Monday, August 06, 2018

O & P #7


Chic Silber said...

Frank McClosky (Miklaszewski)

came up throught the ranks

of Ringling management & with

Walter Kernan (next photo) &

politician Jerry Collins (for

financial support) bought the

"Clyde Beatty Cole Bros Circus"

in the late 50s from bankruptsy

Chic Silber said...

They contracted with Beatty

for him to remain as the

headline attraction & to

keep his name in the title

I 1st worked a frontlight

in Commack in 61 where I

learned how to spell circus

A very lucky opportunity

That show nomatter the name

will remain my Alma Matter

Roger Smith said...

Contracted Beatty is right. Upon bankruptcy, it was discovered Beatty's managers and lawyers had kept his name, his act, the act equipment, and his private 61 railcar, entirely separate from the circus itself. The Gang of Four, McClosky, Kernan, Calhoun, and Collins, at the Sheriff's auction on the literal courthouse steps, in Macon, Georgia, had bought themselves what really was just another circus. To make a go of it, negotiations were hastened for Beatty. His lead attorney, Joe Mercurio, landed Beatty the industry's top contract for a performer, a document unheard of in the destructive season of 1956. Beatty was paid $1500 a week to work the act, $500 a week for the use of his name, a new white Cadillac every year, and a new Airstream every other year. All this, plus all expenses pertaining to his presence there, and all for the act. The show paid gas, oil, and service for the Cadillac and Airstream, for his cases of 2,000 rounds of S&W .38 smokeless blanks, bundles of 50 hickory training poles from Hope, Arkansas, paint for the arena and props, and all meat and veterinary bills for the animals which remained in Beatty's ownership. No one had seen a contract like this since the $20,000 a week supposedly paid to Tom Mix. After re-organizing in Deming, New Mexico Winterquarters, the show re-opened in Las Cruces, and continued as the last under-canvas railroad circus for a highly successful 2nd half of the '56 tour.

Charles Hanson said...

That was some contract....Thanks for sharing this information....Who would have thought it in 1956?

Charles Hanson said...

Almost sounds like a contract you might associate with Gunther ....Whatever the attorney charged....He was worth it and then some.

Chic Silber said...

Gunther never had it as good

Originally he was "leased"

with the rest of the show

& after Feld bought all the

animals he was captive but

treated fairly well

Chic Silber said...

A descendant of Joe Mercurio

remains as Johnny Pugh's

attorney to this day

Charles Hanson said...

More surprises concerning Gunther......Sometimes, what we assume to be the truth and the reality of the situation can be mind boggling. I thought he (Gunther) would have been treated like royalty....

Roger Smith said...

There was indeed some effort put into Gunther, or GGW. When the Felds got the Circus Williams stuff, they quickly discovered that Gunther was working all the major animal acts--horses, tigers, and elephants. The Felds, like most other shows, might encourage acts to do 2 or more, but not to re-appear as the main feature throughout the show. Something had to be done to justify this, so they decided to star him. He got all manner of top billing, expansive photo arrays in the program, 90% of all local radio, TV, and newspaper appearances. They got him booked on Johnny Carson, 60 Minutes, The Today Show, and special interviews with Mike Wallace, Barbara Walters, and Dick Cavett, to name those 3. In New York, they distributed "NY (hearts) Gunther" pin-back buttons, and there was no end to his build-up. I visited him in his private quarters on the train, and can testify that this treatment of him was tops. Then, one year in San Antonio, I visited to find Buffy was working the acts, and GGW was around the sidelines, by then looking drained, and dealing with the onset of his final illness.

Charles Hanson said...

Thank you so much for sharing this insight about GGW.....

Richard Reynolds said...

Re Gunther - -I believe he had a small equity share of the show when he was at his peak. That no doubt went back to the Felds upon his death. He had an entire rail car for his use but often preferred to drive overland in his custom built bus.

I learned that he was almost illiterate in English and had his wife read documents to him.

Chic Silber said...

He never had a real "equity share"

but they did sweeten his deal with

a small percentage based on some

corrected gross or corrected net

Sharp pencils weren't in his favor

Yes about his comprehension which

he tried to keep under wraps

Great performer & a real charmer

Harder working than everyone else

He was considered many many folks

"best friend"

Many other details not for here

Charles Hanson said...

Chic...Did this percentage paid to Gunther include the entire Feld Umbrella? If so, even a small cut of that could add up quickly.....

Chic Silber said...

Absopositutely not Charles

Only very few even knew the

REAL story of the bookeeping

Very creative indeed