Friday, March 31, 2006

"Greatest Show on Earth" - No more?

Received another letter from Mr. Penndorf.

Hi Buckles,

I don't know if this really means anything, but I thought the following was very interesting.

This morning I was watching the "Early Show" on CBS. They did a feature on Brian and Tina Miser, a husband and wife team who do a human cannonball act on the 135TH Edition of Ringling Brothers. The interviewer, Hannah Storm, introduced them, and said that they currently appearing at the Verizon Center in Washington, D. C. with Ringling Brothers, "America's Favorite Circus", seemingly shunning the trademarked "The Greatest Show On Earth". It had me wondering if this was a catch phrase dreamed up by a CBS writer, or does this represent a new marketing strategy to go along with the Feld's new concept of the circus. Could it be that the Felds are rejecting the familiar circus hype and shying away from claims that maybe longer justified? "America's Favorite Circus" is "nice", but it doesn't have the impact of "THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!" What would P. T. Barnum say?

I see that you liked my analogy of the staging of the 136TH Edition to a set for a production of the "Wizard Of Oz".

Thank you for finding my first E-mail interesting and posting it to your Blog. I was surprised to see that it generated so many comments. I enjoyed reading each of them. Your Blog is a great forum to find and exchange information on the circus, and to hear just what other circus fans are thinking.

Shannon here - I found that interview on the internet. Click on the link below to view it.


The real world

I must say my kids have adjusted to the real world pretty well.
Barbara and I are meeting with Dalilah and some of her soon to be, former co-workers at a Restaurant tonight. Since her promotion moves her to another Verizon building it is sort of a farewell party.

Our Webmaster also got some good news since Brighthouse has decided to let him work out of his home. They will provide him with a company computer and a private phone line and he will continue to provide customers with the same service but eliminate 50 miles of driving each day. You can imagine the savings on gas, he estimates between $300 and $400 per month.

Not bad for a couple of kids that only knew how to hang onto elephants a short while ago.

From Gary Hill

These are pictures I have received in the past few days. Here we see Carson & Barnes on the lot opening day with a nice spread of matching vinyl.

From Terry Fenne

This is the procession at Rex Williams funeral a few years ago at Daingerfield, Texas.

From Klsdad

They're right! It does look like THE WIZARD OF OZ. The face on the screen is saying, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!".

Thursday, March 30, 2006

To Gracie Hanneford

Hanneford Circus in Ireland 1895. Edwin "Ned" Hanneford, Nana Hanneford holding Elizabeth, Poodles at left and an aunt standing in the doorway.

To Gracie Hanneford

Barnum & Bailey Circus 1916 Mr. and Mrs. Hanneford, Poodles, Rebecca and George.

To Gracie Hanneford

Barnum & Bailey 1916 ladies dressing room.

You can click on the picture for enlargement.

Venice Winter Quarters

Someone asked recently when the Ringling Winter Quarters was moved from Sarasota to Venice. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the move was made between the 1959 and '60 seasons. The interesting thing tho, I remember reading that the show eventually wintered longer in Venice than they did in Sarasota and for that matter, longer than the Ringlings wintered in Baraboo.
Today of course, they wander endlessly in the desert in search of a home.

Holiday on Ice #1

Here's something I'll bet you didn't know. Once upon a time Holiday on Ice moved by rail and here are some shots of Concello's crew modifying these three cars in 1963. Appears to be two tunnell cars and a coach.
On the back my dad had written "South Venice, Florida" so I assume this was in the general vicinity of the Ringling Quarters.

Holiday on Ice #2

Holiday on Ice #3

Holiday on Ice #4

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hall's Cellar 1927/ Bill Woodcock Sr. and "Major"

This was the setting for my favorite book "Gus the Great" a novel by Thomas W. Duncan.

NY Times Review

Tho doing his utmost to be compassionate, Mr. Rothstein delivers the kiss of death to the Ken & Nicole Show when he states "This is no longer the Greatest Show on Earth as the Trademark has it."...."In Las Vegas the stage set for Cirque Du Soleil's "Ka" turns that recent arrival into a compelling contender for that hyperbolic title."
He then goes into a spasm of praise over the strong man who catches the cannon ball, an act that doesn't belong in either show since it requires endless dialogue to explain it. This act would have been a sensation in the RBBB Side Show in days past.
So Mr. Rothstein has convinced me that Soliel is the show to see.

NY Times Review

Frank Buck #1

Frank (Bring 'em back alive) Buck was very famous as a result of the Travelogue Movies that featured him as trapper and importer of wild animals while on safari in Africa.
John Ringling North hired him in 1938 and featured him in a Spec with a jungle theme where he simply entered riding a double-howdah bourne by two elephants. The illusion was that he had just freshly returned from Safari with all these animals (a hippo and a giraffe had been trained to walk in this pageant) but all the animals were long time Ringling menagerie stock.

I had a glossy portrait like the one shown above autographed to my dad from Mr. Buck but I have misplaced it. More frustrating to me however is trying to figure out when their paths might have crossed.I don't recall him ever mentioning the incident.

Frank Buck #2

As is well known, the show folded in mid-season (June 22) in Scranton, Pa. due to Union Labor problems and returned to Sarasota.
The caption under this photo in Life Magazine is: "COMPANY UNIONISTS were headed by Frank Buck, highly paid performer, who circulated a petition among those willing to accept the 25% cut but gave his giraffe full rations".
Being highly paid I'm sure he did.

A few weeks later a portion of the Ringling Show left Sarasota and was added to the Al G. Barnes Circus (also owned by Ringling) on July 11 ar Redfield, S.D. and this combination finished out the season as "AL G. BARNES AND SELLS-FLOTO CIRCUS PRESENTS RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY STUPENDOUS NEW FEATURES".
Try saying that three times real fast.

Frank Buck #3

This is a unique 1938 picture of some paper posted on the pole shed in the old Ringling Quarters in Baraboo, advertising the Aug. 2 date in Madison.
At the top of the picture you can see some Al G. Barnes and Sells-Floto paper added.

Frank Buck #4

This is Mr. and Mrs. Frank Buck on the lot of the reorganized Ringling-Barnes-Floto Show, maybe taken in Madison.

Frank Buck #5

This is the Frank Buck Exhibit making a "bally" the following year (1939) at the New York Worlds Fair. The elephant is one of three given to Mr. Buck by the Ringling Show in lieu of back wages (Yasso, Freida and Sparks Topsy).
Also from the Ringling Show was Larry Davis who had lost his job to Al G. Barnes elephant man Walter McLain.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fred Logan

Just got back from Venice, Freddy is not well at all, in fact while we were there we were informed that they were moving him from the ReHab Center back to the Hospital. I fear he has developed pneumonia.
This was my first trip back to Venice in 27 years (and no doubt my last) so on the way back I picked up a throw-away camera and we stopped by the abandoned Ringling Quarters. We had the run of the place, drove right back to the ring barn, not a living soul around, everything pretty much in ruin. The elephant barn and clown prop shop are gone, I tried to take some pictures in the arena but it was pretty dark.
It appears to be frozen in time from the day the show moved out. If we were questioned by anyone I was prepared to say that we were personal friends of Dick Brown.
The final stop was at Gunther's statue, Jim took the picture while Johnny and I posed.
As soon as they are developed I will place them on the Blog.

Ringling-Barnum 1947 Route Book

Ringling-Barnum 1947/ Reggie Bogart and "Sudan"

Sarasota Winter Quarters

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Remarkable Letter

Dear Mr. Woodcock,

"Dear Mr. Woodcock" does seem very formal, since I feel like I
already know you, but calling you Buckles might be a little too
presumptuous of me.

I have seen you (and your family) preform on a number of occasions
both with Ringling Brothers and the Big Apple Circus. I may have
even seen you perform at the Catskill Game Farm. I do remember seeing an
elephant act on our visit, but at the time did not pay much
attention as to who was presenting the elephants. Our sons were young then,
so it would have been in late 80's, early 90's.

I found your Blog by accident while I was surfing the Internet. I
am quite happy I did. I
am a daily visitor. I check back often during the day so I
can read the newly posted comments. I totally enjoy it. Your Blog
has reawakened my enthusiasm for the circus. The pictures on your
Blog are extraordinary. Your commentary and the posted comments
have given me new insight into the circus.
There are times though; some of the posted comments make me feel that I am
eavesdropping on private conversations. The only thing that
could add to my enjoyment of your Blog is to know more about
some of the your regular posters, like Karen Glenn,
Dutchess42 (a.k.a, Rebecca, Anonymous, Low Beams), and Gary Hill.
They all seem to be former performers. I have told my friends about your Blog.

Your knowledge of the circus is very impressive, and your personal
experiences are the circus. I could think of nothing more enjoyable than
listening to your stories and being able to ask you questions about
the circus.

There is one area where your vast knowledge would be of a help to me.
I have often wondered about what happened to some of the performers
after they left Ringling Brothers. Most of them are wild animal
trainers. One of those performers is Wolfgang Holzmair. A while
back I had read on a web site that he was living
in France and writing his memoirs. That web site has either moved
or closed down. I haven't heard or read anything since. I was
looking forward to reading his book.

I have had the privilege of meeting several circus performers. I have met
Charly Baumann (twice), Gunther Gebel-Willams, Mark Oliver Gebel,
Fred Logan and Baron Lilov. Each was very gracious. Charly
Baumann and Gunther autographed their books for me. I had my
picture taken with Gunther. One Sunday
morning I went to the Bronx to where Clyde Beatty /Cole Brothers
was performing to take some pictures of the tents and vehicles.
Fred Logan saw me, and was kind enough to take me around the lot and answer
questions. How is Mr. Logan doing? I saw on your Blog that
he had been hospitalized.

I have to agree with your friends, I think it is time that you did turn
author, but not for just one book, but three books. Your first book should
be your autobiography. The title that I remember being mentioned
on your Blog, "Seems Like Yesterday" is perfect. The second book
would be devoted to the American Circus, its history, its
personalities, with your perspective. The
book would spotlight how the circus has changed over the years from
its humble beginnings, though the "Golden Age", to the "Gunther
Era", finally to the present circuses with no rings. Maybe you could even
include a prediction for the future of the American
Circus. The final installment of your trilogy would be simply
titled "Elephant Men". The book would be the stories of elephant
trainers past and present. Each chapter would highlight a
different elephant trainer, such as Captain Hugo Schmidt, Axel
Gautier, Fred Logan, William Woodcock, etc. You could even do a
feature on some of the more famous elephants, like Jumbo and Anna May. All
the books would contain a large number of your wonderful pictures. It's something
to think about.

I have seen and read many of the comments on this year's circus, the
136TH Edition, few of them positive. When I saw pictures of the
staging for the 136TH Edition, my first thought was that it looked
more like a set for a production of "Wizard Of Oz", with that giant circular
television screen and large curtain, than for a circus. Even the
commercials for this
years edition seem to lack something. There is no excitement.
They don't promote anything.
The only thing that they seem to hype is their free "All Access
Pre-Show". Even that has
diminished in recent years from the first one. Can the tour be
going all that well?

The New York Daily News and Ringling Brothers have combined for a
promotion offering five dollar seats for its stay at the Garden.

One of the more interesting comments that I have read came
from Kenneth Feld. In defending his new edition, he said, "No show
survives 135 years without making changes". My uncle also had a
favorite quote, "If it ain't broke,
don't fix it".

If this "new" circus is an attempt to compete with
Cirque Du Soleil it failed. I believe that most people will tell
you, if they wanted to see a show like Cirque Du Soleil, they would
go see Cirque Du Soleil. Ringling Brothers should stick to the formula
that has worked for them over the years. It did make them "The
Greatest Show On Earth".

It appears that Ringling Brothers has also adopted the Cirque Du
Soleil style of naming each of their shows. The Blue Unit is the "Circus of
Dreams", the Red Unit is "Bello-Mania, and the the Hometown Edition
is now "An Upside Down World".

The circus opened at the Garden on March 23. They had the
parade of elephants through the midtown tunnel. The parade
seemed to be a shorter parade than ones in the past years. The
reaction to the
ring-less format has not been good. In their review, the Daily
News referred to this year's edition as "Circus Minimus" and the
"Lamest Show On Earth".

For me, the first true sign of spring has always been the appearance of "The
Greatest Show On Earth". This year, however I may be breaking my
personal consecutive streak of 36 years of trekking to the Garden to see
the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I have no
interest in going. It is not even about the circus having no
rings. It is more about it having no tigers. It's a tough

In talking to my oldest son about the circus I asked him if
he and his wife would be going this year, and he said no. For him,
it is not a question of a ring-less circus or no tigers. In
Washington, D. C. where they live they would see the 135TH Edition. My son
said that he felt was not worth it. He feels that over the past few
years Ringling Brothers has been in decline. As has the quality of
their acts. I have to agree, but I think it may be longer than a few years.

This spring Ringling Brothers will have some competition in New
York City. Universoul Circus and will be in the area during
Ringling Brother's stay. Not to long after, Cirque Du Soleil's new
circus, Corteo" will arrive in New York. The Big Apple Circus will
follow later in the Spring and play Long Island.

Did you know that has not produced a new E-zine since
December 19, 2005? That would seem to say something about the
state of things at Ringling Brothers.

I know a little bit about you. Perhaps you would like to know a
little about me.

My interest in the circus had humble beginnings. I saw my first
circus when I was very young, sometime in the early 50's. As the
story that I was told goes, my Dad who at the time was working for
an oil heating company was given a call for Madison Square Garden,
the old one. The call was not for the Garden itself, but for
Ringling Brothers Circus. The circus needed someone who was an
expert in steam heat to repair the calliope. My Dad did. As a
"tip" he was given passes to the circus for the family.
I don't remember a whole lot about that circus, but I do remember
the sideshow, we got an autographed picture of a "cowboy" who
worked with bullwhips, the menagerie, and three rings of lions,
tigers, and bears (oh, my!). That probably explains my interest in
wild animal trainers. Unus fascinated my Dad.

Growing up, when all my friends wanted to be policemen and firemen,
I wanted to be a wild animal trainer. My "act" was Siberian Tigers
and Polar Bears, "Sovereigns Of Siberia, Monarchs Of The Frozen Tundra". I
also presented an elephant act consisting of six African Elephants.
At the time, the appearance of African Elephants in a circus was a rarity.

I had my own toy circus. It was the Marx "Super Circus". It had
all the acts, all the animals, a tin big top, and a side show. I
still have some of the figures. They have survived fifty plus

My visits to the circus were infrequent until 1969. I was looking
for someplace to take, an impress, a young lady that was very dear
to me and I was very much enamored with. I settled on the circus.
It was then
that I first saw Gunther Gebel-Williams. He was making his
American debut. The impact on me was immediate. I don't know if it was
the girl, Gunther, or a combination of the two, but that night
rekindled a fire in me that still glows today. It started my string
of 36 years of not missing an appearance of Ringling Brothers at
the Garden.

When the Garden stay was close to three months, and the tickets
more affordable, I would attend three
times, once each month. Each time that I went, I would see
something different.

I worked part time at a local stationery store while I attended
school. The owner, my boss, knew of my interest in the circus
and on occasion would tease me about it. What he didn't know was that
several of his customers had ties to the circus.

An older gentleman, who would come into the store every morning for his
New York Times would always talk to me about the circus. One day,
he came in and asked me if there was a performer that I would like
to meet. My first response would have been Gunther, but the Blue
unit was in town, so I answered Charly Baumann. He then asked if I was
going to the circus. I, of course, answered yes. Nothing more was
said. The next day when he came into the store he told me that I
was going to meet Charly Baumann, everything was set. I was to go
to the performers
entrance and tell the guard that Merle said it was "OK". I did just
that. I wandered around and ended up in clown alley, where a clown
directed me to Charly Baumann. We talked for a few minutes.
He autographed picture a picture for me. He even playfully punched me in
the shoulder. Charly Baumann was a strong man. I was in awe. At
that night's performance, Pablo Noel did not perform. As part of
his act Pablo Noel would place his head in a lion's mouth. During
his presentation, Charly Baumann
placed his head in a tiger's mouth. As you are aware, that was not
a regular part of his act. I know it is not true, but I felt he did that
just for me. I later found out that my benefactor
was a long time friend of Merle Evans. He lent me a copy of Merle
Evans' autobiography to read. The the inscription that was written
inside the book, and signed by Mr. Evans impressed me.

Next door to the stationery store was a liquor store.
A retired gentleman owned the store. He picked his friends very
prudently. He did like me. He would come in and we would talk
about a number of
things. He asked me what were my plans for after graduation. What
was my dream job? I said the something to do with the circus. He
encouraged me to write to Ringling Brothers and ask about possible
employment. I did. A few weeks later I received a letter from
Ringling Brothers and the
office of Allen Bloom, inviting me to D. C. for an interview. My
letter along with a letter of recommendation from John Ringling
North had been given to Mr. Bloom for action. The liquor store
owner had been a classmate and friend of Mr. North while they were at Yale
University. He apparently had contacted Mr. North on my behalf.

Our sons inherited some of my fondness for the circus. My older son more
than the younger. My oldest son has become a big fan of the Cirque
Du Soleil. When they both were younger, and after we had attended the
circus at the Garden, they would play circus on the floor with
their toys and animals for weeks. They even created a ring, a tent, a
cannon and other props to make their circus more authentic. It was
fun just to watch them play.

I possess a diversified but modest circus collection. Programs,
posters, pictures that I have taken, mostly slides, videos, and a number of
books. Two large, "full sheet" circus posters hang in our living room.
They are from 1973, and the circus' stay at Madison
Square Garden. The first one is the Max Coplan, Lou Jacobs, "See
you at the Circus" poster. The second poster features a leaping
tiger and lion. I consider them both "classics".

At night I like to surf the Internet and look for news, stories,
and pictures about the circus, particularly wild animal trainers, past
and present. If you have any favorite sites that you would like to share, I
would be grateful for them. I also visit the web sites for
different circuses. Currently, I am on my tour of German circuses.

That was probably more about me then you wanted to know. I apologize.

Finally, we come to the reason for my E-mail...I received an
E-mail from my oldest son, with an article that appeared in
the Washington Post. The article concerned a court case that was
currently going on in Fairfax, Virginia. I thought you might be
interested in reading about it. The case was Ringling Brothers
versus PETA. The article detailed a trial with more intrigues than
a 1940's spy movie. Both sides accusing each other of espionage and
counter-espionage. The trial is already over. It lasted about two weeks.
You may already know all about this, but since I hadn't see any mention of it
on your Blog, I thought I would send the articles about the trial to you.

I have enclosed the links to the articles that appeared in the
Washington Post about the trial. I hope the links work. This is my
first attempt at including a link in an E-mail, and I had to go it
alone. Just like you, I have a computer guru, my
youngest son. Unfortunately, for me, he is away at school.

The last two links are to the reviews of the 136TH Edition of Ringling
Brothers that appeared in New York Newsday and the Daily News. The
Newsday article is the article
that was referenced to on your Blog by Joe Giordano.

Circus Company Goes on Trial in Spy Suit

Fairfax Jury Told Ringling Circus Hired Private Eye To Infiltrate PETA,

Circus Exec Cleared in Spy Case

All clowning aside, it's truly a ringless circus --

Circus minimus

I think it is obvious that this E-mail was not written in one day
but over several days. Believe it or not, I am not known as a
prolific letter writer, but my friends will
tell you that when I do write, I do tend to be a bit long
winded. Maybe it's the subject.

Since I started this E-mail, I read a post on your Blog that you had been in
the hospital. I hope it was nothing serious, and you are well on
the road to recovery. Subsequently, I have also noticed a post by
one of your readers on your Blog for the PETA trial.

Thank you for your patience. I am a just a fan.

I am going and close this E-mail now, the same way Ringling
Brothers has ended their performances for so long with one of the
nicest sentiments that I have ever heard...

"May All Your Days Be Circus Days".

Henry Penndorf

Annie Laurie

The Five Eltons

Ringling-Barnum Sarasota Qtrs.

This would be a variation on swinging ladders in rehersal. With a number of these over the rings and stages, conventional ladders around the track and Jennie Rooney,s cloud swing in the center it must have been very pretty.
Probably fifty people in the air.

The Quassars

Does anyone remember this handsome young couple?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

To Kim and Roger

Jess Adkins

Mr. Adkins was insistant on maintaining an elaborate street parade throughout his tenure as manager of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. It was said that his show netted more money than Ringling-Barnum, the parent company.
In fact when he left after the 1934 season to join Zack Terrell in framing the Cole Show, Hagenbeck-Wallace only lasted one more year before it was taken off the road.

Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus 1931

I like these impromptu pictures. Appears that this Mack truck has just hauled the cages from the crossing, dropped them off on the lot and is heading back for another load.

Hagenbeck-Wallace/ Lion's Bride Tableau

Hagenbeck- Wallace/ Two Jesters calliope with hybred hitch

Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus/ Five Graces Bandwagon

John Herriott's father Milt told him that the great Alfredo Codona having finished his career as a flyer served as performance director with Hagenbeck-Wallace. The show made parades irregularly and one of his duties was to post a notice near the back door saying "Your presence is requested tomorrow at 10:00 for a tour of beautiful downtown ................ Ohio!".
Which meant there would be a parade in the morning and you had better be there. Only feature artists were excluded and a super star might even get out of making Spec.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Incredible Shrinking Show

Phil Cornell of the NY Daily News pretty well summed it up when he said that the setting for the Ken & Nicole Show "had all the charm of a warehouse" and that the "ringers" solicited from the audience in the story line were nothing more than professionals trying to act like amateurs trying to be professionals.
The big winner in the whole affair tho has to be Mlle. Shamsheeva, never in her wildest dreams did she ever think that her house cats would be the most outstanding act in any circus much less The Greatest Show on Earth.

"Samson" and Scott Riddle/ LA Zoo 1983

On the subject of big elephants, I don't think they get much bigger than this one.

Riddle Elephant Sanctuary #1

This is the Riddle Elephant Sanctuary and Breeding Compound today in Greenbriar, Arkansas where three of our elephants went into retirement.The principal reasons for this decision was because this facility accepts both male or female, African or Asian elephants, has had several calves born there and stands on the merits of accomplishment rather than resort to slandering the animals former owners in order to raise funds.
After all, don't male elephants have "rights" too?

Here we see "Willy" and I'll bet all you Big Apple folks remember "Amy". We are hoping for a blessed event here one day.

And while on the subject of "blessed events"......Well, I'd better not go down that road.

Riddle Elephant Sanctuary #2

I'm sure all you Baraboobians remember "Peggy" but how many are aware that her first days in show business were at Circus World Museum after being purchased in 1962 from the St. Louis Zoo by Wilbur Deppe.
I donated her to the Sanctuary in 1995 and here we see her "fat and sassy" after a mud bath at the Sanctuary.

Riddle Elephant Sanctuary #3

The grave site of "Mary" owned by Mr. Riddle for many years, dating back to his days in California.

Riddle Elephant Sanctuary #4

And after being a member of our family for over fifty years, the resting place of a real star "Anna May"

Friday, March 24, 2006

Cristiani family

These pictures came from a Look Magazine feature and this one shows June, Belmonte, Corky, Mogador, Ortans, Oscar and Lucio.
The location was their winter quarters in Sarasota and I'm guessing about 1950. They filmed not only Lucio's somersalt from horse to horse but five brothers vaulting together to a horse from the ground and four man high on the teeter-board (no mechanics). They then removed enough frames from the film to tell the story. They used 17 frames and I picked out 5 for Lucio's somersalt.
I have my mother to thank for this and other material since she clipped out any circus related articles she saw and pasted them into albums. In one sense it was it was good because this prevented them from being scattered and lost but on the other hand she didn't paste very well and as you can see in this picture and others, it is starting to wrinkle in the upper left hand corner. But as they say, it's a window to the past.

For Gretchen

Verizon Memo

Lucio Cristiani #1

Lucio Cristiani #2

Lucio Cristiani #3

Lucio Cristiani #4

Lucio Cristiani #5

Thursday, March 23, 2006

To Rebecca (Pay Off)

Ringling-Barnum Circus 1949/ Pay-off elephants

Ringling-Barnum Circus 1949/ Bear act

The polar bear act in the opening display that my mother and I had seen the year before was sold to the Dailey Show and appearing this year between the two cat acts was Klauser's bears working on a stage.
Here we see Walter Klauser and daughter Herta (Goldilocks and the three bears).

Ringling-Barnum 1949/ Tiger act

This is Rudolph Mathies with a former Alfred Court tiger act and appearing in the new style arena. I remember hearing that Concello had seen one of these in Europe and immediately calculated how much less loading space it would require. I assume they had another one just like it for Damoo Dhotre in the other end.
When the picture is enlarged it looks like it was made of twisted chain link rather than the cable used today. I heard it was incredibly heavy and the prop crew carried it in snake style then circled the ring, dropped it and then went thru the tedious proceedure of attaching it to a narrow ply wood base so the weight of the cats on their seats held it down.
Fortunately this display opened the show giving the the prop crew plenty of time between shows to pre-set everything. Spec came a few acts later in the program as there was no intermission in those days.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Disaster strikes the big top!

From Karen G.

Karen sent me this picture taken I believe when she still worked as a secretary for the Construction Company that built the Ringling Park.
Looks like we arrived just in the nick of time to wrest her from a life of Christian domesticity.

People Magazine 1978

US Magazine 1978/ Irvin Feld and "Anna May" (Madison Sq. Garden)