Monday, July 31, 2006

Althoff Riding Tiger 1970 #5


Whenever I am reminded of the sorry state of affairs with the Ken & Nicole Show today, I think of Irvin Feld's glory days when he had Gunther Gebel-Williams, Charley Baumann, Franz Althoff and Wolfgang Holtzmier in his stable of cat trainers.
What the F___ happened?

10 comments:

Bob Cline said...

Along the same lines, one of the greatest Shrine Shows I ever saw was in Columbus, Ohio at the Fairgrounds, with Josip Marcan's 14 tigers and one lion opening the show and Albert and Jeanette Rix starting the second half. You throw in the likes of the Diano elephants, Rock Smith Flyers, Saturnaires ( I belive that's what David Smith called their flying saucer cradle act ), Frank and Estrellata on Perch, Al's Lemozine, and two more hours of fantastic circus and it just didn't get any better than this. I never saw Circus America in Washington DC but it was supposed to be of the same magnitude.
Bob

Mr. Lee said...

Vanity, pride, and showmanship, no longer coexist in a corporate setting. If it ever did, it was because of those handful of special showman that once were part of our business. May Irvin and the others rest in peace!

Jim A. said...

I recall you could see a great show in Columbus and the next week drive over to Indianapolis and see the big Shrine shows Hubert Castle presented. One had three cage acts and five rings of elephants. You might see Jimmy Hall's and Wally Naughtin's great bear acts on one show.

Now we can just share our stories with the young'ins.

Buckles said...

Had a nice chat with Wally at Gee Gee's birthday party Saturday.
Hadn't seen him in years.

24-HOUR-MAN said...

It's because somewhere along the way the producers. blew the arrows. They used to win dates, and keep dates by giving a better show than the other guy. Then in the sixties they started giving the conccessions to the sponsers, then they started cutting the budgets, one producer got Detroit by undercutting by $40,000.00, the budget in Cleveland got cut by $16,000. How many times have you heard as an act, "do me a favor this time, I had to cut the budget to get the date"? Then the live music went out the window, Detroit used to have 35 "Professional" Clowns, some producer said, "use my show and you can use your own Clowns". We got sold down the river.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. For several years I belonged to the Lone Star Showmens Club here in Dallas. I got to know Gil Gray at that time. We once had a discussion about this very topic. I asked him why he closed his show. He was very up front. He said it was really 2 things. The phones stopped working (on the bigger dates) and the sponsors wanted the concessions. Someone had to sell the tickets (the sponsors would not)and where he made his real profit was on the concessions. Double whammy!! He would not give up the concessions and he started to lose dates. The dates he kept made less and less money on ticket sales. It took a few years for it to happen, but for him that was the end of the ball game!!

clownron said...

"I never saw Circus America in Washington DC but it was supposed to be of the same magnitude."
Bob

If that is the Circus America that 'day and dated' the Red Unit @ the Capital Center in 74 then you are correct. It was a FANTASTIC show. Of course it was brought in because Feld wouldn't accept the conditions set be the CC so they figured they would produce their own show and steal our audience. It backfired because people actually wanted to compare the 2 shows! We were packed every day. The Red had both 'Goober' and 'Wolfie' with Henry Schroer and his 'Cavorting Camels' LOL! Those were the 'salad days' my friends!

24-HOUR-MAN said...

Gil is quoted as saying to a chairman, "I can't have the damn peanuts, you can't have my damn show"

Anonymous said...

If you could put a show togother like the old Shrine date. What act of today would you have on it? Do you think it would sell now a days?

David

Anonymous said...

What happened to the Ringing Show? First we need to cut out all the Great Specs including the Aerial Ballet - Now that we have curbed productions costs on Spec Floats maybe we need to do the same with Costuming - Who needs all that expense? We can add hip hop type music because we must be COOL for todays audience. We need to cut the performance down to the bare minimum and add lots of Confetti floating down from the ceiling and maybe add Television Screens. Are they still coming in droves to purchase my over priced Floss ($8 and $10) Snow ($8 and $10) and Novelties even higher priced? Thus that is the KEY to the whole operation. As long as the Sells-Floto Corporation (Concessions) does well so be it. No one cares about the Quality of the Show - Remember the great line - You can fool some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. John Q. Public is not stupid and they will let you know when enough is enough. Unfortunatel, the ugly head of GREED has surfaced and resurfaced and this is part of the problem with Ringling. Thanks.