then wife, Marsha Kennington, who was pregnant for much of the season, did a great clown washer woman gag with Sparky, who was a very fine clown.

    Many of these things have already been commented by others, but I thought I would add a bit of info and correct some spellings and clear up some confusion. Bill Schreiber,

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979. Rosinback Riders, Past and Present, 29 November, 2005 - I am looking for any and all information on Rosinback riding for a documentary I am producing on this dying art. I have been able to find bits and pieces about the Riders through history, from Phillip Astley's creation of the first circus around his trick riding to some of the more modern riders, but I am still unable to create a comprehensive history of the Rosinback Rider. Any historical information, or leads would be appreciated as would info regarding the current state of Rosinback riding and todays top riders. In addition, if anyone believes themselves to be an "expert" on Rosinback riding, or has family history in the art, we are looking for people to interview for the documentary so please feel free to email me directly at Thanks for the help in advance. I look forward to being able to document and preserve one of the greatest and oldest of the circus arts. Thanks, Duncan Frazier,, Lunchbox Communications, Philadelphia, PA. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

978. Johnson Troupe, 29 November, 2005 - I am looking for information and or photos of the Johnson Troupe, acrobatic performers in the 1880s, uncles of my family. And the Wartenburgs from same period. Can you help? Many thanks, anne scott, email, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to send a thank you reply.

    Reply: 30 August, 2006 - My great grandfather,George Johnson (circa 1890) married Georgina Pinder (circa 1880, Pinder Circus). I believe they travelled in Scotland. Their daughter, Sarah, was a bareback rider. lacey,

    Reply: 03 May 2007 - Ray & Anne, We also looked up the Johnson troupe. Also great uncles of my family! The following link points to a British library record of a bill from the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties c1888. We do have a photograph of the troupe. Best regards Ann & Kim Peeling

977. Elizabeth Stice, 29 November, 2005 - Looking for any info on Elizabeth Stice who maried P T Barnum. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

976. Cirkus Altenburg, 29 November, 2005 - I'm looking desperatly for a poster of Cirkus Altenburg from around 1940. My grandfather was a performer during that time in an acrobatic group called "3 Edwards". I would really like to get in touch with someone who has a poster that figures this acrobatic group or a poster of Crkus Altenburg in wich they are included! Best regards! Johan Fronaeus (Sweden), Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, if someone replies to your question, don't forget to say thanks.

    Reply: 08 December, 2005 - Have you tried to contact the Swedish Circus Academy (in Swedish: Akademien fïr Cirkuskunstens bevarance i Sverige)? They have a very large collection. I suggest you to send an email to their treasurer Johan Vinberg at Another possibility would be to contact the dean of Swedish circus historians Per Arne Waahlberg. Kind regards Ole Simonsen, Denmark. Afsenders emailadresse:

975. Nicholas, Barnum 1885, 29 November, 2005 - I've recently acquired a small silver pocket watch inscribed (To Nicholas from the Ladies of The Barnum Show Sept 10th 1885) with the Initials NC on the outside case. Any info regarding this watch would be appreciated. Thanks, grizzlyleatherco, GRIZZLYLEATHERCO@CAROLINA.RR.COM. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - From the 1885 Barnum Route Book: lists a "Young Nicholas, wire act." Also in the "Clipper Letter" that covers news for September, "Young Nicolas presented by the ladies of the company with a watch and chain on his 11th birthday." I could not find a mention of Nicholas' full name. - J. Griffin

    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - The show was in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on the date inscribed on the watch. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 26 April, 2006 - Thanks to everyone who helped hunt for this information. Expecialy J. Griffin, as I have been looking for more than a year with no results. Thanks again Sender of question

    Reply: 17 May, 2006 - Thank you so much for your information on the watch. As I have the watch, chain and leather pouch it came in. The last obsticals are to obtain a hard copy for future documentation and to find out Nicholas C.'s last name. I cann't thank you enough for all the time you have spent on this project. sincerly Michael J Goodson ( Grizzly Leather Co.)

    Reply: 05 May 2007 - At long last I have more info on the watch thanks to the Circus World Museum Library, and Erin Foley (Archivist) there. My watch belonged to Nicholas Cabellos, part of the Cabellos Troupe which stared for the BBC for many years. He worked the high wire and later in life had his own circus in South America. He died in 1931. Erin is the best, hard working, easy to work with and so informational. I am still looking for a photo of Young Nicholas in the early years or one of him in his later years. Thank you Erin. Michael J Goodson

974. Animal training crop, 28 November, 2005 - I recently inherited an old animal training crop (whip) that has the initials P.A.A. inscribed on the handle. This particular training crop has two different ends that can be interchanged with the base. It appears to be a crop that would be used in training lions or tigers. Does anyone by chance know who these initials represent? Thanks. Clay Shill, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

973. RBBB train wreck, 1928, 27 November, 2005 - Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey combined shows train wreck in Zumbrota, Minnesota, August 12,1928. Mentioned IIIrd section of circus trains. My grandfather was part of RB&BB. He was there and involved in wreck, wondering about pictures or any personal stories of event, such as damage or loss of persons or animals? Any information would be helpful in my efforts to shed light on that part of his life. Thanks. Keri Moore, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - The two best places to check for information would be local newspaper coverage and also the issues of Billboard magazine, published immediately after the incident. A circus train wreck was an adequately unusual event that it usually received coverage. Your local librarian should be able to assist in determining whether the newspaper and magazine are available via interlibrary loan, or if other measures will be necessary. If this was a mishap involving a trestle and some stock cars, there are a few photographs in existence. You might also check with a local historical society, as well as the Minnesota Historical Society, for their holdings. If you can determine the identity of the railroad conveying RBBB at the time, the historical society pertinent to that system may also serve as a source of information or images. Some of them operate websites. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 30 November, 2005 - This Sunday wreck would have been on the Chicago Great Western (commonly called the Great Western), which in those days went from Rochester (the Aug 11th date) through Zumbrota toward Minneapolis (the 13th & 14th stand). The route says they also traveled over the Great Northern on this jump, but that would have been after the show got in the Minneapolis area. The Great Western north-south line in those days divided at McIntire, Iowa, and the easterly branch went through the above named points and then rejoined the westerly branch at Randolph, Minnesota, then northward toward the Twin Cities. Regards, Billcar Whitey

    Reply: 09 December, 2005 - If you post an e-mail address, I can provide some image coverage of the accident, or contact me at Fred Dahlinger

972. Luna Park ,Coney Island Elephants, 26 November, 2005 - Would anyone also have any details concerning the Thompson & Dundy elephants of Luna Park Coney Island, which in 1904 were reportly "The Largest Herd of Show Elephants in the World." Which along with 40 camels ($68,000 worth of animals) that were used in the production of The Streets of Delhi at Luna Park, Coney Island. K.C. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 30 November, 2005 - Lorenz Hagenbeck in his book, Animals Are My Life, mentions transporting 36 elephants to the US in March 1904. Eight went to the St. Louis World's Fair, eight to the Ringling Bros., and 20, including two males, to Thompson and Dundee for their menagerie at Luna Park. Jim Alexander

971. Frank C. Bostock Elephants, 26 November, 2005 - Would anyone have any information as to the elephants (their names,gender and species) of the Frank C. Bostock Traveling Wild Animal Show,and also the elephants of Dreamland Park, Coney Island from around 1894-1911. K.C. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 28 November, 2005 - The only one I have recorded is JUMB an African Female in 1905. She went to the Carl Hagenbeck Exhibit the next year and was part of the entire collection bought by Ben Wallace in 1907. She remained with the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus until the great floods of 1913 in Peru, Ind. where she perished. Bob Cline

    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - To Bob Cline: I was wondering if you have any information on the Hagenbeck show of 1905? My Grandfather and Great Uncles performed with Hagenbeck back then. They were Bareback Riders. They could have used the name of "The Martonis" or Karolys? Also, they performed at the Hippodrome in New York either that fall or spring? I know that they won some kind of riding award at the Tampa Winter Fair in November 1906. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thank's Erny Karoly

    Reply: 06 December, 2005 - Erny, Sorry this took awhile. Most of this is a result of research and a little I found in other places. First, I found no mention of your family but I'm sure if I had access to Billboard or the New York Clipper more information could be obtained. Unfortuantely neither of these are available in the State of South Carolina Library system or Colleges. So what I do have is to give you a feel for the show. Their ads included mention of their Water proof tents a bunch of times. Admission was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children under 9 years of age. Lorenz Hagenbeck, the son of Carl was in charge while Carl was in Germany. Prof. Antonio Lucio's band was comprised of 50 members. Herman Bogor presented a cage act with 18 tigers, leopards, lions, polar bears, and boar hounds. The show moved on 30 rail cars with new flats and sleepers being built by Pullman in 1905 as two seperate trains. New Parade wagons and cages were being fabricated in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have the entire herd of elephants from 1906 that Buckles Woodcock created. Sadly, I have nothing more to offer without other access to historical records. Feel free to contact me if you want. Bob Cline

    Reply: 07 December, 2005 - Erny, I went back to again today and looked at 1906 which was the last year for Carl Hagenbeck before he sold everything to Ben Wallace. I found one newspaper article dated April 24, 1906 in the Williamsport, PA. Daily Gazette. It mentioned the Les Freres Koroly troupe as being the first year in America. They were France's three greatest arenic innovators. Hope that helps. Bob Cline

    Reply: 07 March, 2006 - I have in my possesion the only know Bostock & Wombswell travelling menagerie in miniature made around the 1860s. I have found a coach with the elefant in. Would you like to have the pic. Let me know, greetings, Alex Likissas

970. Showmans Club, 26 November, 2005 - Is there a "Showmans Club" in Tampa? dee buckner, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 27 November, 2005 - There is a "Show Folks of Sarasota" club. I belong to it. I'm sure there is a club in Gibsonton, just south of Tampa. I don't know of a club in Tampa. Check in Gibsonton. Someone will surely help you. Erny Karoly

    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - A check via yielded Greater Tampa Showmen's [Association or Club?], 608 Willow Avenue North, Tampa, FL 33606, 813-253-5762. If you don't get a response, you might check with the IISF in Gibsonton. Fred Dahlinger

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969. Harry Paul Hotchkiss, 25 November, 2005 - Any info. Period 1920 -1940. "Shorty", Harry Paul Hotchkiss." "As I was told" Ran away from home at age 14 to join circus - 1923? Started as Do All - watering, feeding cleanup and "working" animals, set up, working midway. Worked or trained on all 3 wires, high, tight, and slack. Said trained by the same person as Mr.Wallinda who developed the pyramid and as he put it "together?". That teacher was German I think. Also juggled, balanced, and said to have worked trapeze with wife Mitzie - She was probly Polish from Ohio and she and child died in childbirth after performance fall. (northeast US?) He claims to have been at or involved in Ringling train wreck in Idaho or Iawa (1920s- early 30s- have Photos). (Toured Europe France, Italy - Asia, China?) Said knew Clyde Beaty and John Ringling North at some points. Possible titles used - as recalled - "Harry Wizard of the Wire" "The Great Cardiff?" "Mitzie and Harry" trapeze I think. I Know little of this man - But long ago, I know that he took small groups of children and adults to the Ringling Bros. Circus without paying one dime. Thanks for any Light shed! Kaye, hotk777@BELLSOUTH.NET. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

968. Sold at the circus, 25 November, 2005 - I have a somewhat of a bizarre question. My aunt, who is in her late 70's, told my husband and I a story about when she went to the circus a child. My Aunt told us that when she was little girl her mother would buy her a little lizard that was attached a chain that was then attached to a pin. The pin would be worn and the lizard would walk around you until it died. The story sounded a bit on the crazy side and I have been looking on-line to try to confirm this story and was unable to find anything about it. Have you ever heard of this or know where I can go to get some more information on it?! Thanks in advance. Jennifer. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 26 November, 2005 - Dear Jennifer, It's true. They really did sell little Chameleons tied to string with a safety pin on the end. They also sold tiny little flat baby sea turtles. They did this in the 1950's. We didn't know that much about ecology back then. Erny Karoly

    Reply: 27 November, 2005 - Jennifer, the lizards (which have been called chameleons) were known as "bugs" and the sellers on the midway were known as "bug men". The pitchman would pin a "bug" on his lapel to be viewed as harmless and he carried the "bugs" for sale mounted on a board. Unfortunately the "bugs" didn't last too long after leaving the circus grounds but kids loved them. John Goodall

    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - The lizards, or "bugs" were green anoles or Cuban anoles which run around Florida by the jillions. I used to get one every year at the Shrine Circus when I was a kid, and could keep them alive for close to a year. I even had a little lizard cemetery in our backyard! Ron Perry

    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - The lizards sold at the circus were Carolina or green anoles. They were relatively common in Florida at the time. Anoles aren't true chameleons but related to iguanas. They can change their color but not as well as true chameleons. Jim Alexander

    Reply: 29 November, 2005 - When Tom Parkinson was the circus editor at Billboard magazine in the 1950s, he wrote a feature story about these souvenirs. There's a copy of it in his papers in the Circus World Museum Library. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 12 December, 2005 - I would have never believed it! While on a family vacation in Hawaii, we saw many geckos. My mom was telling us the story of when she was a child, she got one of these pet lizards on a leash from the circus and pinned it on her shirt. Several members of our family looked at her like she had one too many mai tais, most of us laughed out loud. Even her own sister and mother denied that there was ever such a thing. In fact, for the rest of the vacation, it was the running joke. One month later, we were still laughing. Well, mom had had enough and went to the internet for help. She has shown this information to all us and got the last laugh! Dorothy Smith,

    Reply: 12 August, 2006 - The Fresno County Fair used to sell lizards on a chain in the 1950's and 1960's. I was just telling some friends of mine about this and they looked at me like I was from Mars! Morris, Melissa,

    Reply: 19 Jul 2015 - We were also able to pin the chameleons to our shirts at the LA County fair during the 1960s. Gregory

967. Circus Karoly, 23 November, 2005 - I was surfing for Hungarian Circus on the net and someone mentioned a Hungarian Circus named "Karoly" that toured Italy in the 1920's. That was my Grandfather's circus. He then traveled to Switzerland and went broke. The Email address brought me here to "Circus Message Board". Would anyone who has any information on Circus Karoly, please contact me. My father told me that he grew up in Italy, he and my uncles always spoke Italian when they didn't want my aunts to know what they were talking about. My family were Bareback Riders, among other acts we did. Thank's, Erny Karoly, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 30 November, 2005 - Hi Erny, I enjoy all your circus info. Maybe you can shed some light on the families I know, including you, Evie, and your Dear Mother Margaret. Karoli, Karoly, Caroly, Caroli.? Best Wishes, Bunni Bartok,

    Reply: 14 Feb 2011 - I have found an advertesement on circus Karoly. It was in the Nehterlands in the town of 's-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) 1909 from the 10th of juli. Here is the advertisement that I have fount on a historican from the town of 's-Hertogenbosch. The text on advertisement is:

    Great hungarian royal national circus
    Brothers Karly
    On Meijerij-square 's-Hertogenbosch
    Saturday july 10th in the evening 8 o'clock. Opening show.
    Performance of the best horse rider Sorie, clowns, dressage, air-acrobatics.
    Direction by: Brothers Karoly.
    Sunday july 11th, in the evening 8 o'clock, Great High Life Representation.

    I myself seeking for photo's of Lippizaner horses in circus acts. Greetings, André de Heus, the Netherlands,

966. Wrestlers, circuses, 21 November, 2005 - I am looking for information on wrestling matches and wrestlers in circuses. I know a little bit about Ed Decker who was managed by P. T. Barnum. And I know Joe Stecher vs Frank Gotch was supposed to be promoted the the Sells-Floto circus, but it didn't happen due to Gotch's failing health. Does anyone know were I might find more information on this subject? Thanks. Dan Anderson, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 22 November, 2005 - The 1953 program magazine for King Bros. - Cristiani Circus lists: "Heavy Weight Champion Wrestler from Canada, The Masked Marvel". I understand that performer, Freddy Canestrelli had the honor of assuming that role. I also recently viewed an episode of the 1950's TV show "Circus Boy" called "The Gentle Giant". The story was about a circus strongman/wrestler. These two examples of circus wrestlers in the 1950's was likely based on some earlier circuses having such a feature. Today, circuses are wrestling with high fuel prices, insurance rates and animal activists. Bring back the Masked Marvel! Jim Cole

    Reply: 13 December, 2005 - For posters of wrestlers go to, go to 'zoeken'' = search, type the word "worstelen" = wrestle and then press 'zoeken'' The site will be also in English january 2006. Herman Voogd,

    Reply: 13 August, 2006 - Red Dingler, Aerial High Bars, on the 1953 King-Cristiani Circus, was the Shield in the audience for this routine. He was dressed as a Marine and the audience always went wild upon discovering his supposedly Military Background. His wife, Ann Dingler, told me that they caught Heat for this Marine Impersonation. Thought you might find this of interest. Charles H.

965a. Robb Robbins show, 20 November, 2005 - I am about to sell for demolition the oldest building in a small Iowa town. One wall is covered with a large poster - maybe 10' x 20' - of an old circus ad. It is mostly illegible but some parts are quite clear and I can make out the name Robb Robbins (I believe) and shows pictures of many animals including horses on black stilts. It could be aged back as far as the late 1800's. It has really peaked my interest and I'm wondering if it is worth removing the wall and saving. Ron J - Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 21 November, 2005 - I suspect that the title on your poster is Burr Robbins, a Janesville, WI circus of the 1880s. The fragments should, at a minimum be photographically documented. Salvage value is dependent upon how much survives, the condition, and whether any similar items exist as patterns for restoration. A few such posters have been successfully salvaged, usually at considerable expense. If you can see any portion of a date tag, giving the city, day of the week and date, the item could be dated as to the exact year of use. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 28 November, 2005 - I would be very interested to find out more about the Burr Robbins circus poster. I would be interested in possible purchasing/restoring and might add that I have removed multy sheets from walls in the past on several occasions. Please call me collect at 630 739 2799, best, ken harck

965. Ruby Haag fall 1944, 20 November, 2005 - Ruby Haag fell from her web rigging while working on a circus in Cleveland Ohio. The circus was the Al Sirat Grotto Circus and the date was February 14, 1944. Does anyone have any information about her fall? Darren Bryan in Georgia, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

964. Wallace Circus elephants, 20 November, 2005 - Would you know the name of the elephants in the Wallace Circus, ca. 1892-1903? My grandfather was a waterboy and caretaker, and later trainer of these elephants. His name being, John Brown. ALVA BROWN, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 20 November, 2005 - This is going to be a terribly long answer but here goes. Buckles Woodcock is the leading elephant historian today after over 65 years of working the circus trail day in and day out. At some point in time he slowed down long enough to comprise an elephant history of the Wallace Shows. The copy I have lists the following information as you have asked. Hope it helps. Bob Cline

    Diamond - Male Asian
    Pilot - Male Asian
    Gypsy - Asian Female
    Jeanette - African Female
    Prince - Male Asian
    Tobe - Male Asian
    Jess - Asian Female leased to Sells & Renfrow Show.
    Queen - Asian Female leased to Bob Hunting.

    Diamond, Pilot, Gypsy, and Prince remained. Jeanette was leased to
    Frank J. Taylor. Tobe died.
    Romey - Asian Female added in 1893
    Robbins Queen - Asian Female added in 1893

    1894 to 1897: Diamond, Pilot, Gypsy, Prince, and Robbins Queen.

    1898 - Diamond, the 1st elephant owned by Ben Wallace died in March. Pilot, Gypsy, Prince, and Robbins Queen remained. (Prince died later in the year.) Mama - Asian Female was added.

    Gypsy, Robbins Queen, and Mama remained.
    Tess - Asian Female was added.
    Ella - Asian Female was added.

    Robbins Queen, Mama, Tess, and Ella remained. (Gypsy was sold.)
    Charlie - Male Asian was added.
    Ding - Asian Female was added.

    1901: Robbins Queen, Mama, Tess, Ella, and Ding remained. (Charlie died) Topsy - Asian Female was added.

    1902 & 1903:
    Robbins Queen, Mama, Tess and Ding remained. (Ella died and Topsy was sold.)
    Hazel - Asian Female was added.
    Maude - Asian Fmeale was added.

    A second bit of information does list a P.D. Brown as the elephant boss from 1903 to 1906. Bob Cline

963. Frank Shade, Mighty Haag, 18 November, 2005 - Looking for any info re Frank Shade; aka Delos W. Shade; born ca 1850 in Indiana; travelled & lived with George Gilbert; connected with Mighty Haag Circus; died in Kendallville, IN, in July 1924; dwarf/midget. I have 3 pictures of him: w/2nd wife taken in Boonton, NJ 1898, Wendt Studio; age ca 20 w/1st wife; alone age ca 40. Myrna A. Van Epps, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

962. Gene Holter family, 16 November, 2005 - Does anyone know what happened to the Gene Holter family that toured fairs with a large wild animal show? Racing camels, ostrich's variety acts, you name it. They also owned "Big Babe," the famous and wonderful elephant. They were home based in Riverside, California. Thanks for any info. Yolanda Bates Mosier, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 19 November, 2005 - Hello Yolanda. I knew Gene back in the 50's and 60's. He was good friends with a friend of mine. Gene, I believe originally came from South Dakota, as well as a couple of his friends that were in the horse business. Gene bred some early Appaloosa's. I don't know what ever happended to him, as I lost touch with one of his good friends. I know he used to supply animals for movies, etc. If you wish, you can email me. Pat Mefferd (Cottonwood, Ca.)

    Reply: 24 April, 2006 - I am Gene Holter's sister. Gene died in 1983 from cancer. In stayed into show business until he passed away. His wife and four children are still living. Please contact me if you have any questions. Lois Krein

    Reply: 07 June, 2006 - Hi, My wife and I traveled briefly with Gene in 1958. He was a most unusual character and (to us) a kind and honourable gentleman. Fess Reynolds, the legendary animal trainer, was with the show. Ray Chandler was handling "Babe". He had been injured on the Fourth of July while "Babe" was doing the head carry, where Ray would tuck his arms around his knees (like doing the "cannon ball" in a swiming pool) then "Babe" would actually carry Ray with Ray's head in her mouth. "Babe" was a beautiful and very gentle bull. Ray still had stitches and staples in his neck and ears as "Babe" had bit down when some nut threw a fire cracker under or at the bull. Larry Rucker was an animal handler and there was a midget Neal (forgot his last name) whom I showed how to apply clown white. The Zebra drug me through some cinders at the fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, tearing my trousers and baring my hip bone and took the skin off my elnbow. Fess took me to the Oklahoma Bone Clinic for emergency treatment. At the clinic the nurse asked how I had been injured and I told her "I got drug by a Zebra". She looked puzzled and asked if it was some foreign car. I told her "no, it is a white equine with black stripes or a black equine with white stripes". I am sure she thought I had hit my head when I told her I worked for Gene Holter who had racing ostriches. Thankfully, Fess came to the rescue as he was wearing a show shirt with the profile of an ostrich oulling a sulky cart. There was only one Gene Holter. Donn Moyer,

    Reply: 16 September, 2006 - Lois Krein - my father, W. F. "Eddie" Edwards, knew Gene back in the 60's when he was in the show circuit. He had sideshow attractions and a small circus. Now that he's in his Golden Years, he is writing a book about his show business days. He would like to contact you or Gene's family regarding permission to include photos in his book. He is also interested in obtaining more information and photos. Please contact me, Kevin Edwards, at Thank you. Kevin

    Reply: 20 September, 2006 - Hello, I am Gene Holter's youngest daughter Kathy Holter Nealey. My father loved to amaze people with his presentation of exotic animals at little old country fairs to the state fairs to the World Expo's and to the TV and Motion pictures business. Gene Holter along with his wife Margaret, son Bobby, daughters Margene, Gail, Kathy (me) and many wonderful people who worked for us over the years did manage to put together a very wild and crazy Wild Animal Show known as "Gene Holter's Movieland Animals" I was so proud to see that some one was interested in the family, we are all living in southern California. Margaret is semi retired (by choice) helping run three businesses which she co-owns, Margaret was the glue which held Movieland Animals together I'm telling you she's the toughest yet sweetest lady I've ever known. Bobby Holter owns a nut and bolt business in Hesperia CA called "Nutty Bolts". Margene Holter works in the manufacturing business. Gail Holter works for the school Dist. I, Kathy am currently working Camels, Ostriches, Water Buffalo, Bison, Ox, Yaks and Zebu's along with many other wonderful animals on a movie at Universal Studios called "Evan Almighty" to be released in mid 2007. If any one would like to contact me my e-mail is, please put the name Holter in the Subject space so I don't mistake your mail as junk mail.

    Reply: 28 September, 2006 - Who could forget Gene Holter and his Wild Animal Show! I still have the coloring book and a picture of one of the trucks. My parents had Diggers on a small carnival. I think it was in the early 60's Bobby and I got to know each other as we were playing the same fairs in Iowa and Minnesota. Just this summer an old friend and I were talking about that @%&* Zonkey you had. Gene Henderson,

    Reply: 21 October, 2006 - To Kevin, my family and I would be more than happy to share some our photos and such with your father. I will send you a personal e-mail as well and please tell your father the Holter family is honored for him to consider putting a piece of our lifes in his book and we wish him the greatest writing experince and success. sincerely, Kathy Holter Nealey

    Reply: 12 Jun 2008 - I am looking for anyone that have information about Larry Rucker. He was my uncle. He was an animal trainer.

    Reply: 24 Oct 2008 - To Vetterunner "looking for information on Larry Rucker" I am Kathy Holter Nealey my famliy had a animal show called "Gene Holter's Movieland Animals" and your uncle Larry Rucker worked for us for many years. If there is information about the time he spent with us that would interest you please let me know what information you would like. Larry was a great part of our family team. My Best Kathy Holter Nealey

    Reply: 06 Jul 2009 - I have pulled several stories and advertisements regarding Gene Holter and his Wild Animal Show. From the Western Horseman Magazine, January 1955, ”letters from readers” and a photo of J. Bud Jones, who was a blind horseman and rode HURRICANE the famous zebra. Also mentioned is BIG BABE. Evidently a firecracker went off and scared the animals. Bud Jones was drug by HURRICANE, which he lived to tell the take of the accident. Also have an article on Genes show with a photo of his sister Lois Holter on HURRICANE. Gene speaks of the great amount of time it took to train HURRICANE, etc.
        Another article shows pictures of WW SON OF BEAR STEP, a registered Appaloosa stallion, used in his shows and also as a breeding animal, at the halter is one of Gene’s daughters. I was told by a friend that the young lady was Genes youngest daughter, and that would be Kathy Holter Nealey; picture of Gen and Genghis, a tiger, at the Safari Room at the flamingto Restaurant, Spokane, Wasington; Gene and a Cheetah; Chuck a performing Chimpanzee; Bones a very old swey-back horse; SUGAR CANE the Zeony (half Zebra/half pony); Buddy Ebson (Beverly Hillbillies) on WW SON OF BEARSTEP; and a photo of the Ostrich races; also a picture of Byron Hendricks and his trained horse PATCHWORK…however PATCHWORK was his spotted dog’s name, the correct name for the horse who is registered Appaloosa, CRAZY QUILT.
        Genes interest in the Appaloosa horse, as a breed started many years ago. I have information on the first two Appaloosas whom he registered with the ApHC. I have some of that early horse history, but still looking for more. The article speaks of Margene, then 13 working BIG BABE (81 Year old Elephant). I also have ads from old 1940’s magazines, where Gene offers Appaloosas and Saddlebred horses for sale, with pictures of them. I would love to get in contact with any of the Holter Family, his sister, Lois, daughters Margene, Gail and/or Kathy and son Bobby. Pat Mefferd, Cottonwood, CA.

    Reply: 13 Aug 2010 - I lived in Jamestown ND during the 1950s and 1960s. At the end of 2nd Avenue NE where I lived was a farm owned by the Holter family (I don’t remember their first names, although I did deliver the Jamestown Sun newspaper to their home; they may have been Gene Holter’s parents? Aunt and uncle?). The area above their farmland was a housing development called Holter Heights. I recall several summers when the Holter Circus came to town with its big trucks and many animals. All of the neighborhood kids got to see the animals up close, as there were several barns and a large grassy pasture. This was certainly a treat for us kids in a small town. As long as we didn’t get too close or interfere with handlers, we were allowed to park our bikes on the street and enjoy the spectacle of ‘wild’ animals in the middle of the ND prairie. Mark

    Reply: 19 Aug 2010 - Gene Holter had a hippo which was often involved in publicity stunts. He brought it to Milwaukee for the Great Circus Parade - in 1967 for sure because I saw it. It walked in the parade with some elephants. I'm quite sure that is the only hippo ever to have walked in a circus parade like other types of lead stock. My questions are these. What was the hippo's name? When did Gene get it and from where? What became of it? A date of death or other disposal would be appreciated - Richard Reynolds

961. Wallett, Slout's Olympians, 16 November, 2005 - A couple of errors, I believe, in William Slout's Olympians showing on this website. It was the original WF Wallett who married Sarah Tutin Farmer and had children Russell and Florence, not his nephew WF Wallett who, as mentioned, married Florence Dillon. WF Wallett 2nd was actually born 1869 to Clifford and Fanny Wallett at Hull Yorkshire England and had sisters Ada, who married Dave C Loughlin, and Elizabeth Ann, who married Albert Roche. Both sisters played Zazel in America. Best wishes, Julie Layton, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 17 November, 2005 - Julie - Thank you for the correction. Regards, Slout

960. Joseph Gangler, dog trainer, 16 November, 2005 - My name is Linda Gangler, and my father-in-law Harvey Gangler's dad was Joseph Gangler. He never knew his dad, as his parents were divorced and his mother told him his father was dead. Harvey didn't find out about his dad being alive until he was a teenager when a cousin told him that his dad was a dog trainer in a circus. Anyhow, I just mentioned this to my son, Marty, and we have been trying to find things about the circus on the world wide web - and we DID find him! Seems he remarried and had a daughter Vickie and a son, Buddy. Harvey is now 90 years old - and well, we would like to find out more information about his father, and was wondering if you can provide anything else. My email is Any information or website you can provide would be very appreciated. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 06 March, 2006 - In response to your inquiry regarding Joseph Gangler, dog trainer; Joseph Gangler owned and operated Gangler Brothers Circus. Joseph Gangler was born and raised in Neillsville, Wisconsin. His Mother was Catherine Marx and Father was John Gangler. He had numerous sisters and brothers; one being my Grandmother, Helena (Lena) Gangler Imse. When he left Neillsville, Wisconsin area, he stayed with my Grandmother for a period of time. He said the "common house cat" was the most untrainable animal he ever encountered. I met Joseph Gangler only once as a small child with his very young wife (2nd marriage, I believe). Actually, he trained bears more than any other animal. He appeared on the Arthur Godfrey T.V. show numerous times with his bears. He was seriously injured once that I know of by one of the bears. Some years later his brother, William (Bill) Gangler and his daughter, Virginia, went to live with him and worked in the circus. At one time the Circus was wintered on a small island outside of Florida and also wintered in New York. I have some information on the New York location. Hope this information enlightens your son. Joann Martinek

    Reply: 02 Feb 2008 - I am researching the Gangler and Imse families for my step-sister,Dolores. I read a reference to both names in a e-mail at this site from Joann Martinek, sent on March 6, 06. I would love to hear from her to find out more. Marion Horwath

    Reply: 10 Aug 2008 - Marian: Please contact me via email. Thanks, Joann Martinek

    Reply: 27 Nov 2008 - I live in Canarsie, Brooklyn, New York and have been at this location for 61 years. I went to P.S. 115 on E. 92nd St. where Joe Gangler used to entertain the students with his wonderful animals. I remember wisiting his stable which was located on E. 87th St & Ave M. in Canarsie. His daughter Vicki used to speak at our assemblies, I used to admire her because she had a dad who had horses. I found your name through this site because just today, my husband & I was reminicing and trying to remember where Joe Gangler's stables used to be in Canarsie. I thought it was closer to our school, but I saw where someone wrote it was on 87th st. Great seeing your posting. Pat Whalen

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959. Frank Bostock's "Untamable" Lion, 15 November, 2005 - Would anyone know what became of Frank Bostock's untamable Lion named Wallace? He brought him over to America in 1895. Is the lion Wallace stuffed in a museum somewhere in the U.S.A.? Rufus Ledbetter, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 13 December, 2005 - There were many untamable lions and many Wallace's. It was a well presented act in most touring menageries of the time - and it was picked up by circuses and used in the side show. You will see many side show banners with the title -Wallace The Untamable Lion - It was such that it became known as 'the Wallace act'. Several circuses in the 1950's presented it in the side show (King Bros. also Cristiani). In the late 1940's Dailey Bros. presented such an act in their side show. If you check the New York Clipper for the late 1890's you will see ads for Bostock's Wallace for theatre and vaudeville appearances. Line-cut drawings. Al Stencell

958. Buffalo Bill & Appoloosas, 15 November, 2005 - Buffalo Bill (Wm. F. Cody) is said to have had a "favorite" Appaloosa. Two names come to mind, IVAN and SULTAN. Cody also used Appaloosa teams to pull his buggie in parades. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Pat You can contact me at Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 21 December, 2005 - Try and obtain this book, the title suggests that it might be helpful: Agnes Wright Spring, "Buffalo Bill and His Horses" (Colorado, 1948). The archives at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, WY, would also be a natural place to contact. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 06 Jul 2009 - Thanks Fred! I need to update my email addy. It is:

957. Music 1905, 15 November, 2005 - I've become interested the history of amusements and roller coasters in the era around 1905. I was hoping someone could tell me what sort of music, if any, might have been part of that era in circuses, amusement parks, etc. Names of tunes would be great, but I'm equally interested in how it would be provided, small bands? A calliope? Thanks for reading this, if you can help, that's wonderful. Chris H. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 17 November, 2005 - It was an era enlivened by popular tunes emanating from Tin Pan Alley, old favorites from the 1850s to the 1890s and martial music propagated by touring bands. Ragtime was heard in some places. Large bands were hired to play in some of the larger and better parks, like Willow Grove. Circuses hired their own bands, ten to fifty pieces, one for the big top and another smaller one (African Americans, starting about in the 1880s-1890s) in the side show, of a minstrel character, later featuring ragtime. Circus music, as a genre, starts in a limited way in the later 1870s, exists in limited form into the 1890s, then flourished from circa 1900 to about 1930. Charles Conrad was co-author of a book that incorporates many of the most popular circus compositions. Steam calliopes were first used as an accepted element of the circus parade in 1872, gave concerts on the lot, etc., continuing into the 1930s. Air calliopes were added in 1913, used in parade, to augment the big top band, later served in midway locations. Band organs were used in parks, with carousels and other rides. A few were installed adjacent to roller coasters. Arrangers included the same full range of music on organ rolls and books. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 19 November, 2005 - Is it recorded if circus music influenced later types of music? Sometimes I think I hear it in Carribean music. Last night I was listing to the oldies radio channel. They played a song by Eric Burden and War, "Spill the Wine",which was a hit back around 1970. Im sure I heard a steam calliope at the beginning notes. Rufus Ledbetter,
    Reply: 20 November, 2005 - "Bandwagon" articles published between 1940 - 1951 have just gone online on this website. There are articles that did include some information on the band music for the time period you are interested in. The article titles will not help you, you'll have to read a number of the articles. Those written by C. E. Duble come to mind as having some information on the bands, size of bands, bits and pieces on the band music, etc. There are at least a couple on bandmasters. J. Griffin

956. Mickey Graves, Property Boss, RBBB, 15 November, 2005 - Mickey Graves, Property Boss, RBBB, early 1900's - abt. 1940's. I am Michele Graves, granddaughter of "Mickey" Graves, and wondered if there is anyone reading this that might have known Mickey. I have lots of info about him but just wanted more personal information about him. He died in 1944. Also wondered if anyone has heard anything about a movie being written/produced on Lillian Leitzel and Alfredo Codona. I thought I read once on the web someone was thinking about this project. Thanks! Michele Graves, Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 17 November, 2005 - Michele, former RBBB clown Jackie LeClaire resides in the Sarasota, FL area and is well connected to many former RBBB employees. He may know whether anyone is still around that knew your grandfather. They'd be in the octogenarian category, or older. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 18 November, 2005 - Thanks Fred - would Jackie LeClaire be someone who would read this or if not, I'd have to find out how to get a message to him. Appreciate your response! Michele

955. Anna "Artoria" Gibbons, 15 November, 2005 - I am trying to track down photographs of Anna "Artoria" Gibbons as an older woman. Apparently, Joahnn K Petursson, "The Icelandic Giant," had some in his personal collection, but he passed away in 1984 and I have not been able to locate an heir or repository that hold his collection. If anyone can help track down Petursson's collection or has photographs of Artoria as an older woman, please contact me:, Thanks, John. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 17 November, 2005 - Try contacting Ivan Arnold via the International Independent Showmens Foundation in Gibsonton, FL. They have a collection of carnival materials, archival and artifact, or may know of the disposition of the collection in question. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 13 December, 2005 - In her older years Anna Gibbons worked for Ward Hall and also Dean Potter's 10 in 1's. Dean passed away this spring but Ward is still alive and he may have photos. He's in Gibsonton, Fla. Al Stencell

954. Johnny Jones Circus, 15 November, 2005 - Any information on a Daniel Dewey animal trainer in teens or early 1920's? Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 17 November, 2005 - The Johnny J. Jones Exposition was a railroad carnival. One of the attractions on it was a back end show that was essentially a one ring circus in a tent. You might find information about the person of interest in Bob Goldsack's book about the Jones show. If you search past queries, you will find Bob's mailing address. The other place to look would be back issues of Billboard magazine, a weekly trade magazine, but before starting you should have an idea of the years of interest. Another source to check would be Joanne Joys book about wild animal trainers in America and Fred Pfening's article on the same topic in Bandwagon a couple decades ago. You can locate the citation in the topic index on this website. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 12 February, 2006 - I am very interested to know what you have found out about my grandfather Daniel Dewey. I never knew him and know very little but my son looks very much like him and we have a few pictures of him. He wore a Mohawk for most of the time and he changed his name when he came off the reservation. He married my grandmother and she was in the girlie show. Anna Dewey was the name she used I believe but it was not her real name, we found out when she died. My father was born after they got off the road and when he died his pet alligator would not eat and later died. Would love to find out what you know and share any photos you might have or know of. Also want to know everything I can about him. His death was sudden and painful for my father and he rarely spoke of him. My grandfather was very private also as his Indian heritage was not respected at that time. Thank you for caring, Dawn Richards, Let me know, have a wonderful day.

953. Bockus & Kilonis 1930s, 15 November, 2005 - Can anyone give me information on the Bockus & Kilonis Circus of the 1930's? I just aquired many leather bound issues of the Billboard from 1936 thru 1960. There is mention of this show, out of Manchester, NH in a 1936 issue, and I am curious. Thanks, in advance, for any info. Jim Elliott. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 16 November, 2005 - Jim: Joe Bradbury did a brief photo feature and narrative on Bockus & Kilonis in Bandwagon, Jan-Feb 1967. You might also check White Tops issues from the years of operation. Fred Dahlinger

952. James Rice, Spillards, 15 November, 2005 - I grew up in the late 40's and 50's and at that time lived in St. George, S.C. We winter quartered with Marion and Rose Spillard, and the circus. It was called Spillards Greatest Shows and I helped my Father with the rebuilding of the circus equipment and repainting of all the rides and trucks. I have never been able to find anything on my Dad or Rose and Marion, or the circus that was there in South Carolina of my youth. My Dad was an old carney and had been around since before the turn of the century and told us tales many an evening of touring with Bill Cody and all the charcoal sketches that he had done over the years. He would how us a charcoal sketch and tell us stories of the people he had known and of all the acts, and brought it all alive for me, especially with the sketches that he had. He was known as (Bill) Rice on the circuit, but I have never been able to find him in any circus artifacts or lists. I only wish that I still had them, but for the ones that he left with Cody and others, they were destroyed in a fire in the late 50's. He was an artist and had painted billboards and side shows for years. If anyone has any information on this circus or my Dad. James T. ( Bill) Rice, I wouls appreciate it. Fair winds and following sea's, Sydney I. Rice. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

951. Hacketts, 14 November, 2005 - My name is Glenn Chelius and I was interested to know if anyone remembers a couple named Hackett. They were both circus performers that met in RBBB circus. They lived down the street from my grandparents in Dunedin Florida (retirement park) and passed away sometime in the mid eighties. They were a wonderful couple that had a house full of circus collectibles/antiques and always had a great story to share. Mrs. Hackett was engaged to Emmett Kelly before she married Mr. Hackett. I think she was a trapeze artist and he was a monkey or gorilla trainer. I think his first name was Bob. Glenn Chelius, Carol Stream, IL. Respond to this message, your reply goes to this board, not to the sender, please read posting instructions when sending messages to this board.

    Reply: 18 November, 2005 - Do you mean Dave and Marge Hackett? John McConnell

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