Friday, April 09, 2010

Palisades Park 1962

Scan12793, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

This is the only picture I have of our appearance in the Beatty Show
big top. Wish Paul Gutheil had been there.
That year Comack and Palisades conflicted so Oscar Crictiani and
us were brought in to finish out the Palisades date after the show's
elephants left for Comack.
This was the first of three times I did business with Frank McClosky.
For the most part, the date was in state of turmoil since it was only
months after the Wallenda accident in Detroit and Karl had signed
Palisades prior to that and now receiving offers from Ed Sullivan, he
was trying to be released.
To further complicate matters, a number of performances had been
added, exceeding what had been included in the contracts.
So Karl and Chet Juszyk and Oscar and me threatened a mutiny.
The manager Bill English arranged a meeting with Mr. McClosky
with the admonishment that he would only talk with one at a time
since he didn't intend to deal with a mob.
In short order he squared the beef and everyone was happy but
Karl who had to complete the date.

The other two meetings came quite a while later, I was offered a job to take over the herd when Rex was leaving to go to the Polack Show
then changed his mind and on a much later occasion when the show was playing Tampa, Barbara, me, Johnny and Mary Ruth were in the
seats watching the show when I got a tap on the shoulder and
Johnny Pugh told me that Mr. McClusky wanted to see me in the office.
I remember that Joe McMahon was with him and I was again offered
the job but I already had a full season booked.


Anonymous said...

Can anybody tell me how and when McCloskey got into the circus business?

Anonymous said...

McCloskey, born and raised in Norwich, Connecticut, started as prophand on Ringling and then was Lillian Leitzels personal rigger, prior to moving into management on Ringling and then purchasing the Clyde Beatty Circus on rails, then converting it to trucks and then later adding the Cole title along with King Bros & Sells & Gray.
He was the man with the expertise and knowledge to have 3 successful circuses touring mostly one day stands for decades. He, along with Floyd KIng built a route for these shows which continue today.
McCloskey built an orginization that anyone could step into and turn the key and continue the success. Credos to him for what he accomplished in the Circus industry.

Harry Kingston said...

What I would like more information on is in the Bandwagon magazine with an interview with Bob Snowden it was said at one there was talk about a East and a West units or two Clyde Beatty Cole Bros circuses.
This was way before Ringling had two units.
What happened why this did not happen????

Harry Kingston said...

McCloskey was great but how about Jerry Collins who was the money man and how abour Walter Kernan.
The three of them were a great team.
I got to meet and talk to Jerry Collins as Beatty Cole played near my area and they went to Houston and picked him up at the airport.
That was the year they finished the season and he gave the circus to FSU.

Anonymous said...

Tell us about meeting Jerry Collins?

Anonymous said...

Jerry Collins was the money man along with Calhoun. Collins did not now that much about running a circus, his talent was running Dog Tracks. Yes indeed Walter Kernan was an integral part of the original group as he left Ringling with McCloskey, W.E. Lawson among many others. Unfortunately Kernan died at an early age, on his way to New York to cut another Beatty deal.

Harry Kingston said...

Well meeting Collins for me was a great thrill as it was a real surprise as why would he be there.
Beatty Cole was in Nederland, Texas where our air port is and between Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas.
He was in a suit and tie and very nice as I sat right by him at the circus. He autographed my program and we talked about Beatty Cole but nothing was said about giving the circus to FSU.
You could tell there was alot of tension around the lot as why was he there.
Not to much of a crowd as our large state fair was going on the same time.
Harry Hammond told me they did not even make the media money in the area on account of the fair.
But for me getting to see Beatty Cole in my area and seeing Johnny Pugh, and Dave Hoover and Harry Hammond, Collins was icing on the cake.
He was very nice to me and looked like a class act.
I wish I knew back then he was the one put his name on the line for all the trucks Acme bought.
Well the rest is history as Johnny Pugh got the circus from FSU and Cole Bros is still rolling along under his guidance, just like old man river that just keeps rolling along.

Anonymous said...

FYI Harry,
Johnny Canole put his name on the line for the trucks that Acme Circus , General Circus and Kit Circus purchased.
Collins was indeed a Class Act.
Did you ever meet Frank McCloskey ?
Tell us about it if you would ,as he did wear suits all the time and also seemed to be a class act being chauffered from date to date in his black limo. I am sure he could have told you some real circus stories if you met him, Kernan or Lawson.
As I said in my previous comment, you would have to agree that the orginization that McCloskey, Kernan and all created was pretty much self sufficent and would still be rolling down the river, no matter who was captaining the boat.

Harry Kingston said...

Mr A,
No I never met McClosky but saw him in the ticket wagon many years ago.
Edna Antes told me she and McClosky counted the money in Canada and put it in $500 stacks.
I had many a great time on Beatty Cole through the years and was always treated so nice by all.
Except Art Branning who hated us fans. Edna Antes would give up that 3 by 5 card with guest on it and he would take one look at it and say you G D bunch of circus fans. Bob Cox told me he was hired out of a mission and did not like any one to bring that up. I wish the hell I had known that back then as I sure would have brought it up to him.
Yes what a great staff they had and they all worked well and made lots of money. Many of the folks I knew were over on B C for many years.
And now Johnny Pugh the owner still has a great circus that keeps on a going on and pleases the circis going public.
That tent of his with no quarter poles is a winner.

Anonymous said...

I sure as shootin' woulda been there as The Late Great, and still missed, Palisades Amusement Park was only ten miles down Route 4 from us. Sadly I was in college then and working all the way through to help pay tuition.

"Palisades Amusement Park swings all day and after dark. Ride the coaster get cool in the waves in the pool. You'll have fun so come on overrrr!" And we did for years.

Paul Gutheil

Anonymous said...

Dear Harry,
Thanks for your reply. Yes Edna Antes was god to all us circus fans.
I can't say much about Art Branning as I did not really know him.
I have spoken to both McCloskey & Collins, both Class Acts but Collins seemed to have more of an ego.
The tent that you mention is nothing new.. They have been using that type in Europe for many years to present all kinds of shows including circuses. Maybe thats why we see so many Cannobio tents here now.
Although pugh has a going and pleasing to the public circus, I do think it was wrong or even an insult to drop the Clyde Beatty name. That would be like Ringling dropping the name Ringling from their title, after all, the circus was established by the other folks I have mentioned and was an ongoing entity as Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus.
Why do you think the title was dropped? Again, I think it is an insult to Clyde Beatty and all the people that helped make it a success. Can't be because of money as the circus seems to be doing great business and purchases by staff of tour type buses, great acts etc.
I'd appreciate your comments.Thanks

Harry Kingston said...

Mr A,
I am with you 100% on dropping the Clyde Beatty name but I am a fan not a circus owner who faces many things in a day that costs big money.
You try to cut the nut down as much as you can with rising costs.
I know that for every ticket sold on Clyde Beatty Cole Bros you had to pay Clyde Beatty Jr. a certain amount.
So I would guess to cut costs Pugh dropped the Clyde Beatty name as to the general public would say who is that and they do forget easly. To us fans the Clyde Beatty name really means something and still does to me.
I can remember seeing him in person in the cage of fury and hoped he got out alive.
That was when a cage act was something and not like 3 cats today on some shows.
I wish I had met McClosky and know what have I read now in circus magazines to ask intelligent questions of him.
I had the pleasure to know D. R. Miller (Mr. Circus) well and asked many questions of him and which he kindly answered. Never saying no and very nice answering questions.
One was in 1956 when many shows closed and Al G. Kelly and Miller Bros put up large posters Last of the Circus see it now or miss it forever, D. R. said they jamed em, big business.
When I was at Carson and Barnes recently at Durant, ok Mike Moore was there, Jack Moore's son and I met him and we talked about his Dad's show.
Most show folks are very nice and some like Art Branning hated us fans.

Roger Smith said...

You guys summon memories.

Frank McClosky: I saw him in person once, in '64, when he came back to visit Beatty, at Lighthouse Field. Ken Dodd told me Frank had a showman's dream--he'd spend most of the year in Winter Park, or on his yacht, and have his money sent to him every week.

Jerry Collins: At the big party in Pittsburg, celebrating the beginning of the ill-fated Winter Tour of 1980, I reminded him my uncle in Tampa had been his tax attorney. He told me my uncle had saved him many millions of tax dollars, and our conversation involved his assuring me I had the cat act on the planned building route, with Hoover preferring to stay on the canvas route. That tragic winter ended further thoughts of a second unit and my shot at a new Beatty-Cole cat act.

To answer Harry, the dream of two Beatty-Cole units might have sprung from the success of Polack Bros. East and West, but what we suffered in 1980 erased such visions.

During this time, Jane Beatty had to sue Collins for stopping royalty payments for use of the Clyde Beatty name in the title. He allowed he was unhappy with her, and had never liked her. But why he actually tried to quit paying her, he stopped short of saying. I got far more on this later from sources close to the case.

Art Branning: Incredibly, Art insisted that he was there on the 1964 Beatty show, and that I could not have been, since he never heard of me. When I arrived, hired by letter and phone calls from Mr. Beatty, I kept my ears open and learned every name connected with Beatty-Cole, King, and Sells & Gray, and who was who, and at that time, Art Branning was never mentioned, as I told him. He bragged on hating ethnic groups, blacks and Jews especially. Art broke a cardinal rule that I've never seen a "manager" break before on a show--he loudly discussed salaries, including mine, trying to create heat in the backyard. He claimed he reconnoitered the German death camps for Allied commands, was caught, and his crippled legs were the result of torture. One day, I got a telling look at Art Branning--he told our show carpenter Old Pop, aka Arthur Furlong, that he hoped Pop would die so Art could have the pleasure of filling out his paperwork to be rid of him. In Gloversville, NY, Pop collapsed in the Back Door, and died days later. Art crowed about Pop's death for a week afterward. To me, that was Art Branning.

Dropping the Beatty name: At the time this was in discussions, I called Clyde, Jr. one day, who thought my call would be Johnny Pugh to sew up the deal on royalty payments for the coming season. Part of the deal was that no party diminish the other's name, and the Beatty name, as noted on this blog several times, was reduced to ever smaller lettering. There was conversation about that. Not being among these parties, the fine points did not come to me, but Clyde Beatty vanished from the title where it had been for 38 years after his death. Readers may draw their own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

RE: The Clyde Beatty Title...
As a circus fan, I don't believe it was to cut the overhead,
I think it was greed and disrespect
of the opportunity that one was given.
Obviously the show was successful for 38 years with the title.
People sometimes forget the ones that open doors and give them the chance to have a great life with immense financial rewards.....
I'm talking about the original people involved including CLYDE BEATTY, FRANK MCCLOSKY, WALTER KERNAN,FRANK ORMAN, EDNA ANTES, WILLY STOREY, plus many, many others.

RoyMaloy said...

Dear all. I am very keen to know if Frank ever gave an account of the fall that Lillian leitzel had that ultimately killed her. Since he was her rigger was he at the show? Where did he go after her fall? With her, I presume and then the Germany where she died? Very interested in your thoughts. Roy Maloy.