Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cole Bros. #2


Cole Bros.031_edited, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

14 comments:

Ole Whitey said...

With Port-a-cans, you miss the joy of seeing the expressions on the old ladies who used to open the flap and say, "I wonder what they keep in here?"

Anonymous said...

whitey many years ago in australia
we used to say 2nd tree on the right Robert perry

Anonymous said...

What man about what horse??? cc

Barney McDermott said...

Hmmm...crap in a stall and crap on a stick.

lane talburt said...

very good, Barney. I like your eloquent analogy.

As to the above question "what man, what horse?", I turn to Ward Hall, who, in 1999, explained how Dailey Bros. workers provided for public necessities in the mid-40s. Ward told me this for a White Tops story in 2000"

The donikers on each show lot were rather primitive. The public restrooms were small tents at the connection between the circus menagerie and the big top. "One one side of the connection was the men's restroom, and on the other side was the women's. For the public they had a little foldout thing, three-sided with a board across the top and poles supporting it. Those were the toilet seats. And they would just dig a hole in the ground. And that night they would collapse the seats and fill up the holes."

For sideshow workers and performers, Hall explained, "they dug a hole in the ground and put up a sawhorse over it. You just sat on the saw horse."

You take it from there.

Ward's first year on a sideshow was 1946, on Dailey Bros., a grift show. And he's still out on the fair circuit after what has to be his 30th annual "retirement tour," with partner Chris Christ.

Lane T

Wade Burck said...

Lane, Ward has a wonderful story about Ringling Bros. "mass marketing survey", to find out if the public wold accept "freaks", the year before they unveiled the Unicorn. He and Christ are great people, true industry leaders. We used to call him the Gunther Gebel of Sideshows. Wade Burck

Roger Smith said...

On the '64 Beatty show, Michael Martz ("Donnicker Mike") presided over our facilities. When the men's side got too full, Mike had a 4-foot stick which he used as a plunger. This instrument, never cleaned of course, was allowed to stand in a nearby corner, ever handy and fully adorned. Even $14-a-week cagehands were shown no mercy. We had to tip Mike $2 a week to exercise our privilege.

Harry Kingston said...

Do any of you fine folks remember Congo that took care of the Donikers on Circus Vargas???
People would come and go on Circus Vargas but Congo would always be there year after year.
Years ago Tex Dreyfus and I were on the saw dust trail with Carson and Barnes. D. R. had a home made doniker trailer with 4 wheels on it. This time there were 2 wheels on one side and 1 on the other. Now you are getting ahead of me. On the jump the 1 tire side blew and the doniker did a 360 down the side of the road. It was not dumped from the last stand. Some one had to wash it inside and out.
But it was on the show and did not blow the 4:30.
Ah Show business.
Harry

Bob Kitto said...

Roger Smith,
I spent a couple of weeks on the show in 1964 playing in the band. Boom Boom said to get an air matress and I could sleep in the band sleeper and I did. I never did use the show facilities, because we were always near a public accomodation that was a little cleaner than the show's. Regarding tips, I never did tip the cookhouse waiters because none of them lasted long enough to pay them.

Harry Kingston said...

Hi Bob,
Boom Boom Browning, was a great band leader and drummer.
I got to know him through Bubba Voss, that was in the Beatty Cole band as well as lead the Al. G. Kelly and Millers Bros. band.
Bubba told me many stories on Boom Boom and even how he got his name.
When Boom Boom called on the phone he would scare the hell out of my wife the way he sounded.
What a trooper he was and a dear friend and that fantastic circus music he played.
He played with many circuses nad i got to see him up close plus record his work.
One time he was drumming so fast
I told him we needed to pour water on the sticks to cool them off.
I have some great audio recordings of him plus some of his sticks he gave me.
I sure miss hearing him play in those great circus bands.
A real great circus trooper to the
end.
Harry

Wade Burck said...

Harry, I remember Congo very well. He used to keep his iced tea in my fridge, so it would stay cold. Was he from Missouri? A colorful character. If you wrote about him in a book, nobody would believe you. Wade Burck

24-HOUR-MAN said...

When we were on Vargas Congo would come to the door at night for a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, and everyone told me we shouldn't give "that old mooch" anything. It was a pretty small price to pay for the breakfast & morning paper, he brought Trudy & I every morning.
Congo would always give me advice, after which he would remark, "I is older than you , ya know", I said "Congo, you older than everything"!

24-HOUR-MAN said...

I used to tell Boom-Boom his drumming was great, but he was "hollering", at the band off key, you could hear him all over the building. Tony Steele says the problem with the business now is, there are no characters left, Boom-Boom was definately one of them.

lane talburt said...

Speaking of doniker drivers, Bill Reynolds, former Carson & Barnes bandleader, was on David Rawls' Kelly Miller for a short time in the early 2000s. He played his horn in the three-person band. Everybody called him Doniker Bill because he pulled the portable privvys each morning to the next lot. He bedded down in the sleeper and used an old bike for local transportation.

Bill said he was unloading a horse on C&B some years ago when the horse's head reared up, hitting his chin and causing him to nearly sever his tongue. Once the reconnected tongue healed, he could no longer triple-tongue his trumpet in the traditional way. the band. But he found a way to simulate the method, and no one--outside the band--was any the wiser. Reynolds said he and his parents and sibblings were sitting around the family table in Mt. Vernon, Ill, one night and griping about how tired they were of not earning what they thought they should be making. So the seven of them chipped in $10 each and started "The Reynolds Family Circus," a school show with spring and fall tours. Bill's younger brother, a tuba player and drummer, later took over the show, its route covering towns in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. Don't know whether the family circus still goes out in the spring. Lane T