Project Description

Hagenbeck-Wallace Elephant Tableau

This wagon was built in the winter of 1904-05 by the Bode Wagon Works Of Cincinnati. It was one of a set of wagons ordered for the new Carl Hagenbeck Trained Animal Show which was put on the road for the 1905 season by equal owners C. Lee Williams, Carl Hagenbeck, John H. Havlin, and Frank R. Tate. It was a huge railroad show featuring all new equipment and was managed by C. Lee Williams and Lorenz Hagenbeck. The show was on the road for the 1905 and 1906 seasons and this wagon was used as a tableau wagon.

(circa 1910 – Conover Set # 325 – photo # 108 – Don Smith photo)

In the winter of 1906-07 the Hagenbeck show was sold to B. E. Wallace, who had operated the Great Wallace Shows for a number of years. Wallace combined the two shows, keeping the best equipment, and selling off the surplus, and putting on the road for the 1907 season the Carl Hagenbeck Trained Animals & Great Wallace Shows Combined. Since the Hagenbeck physical equipment was newer it was predominate in the new show, the older Wallace property being scattered to Campbell Bros. and other shows. The Elephant tableau remained on Hagenbeck-Wallace for the rest of its circus life, serving under several different managements.

On June 29, 1913 B. E. Wallace sold the show to a syndicate composed of John Talbot, Jerry Mugivan, Charles Hagaman, and a Mr. Harrison. In 1915 the show was sold to Edward Ballard.

In 1919 Ballard entered into a three way partnership which later became the American Circus Corporation, with Jerry Mugivan and Bert Bowers who had put a 28 car John Robinson Circus on the road in 1918.

(1921 – Joseph Bradbury Album # 9 – photo # 54C in East St. Louis, MO. – Harry Shell photo)

For years some of us were of the opinion that the Elephant tab was destroyed in a 1917 wreck which knocked out the steam calliope and other wagons, but a few years ago an old time circus musician, Harry Shell, who currently is touring the country with his steam calliope, came up with a batch of photos taken on Hagenbeck-Wallace in 1921, a year he was on that show. Clearly shown is the Elephant tableau which appears to have been used as the No. 2 bandwagon that year. This is the last photo of this wagon known to this scribe. Others may have photos taken later, if so I’d sure like to know about it. Hagenbeck-Wallace continued to parade through the 1925 season but I am unable to say whether or not this Elephant tab was used. I am almost positive it was not used after 1923 but am not completely sure. I would assume the wagon was dismantled in Peru.

(1) Excerpts from the Bandwagon, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Jan-Feb), 1958, p. 7.

By Joseph Bradbury