Wednesday, May 31, 2006

From Pat Jordan

This poiniant picture shows Oscar Jordan bidding farewell to Jack, Ann and Nellie as he leaves for a season with the circus.
Possibly this is a coach from the 1934 Hagenbeck-Wallace train Pat previously mentioned.

Not sure how long Picasa will cooperate, I will just send out a few of the random pictures recently received and see what happens.

From Eric Beheim

The "Boomer"

From BJ

BJ, I'm not saying this picture was staged but those panties are about the size Chester Sherman would wear in a clown gag.

Another Glitch

Trouble with Google!

Almost 9 and still no Google. This is a good day to get caught up on my lawn mowing.

Good news from Kari Johson. California bill 3027 (anti-elephant) didn't make it off the suspense calendar so it's gone for another year!

Shannon stopped by and after considerable to-do he says that the problem is with Picasa.
If it doesn't recover itself this evening he will stop by on his way to work in the morning.
In two more weeks he starts working for Brighthouse out of his home so I will almost have an In-house Technician.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

To Pat Cashin

Isn't this better? I think it was added in 1949 and as you can see, situated next to the back end blues, a long way to cue acts.
This vehicle is still around somewhere, it should be revived, today's Ken & Nicole band would have enough room to include a pool table, sauna and dining area. Not to mention a convenient place to hang their vests.

Ringling-Barnum Circus 1950 #1

I was surprised from yesterday's comments that a few of you were unaware of the Art Concello seat wagons on the Ringling Show from 1948-56.
They were 36' long, two to a flat car and when completed, there were 28 in all.
It was by no means a simple matter tho, once each wagon was transformed, short metal stringers had to be added by hand to reach from the front of the wagon to the ground and like the previous seating, lots of wooden blocks required to balance things out.
While being put up and taken down the noise was deafening from all that metal on metal.
I've been told that little time if any was saved by this method but on the plus side, they couldn't fall down, all seats were counted and it afforded a better view of the show.

Ringling-Barnum Circus 1950 #2

Here we see a Jeep with a power take-off in the process of raising the sides of each seat wagon. The outer corners were supported with long braces and then the front end of each vehicle would be lowered to form a grand stand.

Ringling-Barnum Circus 1950 #3

Elephants unloading in the morning, this was Arky Scott's first season having come from the Cole Show. The herd was comprised of 28 Asian females.

Ringling-Barnum Circus 1950 #4

The Doniker man in action, a function that remains about the same today.

Monday, May 29, 2006

To Pat Cashin

This is the Ringling-Barnum band as my mother and I saw it in 1948. Despite the back doors being moved, they were still behind the center ring but on ground level. As you can see an aisle had been made thru the middle of the band so the center ring acts didn't have to walk the entire track.
I'm sure Mr. Evans agreed that anything would be an improvement over this.

From Bill Strong #1

To you young Circus Fans who have been raised with the impression that Irvin Feld saved the Ringling Show from extinction, this picture shows Madison Sq. Garden in the 1950's after moving indoors for good.
As near as I can figure there are 48 girls in the air with Galla Shawn in the center making 100 people altogether counting the web sitters. Nearly twice the number appearing in today's Blue Show complete performance.

From Bill Strong #2

Again three flying acts in the Garden in 1963 with the usual 3 ring-2 stage format. This is an unusual picture since this is the year John Ringling North framed the European Unit and sent Hugo Schmitt and Charly Moroski abroad to try to organize three ring displays.
In their absence we see Jack Joyce's camels in the far end, Bill Bushbom"s liberty horses in this ring ahd the center ring act is unidentified (probably a house act).

From Don Curtis #1

As you can see Concello's seat wagons were spotted heading in toward the rings and once the sides were unfolded upward and the front ends of the vehicle lowered, they made a dressing area right beneath the public all around the tent.
Feature acts had private dressing rooms as indicated by the steps going up into the back end of the seat wagon (high and dry) and side wall was hung between the wagons for everyone else.
The only thing wrong with this this arrangement was it was unbearably hot with no ventilation and rather than a neat profile of the Big Top, you got this tenament apartment effect.
The performers of course lived on the train at night.

From Don Curtis #2

This is the 1949 Spec going in the back door which was actually an "end " door being located just past the lace line on the round end of the tent.
Traditionally the band and back doors were located directly behind the center ring but it occurred to someone that this area, in the proximity of the center ring, was choice Real Estate and if seats had to be sacrificed, let it be the back end blues (General Admission).
So with the band and backdoors removed you now had two unbroken rows of seat wagons both front and back.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

From Pat Jordan #1

The Flying Jordans, Hoboken, NJ 1912. Back Row: Oscar Jordan, Ernest Brawnstein. Front Row: Josephine Jordan, Mayme Jordan, Nellie Jordan and George Novikoff.

Buckles, my husband Jack Jordan, is the son of Oscar Jordan, born Oscar Linscoff, 1889 in Moscow, Russia. In the late 19th Century, Lewis and Mayme Jordan took their new and daring flying trapeze act abroad looking for new talent. They brought back with them Oscar Linscoff and George Novikoff from Russia and a little girl named Lena from Latvia, reputed to be the first woman to do a triple.

We are not sure what became of Lena. George kept his Russian name and went on to perform with other circus acts. Oscar took the Jordan name, though never legally, and his children Jack (Oscar Jr.), Ann and Nellie were born as Jordans.
Oscar spent his entire working life with the circus, we have a picture of him with the famed Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus of 1934, hyped to be the greatest assembly of circus acts ever.
He last flew with Bob Fisher's Fearless Flyers.

Pat Jordan

From Pat Jordan #2

From Buckles Collection #1

I see Mr. Jordan listed in this Siegrist-Silbon flying act. Wasn't this with Barnum & Bailey?

From Buckles Collection #2

This has been among my unidentified pictures for many years but now I'm sure it is the Jordans. The date is unknown.

From Buckles Collection #3

I'll toss this one in, since I know the people, worked with their act many times and I'm sure a lot of you remember them as well. This picture taken by Circus Fan, Don Smith on the Cristiani Bros. Circus lot in 1960.
I'm typing this as fast as I can for fear that Mr. Lee will have the answer on the Blog before I get it entered.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Carl Hagenbeck Animal Catalog #3

Alas, we all have our vanities. Despite almost being out of step, Herr Hagenbeck included this picture hob-nobbing with the Kaiser.

Carl Hagenbeck Animal Catalog #4

Carl Hagenbeck Animal Catalog #5

For some unknown reason the price on "Jennie II" has been dropped $500 and the bicycle thrown in free. Somebody must know something.
As I always say "Caveat Emptor".

Carl Hagenbeck Animal Catalog #6

This is William Philadelphia, later Hugo Schmitt's tutor.

These trainers are about as casual as it gets. I wonder what they would think of today's "wired-up", semi-hysterical Red Show tiger trainer?

I am told that Lance Ramos has leased a vastly improved tiger act to the show for next season but it remains to be seen if our man can scream it into submission.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Hello, In regard to the discussion in Hagenbeck Tierpark #2 of May 26, here is a photo I took of two "Zeedonks" leaving NYC with the Blue Show in Mar. 2006.
I don't remember seeing them in the show, they must have used them in the Pre-Show.
I was watchng the elephant.

Carl Hagenbeck Animal Catalog #1

These first two pictures come from a Hagenbeck Catalog I have, dated Nov. 1911 and lists the various animal acts for sale.
It was printed in English and notes Sol A. Stephan of the Cincinnati Zoo as sole agent for North America. The front cover states, "Carl Hagenbeck Stellingen near Hamburg (Germany)".
Beneath this picture is not only particulars of each animal but a complete desciption of the act's routine in every detail.

Carl Hagenbeck Animal Catalog #2

Trainer looks like he just came from an AT&T Directors Meeting.

Hagenbeck Tierpark #1


These last three pictures come from another book published in German so I assume it was an item sold at the Zoo. I think it comes from an earlier period perhaps the turn of the century.

HagenbeckTierpark #2


Hagenbeck Tierpark #3


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Charlie Grey in Action

Nice article about Charlie.......

Gentle giants immigrate

Elephants from zoo in Syracuse make move to African Lion Safari

CAMBRIDGE (May 18, 2006)

It was time to move on, so mother and daughter packed their trunks and headed for the border.

At long last, the two Americans would make Canada their new home.

They didn't get hassled when their truck arrived at the border last Tuesday.

Perhaps that's because mother is eight feet six inches tall and weighs 6,500 pounds. Her daughter is no slouch herself at seven feet six and 4,400 pounds.

They carried on down the highway to their new home, African Lion Safari, where they were given a private room to sleep in after their road trip from Syracuse, N.Y.

The next morning, mother Targa and daughter Mali were gradually introduced to the 13 members of their new extended family, the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America.

The newcomers were very polite, according to the park's superintendent of elephants, Charlie Gray.

"They've got good social skills," he said yesterday, watching the pair graze, meander and roll in mud with the rest of the herd. "They've figured out how to fit right in."

They've had practice.

Though Targa was born in Florida 23 years ago, she did most of her growing up with the herd at Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. And that's where she gave birth to Mali nine years ago.

As the six-member herd there continued to grow -- another female there is pregnant now -- the zoo started to run out of space for all the elephants.

Zoo officials reluctantly decided to transfer Mali and Targa to African Lion Safari, which has more space and boasts the most successful Asian elephant breeding program in North America. Mali and Targa are on long-term loan, and may return to the Syracuse zoo when space allows.

If it is true that elephants have superb memories, perhaps it's best that Targa and Mali moved to a new home, since something happened in Syracuse last summer that they'd probably rather forget.

On Aug. 4, just before the zoo opened to the public, Targa's newborn son, Kedar, was playing with some of the females in the herd. The other elephants were trying to nudge the four-day-old calf away from the pool in the pen, but he darted between the legs of one and tumbled into the water.

The protective females, in an effort to pull the youngster from the water, instead pushed him deeper. He managed to keep his trunk above water and continued breathing, but he swallowed huge gulps of water.

He was eventually rescued from the pool, but his health worsened and he died later in the afternoon. Though he didn't drown, the abnormal amounts of water in his intestines caused irreparable damage.

Targa mourned the loss of her newborn for days, looking around for her missing calf and making low rumbling noises for comfort.

"A loss like that would affect her and the whole herd" Gray said.

That could be why Targa seems so interested in the three elephant calves born at African Lion Safari in the past year. Her maternal instincts -- and Mali's as well -- are strong, Gray said.

Which is good, since Mali and Targa are slowly being introduced to the park's breeding male, Rex.

Instead of hanging out in the public viewing area (that day will come, but not yet), Mali and Targa stay in a pen adjacent to Rex's, getting to know the big fella.

If they hit it off, there could be more calves at African Lion Safari in the future.

Capturing Rex's affections shouldn't be a problem.

"Mali and Targa are really nice looking elephants," Gray said.

Emmett Kelly 1942

Quite a bit of controversy over Barry Bonds home run record, some say it should be noted that it was achieved with the aid of Steroids.
I think the same should be applied to the Ken & Nicole clowns. An asterisk should be placed in the program pointing out that the number had been enhanced by the "binks" and "bonks" of a Looney Toon sound track.
Either that or have the sound man listed in Clown Alley.
I can hear Lou Jacobs saying to Pat Valdo, "I need two hiccups and a barf in the background or it won't be funny".

Bertram Mills Circus 1930/ Adele Nelson Elephants

I have told the story several times regarding the circumstances that forced Louie Reed and his wife Adele Nelson to travel to England to train their newly purchased baby elephants so I will not belabor the point but it turned out to be a stroke of good luck since people were so impressed by his training that they were immediately engaged by the Bertram Mills Circus.
This is the program cover from their final season in England showing Miss Nelson with "Myrtle", "Tillie" and "Jennie".

From Eric Beheim/ Adele Nelson elephants #1

These next two items from Eric Beheim indicate that their first job in the U.S in 1931 was touring with Fanchon & Marco's CIRCUS DAYS, a stage show. Rather than coming from the newspapers Mr. Beheim found these in a magazine published by West Coast Theaters called THE LAST WORD and was designed for publicity people and their nefarious gimmicks.

"Large crowds and splendid art breaks in the Los Angeles papers greeted this stunt of Publicity Director Bill Thomas at the Pantages Hollywood Theater. The elephants from Fanchon & Marco's CIRCUS DAYS idea were paraded down to a local audio wash laundry where they were given a good watery going-over."

No idea they had car washes in 1931. Evidently Mr. Reed didn't either since he has a leg chain on the elephant, it must have made quite a racket. Standing at right is Adele Nelson and she looks wetter than the elephant.

From Eric Beheim/ Adele Nelson Elephants #2

#2 (8/1/31) SNOOTY GUEST!
"When Fanchon and Marco's CIRCUS DAYS idea came to Oakland, Jennie, one of the ladies in the production immediately took her trunk over to one of the leading hotels. Manager Frank Newman and Publicity Director Phil Phillips of the Fox Senator Theater crashed the local papers with art of this stunt."

Again, in THE LAST WORD, no details on the show but exclaiming what a clever rascal the Press Agent, Phil Phillips was.

I might add that these elephants were later sold to Dailey Bros. Circus and in 1948 was the first act Barbara ever worked in (she was 13) but by this time "Tillie" had died the previous Fall while on the Texas Dates and had been replaced by an old Barnum & Bailey elephant named "Jap" (Japino).
The turning of Barbara into an Elephant Empress by Jean Allen and Louie Reed would make a good story in itself. The final result being an end ring act (Myrtle, Jap and Jennie) styled by Barbara Ray and worked by Smokey Jones.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

To anonymous/ "Toddles"

This is "Toddles" (tuskless male) with the J.E. Henry Show in 1916-17 being led by Al Langdon.
His original name was "Tambus" when he came from the Hagenbeck Zoo but was changed for some reason.

1901-04 Ringling Bros. Circus
1905-09 Big Otto Animal Farm in Wisconsin
1910-14 Selig Zoo Los Angeles
1915 Wm. P. Hall Animal Farm
1916-17 J.E. Henry Show (died in 1917)

Ringling Circus Park 1976

It was like this. As I explained to my wife, I was walking along minding my own business when I heard a commotion in the Show Girls dressing room. I discovered that they were in the process of staging the photo of a play they were rehearsing for (a party scene) and they were upset because Buddy Copeland was nowhere to be found.
Always known as being helpful, I volunteered to take his place in the picture. It only took a second and then I continued on my way. So there you have it, you were completely fooled.
Ha! Ha!

As further evidence, look at those young ladies sitting on the ring curb, wearing their sweet little straw hats. Could an evil thought ever enter any of their minds? I think not!

Ringling Circus Park 1976/ Spec

Ringling Circus Park 1976/ Lion Act

Ringling Circus Park 1976/ Lion Act

Ringling Circus Park 1976/ Horse Act

Ringling Circus Prk 1976/ Elephant Act

Ringling Circus Park 1976/ Elephant act

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ringling Park/ From Barbara Rocker

I'll explain this tomorrow.
A little explaining to do at home today.

101 Ranch Wild West Show/ Cossack Riders

Recently a gentleman suggested that I spend a week on each subject rather than jump all around. Today is a good example of how overrated I am.
I have a lot of horse pictures left by my mother who was an excellent horse woman but if I tried to display them for a week it would become glaringly obvious after the second day that I don't know a damned thing about horses. My image would be shattered, same thing applies to acrobats and aerialists.
Oddly enough tho, I do remember the rider at right, Steve Saline, later with the Cole Show. They had him dressed as a Canadian Mountie in Spec and of course, he did this type riding in the Concert.

The Hollis-McCree Riding Act

Cole Bros. Circus/ Jorgen M. Christensen

John Herriott tells me that this was the greatest horse trainer he ever knew.
The Cole Show usually opened each season with an indoor engagement in Chicago but in 1937 were bold enough to open in the New York Coliseum with a one ring show defying RBBB appearing Madison Sq. Garden.
Using an oversized ring they presented a wonderful performance including this 20-horse Liberty Act and closing with Clyde Beatty's huge lion and tiger act. I should have done more homework on this subject because after New York and Chicago, would this ring have fit between the center poles when the show toured under canvas? Possibly the act was reduced in size on the road.
One thing I do know tho, it's a lot different working horses out in the open like this or even in an American style circus tent, as opposed to a European Circus where there is a barrier just outside the ring curb.

I might add that the eagle eyed circus fan will immediately spot between the big top and the ring curb in this picture, the future Big Apple big top used on their Trans Manhattan Tour of 1978.

The Zoppe Family

From left, Joe, Dennis, Denise and Peggy, with Roger on the horse.

On the road again!

I received an invitation from Edward Meals to be a guest speaker at the Emmett Kelly Tent meeting in October and will send him a letter of acceptance this morning.
Above is a picture of the last time I attended this event 24 years ago, it was a lot of fun.