Monday, August 31, 2015

James Bros. #1

I sure miss Sid Kellner, Great Guy!
In 1969 he booked the three small elephants I had trained for him to appear with the E.K Fernandez Circus in Hawaii. I remained behind with "Anna May" and Sid's larger elephant "Ellie".
Barbara said the flight over there was a nightmare, apparently the crates were built too large and allowed the elephants room to thrash about violently to the extent that at one point one of the crew members came back with a pistol.
I took this picture as they were about to depart and noticed the tips of the wings bobbing up and down a bit but assumed they knew what they were doing.

James Bros. #2

Upon arrival.

James Bros. #3

Bringing the elephants to the back door in Hawaii.

James Bros. #4

Back in the U.S. a nice picture of the act we put together with James Bros.
"Anna May", "Ellie", Jackie", "Lovie" and "Sue".

James Bros. #5

James Bros. #6

Publicity shots taken at the show's winter quarters at Martinez, Calif.

James Bros. #7

James Bros. #8

One day this German Shepard came walking through the gate and took up residence in the elephant barn. My wife put him to work.

James Bros. #9

Breaking them for harness, can't imagine why I had those trace chains so long.

James Bros. #10

In October of 1976 while at Circus World, Sid called me saying they were for sale so I notified Kenneth and he made a deal. I later asked how much he paid and he said, "More than I wanted to but a lot less than he was asking!"
I sent Gary Jacobson to the show to pick them up and on arrival immediately changed their names to "Louie", "Juno" and "Sid".

James Bros. #11

Everybody wants to get into the act!

James Bros. #12

One winter I talked Sid into allowing me to bring the elephants to Florida during the brief time off.
Here we see me and Hugo showing off new babies "Karen" and Shannon.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pit Shows #1

The gentleman at right is operating a "Mug Joint".

Pit Shows #2

Pit Shows #3

Pit Shows #4

Pit Shows #5

Pit Shows #6

Pit Shows #7

Back in the 50's the Kelly-Miller Show would invite the public to visit the lot in the morning to witness the erection of the circus tents and see the animals.
It was said that with the concessions, pit shows, pony ride, etc. they some times made the day's nut before the first ticket was sold.
Joe Lewis seen above would explain the events of the day to the morning visitors then go into the saga regarding the death of Mrs. Carter, killed by a caress from the Gorilla she had raised from infancy not realizing his own strength, a tale that would bring a tear drop to the eye of a Sphinx.
Smokey and I would often go out and listen to his pitch, sometimes the Chimp would make a commotion and Joe would yell!......"Don't worry! There must be a lady up there who resembles the late Mrs. Carter!"
He once handed a handkerchief up to the viewers saying, "Toss this to him so he can wipe his eyes!.....then asked, "Did he wipe his eyes? and a voice replied, "No he wiped his ___! and without missing a beat he shot back, "That's what they all say, the greatest attraction ever to visit your fair city!..... We almost collapsed from laughing!

Pit Shows #8

Pit Shows #9

Pit Shows #10

Pit Shows #11

Frank Ellis Pit Show in his back yard.
I had worked for Frank in 1949 as a candy butcher on Big Bob Stevens' Robbins Bros. Circus.
He and Laura Anderson (Bud Anderson's widow) owned the A&E Concession Co.

Pit Shows #12

Lee Bradley, Bill Woodcock, Sam Price, and Fearless Frank Ellis.
Frank's place was right down town in Hugo and I remember someone asking a guy how he liked having a Python and a Gorilla for next door neighbors and he said, "They are OK but that loud mouth A__ H__ that owns them has got to go.
There was an old gent who worked for Frank named Amos Grady Harding who always said that at one time he had been Mayor of Savannah, Tennessee.
Is there such a town?

Pit Shows #13

A man out standing in his field!

Pit Shows #14

Pit Shows #15

My Favorite!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Train Wreck #1 (From Chic Silber)

More Train Wreck #2

1994 RBBB Surplus Elephants

More '94

The mothers and babies were gillied back and forth from the  train in this wagon.
At the end of the season I informed the Trainmaster  that he could leave it in winter quarters because when we went out again they would march with the herd but he said, "No!, No! We have lots of things we can put in there and they did.

1994 #1

Hard to believe that over 20 years have elapsed since the Blue show train wreck.

1994 #2