Saturday, June 03, 2017

#15 Steel Arena

Roger Smith.


scary said...

This is Roger Smith working the Hubert Castle cat act, I believe this tiger was Goldie, also this was a Clyde Beatty arena which is stacked up in my backyard, correct me Roger if I got anything wrong

Roger Smith said...

Yes, the tigress was Goldie, and this was the Mabel Stark solid oaken ball which she gave to me out of her Japanese shipping crates. It was used briefly on the Jungleland stage. At our auction, before I could get it off the lot, it was bought by Don McLennan, who later sold it to Castle for a reported $12.50. I worked it for two years, moving it from the floor to the front, where I welded up the supports to elevate it. When TZ Productions bought the Castle show, the ball went there, and Larry Allen Dean told me it then went to Mexico, where we'd never see it again. I still claim it as mine, a direct gift from Mabel Stark.

When the Beatty act dissolved from that show, 7 of the cats came out here, but the arena was quickly bought by Dave Hoover, which was his habit with defunct cat acts. He sold the cage in 1970 to Castle, who at once tore it down into his own design. All framing was gone, and only the bars and the original man-door remained from this last Beatty arena, which was built new in DeLand, in 1960. I never failed to feel Beatty's presence when I passed through the door he had used for most of 6 years.

The last I heard of this arena was via Harry From Texas, who on a tour of the RBB elephant farm in Florida, was told that cage laying out in the elements was the last Clyde Beatty cage. How it would have wound up on RBB, no one has told me.

If someone has it now, believe me, I don't want it, but would indeed like to pay it a visit and get pictures for old time's sake.

So, Scary, tell us who you are, and if such a visit is possible. And thank you.

Roger Smith said...

This photo was taken in 1973 from the girders of the then-new building in Brandon, Manitoba, by this guy, "Mike" somebody. He joined out saying he'd won a grant to write a photo book on "the vanishing circus". He took 1000s of photos throughout the backyard and performance, and conducted lengthy interviews. We all got a few of these shots, but then he vanished, with the rest of the photos we'd all like to have had, and we never heard of him or his book again.