Friday, August 01, 2008

Louis E. Reed #1

Scan10533, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Today's pictures concern Mr. Reed's earlier years with the Sparks Show.

1898 Walter L. Main Circus (elephant hand)
1907 Barnum & Bailey (elephant hand)
1912-23 Sparks Shows
1924-25 Sells-Floto Circus
1926-41 Adele Nelson Elephant Act (Mrs. Louis Reed)
("Myrtle", "Tillie" and "Jennie" were imported 6/7/26 and over the following fifteen years were featured in Vaudeville both in the US and Europe)
1942-48 Dailey Bros. Circus
1949-50 During this brief period of time Louis Reed trained an incredible number of young elephants, five for Hamid-Morton (Siam, Delhi, Bombay, Mysore and Calcutta) five for Hunt Bros. Circus (Chandre, Sita, Rani, Muna and Dinu, these were trained on the road) three for Biller Bros. (Margie, Betty and Lillian) and "Jean" for Terrell Jacobs. Being well past his prime, he would solicit the aid of Smokey Jones who was always ready for an adventure.
1952-54 Ringling-Barnum Quarters
(He finished his career training elephants for the Ringling Show, seven for the 1953 season and twenty for the 1955 season.)

Mr. Reed died suddenly in 1960 while standing before the mirror shaving.
Smokey and I once discussed what the E. in his name might stand for and we decided it must be "Elephant".


Roger Smith said...

BUCKLES: I regret I never knew Louis Reed. I did know and greatly admire Mac MacDonald. Would it be correct to say these two men stood shoulder to shoulder in equality as elephant trainers?

Roger Smith

Buckles said...

You might say that each was the top man of his day.
My dad was once asked that same question and replied, "Today there are two great elephant trainers, Mac MacDonald and Hugo Schmitt and the rest are a pretty sorry lot."

Rick Faber said...


Would it have been Mr. Reed who trained the 7 punks and Hugo Schmitt presented on the 1954 Ringling show?

Rick Faber

Buckles said...

I have several pictures of Louie and Smokey training them in the ring barn at Sarasota the summer of 1952.
"Tex", "Padmuh", "Tara", "Yamina", "Rani", "Seta" and "Rajee".
Smokey told me that when the show came in, the training was only half completed but Arky immediately excluded both he and Louie from the operation so the act went on the road half broke and went down hill from there.
In the Fall of 1953 Hugo Schmitt was brought back to complete the job.
In 1954 Arky was Elephant Supt. while Hugo was Head Trainer, not a good arrangement.

Mike Naughton said...

Buckles -- and wasn't the elephant SIAM the one who eluded searchers as she went wandering into the woods at Vidbel's in Windham, New York when Al had them for Hamid? The town then named the road that runs through Vidbels' as "Siam Road".

Buckles said...

You are right and as I recall they also invited Louie to join the chase since he lived nearby.

Anonymous said...

Is this the Rani that was with Axel on the Blue show herd?

Buckles said...

No it isn't. This elephant, along with four others, went to the Mexico City Zoo during the summer of 1957.
Hugo in turn put the name on one of the remaining punks. I was never able to learn the original name.

Mike Naughton said...

Buckles, while searching for more information on a stray elephant in Windham, New York, I came across this newpaper notice for Windham, CT, from 1818

110. TA Thu Jul. 2, 1818: The Majestic Animal, Columbus. A male Elephant to be seen at Stanford’s Tavern in Windham, the 2d, 3d, and 4th of July. Hours of exhibition from 9 in the morning until 7 in the evening. Admittance 25 Cents. July 1, 1818.

We may have missed the boat; perhaps we should be booking shows at taverns where the local can get a little relaxed before opening their wallets for tickets and concessions.

I can see it now "TGIFridays presents the Big Top Circus" Free kid tickets and 2 for 1 drinks during the evening performance.

Would you like a Margareta with that Cotton Candy?

Wade G. Burck said...

This Siam, Delhi, Bombay, Mysore and Calcutta, later became Tess, Delhi, Bombay, Joyce and Billie. Siam taking a mope on Vidbel isn't as good as the stories Bobby Gibbs had about Siam.
Wade Burck