Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Barnum & Bailey 1899

Scan10496, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Have just spotted two clips of a Barnum & Bailey 1899 British parade on 'You Tube' plus 'Acephalemagic.blogspot' I can't easily transfer them to you as I use my local liibraries computer - perhaps you may be interested in them for your site? They are labelled Barnum & Bailey Parade (1899). Clips 1 & Clip 2 and show a reasonable amount of a UK parade from the shows 2nd year of touring here. They are from a "British Movietone News" film that was once thought lost though I'm not sure of town (I have details somewhere!). Clip 1 (just over 2 minutes) is best and, considering how old it is, quality is not bad. Clip 2 has a lovely shot of just how spectacular the 40-horse set looked, but after about 1½ minutes the film is really of the post parade crowd & vehicles following it to the lot, crowds wondering if more is to come, etc.

The show made a great deal of fuss about camels being ridden by "Egyptian" musicians plus the elephants and howdahs - 1898 saw each camel pair being ridden and a rear-facing (? I believe) drummer, their uniforms all differed so were not particularly authentic. That year generally saw 2 howdahs with canopied tops & often reviews mentioning a neck rider plus Arab/exotics in howdahs. This 1899 parade shows very skittish camels not being ridden, though with 3 "Egyptian" garbed riders on the 2nd elephant. Alas, presumably of need to refill cameras, etc. the clips jump about the parade a bit.

By the way, I loved the "Remarkable!" trapeze act video - worth watching each time I recheck your site - it was while hunting that on You Tube I fell over the B& B parade clips!

Fred Neill

"On the back of the picture above my dad wrote BARNUM & BAILEY IN SCOTLAND. So it would coincide with Mr. Neill's parade clip."


Anonymous said...

The second elephant in line in Fritz, B&B’s most magnificent male.

Around this time he is pictured in parades with a guy standing on a platform attached to his side (most likely it hung down from his back). The guy faces outward toward the street curb. I assume there was another chap in the same position on the other side.

Anonymous said...

Increditable of the magnitude. Obviously Mr. Bailey was a great Mgr. in having bosses in every dept. that were highly competent. No wonder he, Forepaugh, Ringlings, Coup were the top of the field. They all had organizational abilities of highest caliber.

Anonymous said...

Too bad there are not many modern owners that can organize, delegate authority, route the show with historical data about towns (Floyd King) and run the operation without having to have there nose in every aspect of the operation.
A smart manager doesn't interfere with his bosses decisions, but tells them when they make a mistake in private. Then let's them try again.
Bob Kitto

Anonymous said...

This British parade sequence was first used in 1992 for the hour-long PBS documentary "Barnum's Big Top" narrated by the distinguished historian David McCullough, written by Matthew Collins, and produced by Varied Directions for whom I served as consultant. It is wonderful to see it and so much else now available on YouTube.
Dick Flint

Anonymous said...

For the curious who view the YouTube videos (and this blog does not allow me to send the HTML link):
Clip 1 - Just as the Five Graces is fully seen in the background and while the 40-horse hitch approaches in front, you'll see a white-bearded rider with a cap in the lead that is the show's general superintendent, Frank Hyatt, certainly one of those highly competent bosses Johnny refers to. He was quite the old-timer by then having begun his career on the Van Amburgh show; he would retire just after Bailey's death. After the bandwagon, you see 7 of the older and plain P.T. Barnum show cages followed by 5 of the elaborate early 1880s Fielding-built cages and a tableau.

Clip 2 - After the chariots driven by the ladies (the first with 2 horses, second with 3, and the third pulled by 4 horses), you see the elegant bandchariot pulled by 8 dark horses and built by Fielding Bros. for L.B. Lent in 1870 after which appear 3 cages from the fine corner statue set made by Fielding for Barnum & London in the early 1880s.
Dick Flint

Anonymous said...

The railroad bridge in the background of the second B&B parade clip is the 1879 iron bridge over the River Wear at Sunderland, England, where B&B appeared on August 1-2, 1898 and August 18, 1899. So, the setting isn't Scotland for the film. See the links: http://www.francisfrith.com/search/england/tyne+and+wear/sunderland/photos/sunderland_S263003.htm



B&B was formidable under Bailey, but between 1903 and 1907 it had deteriorated substantially, to the point that the Ringlings had to replace much of the physical plant with Forepaugh-Sells property to enable touring in 1908. They then paid off the entire cost of the purchase within that season. It's a reflection on the dismal showing of Bailey's managerial replacements in 1906 and 1907.

Fred Neill said...

Thanks for naming the parade town - I had it on my computer somewhere but....
The cameraman mayn't have realised the last part of the film of clip 2 was not actual parade - however, it shows typical parade chaos at the time. The trains passing in the background add to the effect!
There had been a rail accident in 1898 that seems to have damaged some equipment which may explain the simpler non-roofed & non-curtained howdah, 1898 often saw 2 howdahs as well. Throughout both years the advance team tended not to vary their 'spiel' to local papers - so parades mention 6 zebras (there were 4 never 6), 4 chariots (obviously 3 here), elephant numbers varied widely (none in several towns), camels were usually said to be ridden (not here though), etc. One route seemsto have been changed overnight as well! Regarding the 'guy(s) facing' outwards I've not spotted that in any UK pics I've seen. Many thanks to all.
Fred Neill

Raffaele De Ritis said...

It's me who posted the two parade clips.
They are in the British Movietone archives, and as Mr.Flint remembers, they have been used before for documentaries. Unfortunately, there are no deatils about the town.

Who follow weekly my blog, can be easily exposed to more of such rarities: www.raffaelederitis.blogspot.com