Project Description

Adam Forepaugh-Sells Bros. Girl and Lions Tableau

(1) The parade of the 1910 and 1911 Adam Forepaugh-Sells Bros. Circus was, without question, one of the finest ever to roll down the streets of America. In 1910 no less than twenty cages, five tableaus, two bandwagons, probably four allegorical pony floats, and a steam calliope can be substantiated. In 1911 when the size of the show was increased from 47 to 50 cars the parade had more than 32 pieces. The latter figures reference is the May 6, 1911, Billboard.

(Courtesy of the Steve Flint archives)

There is no proof that definitely identifies this  tableau as the one the Moeller’s built for the Adam Forepaugh-Sells Bros. Circus. This third tableau, though, was almost undoubtedly the wagon in photo No. 4. The two clues that link it to the Forepaugh Sells Circus are its design and a 1912 Ringling Bros, parade list. The astute reader will note the very distant similarity between the band seats on top of the “Girl and Lions” tableau with the seats on the other two new tableaus. A 1912 Ringling parade list, which appeared in Chappie Fox’s, A Ticket to the Circus, list the other two tableaus as “Forepaugh Tableau wagons No. 3 and No. 4.” In this same list is a wagon labeled “Forepaugh Tableau Wagon” and under this is stated “Eight Ballet Girls – Fantastic costumes.” To this writer, that description would certainly seem to fit the “Girl and Lions.” The 1912 parade list also states the wagon had a six horse hitch. A picture showing a six horse hitch on the “Girl and Lions” is in the “Heck Set” of Ringling photographs. While on the Ringling Circus the “Girl and Lions” was tableau No. 8. This “Girl and Lions” tableau remained on the Ringling Circus until 1918. In 1919 it was shipped to Bridgeport for use on the newly combined Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey Circus. It last shows up in a circa 1920 winter quarters photo.

(1) excerpts from:”The Grand Parade of 1910 and 1911, Forepaugh Sells Circus, Part One” – Bandwagon, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Mar-Apr), 1966, pp. 4-8.

By Fred Pfening, III