Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bertram Mills' Circus #1 (Photos and comments by Sue Lenz)

"Thought the attachments might be of interest. The one of Bertram Mills' Circus in the UK must have been taken in the mid 1930's as they are still using the two pole tent".


Buckles said...

What a great reception tent. The patrons can even enjoy a band concert as they wait in line.

Anonymous said...

I would be very interested to know if any of the American style circus music (that Buckles and I love) ever made it's way over to the UK?

These photos almost look as though they could have been taken on a small show over here, as was depicted a few days ago on this site.

This must have been a fine show, and thank you for posting these great historical photos!

Anonymous said...

Didn't all the great circus music come from Europe? Reworked and presented be the great American conductors to fit the acts here.

Anonymous said...

Over the years I have enjoyed the fellowship of so many English circus performers and enjoyed their reminicing of those days and your photos have brought it to life. It seems the Fosset and Yelding families have been so interwoven in English circus history and the roots have spread far and wide. In Mexico with Atayde I spent a season training and routining their elephants of six Asians and we used as the lead elephant A Betram Mills elephant named Safari. She was afine, stable elephant with good manners and an excellent lead elephant. She had some age on her and a Few years before that I and MR were in London and saw Betram Mills at Olympia and The Betram Mills elephants were presented by Gosta Kruse and I understood that his wife presented a bear act [not seen at Olympia] and was an English girl named Joan. Maybe you recall Safari and those people. Trolle Rhodin told me later that Kruse was Swedish and that his father was also an animal trainer. I remember seeing Willy and Rudy on Polack with the Betram Mills Chimps and the great boxing match routine and of course the great act of you and Rudy thru the years. Its a small world and Buckles blog is wonderful in keeping the door open. Would like to hear what comments you would have. It was fun meeting your ex on Big Apple and his presentations were superb.

Anonymous said...

Just a side note inregard to the death of our friend and fellow animal trainer Jenda Smaha. His father Tony had been one of a series of great horse trainers on Betram Mills over the years such as Moroski, Schumann and others and Betram Mills was recognized world wide for his fine horseflesh and grat equestrian acts. All these names speak for themselves.

Bob Cline said...

I believe it's only right that we acknowledge the fact that the names John and Mary Ruth Herriott and Buckles and Barbara Woodcock speak highly of themselves also. There are a terrific assortment of American performers but these are definitely the cream of the crop.

Buckles said...

I have a copy of the Gosta Kruse book, wherein he writes with a masterstroke of understatement "On occasion, an elephant might fetch you a cheeky whallop".

Anonymous said...

In answer to Johnny Herriott's question, Yes, We did know Joan & Gosta Kruse very well, Joan joined Bertram Mills as an usherette & dancer when she was 16 years old.

She later joined the Baker Brothers in the riding act, She also did the "Courier of St. Petersburg"

Gosta Kruse joined Mills in 1951 and took over the elephants from John Gindl.

I can remember the names of the four large elephants that Gosta trained for Mills
"Susila" "Hakkina" "Laxmi" "Kam"

In either 1961 or 1962 Gosta had two babies arrive from Ceylon, "Safari" & "Tamu"
When Mills closed in 1964 the two babies were sold to Atayde Brothers in Mexico, The four large ones were sold to Cirque Pinder in France, Gosta & Joan went with the elephants to Pinder where he remained until he died of a Heart Attack, Joan died a few years later from cancer.

Unknown said...

I Am restoring the Land Rover that KAM used to drive around. It is up and running and will be around in 2013 at shows and Land Rover events. I have a few original photos but always require more info. I have spoken with one of the original builders/drivers which is great. Does anyone have a colour photo 1959-60-61 to comfirm its colour i am under the impression it was yellow.Philip Bashall Dunsfold Landrovers 01483 200567 Thanks

Wendy Lane said...

my parents were in Bertram Mills Circus In the 1930s . They had Zebras Liberty horses and l believe that my mother also worked on the trapeze. My father was Fred Lane Also known as Sandy My mother's name was Yvonne . I would love to find out more about their time in the circus. 1 have have a few photo's but sadly my dad died when I was six  and I dIdnt take notes when Mum was telling me her stories. If anyone knows anything about them l would load to hear from you.

Unknown said...

Hi I hope you read this .
My name is Anthony Lane.
My dad Ronald his farther was Alfred and had a brother called Fred whom married a Lady called Yvonne .She worked at Bertram Mills.If you read this please contact me.
This my wife's phone