Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dan Rice Circus 1937 #1


I'm embarrassed to say that I know nothing of this show, particularly since this was it's 85th Annual Tour. Says so right on the side of the truck.
The name Ray Marsh Bryden comes to mind but I'll toss the ball to someone more knowledgable on this one.
There are a lot of pictures I had to sort out and it seems the titles "Rice Bros. Circus", "Famous Rice Circus" and "Rice Bros. & Allen King Wild Animal Circus" were all used during this time frame and the equipment appears to be about the same.

9 comments:

Bob Cline said...

You are right about Ray Marsh Brydon being the owner in 1936 and 1937. He also came back with the same title again in 1945.
Bob

Anonymous said...

Buckles,
I had attended Ringling Red last week. The program listed an act with two young lephants named Asha and Rudy under the direction of Patrick Harned. Apparently this act is no longer with the show. Do you know what happpened?

Buckles said...

That act was intended for last year that never matrialized. Appearantly they never bothered to update the program.

Bob Cline said...

Patrick Harned started the Gold Unit tour at it's inception, then was replaced by The Morris family now.

John Goodall said...

Dan Rice formed the Dan Rice Circus in 1848. It was a tented, one ring circus with a clown as the centerpiece. He moved his show onto a steamboat, playing river towns on the Mississippi River. The show closed in 1850 when Dan Rice was put into the hospital with yellow fever. Rice toured until 1881 when ill health force him out of the business.

The title appeared on a number of different circuses after his death in 1900.

David Carlyon said...

After starting in "the show business" in 1841, Dan Rice opened "Dan Rice's Metropolitan and Hippodramatic Circus," in 1848, a show Mark Twain probably saw. The money came from Doc Spalding, who foreclosed in 1850 (because Rice was bad with money, not because of yellow fever). Into the 1860s, nearly all tours of the "west" (Mississippi Valley) were by boat because the roads were so bad, but primarily for transport. Spalding's Floating Palace was one of the rare attempts to present a circus ON a boat.

By the early 1850s, Rice was a star so performed in the winter all-star circuses common then (like Big Apple in NYC?), and in the summer toured under various titles. He was alternately rich and broke, alternately under his name and others'. His next to last circus was a cross-country tour, his first, with John Robinson in 1883. After a Texas lecture tour in 1884-1886 (when he spoke in the Baylor chapel and met his 3d wife, the Cattle Queen of Lavaca County), he tried one more circus in 1891 around New York City.

I know of a 1917 show that used his still famous name, and this Brydon outfit in the 1930s.

You can check out my biography, DAN RICE: THE MOST FAMOUS MAN YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this the man, (Dan Rice) who was a friend to George Washington? I remember reading something about George Washinton riding a horse in the Dan Rice Circus. Seems like it should be older than 85 years if they had trucks .....

Anonymous said...

David, you forgot to mention Dan Rice's European tour. I have an original engaving from a magazine of the time of Dan Rice's Circus in France

David Carlyon said...

The question about George Washington and Dan Rice sounds as if might be combining one of early circus's major facts and one of its major fictions. The fact is that George Washington attended the first American circus, John Bill Ricketts in 1793 Philadelphia. The fiction is the tale Rice started to peddle as his career declined, that he and Abe Lincoln were pals. Later circus histories and a couple fictionalized "biographies" of Rice passed that lie along as fact. Actually, Rice ran for office from the circus ring, legitimately, as a Peace Democrat attacking Lincoln.

(There are related stories about Rice, that he campaigned for Zachary Taylor for president and that he did it on his show's bandwagon, leading to the political phrase "on the bandwagon," but all that's fiction too. Taylor did visit a circus where Rice was performing and Rice probably saluted the general, then celebrated for winning the Mexican War, but that's the extent of it. Rice didn't have a "band carriage," their name then, and "on the bandwagon" didn't appear in political jargon till the 1870s or 1880s, when Rice was in decline.)

The 20th century "Dan Rice" circuses had nothing to do with Rice himself, other than capitalizing on a once-famous name that circus fans still recognized.