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Message Archive: Messages 1801 - 1850


1850. Music played in emergency situations, 17 April, 2007 - If in the USA Circus bands play John Phillip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" in emergency situations, what music is played as a warning signal to circus workers in the UK? Regards, Siân Oram. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 April, 2007 - "Head for the Roundhouse Nellie" Ree-gards, Ole Whitey

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1849. Jumbo, 17 April, 2007 - Where can I get a history of Jumbo the famous Elephant? nu2u@nethere.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 April 2007 - My library contains two classic books which tell the story of 'Jumbo' the elephant, his capture, famous life in captivity, journey to America and tragic death. These are the beautifully illustrated "The True Story of Jumbo the Elephant" by Eric Mathieson (Hamish Hamilton, London, 1963) and "Jumbo" by W.P. Jolly (Constable, London, 1976). Both draw upon contemporary accounts and are a joy to read. Hope you can track them down! John Turner

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1848. Joseph Pentland clown, 14 April, 2007 - I am interested in Joseph Pentland who was a circus clown. May have been with Aron Turner's Circus and more. His wife was Jane Ann listed as a she clown in the 1860 census. She was my great grandmothers sister. Her maiden name was Jane Ann Gillman or Jeannie. Would love any information available. Dorothy Delaney (Dothovey@aol.com). Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 April, 2007 - Stuart Thayer wrote an extended and illustrated article about Joe Pentland in "Bandwagon," Sept-Oct 2000, pages 4-7. The issue can be purchased as a back copy. You will also find other mention of him in Thayer's multi-volume and single volume edition of "Annals of the American Circus" and many other periodicals, books, etc. For instance, there's another item reproduced in the Durant book "Pictorial History of the American Circus." Fred Dahlinger

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1847. Shedman Brothers, 13 April, 2007 - I am looking for an authentic circus poster that has on its billboard the Shedman Brothers Act. Should be turn of the 19th/20th century. George Shadman, shadman148@comcast.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 July 2007 - I have picture of Winfield Shadman and his wife and his dog show from my father's photo album. It is not a poster, but a card with the picture of them all on it with about 17 dogs in circus act. My father was Winfield Shadman from Waterloo, Iowa who died in 1980. He always said this was a great uncle of his. My name is Randy (Shadman) Kapler, one of his daughters still living in Waterloo, Iowa.

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1846. Singh lion tamer, 13 April, 2007 - Does anyone have any information on Singh, the 15 year old lion tamer, with the Campa Bros. Circus? I have a photo of him and a letterhead that shows him as a headliner. Lynne Bell. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 April 2007 - The versatile and talented Arumai (sometimes "Arokiaswami") Singh came to America from his native India in 1947 with Louis Reed and a shipment of elephants destined for Dailey Bros Circus, B C Davenport, owner. Campa Bros was also a Davenport operation and by 1951 Singh was working a cat act on this show. After Davenport and partner Tony Diano parted, Singh went with Diano Bros Circus in 1953. As late as 1969 Singh's name appeared in the trades but I cannot give any current information. You might try http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/, a wonderful blog operated by retired elephant man William "Buckles" Woodcock. Regards - Ole Whitey

    Reply: 08 Sep 2013 - When Ben Davenport sent his lion and elephant acts to Venezuela for Circus Razzore, Arumi Singh presented the cat act and Raymond Frievogel the elephants ( which I believe were Tex, Nellie, Maude, Cutie and Myrtle ). Although there were many plans to bring the acts back to the United States in early 1956, it doesn't seem the animals ever left South America. A 1969 Amusement Business Elephant Census lists on the Greater American Free Circus from Dawson Springs, Kentucky, elephant Dolly w/ A. Singh. This animal was previously a Children's Zoo resident at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. More information is sought about this show or what became of Dolly. Ryan, TigerGuy[at]ShowMeElephants.com

    Reply: 01 Oct 2013 - A. Singh was my dad if you can reply please.

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1845. H. W. Campbells shows, 13 April, 2007 - I would like to find out more information on the H. W. Campbells shows. In a reply to Message 1177, it was mentioned: "The H. W. Campbell Shows in the Parkinson list is better known as a railroad carnival of 1919-1921." I am not sure what the Parkinson list is. But when I googled H. W. Campbells shows, I get next to nothing. My interest started after looking at the WW I draft registration card of a cousin. Dated Aug. 24, 1918, the listed employment is "Elf in H. W. Campbells Show" Thanks in advance! Ric Rogers, gwodog@yahoo.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 April, 2007 - The H. W. Campbell Shows was a carnival that traveled by train between its weekly engagements in different communities. Joe McKennon's book "Pictorial History of the American Carnival" provides dates of operation as 1919-1921. There is reason to believe that the show was also touring in 1918. A spread of images depicting the show was printed that year in "Billboard," August 24, page number unknown, according to an entry in a book by Richard E. Conover.
          The H. W. Campbell title appeared in the Robert L. Parkinson book "Directory of American Circuses" because the carnival had a modest one-ring circus as a back end show attraction. I don't recall anyone having written an overview of the Campbell carnival. I also have seen no reference to the existence of any surviving business records or personal papers related to the show. That means that your best source of information will be the weekly carnival news columns of the "Billboard" and "New York Clipper," the microfilms of which can be obtained via interlibrary loan. There is about one column of coverage in "Billboard," March 8, 1919, page 49, covering the delayed opening at Moultrie, GA on February 26, 1919. Sometimes Billboard published the rosters of all carnival workers and you might get lucky and find your relative. The article that I just mentioned did include Theo Forstall, later known as a circus staffer, as part of the Campbell staff.
          You might also check www.newspaperarchive.com for the title. It has the broadest collection of scanned newspapers available on-line, with key word searching.
          The Campbell Shows featured a street parade that incorporated the 1866 bandchariot built for the Van Amburgh menagerie. It's best known for service on the Sells Bros. Circus. A photo of it in Campbell use can be found in the Texas Record Project, part of the Basil Clemons body of work. This is available on-line. There may be other Campbell views in the Clemons collection. The only other Campbell show images I've seen of the show are in a private collection and are currently not available. The bandchariot was later owned by Clarence A. Wortham, suggesting that he may have purchased the Campbell operation sometime 1921-1922.
          Your ancestor could have fulfilled any number of jobs on the carnival, from roustabout to ride operator, etc., but the description as "Elf," unless it's an acronym used by the military, sounds like he was a member of one of the back end show performing cast members. Fred Dahlinger

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1844. Billy Pape, Billy Evans, 12 April, 2007 - Regarding my message #504 sent in 2005 regarding an inquiry of Billy Pape, circus acrobat act. Natasha Gerson responded with the question "Is this Billy Evans?". Ms. Gerson did not offer any info along with her question. I had to put aside my circus searching and my only response to her question was yes. That question stayed with me for all this time. The way Ms. Gerson replied had me wondering if she actually knew Billy Pape/Evans or someone closely connected to him.
      For Ms. Gerson, If you read this current message, would you be so kind as to respond with what you know? I have actually found his extended family. However, your question "Is this Billy Evans? still intrigues me; do you have anything to share. Thank you very much, Patricia Vincenzi, NYC patvin49@aol.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 April 2007 - I'm really sorry, but I have no clue how I knew anymore. Not through personal acquaintence, alas. I was doing quite a bit of research on the same era around that time and came across many names and acts in programs and in newspaper files and things. A computer crash with quite a few scans that were not backed up about a year ago further diminishes hope that I can recall. Surely by the way you've seen the several pictures of Billy Pape posted on the Yesterday's Towns blog? website: yesterdaystowns.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html. Natasha Gerson

    Reply: 24 April 2007 - Thank you for responding. I was not aware of that site you suggested. What I am looking for is when he died and where - I found out he was born in 1908, and in the 50s and 60s he would have been early-mid 50s himself. I can find no obituary, Social Security, marriage records, etc. info. Those pics are of him on that site, but Concha was with him in the late 20s, not who he was with in the late 30s to 1940s, that was Renee and I cannot find her either, and presume she was younger. Are you a circus buff or of circus family? Thank you, Patricia Vincenzi

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1843. United States Circus, Great Eastern, 12 April, 2007 - I have an old photo (1880's?) that shows a circus poster on the front of my ancestors Foundry business in Diamondville, Pennsylvania. Not all of the poster is readable but what can be read is: United States Circus - Great Eastern - Menagerie. There is more copy on the poster but I can't quite make it out, maybe the date June 18. From the circus history website I have learned a United States Circus was around in 1886, would there be other information it? I am hoping to find out more about the circus and date the photo. Thanks for any help you might give. Best Regards, Russell J. Rodkey, Strongstown, PA, carpost@comcast.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 April, 2007 - The date was 1882 and the show was formerly the Burr Robbins circus out of Janesville, Wisconsin. He sold the outfit to Myers & Shorb for 1882, then bought it back at the auction when the show failed. Keith McLaughlin in Janesville, WI has done a lot of research on the Burr Robbins outfit and might be able to provide some insights. A summary story was printed in "Bandwagon" in the Nov-Dec 1969 issue. There's also a chapter about the Robbins circus in the book that Stuart Thayer and I co-authored, "Badger State Showmen." You can also find coverage in the weekly issues of the trade journal "New York Clipper." A cameo biography of the involved parties will also be found in Slout's "Olympians," on this website. The Robbins show and perhaps Myers & Shorb may have been covered in the Dave Watt articles that have been serialized in Bandwagon issues for the past few years. They were originally published in the Janesville newspaper. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 17 April, 2007 - Actually the date was 1886 for the Big United States and New Great Eastern Menagerie. The show opened in Columbus, Ohio May 21, and this was the second unit of the Sells Brothers Circus. After June 10 the words Sells Brothers was added to the title to take advantage of the Sells Bros. name. There are quite a few dates in Pennsylvania, but I cannot confirm Diamondville. Possibly the local paper would have a newspaper ad. The New York Clipper is still the best source for additional information. Ted Bowman Route Collection.

    Reply: 20 April, 2007 - John may indeed be correct in offering 1886, in lieu of 1882, as the date of the image. I failed to note that June 18 fell on a Sunday in 1882, while it was a Friday in 1886. It's doubtful that Myers & Shorb would have made a presentation on the Sabbath. The duplicate use of the same title makes one wonder if perhaps an excess of unused 1882 posters in a printer's warehouse dictated the title used in 1886? The billstand in the photo consists of a title piece below which are multiple one-sheet lithos. Multiple sheet posters were not utilized. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 01 Nov 2008 - I have in my possession a chromatograph trade card for this circus done by Courier Lithographing Co. of Buffalo, New York. They were in business under this name from 1881-1908. The card depicts a bust of President George Washington surrounded by U.S. flags and a spread eagle above. The text is BIG UNITED STATES CIRCUS / AND (above the bust) NEW GREAT EASTERN / MENAGERIE. / LARGEST RAIL ROAD SHOW ON EARTH / 4 TRAINS (below the bust). The reverse of the trade card gives further details of the show (such as 3 rings, seats for 15,000, 54 master musicians, 500 wild beasts, 1000 men and horses, etc., etc.) and mentions H. H. Thorp as the Director General. I hope this adds to the knowledge of this circus. I can send jpeg images to interested parties. Ben@32TerrificTeeth.com

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1842. Arthur Bros poster, 12 April, 2007 - I have an Arthur Bros. Circus poster and it doesn't have any dates or numbers on it. The poster is yellow with a red rectangle framing it. The poster is phrased Arthur Bros. 3 Ring Railroad Circus, America's Newest and Finest Show. A drawing of a clown's head is in the lower left third of the poster. Does anyone have any idea of the date of this poster? Lynne Bell. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 April, 2007 - 1945 was the single year of operation for the Arthur railroad circus. There's an article about the circus by the late Bill Elbirn in "Bandwagon," Nov-Dec 1966, pages 4-9. A number of the wagons from the show are preserved in Baraboo. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 13 April, 2007 - The Arthur show was framed late in 1942 by Martin Arthur. It was a truck show through 1944. Your poster for a railroad circus indicates that it dates from 1945, the only year Arthur Bros was on rails and the last year of the show. The 1945 show looked like something out of the past as the wagons were from the 1938 Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and the wheels had the old-fashion wooden spokes and steel rims. By that time, other rail circuses had replaced their wagon wheels with either hard rubber or pneumatics. They had some nice posters, most of them being printed by Majestic in Los Angeles. Ree-gards, Ole Whitey

    Reply: 08 May 2007 - Thank you Whitey and Fred. I appreciate the help. I no longer have Adonna Houston to keep my information straight. She passed away in 2006 at the age of 96. Her father, J. Sam Houston, of Sells Floto and Gentry Dog and Pony Shows and his many museums lived on for many years in her. Lynne Bell

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1841. George Elser, 10 April, 2007 - I am searching for information on George Elser. I have stationary he used from the Heart of America Showmans Club in Kansas City, MO. They were at various locations in Kansas City according to the letterhead. George was the Warden of the club in about 1950. His dates of birth and death and location of his burial would help. Thanks. Al Stehno, Billings, Okla. 101 Ranch Wild West Show researcher. 101 Ranch web site. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1840. Hoxie Tucker elephants, 09 April, 2007 - My Name is Patti (Kitty) McCormick-Mooren. I used to work for Hoxie Tucker. We gave elephant rides at Miami Metrozoo and Miami Beach on Fridays. I worked with 3 cow elephants named Bonnie, Jessie, and Betty. If anyone has pictures of them please contact me at this e-mail address, cowgirl_up815@yahoo.com. Sincerely, Patti. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 May 2009 - I have pictures of the elephant Jesse from the years 1964 to 1976 when she was part of our family with the "Miller Bros Circurama". She was doing a great single routine in our show and gave rides before and after the show. She is a great ole girl and we loved her. I am trying to find where I can go and visit her. She is owned by Carden Inter. Circus I understand. Betty Olive, olive.betty@gmail.com

    Reply: 14 Jan 2016 - I'm the guy that work the elephants at that time. Kenneth Maust

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1839. Circus train accident 1880, 09 April, 2007 - My sister owns a home in Tyrone, NY which is about 15 minutes from Watkins Glen, NY in the Finger Lakes. A gentleman in the area was talking about a circus train accident in 1880 which involved a circus animal eating a cow. I cannot find anything on the internet, or at the local historical society. Can you give me some information to either prove or disprove this story? He said it was the biggest train accident in the U.S. at the time. Thank you, MJ. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 April, 2007 - Is it possible that someone has confused the 1893 wreck of the Walter L. Main circus at Tyrone, Pennsylvania with Tyrone, New York? The 1893 mishap was one of the worst, in terms of destruction, in American circus history. Fred Dahlinger

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1838. Yaro Hoffmann, tiger trainer, 09 April, 2007 - My step-father Yaro Hoffmann died April 3, 2007 in Medford Oregon. He was a circus performer & tiger trainer who last appeared late-March in Portland, OR and Washington State, but travelled all over North America. Calling Florida his home, it's important to reach out to south Floridians, plus extended circus family and let them know of the news. Risking extraordinary harm every show by going into a steel arena with a half-dozen tigers, his untimely death came by ordinary means. If anyone took any pictures or video of the shows, especially on April 1, we would be extremely grateful to obtain a copy/CD burn for my family. I want to see if I could get pictures of their last times performing. Additionally, if you saw my tiger-training parents in some other venue over the last 20 years in a circus, fair or festival I'd be thrilled to get full-quality pictures from you. Thanks for reading. Mike Bellman, Columbia, MO. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 June 2009 - I believe your parents once had a snow leopard but have never seen any confirmation as to just when that was or from whom they obtained it. Performing snow leopards have been very scarce. The Hoffman animal would be only the sixth of which I am aware. The others were owned by Alfred Court, Lucio Cristiani, Cyndi Gamble, and Siegfried and Roy - -Richard Reynolds, RJR3rd@aol.com.

    Reply: 07 June 2009 - In my earlier message I should have pointed out that the six trained snow leopards mentioned were the ones here in USA. There have been others in Europe.
        Alfred Court took delivery of three snow leopards in Antwerp in late 1938. In a deal arranged by animal dealer Ruhe, they came aboard a Russian freighter out of Archangel that made a stopover in Antwerp while conveying war material to the communists fighting in Spain's civil war. The leopards were in bad shape and one died right away. The remaining two were nursed back to good health. They were named Niet and Doutschka. They were the centerpieces of the fabulous leopard act Court debuted in 1939. It was presented first at Belgian Circus deJonghe and then at Clem Buston's famed Tower Circus in Blackpool, England. It seems that the two snow leopards did not appear together in the ring. Niet served as a backup to Doutschka who was the star. Niet died while in Blackpool. In December 1939 Court brought his three wild animal acts to USA for RBBB and Doutschka came as well. The animals were rehearsed in Sarasota but not in public view. Then it was off to NYC for the grand debut in the Garden. Sadly, Doutshka was killed there during rehearsals by a common spotted leopard before she could be seen by the American public.
        So, we would not see a snow leopard in the ring until Lucio and Gilda Cristianti debuted their "Juno" in 1990 in an uncaged leopard act.
        Hans-Jürgen and Rosemarie Tiede referred to snow leopards being trained by Richard Havemann in 1905 in a mixed act that also included leopards and lions. This was at the animal training school operated at the Berlin Zoo under direction of Director Ludwig Heck.
        The Tiedes also reported that Fritz Schilling, a pupil of Wilhelm Hagenbeck, developed a speciality in training snow leopards as well as pumas, polar bears, and mixed groups. Presumably this was in the early 20th century.
        From 1957 to 1960 British trainer Bailey Fossett (1912 - 1992) had two snow leopards in an act with leopards, black panthers, jaguars, and pumas. It was seen in Sir Robert Fossett's Circus.
        Then in fall of 1985 Britisher James Clubb acquired a snow leopard to be introduced to his mixed leopard act. He named it "Doutschka" after Court's animal. The act with the snow leopard was presented by Emile Smith and debuted in June 1986 with the Great Yarmouth Circus. It was a sensation with the Swiss Circus Knie in 1987.
        Now I need to find out the particulars of the snow leopard belonging to the Hoffmans. Richard Reynolds

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1837. Family of acrobats, 08 April, 2007 - I am interested in finding out if there was a family of acrobats from Roumania living in Buffalo NY, who performed under the "big top" in the early 1900's -1940's or 50's Possibly trapeze artists. Any leads would be most appreciated. Thanks very much. M. Magee. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1836. Lambart acrobatic comedy team, 08 April, 2007 - Am looking for information on the acrobatic comedy team of Billie and Gene Lambart. They were quite popular in the '50s. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Pam Linscott, pjl62@hotmail.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 April, 2007 - Billie Lambart is still alive, living in Sarasota, Florida. You can write to her C/O Showfolks of Sarasosta, PO Box 1476, Sarasota, FL 34230. fatima

    Reply: 22 June 2007 - Pam, if you don't have yout answer yet check out Yesterday's Towns, yesterdaystowns.blogspot.com, June Archives. Thanks to Billie, I have a pretty complete file on Gene when he was young, from his first act The Francanas up to Billie & Gene Lambart, at The Palace Theater in N.Y. Bill Strong, (24HOUR MAN)

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1835. Circus based in New Orleans in 1930's, 07 April, 2007 - I am looking for information on what circus might have been based in New Orleans in the 1930's. Might it have been Ringling? I saw that They merged with Hagenbeck in 1906 and Hagenbeck would summer there. Any information would be greatly appreciated. My grandfather was a "traveling salesman" for the circus. JoAnne Vanett, Ambler, PA, gojumom@aol.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 April, 2007 - While my answer is certainly not going to be complete, it should be helpful. The Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus bought the American Circus Corporation in 1930. The American Circus Corporation was the owner of the Sells-Floto Circus, John Robinson Circus, Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, Sparks Circus, and a couple other titles of circuses that were no longer travelling. Ringling wintered in Sarasota, Florida from 1926 to 1960 when it moved to Venice, Fl. The Mighty Haag Circus called Shreveport, La. home for many years before relocating to Marianna, Fl.in the late 1920's to 1930's. There was a carnival that travelled by rails called Beckman and Gerety that called Louisiana home also. They were definitely in La. in the 1930's as they were broke and out of business by the early 1940's. Bob Cline

    Reply: 12 April, 2007 - The best way to start your search would be to post your grandfather's name and to reference the documentation that you've found concerning his circus career. That information may provide a meaningful starting point for others. The phrase "traveling salesman" really doesn't have meaning in the circus business. Was he an advance agent, a member of the advance crew, or something of that nature?
          The Ringling brothers negotiated for the purchase of the Carl Hagenbeck Trained Wild Animal Show after the tour of 1906, but the purchase was never completed because the sellers could not provide a clear title to the Hagenbeck name. A signed contract, dated December 6, 1906, is reproduced in C. P. Fox's book "Ticket to the Circus," page 49. The Ringlings had business dealings with the Hagenbeck organization in Germany, and its American representatives, for many years.
          John Ringling, as an individual, and not the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, bought the Circus City Zoological Association, Inc., the successor organization to the American Circus Corporation, effective on September 6, 1929, the contract being signed on August 30, 1929.
          RBBB started to winter in Sarasota, Florida commencing after the conclusion of the 1927 season. Fred Dahlinger

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1834. Tony Parker aka Tony Agler, 07 April, 2007 - Hello my name is Sue Birney, sbirney@wpl.org. and I am inquiring information on Tony Parker, clown who lived in Winfield Kansas. He started his career in 1834 with Van Amburgh’s Show and joined other circus throughout his career. I would appreciate any other information that someone may have on him. Our historical society does not have any information or pictures but has reference to him in newspapers. I did read the article On the Road with A Wagon Show 53 years posted with Circus Historical Society. Thanks for your help. Sue Birney. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 April, 2007 - The Agler memoir, valuable in many ways, also needs to be treated and used judiciously. There was no John Robinson circus in 1824, "Crains" should be "Crane's" and so on. I do recall seeing a brief mention in either "Billboard" or "New York Clipper," a re-printing of a story about Agler, likely from a local newspaper. It did not mention him by name, but surely it's about him, characterized as the oldest living acrobat, I believe. There are five references to Anthony Parker's circus employment in Stuart Thayer's "Annals of the American Circus, 1793-1860," which should be available to you via interlibrary loan. Thayer also utilized information from Agler's memoir in his acclaimed book "Traveling Showmen," which surveys the existence of overland shows 1825-1860.
    Winfield, Kansas was the setting for a series of street parade photographs taken of the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth, September 20, 1909. Credit goes to the same circus history doyen, Stuart Thayer, for the discovery, who recalled the streetscape in the background and spotted it in a book of identified city images. Perhaps as many as a dozen photographs were taken at the time. I'll send a sample directly to you. Fred Dahlinger

    Here is the Agler/Parker citation. It's from the weekly journal "Variety," March 16, 1914, page 5. "Oldest Acrobat in Kansas. Chicago, March 4. Bob Sherman has unearthed the oldest acrobat in captivity, living at Winfield, Kansas. The old boy claims to be the first acrobat with the first circus, and modestly answers to the age of 98 (four years younger than Hank Allardt). "According to Sherman, whose veracity in matters of this kind goes unquestioned, the old tumbler hasn't been active since his 89th year, having sprained a tendon in his left nether limb at that age while doing a round off flip-flap from a moving wagon." Fred Dahlinger

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1833. Imperial Exposition, 06 April, 2007 - Am looking for any available information on a traveling carnival [Circus] named Imperial Exposition. Most interested in the 1940/1950 era. Ron Lugowski. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1832. Tarver Texas Giant, 06 April, 2007 - I am interested in any information that you can furnish me on big Jim Tarver the Texas giant, as my father in-law grew up with him in Grand Saline Texas. BILLY HORTON, billyhorton2006@sbcglobal.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 July 2007 - My name is Joyce Riehs and I live in Victoria, Texas. I am 73 years young. My mother was born in Franklin, Texas in 1904. Her mother, Ethel Pack (nee Eaton) was a 2nd cousin to James "Big Jim" Grover Tarver. I can remember my Granny talking about the giant cousin she had and how it fascinated me as a child to see the big ring that sat on the mantle. The thing that got me to tthinking about Big Jim was an article in our newspaper - The Victoria Advocate - on page B3 on Wed. July 18 about him by Henry Wolff Jr., our local historian. This caught my interest again after so many years and I got on the Internet and started to try and find anything I could about him. I came across his obituary and couldn't believe he had lived to be 72 years old as no one in my family had really mentioned him as still living up until the 1950's. I couldn"t find any record of him being married or having children as his obituary didn't mention any survivors. It did, however, say that he was a Mason and Shriner. I would love to hear from anyone that might could tell me more about "The Texas Giant".

    Reply: 03 Dec 2007 - Texas Jim was my great uncle. I may be able to provide a little more information. My email address is: rachelsanders@bellsouth.net

    Reply: 13 Dec 2007 - Jim Tarver aka Big Jim aka What-A-Man-Tarver. His birth name was James Grover Tarver, born 17.September.1885 in Franklin Texas and died 21.January.1958 in Arkansas from diabetes. He reportly made one movie(silent), JACK AND THE BEANSTALK released in July 1917. Anyone know if this is this a lost movie? R.L.

    Reply: 16 Dec 2007 - Jim Tarver at one time was a farmer in Wood County Texas before buying with his savings from show buisness a 400 acre farm near Turrell Arkansas and spending the winters there. He toured with Hagenbeck-Wallace show up till the 1950's. His height was reputed to be 8 feet 3 inches, to eight feet six inches tall in later years. However you can be sure that the circus added at least a foot to his actual height in their publicity. Since he average height for a top billed circus giant is about 7 feet 7 inches tall(in their socks and minus ten gallon hat) Jim Tarver was probably about an inch or two shorter I reckon. BTW P.T Barnum way back in the 1860's never considered employing anyone as a giant in his museum if they were any less then seven feet two inches tall (in their socks). R.L.

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1831. Rose Shows, 05 April, 2007 - I don't know if you can help. I am looking for a group that traveled under the name Rose Shows. I don't know much about them. I know that in late July/early August 1955 they were in Wisconsin, as that's where my uncle was killed while setting up a ferris wheel for them. Any information would be greatly appreciated, even a link to somewhere else to search. Kara Granger, kara1970@optonline.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1830. Elephant act 1930s, 04 April, 2007 - Looking for a description of an elephant act typical for a traveling circus (preferably 3 ring variety) around the 1930s for a book I’m writing for young readers. I would be most appreciative of any details or resources you could provide. Thank you! Bonnie Graves. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1829. Barnum & Bailey poster, 03 April, 2007 - I have in my possession a Litho dated 1913, made by the Strobridge Litho Co. It is a circus poster; number in lower right hand corner is P-144. In the upper right hand side is: 13-B-226. Title of poster is The Barnum & Bailey Big Free Street Parade. I believe this to be an original poster. It was obtained from a very elderly man. Poster is in almost new condition. Can you tell me anything about this poster? Thank You Fred E. Schnoke. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 April, 2007 - The "P" number likely denotes that it's a reprint. If the size is not close to 21" x 28" or 28" x 42", but some fraction like 2/3s or 3/4s of those dimensions, it's further confirmation of the reprint status. There are thousands of reprints out in the trade, often sold with disarmingly "reasonable" stories as to their age, authenticity and so on, but they're all from relatively recent times. If you were taken in by a cagey seller, don't feel too bad, even some learned collectors have been betrayed by "grandma had it in the drawer for sixty years" stories. The best way is to buy with a money back guarantee. If the dealer or seller is unwilling to do so, then "what's too good to be true probably is" applies and pass on it. Most of these reprints were acquired by people that went to the circus, and remember, it's an entertainment for "children of all ages." Fred Dahlinger

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1827. Davis' circus, 03 April, 2007 - Family lore says that a relative whose last name was Davis sold his circus to Barnum and Bailey or Ringling Brothers. Do you have information about this, or do you know anywhere I could look for information? Thank you. Lynn and Victoria Tate, lyvk@earthlink.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1826. Elephant Babe, 03 April, 2007 - Would anyone recall an Elephant named Babe acquired by Barnum & Bailey in the early 1970's? Would anyone know where Barnum & Bailey got her from? This may be the same elephant my grandfather owned and I am trying to trace her whereabouts. Where would I find a record of their elephant purchases? The information is not available in the Asian Elephant studbook. Sincerely, Shawn Morris. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 April, 2007 - I am also looking for info about an elephant named Babe Mine appeared with the Imperial Exposition in 1948 and in some Tarzan movies. Is this the same BABE? ronjoy12

    Reply: 06 April, 2007 - Technically, your question lies in the correct circus title of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows. The only elephant named Babe that Ringling acquired in the 1970's is listed in the Asian Elephant Studbook as # 80.

    Babe, female Asian:
    1967 - Born in the Wild
    1970 to 1975 - RBBB
    1975 to 1980 - Louisville Zoo
    1980 to 1991 - Columbus Zoo
    1991 to Present - Fort Worth Zoo

    As for the second Babe asked for by ronjoy12, I am presuming you are referring to Cross Country Babe. She stayed in California at the Al G. Barnes winterquarters while many of the elephants were used in filming. I don't know about the Imperial Expositions you listed but I do have her on United Expositions in 1948.

    Cross Country Babe, female Asian
    1921 - Santos y Artega in Cuba
    1922 to 1924 - Hagenbeck Wallace Circus
    1925 to 1926 - John Robinson Circus
    1927 to 1928 - Sells Floto Circus
    1929 to 1930 - John Robinson Circus
    1931 to 1936 - Hagenbeck Wallace Circus
    1937 to 1938 - Howard Bary leased Hagenbeck Wallace Circus
    1939 to 1941 - Al G. Barnes Winter Quarters in Baldwin Park, CA.
    1942 to 1945 - Arthur Bros. Circus
    1946 - Ringling Bros. and B & B
    1947 - Sparks Circus ( leased from Ringling )
    1948 - Al G. Kelly-Miller Bros. Circus
    1948 to 1959 - United Exposition Shows
    Died in 1959.

    I hope this helps a little bit. Bob Cline

    Reply: 13 Nov 2011 - There was one more Babe (HeBe was another name, same animal) going back in time that I'm currently researching. She was born in 1875, the owners in her past were P T Barnum, Sells, Bailey, and eventually Ringling. Then she spent two years at the Blackhawk Park Zoo in Rockford IL. The time spent in Rockford was 1920 to 1923 when the facility closed. I suspect she went back to Ringling and was then donated to the National Zoo in Washington DC and passed away in 1937. Looking for confirmation on her final home, date of death and possible cause and am waiting for response from the Smithsonian or any generous bloggers. It seems from the elephant research sites site and the museum lists in Baraboo that Ringling had a "Babe" for every decade, they overlap in the individual histories and seperating them out is like chasing dust bunnies. It sounds like the mysteries for the last two Babes has been settled. Can anyone go back just one more Babe and provide the tail end of her story? Sara Trudo, Belvidere, Illinois

    Reply: 15 Nov 2011 - Hello Sara, Your research has been an eye opener for you I'm sure. To start answering your questions, there have been a bunch of elephants named Babe over the years on a number of circuses. So YES, It can be very confusing. While you have done some research already, there are some facts that have been mixed up. The elephant you are researching was called Baby. Not HEBE. HEBE was originally called another name which we suspect was Babe when she was on the Howe's Great London Circus. She actually gave birth in 1875 in St. Joseph, Missouri on May 31st, 1875 which is now known as the first birth of an elephant anywhere in the western hemisphere. The elephant didn't live long apparently because there isn't anything to be found about it after the first two days.
        The Howe's elephants were then bought by the Cooper and Bailey Circus in 1879 which was owned by James A. Bailey, James E. Cooper and R.S. Hood. Once again this elephant became pregnant in 1878 before this sale and in 1880 she gave birth again to Columbia on March 10, 1880. HEBE or Babe then died in 1881. This birth however became world famous due to the elephant living and the huge publicity that was generated because of it.
        The elephant you are looking for is known as Baby. The Chang Reynolds files locate her on the Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1904 to 1918. I question this as she wouldn't have gone to the Ringling owned Forepaugh-Sells show. It is believed (although there seems to be no absolute proof) that she was imported into this country around 1909-1910. The Ringlings bought the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1907 and operated it as two seperate circuses until after the 1918 season ended. They also put out a third show called the Adam Forepaugh-Sells Bros. Circus. Baby toured with the Ringling owned Adam Forepaugh-Sells Bros. Circus in 1910 and 1911. After the Ringlings pulled the Adam Forepaugh-Sells Bros. Circus off the road following the 1911 season, she was then transferred to the Barnum & Bailey Circus. They combined it all in 1919 moving everything they needed from Baraboo's winter quarters to the Barnum quarters in Bridgeport, CT. With Ringling's 23 elephants now combined with Barnum and Bailey's 18 elephants, Baby was then sold to the Zoo in Rockford. The Don Marcks records confirm this.
        The Babe that went to the National Zoo was born in the wild around 1879 and was on several circuses before being bought by the Ringling Bros. in 1888. They donated her to the National Zoo in 1934. The Asian Elephant Studbook agrees with this. She is #481 in the studbook.
        As you can see, the Baby that was at the Blackhawk Park Zoo is not the same one that went to the National Zoo. Where she went after the Zoo closed is another source of inquiry. I would highly suggest reading all the Rockford, IL. newspapers around 1923 when the zoo closed and see if you can discover a newspaper article saying where the animals went. These are usually available on microfilm at the Library or local Historical Society. That would be your most accurate information you could find right now, unless you stumbled upon the actual Zoo records which are probably long gone by now. Whatever you find out, I would enjoy hearing about it. Bob Cline fivetiger@shtc.net

    Reply: 21 Mar 2014 - With the availability of the New York Clipper online now, I have discovered that Baby was actually sold by the Zoo in Rockford in 1921. The March 16, 1921 issue of the New York Clipper carried the notice on page. 4. Bob Cline

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1825. Dodson Circus, 03 April, 2007 - I am looking for any information I can about the Dodson Circus. Family information only knows it was around in the 1920s. My Great, great, great grandfather, George Drew, was a snake charmer. My grandmother was a Dodson. Any information on this would be great. Helen Henry. Email address is helenannford@gmail.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Nov 2011 - Is it possible that you're seeking information about the Dodson brothers who owned and operated a large railroad carnival? I believe that you will find information about that enterprise elsewhere on this website message board. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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1824. Circus Williams, 03 April, 2007 - My name is Marco Kristen and I am looking for information and pictures of the German Circus Williams (Carola Williams) from the years 1967-68. I am interested in waggon lists and pictures of the circus. The circus main attraction back then was young Gunther Gebel-Williams and the entire circus was sold to RBBB following the 1968 season. I found the programs of those two seasons, several pictures from Henk van den Berg, Bert Weber and Walther Thelen as well as the Dutch piblication Circustransporte and the German magazines Circus Journal Special through previous research, but need further information and pictures. I would appreciate any help. Please respond to mkristen@udel.edu. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Marco F. Kristen. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 April, 2007 - Henk van de Berg is well and living in Oss, the Netherlands. I don't have an email but if you mail me I can give you his phone number. Natasha Gerson, nani@xs4all.nl

    Reply: 06 April, 2007 - There are more then 140 pictures of Circus Williams on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. Search for "williams" and "carola". Copies can be ordered. Herman Voogd, hvoogd@teylersmuseum.nl

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1823. Rose Gold, trapeze, 03 April, 2007 - I hope someone there may provide me with an answer. I was a child and went to the circus in San Francisco, California. There were these trapeze artists named ROSE GOLD as close as my memory serves me. I mostly remember that the woman missed hands and fell. As a child, I did not know it was not part of the act till I heard her body impact on the floor of the arena. My parents and I have different memories of this. I remember it at the civic auditorium in san fran and that I was under 8 years old. My parents remember it as cow palace and an older age. I was told the lady lived to walk again, if not perform, but I am sure my parents would have not told me if it were different. Thank you if you can help me. eugenia628@sbcglobal.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 April, 2007 - Check out #584 on this site. I’m probably in a minority but I think her name was Gould. Richard Gephart, rag11@comcast.net

    Reply: 05 April, 2007 - Rose Gold was able to work again. We worked on the Polack Show together in 1959. Her act was great and she looked lovely. fatima

    Reply: 23 Mar 2008 - I too was at the Shrine Circus in San Francisco when Rose Gold fell from the trapeze. I must have been about 3 or 4 years old at the time. I remember my dad covering my eyes when she fell to the ground. I fought to uncover my eyes and saw her body lying on the ground. I also remember the news reports to next day on TV saying that she was not seriously hurt. Michael Spiegelman

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1822. Frank A. Cook, 03 April, 2007 - Hi. I recently got a Christmas greeting on Ebay that has a Frank A. Cook signature on the back side. It's a one sheet greeting, not folded like a card. Very art deco/ 20's drawing of performers & animals with a clown holding a bunch of balloons that spell out CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM RINGLING BROS BARNUM BAILEY COMBINED SHOWS. My question is, who is/was Frank A. Cook & how was he involvled with RBBB. Also, am I correct about the decade? Since moving onto the circus's former winter grounds in Sarasota, I've taken a real shine to the circus. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Ron Erday, ronandstan@verizon.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 April, 2007 - Frank A. Cook was the legal adjuster, lawyer, fixer or what have you for Barnum and Bailey and then Ringling-Barnum until his death in, I believe, 1937. He was married to the late, great Evelyn Joyce Cook, sister of Jack Joyce, Jr. I got to know Evelyn in the late 1980s when she was in her late 80s and living in New York City. I would always have lunch with her when I was in New York. She regaled me with stories of her life in the circus, including lots of stories about Frank. She said he was very cynical about personal injury cases against the show because he knew he was being conned. He often said it was amazing that every single person who ever had their clothes damaged at the circus happened to be wearing the best, most expensive garments they owned. During the winter she would travel with Frank as he defended the circus in personal injury or damage suits around the country. He also handled the immigration forms to bring foreign performers into the country, and I'm sure many other legal matters as they arose. When John Ringling was in exile in the mid-1930s, he had Frank and Evelyn over to his penthouse in Manhatten. After dinner, he pulled out a list of personnel he was going to fire when he regained control of the circus. John M. Kelley was at the top of the list, and Pat Valdo was second. Of course, he never had the opportunity.
          Cook was the legal guardian of Clicko, the African Bushman, and Evelyn became his guardian after her husband's death. She would put me on the floor with her stories about Clicko living with her and her daughter Barbara. Evelyn died in the early 1990s after being a widow for over 50 years. Frank was considerably older than her, their marriage being the second for each. Fred Pfening III

    Reply: 03 Mar 2008 - There also was a Frank Cook high wire performer who at one time performed with the Wallendas and then had his own solo high wire act. He performed as a drunken sailor and was really great. Jenny Wallenda

    Reply: 01 Mar 2011 - You'll find some more on Frank A. Cook in my book, Clicko the Wild Dancing Bushman, published in the U.S. by University of Chicago Press (December 2010) - Neil Parsons

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1821. Tony Ridola, 02 April, 2007 - Does any one have any information on Show name Tony Ridola? This was my grandfather and no living family has any information on his circus careeer. Brian "Newt" Newton, bnewt@frontiernet.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 April, 2007 - Brian, A quick search on Newspaperarchives.com pulled up seven articles between 1954 and 1959. Here is a sketch of the information.
    July 1, 1954 in Cedar Rapids Tribune newspaper, an article concerning the July 4 celebration “Tony Ridola whose comedy ladder act has been a show stopper at the all Iowa fair.”
    October 1, 1954, Austin Daily Herald, Minnesota, “Coming with circus, Mary and Tony Ridola will present “Miss Nobel and Her Wonder Zebra” in a specialty act at the Shrine Circus October 7-8-9”
    October 8, 1954, Austin Daily Herald, Minnesota: “However, her disgust didn’t last long because pretty soon there came Tony Ridola on the ladders. Although he wasn’t dressed like a clown particularly, Judy spotted him for what he was immediately, she perked up and took notice. He looks like a funny clown, she said, and with that settled; she really giggled at everything he did, which was considerable.”
    April 16, 1955, The Albuquerque Tribune, an advertisement: “Circus at the ICE ARENA, coming May 7 and 8. Tony Ridola’s Circus.”
    December 24, 1959, Lincoln Evening Journal, Nebraska, “Tony Ridola and his partner also needed help. Poor Tony, he couldn’t see where his chair was and the audience had to tell him where it was. And then, he couldn’t put his hat on, nor could he climb stairs and when he tried, he always fell.”
    It is not much, but hope it helps. Richard Georgian

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1820. Searching for remains of a Famous Elephant, 01 April, 2007 - Would anyone here possibly know what ever became of the skull, skeleton, hide and/or soft parts of the once famous circus elephant, "Jap" aka Japino. Reportly Jap had been one of the largest elephants ever in America. Jap was also an elephant of historical significance due to being AT ONE TIME AN ELEPHANT WITH THE Barnum & Bailey show but also the test subject of Dr. Francis Benedict's classic monograph, THE PHYSIOLOGY OF THE ELEPHANT, published in 1936 by the Carnegie Institute Washington. According to various accounts Jap died in either Joplin Missouri or according to Buckles Woodcock's record, Jap died in Springfield Illinois while with the Dailey Bros show in October 1947.Jap had been very ill for at least a month. Kenton C. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1819. Elephant source, 01 April, 2007 - I am trying to find a place where I can rent an elephant and a camel for an “Under the Big Top” themed event on 5/18/07 just south of Kansas City. Do you know of any resources available to do this? All help would be appreciated! Kristi Nimmo, CCO. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1818. Wild West 1914, 30 March, 2007 - I have a picture of my Grandfather in a picture from 1914 in a wild west show. In the picture it says "Texas Ranch 99. The picture is a posed one of all the performers in the show. Any info you have will be appreciated. BlairRoddy@aol.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1817. Grand Rapids, MI, 30 March, 2007 - My name is Bridgette Whitcomb and I am in search of any information I can about the circuses that came to Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1935-1939. My great-grandfather was a snake charmer in one of them and we are trying to locate any records of him that we can. And I figure the best way to start is finding his employer. Thank you Bridgette. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 March, 2007 - If you want to search by employer, you need to state your great-grandfather's name. But, surviving employment records are very scarce. The best start will be to scan Grand Rapids newspapers to determine the names of the circuses and carnivals that appeared in the community during the time period specified. Their advertisements generally stand out amongst other local and even national advertising. Maybe someone has already scanned the newspapers, or perhaps there's a vertical file of data with which to commence your list? Then you'll need to go to the weekly issues of "Billboard" magazine and scan the show coverage for his name. Or, you could go direct to "Billboard," but knowing which shows he may have been with limits your search. The local public library should have the local newspapers on microfilm, or they can request them via interlibrary loan. The same is true for Billboard, they can request it for you. The economic conditions of the 1930s meant that few shows printed specific programs, and even fewer would have included the staff of the side show. I'd recommend searching carnival operations, too, as people typically confuse the two entities. "Billboard" also published weekly listings of show routes and you might want to check those, in the event that one show or another didn't buy local advertising, or perhaps did in a newspaper that no longer exists. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 27 Feb 2011 - I have an article from the Grand Rapids Press, June 1929 where our family member fell from a trapeze and died along with his wife being injured in the circus at that time. Alice Miller, doing research and want the name of the circus or any information on Joseph Jones and Blanche performers.

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1816. Barnum & Bailey, 28 March, 2007 - When does the Barnum & Bailey Circus arrive in New York City? I know they open this Saturday, March 31st, 2007, but when do the elephants walk across the Mid Town Tunnel. I am taking a photography course at Cooper Union. I think it would make some great pictures. I know they walk through the tunnel shortly before they start their performances, but did they arrive here yet? Or do they arrive tomorrow morning? carla m. dangelo, LARaidersc99@nyc.rr.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 March, 2007 - See message # 1776. Bob Cline

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1815. Circus Music Archives, 27 March, 2007 - In 1967 I caught Big Bertha at the old Boston Garden and after the afternoon show I had the rare opportunity of chatting with Maestro Merle Evans. Mr. Evans was such a wonderful gentleman to talk with. I should know as I spent 30 + years as a broadcast journalist and have interviewed literally thousands of people. I asked the Maestro about the tented years and the many pieces of music he and his famous band played.
      One particular question pertained to the recording of the band during a show. He said there was a recording engineer who received Henry Ringling North's permission to record the show and that a complete set of reel to reel tapes were in his brothers office at the winter quarters in Sarasota. The recordings took place in 1952-3.
      I realize after all these years this is a long shot question. Does anyone know if those reel tapes were saved? The tapes were made on a custom made Ampex two track deck. The mics were Neuman and would have made for a fine capture of the Ringling band. I have friends in the recording and mix down business who would if available could transfer them onto compact disc masters and then transfer to compact disc.
      If this message reach's someone in the know I would be most appreciative to you to leave a message back. As many of you know who read my postings I should have been born a Ringling as I have always and will continue to be one of the leaders for Big Bertha when she played under the biggest of all big tops. Best To All, Craig Johnson, Lock Haven, Pa. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1814. Marie-Louise Morelli, Queen of the Jaguars, 27 March, 2007 - Seeking information about a female jaguar trainer who worked with Frank Bostock during the years 1900 - 1909. Her name was Madame Marie-Louise Morelli, also called Queen of the Jaguars. The Frank Bostock Circus travelled to Brooklyn, NY and had a building at Dreamland. They also worked across the USA and in Europe. - from LindaAnn, a journalist in NYC. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 March, 2007 - A biographical note on Madame MORELLI's was published in 'Victorian Arena; the Performers', vol.1 (Lingdales, Formby, 1995) ; - MORELLI, Madame. Animal trainer. 'Queen of the Jaguars'. A native of France. A small woman and rather frail. Appeared with Frank Bostock, in "Bostock's Jungle" at Earls Court, in 1908. The only lady tamer at the time to perform with a troupe of panthers, leopards and jaguars. Spoke to her animals in French. In one group she controlled ten animals at one time. Noted at Bostock's Jungle, Glasgow, in February 1910, and at his 'Jungle' in Nottingham, January 1912, when she was mauled by one of her jaguars. The following month one of the jaguars scaled the arena rails during her performance! During her childhood, in France, her parents intended her to become a hospital nurse but her faher died and she needed to earn her family's keep. She soom found employment as an attendant at a menagerie and this was her first step towards the arena. Once, in Philadelphia, a leopard sprang on her when the lights suddenly went out and grabbed her by the hair. It sprang back just as quickly however, not liking the taste of her sharp hair-pins. She was once mauled when presented with a bouquet of red flowers, the leopard mistaking this for red meat. She only escaped with her life by throwing away the flowers (Sources - Word's Fair, 3/2/1912, p.10; ibid, 19/2/1912, p.6; ibid, 27/3/1925, p.24, col.2. P.111; ibid, 4/5/1935, p.12, cols.1-5; F.C. Bostock, The Training of Wild Animals (Century, New York, 1903), p.220, photo). Thank you for supplying her Christian names and other details. John Turner

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1813. Poster, 27 March, 2007 - I am trying to find out more about a Billboard poster in Columbia, North Carolina. It is located on a brick wall, and was uncovered during a building restoration. It is believed to be circa 1911. It is our understanding it was for a one day show or perhaps a parade announcement as the circus passed through. The poster is about 8 feet x 14" and appears to be for (Barnum Bailey and Sellers?) please tell me the best way to research information about this billboard poster. Were these printed in number or separately for each town parade?

Left to right:
Brown Bear- Tall Uncle Sam, with yellow umbrella -Clown in red and green -fat Copper (Bobby) in dark blue -Clown in yellow with red hat -Clown in red and green with Mule (tail is a horn on end)
Clown with green pants and blue shirt and officer's hat blowing into a tuba -Lady in red on trapeze. Across the top (background) short clowns practicing antics. really cute! Thanks for reading, Joan. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1812. George Herman, 27 March, 2007 - I’m in possession of an accordion that belonged to a circus performer named George Herman who performed circa the early 1900’s. It was given to my grandmother who knew him. Has anyone ever heard of him? Thanks, Hughie. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 June 2007 - I may have some information. There was a Trapeze team the Herman Brothers – One brother was dropped by his partner, broke both wrists. Worked for Ringling Bros. early 1900’s in America. Possibly your George was one of the brother, my Great Grandfather was the brother who was dropped. I’m also interested in finding out any information on either brother. MY great Grand father married a cook in Denver Colorado, He worked in a metal/blacksmith shop in Denver, worked as an Indian agent prior to the blacksmith shop. Please let me know if you hear of any other information. Elaine Kennedy, Ladyeak@aol.com

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1811. Federick La Delle, 26 March, 2007 - Federick La Delle was a Circus and Vaudeville performer. I am Eleanor Swift granddaughter of Frederick and am writing a book from his recently discovered manuscript. Frederick La Delle was a trapeze artist and clown from 1884-1904, then entered Vaudeville with a magic act that was second to none until 1932. If you have any information I would be so appreciative. bdswift@cablespeed.com. I am in Port Ludlow, Wa. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 March, 2007 - I believe La Delle's real name was Kirkpatrick. Ole Whitey

    Reply: 29 Aug 2013 - Eleanor Swift, Hello Eleanor. This is Brent Clifford Kirkpatrick, Great Grandson of Frederick LaDelle. I am happy to hear you are writing a manuscript of Frederick. I have an autobiography written by Frederick. I also have numerous pieces of his trapeze and clown career promotional pieces as well as his magician period. I would like to hear from you. Brent Kirkpatrick, Englewood, CO

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1810. Bambrick, Winifred, 24 March, 2007 - Bambrick, Winifred (Estella). Harpist, novelist, b Ottawa 21 Feb 1892, d Montreal 11 Apr 1969. I am looking for any written material, photographs, letters, and inscribed books on Bambrick. In the late thirties Bambrick played her harp in the orchestra of a circus revue that traveled throughout Europe. Here is a link to a biography on Bambrick in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada:

www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=U1ARTU0000184

I am writing a descriptive bibliography which includes Bambrick's novel - Continental Revue, Faber & Faber: London (1946) or Keller's Continental Revue, Houghton Mifflin: Boston (1946). Any information related to her playing with the circus or on the publication of her novel would be appreciated. Thank you. John Meier, Delta, British Columbia, Canada. Email: johnmeier@telus.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Nov 2007 - I'm Regina (Doorlay) Schwarz, the granddaughter of Curt Doorlay, who ran the show in which Ms. Bambrick played the harp. I have several photos, which may or may not include her. I do have a photo of someone playing a harp in the show. I've emailed you with my contact info. I look forward to talking to you. Best wishes, Regina

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1809. Seils Sterling, 24 March, 2007 - I need to find out if Seils Sterling circus was at Grayslake, Illinois about 1940. It wintered there in 1932. Thanks. Russell Ewing, russewing@copper.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1808. Orlando Bros. trapeze, 24 March, 2007 - Looking for info. on the Orlando Bros. trapeze artistes circa 1861 - 1871. One of them was called Richard Hallam who lost an arm while helping the lion tamer in Milan 24.5.1870. He was my grt.grt. grandfather any help would be appreciated. Joyce Newton nee Hallam. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 March, 2007 - ORLANDO Brothers. Gymnasts. One of the Orlando Brothers suffered an accident, at Pinder's circus in 1868, somersaulting over some horses. He fell awkwardly and dislocated his shoulder. It was feared that the accident would disable the Brothers' trapeze act for some time. The Orlando Brothers were back with George Pinder's circus, at Gt. Yarmouth, for 1872-73 (Sources - Huddersfield Chronicle, 1/2/1868; World's Fair, 26/4/1958, p.30, col.1).
    ORLANDO, Dick. Circus artiste. Was helping John Cooper, the lion tamer, in Milan, on 24th May 1870, when his arm was blown off by a gun. Survived the accident. Probably the brother of Jim Orlando. The surviving Orlando Brothers were performing in the 1870s.
    ORLANDO, Jim. Trapeze artiste. With Pinder's Circus, Toulouse, France, fell and was killed on 24th August 1869 (Sources - John Goddard, 5/3/1992).

    I'm always puzzled by requests for information on a U.S. website when www.circusbiography.co.uk is devoted to circus people and history in the U.K. Can you tell us more about the Hallam family history please? John Turner

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1807. George Theodore Hafercorn or Hoffman, 24 March, 2007 - Does anyone know of a circus trapeze artist or signwriter named George Theodore Hafercorn or Hoffman - the family story is that he was in a travelling circus about 1918-1920 in North West England. There is a link with Madame Tussauds - apparently talented wax sculptuor. Any info please reply to Barlowsste@aol.com, Thanks, Stephen Barlow. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1806. Gunbolt Jack, 23 March, 2007 - Anybody out there heard of circus performer "GUNBOLT JACK" who was a stunt motorbike rider in Calcutta India in the 1900's? ronita boyd, nana54@bigpond.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1805. Chuck & Effie O'Conner, 23 March, 2007 - I am looking for information about John Edward "Chuck" O'Connor who was a "principle leaper" and his wife Effie (Crane) O'Connor who was a bareback rider/aerialist. The time frame would have been around the turn of the century for Mr. O'Connor who was older than Effie. They met and married in the circus around 1904 and had their first child around 1906. By the time Donald O'Connor (1925), the actor/singer/dancer was born, they had left the circus for vaudeville. I don't know when Chuck O'Connor (who might also be listed as connor, conner, coner, etc. with or without the O') started with the circus. He was a clown, strongman, etc. as well. Perhaps in the sideshow? After he married, they may have been listed by the name of their act and not listed individually. In vaudeville they called themselves The Nelson Comiques and O'Connor Family, Royal Family of Vaudeville. Any help substantiating this information would be greatly appreciated. Kate Kendall. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Aug 2016 - I’m researching my family tree and have a reason to believe Chuck & Effie O’Connor maybe my great grandparents. Were you successful in finding out additional information on this amazing family? I’d love to speak with you if you have. Mari

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1804. Collies in Circus - Angela Wilnow, 23 March, 2007 - I got a photo showing "Angela Wilnow and her Braves in an Indian Fantasy" - the "Braves" are seven Collies. The photo was taken by James J. Kriegsmann and shall be taken in 1935. No I´m interested to learn more about this Collies in circus or about Collies in circus at all. Thank you very much! Kris Klemme, Germany. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 March, 2007 - www.circusmuseum.nl/eng search with the word "collies". You will find a german circusposter with horses and collies dated 1911. If you try the word "honden" you will get more then 400 images of circus dogs. Herman Voogd, hvoogd@teylersmuseum.nl

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1803. Eddie Ledman, 22 March, 2007 - My father, Eddie Ledman of LaRue Ohio was in a small circus probably around 1923-1927, and learned his trade from a hometown girl named Patsy Longberry I believe. I still have my fathers "trap" set of rings and trapeze bar. Its metal and at one time I believe he billed himself as the Great Eddie. In Off times, he would go around to colleges and perform a contorist act. He told me many times the pay would be whatever was thrown on a blanket that was passed around. Dad graduated from high school in 1921 and joined some small circus/show? few years later. I'm sorry I have no more information. He use to enjoy clearing everything out of his pockets EXCEPT for his drivers license and then going to whatever circus was in town, going up to the owner?, saying some certain word and get in free! He said there was a magic word among old circus men. When I was small he arranged for a little circus to come to our small town in Ohio. Is there anyway I could find more about my fathers in the circus? I realize all this is a little vague! He was born 07-02-1903 in LaRue Ohio. He had some old handbills where he had his hands on his hips and has a black leotard like on, BUT! they were destroyed by age and water! Not sure where to look for anymore info on him. Can you help? Many thanks! Evelyn Ledman Cross. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Mar 2008 - Saw your query and contacted my cousin from LaRue, Patsy Morgan, here is her response:

    Hi Pat Here, Thanks for the clipping in re: to Eddie Ledman, deceased: memorabilia and notes, request from daughter, Evelyn Ledman Cross. The girl was Bonnie Lawrence Nelson, deceased. If you can get in touch with her let me know. I might have a resource. In meantime, I will call Jack Lawrence, Brother. Chris Trout too!

    Pat I remember playing with this trapeze and playing circus. Grandpa rented a house just a stone's throw from Ledmans the Son and Father. Mother Lillie. In those days not enough money to go out We had to play together to entertain ourselves. They Grandpa, was building a new house. (bungalow). Let me know if you want more info. Kevin longberry

    Reply: 01 Mar 2009 - I would love to hear from Kevin Longberry or anyone else who would give me more info on my father Eddie Ledman. What circus did he perform in etc etc and if there are any old handbills that I may have a copy. I have his trap set in my garage. Oh, thank you thank you for responding. Now, how do we proceed from here. It has been months and I had about given up hope that anyone could help me. I do so very much want to hear from anyone. This is teriffic news and will reinforce what I have told my grand children about their great grandpa. I truly hope to hear from you soon.
        Thanks to anyone who can send me information on Eddie Ledman's circus life. My e-mail is ercbucki@peoplepc.com and I'd really like to hear from the Longberry family of Larue Ohio as I believe they can help in my search of my fathers history. Thanks again and sorry it has taken to long for me to respond. I will try and look at the circus history site more often. Again, any help in locating any memorabelia about my father, I would be most grateful. I noticed the one person said he was familiar with the old neighborhood and mentioned my deceased mother too. Please respond if you can. thanks in advance.

    Reply: 10 Mar 2009 - Thank you to the person who responded about my father, Eddie Ledman. My inquiry is #1803 and I would love to hear more from the person who wrote. Thank you so very very much.

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1802. Minnie Spangler, rider, 21 March, 2007 - My great-grandmother, Minnie Spangler, from Bavaria, Germany always said she "rode bareback in the circus and jumped through hoops" when she was young. I suspect she joined a circus when she came to USA in 1889, but maybe earlier in Germany. Her circus career seemed to end the fall of 1890 in South Bend, Indiana. Is there any way of checking what circuses came to South Bend the summer of 1890? I wonder what her bareback riding act might have consisted of and if an accident could have ended her career. Thank you. Jane Witter. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1801. Martinelli escape artist, 21 March, 2007 - My Great Uncle is said to have traveled with a small circus in the 1930's and 1940's. Of Irish descent, he performed under the stage name of Martinelli - Handcuff King and Escape Artist. His letterhead at the time stated he escaped from boxes, straight jackets, handcuffs, leg irons, mail sacks, and torture straps. He was said to also drive blindfolded for street advertising. In one of his acts he escaped from a Clark's Grave Vault. He pretty much assumed the name of Martinelli, even though his real name was John Francis Welsh. Does anyone know of his act or know what circus he traveled with? Judy, jgmille@qis.net. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Mar 2009 - I happened to stumble across this message while looking for the name of an escape artist working in Vaudeville in the 1920's, other than Harry Houdini. Your uncle wrote to the New Douglass Theater in Macon, Georgia some time in the 1920's, trying to get a booking. This web site lists him under a sampling of live acts: http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/douglass/history.php. The page includes a link to the letter, which appears on the letterhead you describe. The Douglass was built by black entrepreneur Charles Henry Douglass, the son of a former slave. It operated as part of the TOBA Vaudeville circuit, which was the major black circuit in the South. Though it closed in 1972, the Douglass has been restored by the City of Macon, and reopened. The web site is at www.douglasstheatre.org/ I hope this information helps in your search. Rregards, jonathan quist


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