Friday, October 09, 2015

Sarasota #1

Sarasota #2

Sarasota #3

Alfred Court.

Sarasota #4

Walter McLain.

Sarasota #5

Eddie Allen.
"Changing Of The Guard".

Sarasota #6

Sarasota #7

Sarasota #8

Sarasota #9

Freddie Logan.

Sarasota #10

Sarasota #11

Hugo Schmitt.

Sarasota #12

Hugh Schmitt shortly after arrival Summer of 1947 with the five German elephants purchased from the Hagenbeck Zoo Kernaudi, Minyak, Mudu, Sabu and Icky.
JRN wanted a larger act so Hugo added two Ringling elephants plus the African "Sudan".

Sarasota #13

I was told this is Betty Hutton with Arky but I think it's Jeanne Sleeter.
What do you think Kenny Dodd?

Sarasota #14

This unique picture shows four boss elephant men Arky Scott, Smokey Jones, Hugo Schmitt and Louie Reed.
In 1954 while Arky and Hugo were on the road, JRN bought 20 baby elephants and brought Reed and Smokey into Sarasota to train them.
What a clash of egos that must have been.

Sarasota #15

Some of  you old timers might remember the "Mama's In The Park" number.
This is Robert "Smokey" Jones starting them off in what would later become baby carriages.

Sarasota #16

This is the runaway in which Smokey received a broken leg, you may notice the audience heading for high ground.

Sarasota #17

Ed Healy and Benny White.
Ed told me that before moving over to the Elephant Dept. he had been JRN's chauffeur, quite a come down.
Benny's older brother Charlie who was Boss Prop Man.

Sarasota #18

Late 1956 and having received my Draft Notice and my folks elephant act booked with Jack Moore's Carson & Barnes Circus the following season I decided to see what the world contained beside myself,  I took off for Sarasota and went to work for Hugo Schmitt.
Being a high-grass Showman, it was the first time to see New York City and MSG.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


I am researching when the Norris & Rowe Circus was wintering in 1909-1910, Evansville Indiana. They lost 2 elephants over the winter and are buried in the park across from my house. I was trying to find out the names of the elephants. Do you have any knowledge of this or recommendations where to look?
Kirsten S. Wilkins

"This might help a little, you may notice he finished his days with my mother's family show, Orton Bros. Circus."

Hero #1

This is my Grandfather R.Z. "Arzy" Orton on the happy day in 1916 when he purchased "Hero".

Hero #2

Hero #3

Hero #4

Hero #5

My mother was a teenager and told me many times of this day, she said the train was spotted right beside the lot and she watched as he created havoc. She said he then went along  side the train pushing pushing wagons off the flat cars then passing the coach he peered in the window and they briefly locked eyes before he continued on followed by a posse of armed town folk.

Black Diamond #1

Another noted elephant of the day.
My father said "Diamond"didn't do much of an act,  he mounted a tub then both he and the boss canvasman put bracelets with sleigh bells on his ankles and he did a front leg dance.
The conclusion was a number of gentlemen from the audience were invited to get up on his back then he would go into a three legged skip with their butts slamming down with each skip much to the delight of their friends and neighbors.
I wonder how that would go over today?

Black Diamond #2

He said that after the night performance he, "Diamond" and a horse named "Chub" headed off into the wilderness toward the next lot and spent many a night under his squatted down under his belly during rain storms.
In the morning peering into the distance looking for the Grain Elevator of the of the next town on the route.
On occasion he might steer into a farm yard, show the kids the big elephant and maybe get a free breakfast.

Black Diamond #3

Black Diamond #4

Black Diamond #5

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Still More Movin' On!

More "Movin, On"

My wife said it was grueling work!

To Chic

It was a TV Series about the adventures of two truck drivers.
Keenan Wynn played a hobo who somehow crawled up into their truck hauling "Anna May".
This is the Director Leo Penn.

To Larry Louree

You are right! My wife said "Anna May" did fine in  rehearsal with the empty fruit cart but when when it was done live with all that fresh fruit added she stopped short, picked out a few juicy items, then tipped it over.
This is the runaway scene prior to the incident with my wife being chased and Ben as the Officer in pursuit.
Fortunately I remained at Circus World  and took care of the shop.

Victor The Bear #1 (From Eric Beheim)

This and the following frame enlargements are from an appearance by Victor the Bear on the Ed Sullivan show many years ago. (Ed was even drafted into the being Victor’s straight man!) More information about Victor and his trainers is needed, so please share what you know with the rest of us.

Victor The Bear #2

This bear trainer must have known something!
Jimmy Hall once told me that when you start training a young cub, the first thing that happens is he makes shredded wheat out of the front of your trousers.