Sunday, July 10, 2005

Gentry Bros. Circus 1927 #2

Floyd King started out as Press Agent for the Al G. Barnes Circus in 1912 and later with the Hagenbeck-Wallace Show. In 1919 he purchased the Wm. Campbell 2-car show and remained with these type operations thru 1924 using such titles as "Sanger Show", "Hugo Bros.", "Harris Bros.", etc. He bought his first elephant in 1920 named "Little Hipp" since she had been featured once in the NY Hippodrome but she didn't fare well and died in theFall. King bought a second elephant in 1921 from Mugian & Bowers but she died shortly after arrival and he later said he erected side wall around the carcass and made $200 exhibiting a dead elephant. By 1923 and using the "Rice Bros." title, the show now moved on 4 cars but was still able to be moved by attaching itself onto passenger trains heading their direction. In 1924 they had 3 tunnel cars (small wagons inside), 1 sleeper and 1 combination sleeper-pie car and carried two elephants "Mama" and "Danny" a young male. Finally in 1925 King put the show on flat cars buying equipment from the Corp.,RBBB and Charlie Sparks and fielded a 10 car show which was named "Walter L. Main Circus" a title made available since Andrew Downie had sold his show to 101 Ranch. A third elephant named "Eva" with a Vaudeville background was added. After a terrific season, the following winter King purchased the defunct "Gentry-Patterson Show" from a Kansas Bank for $40,000 this gave them two shows, one on 15 cars and the other on 10. The new show carried 4 elephants "Big Modoc", "Queen", "Pinto" and "Babe" but for some reason Babe was sold to Christy Bros. and eventually became the "Babe" with Gene Holter. This is a picture of the Gentry Show in 1927 showing Spec, you might notice the three ladies dancing in the center ring and the Prima Dona (Pearl Clark) atop "Queen" about to favor the audience with a song. Buckles


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the Ringling PR department is making a big deal about the featured vocalist on the Blue Unit, saying that it is the first time a female singer has been spotlighted in the ring. Guess the corporate memory doesn't go back far enough to include "Prima Donnas" who were headliners in specs and hired specifically for their vocal skills. No body mikes in those days either, those ladies had to have the pipes to fill the big top!