This is from a set of pictures taken of the Plunkett Show in the 1940's.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Posted by Buckles at 4/30/2011 05:30:00 AM
Friday, April 29, 2011
Cristiani%20Bros%20AMAZING%20LEAPS%20(1959)%20_Half%20Sheet%20Flat, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.
Cristiani Lithos (1959) From Chris Berry
Posted by Buckles at 4/29/2011 05:59:00 AM
"Looks like Al Vidbel to me.
Posted by Buckles at 4/29/2011 05:50:00 AM
Posted by Buckles at 4/29/2011 05:28:00 AM
Posted by Buckles at 4/29/2011 05:25:00 AM
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The Cole Bros title has been used by a number of circus owners, and the funniest story I know about it came from Floyd King and Joe Bradbury used it in his great series on the Adkins and Terrell Cole show.
Posted by Buckles at 4/28/2011 04:01:00 PM
Lots of show folks lived in Port Gibson. F S Wolcott of Rabbit Foot Minstrels fame owned a small hotel there and I knew two old time billposters who lived there: Elmer Yancy and Mark Frisbee.
Posted by Buckles at 4/28/2011 01:19:00 PM
My dad wrote on the back:
Posted by Buckles at 4/28/2011 06:37:00 AM
Charlie Campbell wrote on the back:
Posted by Buckles at 4/28/2011 06:21:00 AM
"Myrtle", "Bonnie" and "Babe" trained by Cheerful Gardner.
Posted by Buckles at 4/28/2011 05:50:00 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The captivating and classy aerial star, Susan Vidbel Ashton, commandeers the bob cat to unload the equipment as CIRCUS VIDBEL prepares to open the 2011 season at Sarasota Square Mall, Beneva and Sarasota Square Blvd., close to Rt. 41.
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 07:37:00 PM
Back when I was in high school, and long before I had ever heard of Charly Baumann or Gunther Gabel Williams, I read LIONS, TIGERS, AND ME, the 1956 autobiography of famous wild animal trainer Roman Proske. (The fact that he was originally from Vienna had special meaning for me since both of my paternal grandparents were Viennese.)
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 06:24:00 AM
Born into a well-to-do, aristocratic family, Proske, who had no animal training experience of any kind, first realized that he wanted to become a wild animal trainer after seeing a lion act in a circus when he was 11. When he was barely 13, he ran away from home to become an apprentice with a small circus. A year or so later he had a chance encounter with Emerie Hansler, Austria’s only wild animal dealer. Impressed by Proske’s enthusiasm, Hansler hired him as a baggage boy for an expedition he was sending to British East Africa to collect animals. While in Africa, Proske worked with five 4-month-old lion cubs that the expedition had captured. Using cubes of meat as a reward, he “trained” them to perform a few simple tricks. Hansler was so delighted that, after the expedition returned to Europe, he bought Proske a group of two-year-old male lions for him to train and then present during a circus tour through Bohemia in 1913. (Proske’s account of how he went from raw amateur to polished performer is rather sketchy and lacking in specific detail. He did express appreciation for the knowledge and advice he picked up from other trainers whom he met along the way.) By the end of 1913, and while still a teenager, he received star billing when his lion act was booked into a major theater in Vienna.
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 06:22:00 AM
After touring throughout Europe and the Middle East, Proske came to the United States in 1933 for a season-long engagement at Atlantic City’s famous Steel Pier. (According to Proske, his Steel Pier schedule was a grueling one with four and some times five performances a day!) While appearing in Atlantic City, he met and became friends with a number of famous entertainers including singer Rudy Vallee who, according to Proske, took thousands of feet of movie film of his act and who later helped him secure bookings. (One wonders where this movie footage is now!) During his first year in America, Proske also met and became good friends with Frank Buck.
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 06:16:00 AM
Proske and his dancing tiger Lily. During Proske’s years in America, many of his engagements were in theaters like the Roxy in New York, the Earle Theater in Washington, and in prestigious venues like Billy Rose’s Case Manana in New York. In 1939, he was featured at Frank Buck’s Jungleland exhibit at the New York World’s Fair.
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 06:14:00 AM
One of the incidents that Proske relates in his book is the time he was booked into Cleveland by Hamid-Morton to appear in a locally sponsored circus. (The Al Sarat Grotto Circus?) Appearing on the same bill as an added attraction was “the biggest name wild animal act in America.” (Clyde Beatty?) After the show opened, and despite the good reviews that Proske’s act had received, the local sponsoring committee tried to have it removed from the program because, as the chairman explained, “We feel a lion or a tiger is supposed to be a ferocious animal and the act should be of that nature.” In an interview that appeared in the Cleveland Press Bob Morton came to Proske’s defense: “This committee has discriminated against Captain Proske when, as a matter of fact, he is stealing the show. He is proving that lions and tigers can be trained without cracking whips or exploding guns in their faces.” Later, when he was appearing in a series of indoor dates produced by Orrin Davenport, Proske’s act was signed to appear for a two-week engagement in Detroit. The big-name act that he had encountered in Cleveland had also signed up with the Detroit committee but with the understanding that Proske and his tigers would not appear on the same program. Since Proske already had a signed contract, the committee ended up paying him in full not to appear.
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 06:12:00 AM
While appearing in the Orpheum Theater in Los Angles, Proske was attacked by Judith and badly mauled. While in the hospital and in danger of losing one of his legs to gangrene, one of his frequent visitors was Mabel Stark, to whom Proske later gave credit for giving him the “encouragement that sparked my will to live.”
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 06:03:00 AM
Frank Buck had first suggested that Proske sign with Ringling-Barnum in 1938 after John Ringling North had reinstated wild animal acts to the performance. However, due to other commitments and then Alfred Court’s long stay with the show, it wasn’t until 1947 that Proske finally got to appear with the Greatest Show on Earth, and then only when the show played the large Eastern cities. (In signing with Ringling, it was understood that he would leave the show once the one-day stands began.) Appearing with him during the wild animal display were Konselman’s polar bears and Dhotre Damoo’s smaller cats. While performing with Ringling, Proske was immortalized by the famous color photo of him that appeared in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, and which Buckles posted a few weeks ago.
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 06:00:00 AM
Following an engagement at the Palace Theater in New York in 1949, Proske decided to retire to Florida. (While in retirement, he trained this male jaguar “not with any professional purpose in mind but simply for the fun of it.”) Used copies of LIONS, TIGERS, AND ME are readily and inexpensively available from ABEBOOKS.com. If you knew and/or worked with Roman Proske and have additional information to post about his life and career, it will be greatly appreciated by the rest of us.
Posted by Buckles at 4/27/2011 05:56:00 AM