Friday, September 30, 2005

Terrell and Dolly Jacobs

Al G. Barnes Circus/ Terrell Jacobs "The Lion King"

Ringling-Barnum Circus 1939/ Dolly Jacobs

Terrell Jacobs Wild Animal Circus 1942

This is Terrell Jacobs show with Conklin's "All Canadian Shows" at the "Fair for Britian" in Toronto in 1942. By this time Terrell had purchased three elephants from Laura Anderson "Modoc", "Empress" and "Judy".
In this picture we see Mr. Jacobs with the microphone, Bill Woodcock and "Modoc", Vern Coriell on the trapeze and the clown is George Churchill.
This was Fred Logan's first entry into show biz and he has deccribed to me how incredibly heavy that stage and set piece were.

To those unaware, these pictures can be enlarged slightly by clicking twice on the picture.

Still struggling

A different problem every time I try to send a picture.
My next door neighbor insists that a truck with "Feld Entertainment" on the door continues to circle the area.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Home Sweet Home

After all these years last June we finally sold my mother's home in beautiful down town Hugo, Oklahoma yet we recently received the customary annual $250 Property Tax bill but three months after the fact.
I suppose technically we would be responsible for half the bill but our CPA told us that the Realty Co. is responsible for tying up all the loose ends and once the check is in hand all bets are off. Yesterday I recieved a call from a friend in Hugo saying that I am the talk of the town and the words "tar" and "feathers" were being bandied about should I ever return.
I'm surprised the news should hit the streets so soon, after all it's not the Trump Towers but I had better send them a C-note to square the beef before someone spray paints "Scofflaw" on my nice tombstone.

Then this morning I see that my comment on the CHS Web Site had been yanked, evidently I came on a bit too strong however it seems like only yesterday that one of the Ringling Vice Presidents, Richard Froeming, told me that until I came around he thought that "Sells-Floto" was synonymous with selling things.

"Hebe" and "Young America"

So to put a lid on Babe and Columbia, this picture was taken in 1880at the Cooper & Bailey winter quarters in Philadelphia.

Stewart Craven

Craven was the first person to appreciate just how nimble elephants could be and came up with what I call a "Military Drill" elephants mounting on each others backs from pedistals. His innovations came when circus owners began to measure their shows by the size of it's elephant herd, his best remembered act was the "Forepaugh Dancing Eight".
He was also a good businessman and decided to import the elephants himself thereby profiting not only by training the act but the sale of the elephants. Craven assembled a staff of apprentices, of which the best known today is Ephriam Thompson a black man.
Thompson stayed on the 4-Paw Show but for the most part remained in the background while Adam Forepaugh Jr. (Addie) presented the elephants. Eventually it became evident where the talent lie and Thompson was brought to Europe where he became a sensation.
Stewart Craven on the other hand, bought a ranch in Texas and finished out his years in Dallas.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

George N. Bates #1

I'm surprised over the chatter on the Blog Site regarding this elephant "Babe" shown here with her long time keeper George Bates. I think this picture was taken about 1907 while both were in their declining days. The show received much publicity with the birth of Babe's calf "Young America" and was introduced to the press as "Hebe" . Rather odd to name an elephant after the Greek Goddes of Beauty, but on the lot she was "Babe".
Her calf was born 3/10/80, weight 214 lbs. and height 35 ins. while still with the Cooper & Bailey Circus and she is credited as being the factor that would eventually lead to P.T Barnum and James A. Bailey's partnership. Again, on the lot the calf was called "Columbia".

George N. Bates #2

Monday, September 26, 2005

Barbara and "Nirvana"

Barbara had several leopards over the years. This was the best of them "Nirvana", this picture taken in 1974 shortly after the Ringling Park's opening.
The winter of 1977-78 we were in rehearsal in Venice prior to taking our elephant herd on the Blue Show. I was holding a string of spec elephants near the back door one day chatting with Gunther when Barbara came by with a new young leopard and handed me the leash saying "Hold this I forgot something" she was barely out of sight when something frightened the cat and she took off wrapping the leash around my leg several times. So here am I doing the Mexican Hat Dance, trying to get untangled and with Gunther trying to keep a straight face, the dirty little bitch bit me on the leg. After Barbara had returned and as I went limping off with the elephants into the arena, thoroughly humiliated, he casually mentioned, "You ought to get a shot for that".

Circus of the Stars

We took the elephants out to LA several times to work the old "Circus of the Stars" TV Show. One year they kept all the animals at the fairgrounds in Northridge, a pretty handy place for the celebrities to practice. Barbara became chummy with Jane Powell who was to present Darrell Wallen's ponies.
This picture was taken some time later after Ms. Powell and her husband Dickie Moore had seen the Big Apple Circus performance at Lincoln Center. They later took us out to dinner and the highlight of the evening was the telling of Parley Baer stories. As I recall Moore and Parley had both been active in Union activities, Screen Actors Guild or some such.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

"Who's got the bulls on this show?" #1

I can't pinpoint this year or identify the "Capt." on the horse. They are exercizing the herd by marching around the Rochester, Ind. quarters.
I don't see the big African "Safari" and the male at right "George" looks a lot bigger then when he came to the show from Hall's place in 1935 so I would guess that would make it about1938 with Alonzo Dever in charge but it doesn't look like him to me.

"Who's got the bulls on this show?" #2

This is the King Bros. Circus elephant herd of 1951 at the Macon, Ga. quarters. From left the elephants Nos. 1., 2. and 5. "Alice", "Mona" and "Margie" were owned by Floyd King.
Nos. 3., 4., 6. and 7. are "Christy", "Carrie", "Babe" and "Shirley" originally trained by Mac MacDonald in 1947 for Big Bob Stevens' Bailey Bros. Circus but best remembered as the Karen Cristiani elephants and the last five on the right were owned by Norma Cristiani "Mary", "Maude", "Norma", "Bessie" and "Konti" from the Dailey Show and originally trained by Louis Reed, these names would be familiar to Clyde Beaty-Cole Bros. fans.
I suspect the man at left is Steve Fanning.

"Who's got the bulls on this show?" #3

At the Ringling Park in Davenport, Fl. the elephants were marched across the highway to a truck stop and weighed on the scale every year. This would be in 1977 and at left wearing the headpiece is "Anna May".
The crew is Ted Svertesky, Chris Schacht, "Rammy Sammy" Haddock, Mike Aria, ...........?, "Cookie" Phillips, David Mannes, Igor Smith and Gary Jacobson.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Von Bros. Circus 1962/ Midway

I never saw this show but on closer examination of these photos I was plesantly surprised.
I must say tho this must be the most cluttered up marquee I ever saw. Reminds me of the connection squeeze Jimmy Hamiter and Ira Watts ran with Kelly-Miller but I'm sure this show had none of that fol de rol.

Von Bros. Circus 1962/ Back yard

I have a series of these Von Bros. photos and the equipment looks good and the show is well painted. I don't have an elephant listed with this show in '62 but I seem to recall Buck Steele had leased them one at some point.

Von Bros. Circus 1962/ Big Top interior

Very nice looking layout. Three ring curbs, a chair grandstand and a well taken care of bale ring top.
On the back of the photo is written "Ki Gor" cat act which would be my old buddy Prince ElKigordo.

Prince El Kigordo and "Caesar"

This is the Prince when he came on the Polack Show in 1967. He followed Pat Anthony who had been with Polack for a long time and a tough act to follow since it had plenty of action.
Prince was more entertaining in the back yard, always had a joke and a story, I thought he was great.
My dad said a lion trainer should have a red uniform with gold frogging and plenty of medals, a handlebar mustache, a full head of hair like mane on a lion and leather boots above the knee. In that fashion the Prince would have been perfect.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wallace Bros. Circus 1938/ Hoot Gibson

I have made much issue over Lee Powell the Lone Ranger who was a good friend of my father's while they were together on the show however these pictures are of Western personalities Ray Rogers had previously hired.
This is the Concert line up: Ted and Dorothy Lewis, Doc Adams, Hoot Gibson (white hat of course), T.P. Lewis, Olivia Gordon and Dal and Midge Deaver.
To the uninformed the "concert" was an additional show held immediately following the main performance. In this case, after being introduced to the audience an announcement would be made that for a small additional fee you could remain to see a second show in which Mr. Gibson would present his Congress of Rough Riders doing whip cracking, rope spinning, trick riding, etc. and maybe even an autograph from the man himself.
The proceeds of which were divided between the show and Gibson which would defray the cost of his salary and would be a pretty good score for whoever the current Cowboy Star would be.

The people in the photo above with Gibson were regular circus people who had been the supporting cast members for all the cowboys Rogers had hired throughout the show's history.

Barnett Bros. Circus 1934/ Harry Carey #1

My family didn't join the Barnett Show until 1937 and I don't recall my folks ever mentioning either Harry Carey or Tom Tyler so they must have been there before our time.
Carey had the title role in the 1931 film "Trader Horne" so he would have been a good attraction.

Barnett Bros. Circus 1934/ Harry Carey #2

It is said that John Wayne claimed to have gotten his first big break thru the efforts of Harry Carey and it is probably true since he and his son Harry Carey Jr. appeared in most of John Ford's Westerns throughout their careers.

Barnett Bros. Circus 1936/ Tom Tyler

This is an RKO Studio photo of Tom Tyler promoting a 1936 film Powdersmoke Range" which also included Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams and Bob Steele.
I see him on TV all the time, he was the Confederate Officer in charge of evacuating Atlanta in "Gone With The Wind" and the outlaw killed by John Wayne in the climactic scene of "Stage Coach". My favorite tho was "Drums Along the Mohawk" in which Tyler was the last straggler returning to the fortress after having been routed by the Indians, he delivered the great line to an anxious Claudette Colbert "There's no one alive behind me!".

Most of these Wallace/Barnett pictures come from my mother's scrap books and she had a hobby of coloring photographs with tiny brushes, actually she was quite good at it but I wish she hadn't put lipstick on one of the movie's vilest villians.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

King Bros. Circus 1955/ The Riding Dorchesters

Tony Fossett, Hillary.....?, Kathy and George Scott.

Kelly-Miller Circus 1948/ Romig-Rooney Troupe

Fay and Irv Romig at left and I suppose their parents.
Irv had a riding act on the Ringling Show a few years later that worked in an end ring in the bare back display that featured Alberto Zoppe and the midget Cucciola.
You movie buffs might recall a shot of Irv in this make up winding the horse's tail in the DeMille flick.

King Bros. Circus 1942 (Allen King)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Barnum & Bailey 1910's/ Unloading flat cars #1

I like these type pictures that give an idea of the sense of urgency that it took to move a show this size over night and adding to the excitement are the town kids running atop the stock car. The teamster has hung his coat over the horse's harness in case of rain.
#30 wagon appears to be carrying jacks or bible-backs for the grandstand indicating that the flat cars must be almost unloaded since the seats are the last things needed on the lot.
The stock car in the background is half living quarters, no doubt horses in one end and teamsters in the other.

Barnum & Bailey 1910's/ Unloading the flats #2

Another wagon is ready to come down the runs even before #30 is out of the way. Both will be pulled clear of the area by "pull away" teams and eventually taken to the lot by six or even eight horse hitches (referred to as a 6-Up or an 8-Up) depending on the weight. The Barnum Show would have had over 200 baggage horses not to mention the performing stock.

Barnum & Bailey 1910's/ Unloading the flats #3

This picture would have been taken earlier since the cook house wagons would be the first things needed on the lot in the morning. The hook rope is hooked thru the ring on the back corner of the wagon with three men in front steering (poling) it along from flat car to flat car.
I see "Cooking Dept." on the canvas cover, the first time I ever heard that expression.

Barnum & Bailey 1910's/ Unloading flat cars #4

Here we have an assembly line effect with several pull-over teams in action. Once they reach the runs the hook rope will be disconnected and they are turned around in order to bring more wagons forward.

I was on the Ringling Show well after they had moved it into buildings and by that time they had acquired a fleet of lawn mowers that pulled little aluminum wagons around, something like you see in Air Ports, hard to get excited over.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Spencer, Iowa County Fair 1962/ "Lydia", "Anna May" and "Sadie"

When the Cristianis came on the Cole Show the ladies in their large family would often line up along the grandstand railing between shows and practice ballet excersizes. It wasn't long before others joined.
One day my mother and I cut thru the big top on our way back from the cook house and she caught up with this phenomenon for the first time, by now over a dozen women were involved. After watching for a while she asked Mickey Freeman what was going on and was told that it developed classic movement and helped to add to their style in the ring.
As we were walking away she said to me "Silliest thing I ever heard of, everybody knows that when the trick is over you throw your arms up!".
In a way she was right, here is a picture of Barbara "throwing her arms up" but then again even after we were married she put in many hours in dance classes.

Detroit Shrine Circus 1964

Polack Bros. Circus 1965/ Barbara and "Opal"

After a life time of taking care of animals, in retirement things havn't changed that much. It's still dark in the morning when I run the dogs, then down the driveway about 50 years to fetch the Tampa Tribune followed by all the neighborhood feral cats whom I then feed.
After the morning Blog it's time to march the boys down to catch the school bus and today for the first time my daughter in law will drop off little "Lumpy" as she returns to work at Busch Gardens.
It's about a mile to the area where we shop so when I make my morning rounds I'll have her buttoned down in the back seat of the van. I'm not sure how that basket fits into a shopping cart but I'll learn. Couldn't be any worse than putting a howdah on an elephant.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Meridian, Mississippi Fairgrounds 10/6/67

When Jimmy Cole worked for John Heriott at Baraboo the animals were often booked out after the Museum had closed it's season. Upon arriving at the Meridian Fair they learned that the Beatty Show would play the fairgrounds a few days after the fair ended so they decided to layover and catch the show.
Somehow I managed to become aware of this and realized that on this date I would be traveling West to East with the Polack Show and could join the party. We unloaded our elephants near the Baraboo stock.
Jimmy took this picture as Rex Williams exited the tent after the elephant act and immortalized on celuloid are the Colonel and myself explaining to him what he did wrong.

Wallace Bros. Circus/ Famous Circus Animals #1

Up early this morning since my nerves are still frayed from yelling at the TV set all day yesterday. We don't have a good quarterback left in the State of Florida. I am going to suggest that we start recruiting in California, I'm sure our College Boosters have as much money as theirs.
My daughter will be here today, we go to Beef O'Brady's every Sunday and she has a calming effect and after a burger and a beer I will be myself again. At 1:00 the Powerhouse Bucs play and they rarely disappoint.

Stevens Bros. Circus/ Famous Circus Animals #2


Show unknown/ Famous circus animals #3

This is Bert Dearo a contortionist, my dad and he were good friends on the Floto Show but in this case the license plate indicates that this is a mud show.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

DeMille Movie

As to the dialogue regarding "Ruth" in the movie, how about this one?
"Minyak, is your foot getting tired?".

Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth

Speaking of the Greatest Show on Earth, this picture was taken when it really was.
The Two Hemispheres Bandwagon dated 1903 their first year back from Europe. More awesome to me than the vehicle itself is the thought of having to assemble and hook up 40 horses on a new lot every day.

Barnum & Bailey 1909

I like this picture, particularly the wardrobe. Looks like a group of bellhops have been arrested. Barnum & Bailey on the back also, sounds good to me.

Gentry Bros. Dog & Pony Show

This is the original Gentry Show. Cutle little pony float

Friday, September 16, 2005

Big Ruth

ToddP has asked about Barnes Show "Ruth"

1910 Barnes first elephant
1910-38 Al G. Barnes Cicus
1939-56 Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Circus
1957 Ringling Qtrs. Sarasota
1958-65 Eddie Billetti Shopping Center Show
1966 Sold to Puerto Rico (final disposition unknown)

Doc Henderson's discription as being the "herd leader" is deceptive. She never led the herd anywhere but more accurately would be considered "the most reliable". She was the elephant that could be sent out alone to do things and you knew there would be no problems. As an example, on the Ringling Show she would dig furrows around the lot with a farm plow to bury light cables. Tho not real big, most of the other elephants were afraid of her for some reason which came in handy in case one should decide to act up and could also be a steadying influence on young elephants in training.
She was very clever, I was fascinated when I saw one of the men throw his bull hook on the ground in front of her which she promptly picked up and manipulated until she had a grip on the handle and proceeded to scratch herself with the hook. First behind the ears then between her front legs and finally lifted her head high so she could scratch under her chin during which time she screwed up her face like a dog does when being scratched.
This is a picture of her on the Barnes Show and I might add that she was prominent in the Tarzan Movies the Barnes elephants appeared in. I recall one scene she is carrying a man to safety (supposedly Tarzan) by the leg in this fashion.

Wallace Bros. Circus 1941/ Dinner Table Number #1

Someone came up with the idea of having both the elephant and the trainer get drunk, a ridiculous suggestion since everyone in the business knows that elephant men don't drink.
They decided it would be easier to train a clown to work the elephant.
Here we see Roy Brownlee and "Della" about to enter the ring.

Wallace Bros. Circus 1941/ Dinner Table Number #2

After getting drunk and tipping over the table both elephant and trainer would stagger around the track and collapse in front of the center ring. The announcer would then ask "Is there an Officer of the Law in the house?".
This picture taken after the act with "Della" still holding the evidence.

Wallace Bros. Circus 1941/ Dinner Table Nunber #3

The arresting oficer at right "Alice"is leading "Della" away, who is crawling along on her back knees.

Big Apple Circus/ Bello Nock

This is the alcohol free version with Big Apple since Policical Correctness had by this time dictated that excessive drinking was not to be made sport of.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stevens Bros. Circus 1947

I received several inquires regarding the man with Stevens Bros. in 1947 putting on his make up. I don't know his name but this is the finished product.

Hunt Bros. Circus 1926

I never saw the Hunt Show since they confined their route to the Northeast.
I am told that the gentleman in the center with the "attitude" is Charlie Hunt.