Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From Paul Ingrassia

Friends....I am very sorry to advise that our good friend Dale Riker was stricken with what appears to be a fatal illness while on the road this week with Ev. He is in a hospital in Autin, Texas. Prognosis is not good and things are moving very fast.
Fr. Jerry Hogan called me with this news a few minutes ago after being advised by one of Dale's children. He and I ask for your prayers for this very great guy....Paul Ingrassia

From Raffaele De Ritis

funambolika09, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

FUNAMBOLIKA 2009 is the 3rd summer season of circus arts conceived by director and writer Raffaele De Ritis. It takes place in Pescara, Abruzzo (Italy) in the Teatro D’annunzio, one of Italy’s most prestigious summer arena, that in the last 57 years hosted the world’s greatest names of theatre, dance, opera and jazz.

Cristiani-Wallace 1963 #1 (From Jim Cole) Part 1

scan0020, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Here is a nice series of photos of the Cristiani - Wallace Bros. Circus in July 1963, Photos are from John Cutler, Ed Tracy, Larry Crocker, Ed Motta, Dick Schillhahn, and myself.

Cristiani-Wallace 1963 #2

scan0014, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Cristiani-Wallace 1963 #3

scan0018, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Cristiani-Wallace 1963 #4

scan0016, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Cristiani-Wallace 1963 #5

scan0029, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Cristiani-Wallace 1963 #6

scan0023, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Cristiani-Wallace 1963 #7

scan0012, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Cristiani-Wallace 1963 #8

scan0021, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

From Eric Beheim #1

Black Leopard-1, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Seeing the 1938 Ringling-Barnum black leopard poster reminded me that back
in the early 1950s when I was about 6 or 7, the CLEVELAND PRESS ran a wire service photo showing a Los Angeles policeman shining a flashlight into a crawl space under a house. The caption read that he was part of a massive search for an escaped black leopard believed to be at large somewhere in the city. (Even though my mother assured me that the distance between Los Angeles and Cleveland made it unlikely that the escaped leopard would enter my bedroom and devour me while I slept, my next few nights were fraught with apprehension.) Nothing more was heard about the escaped leopard and I soon forgot about it. Then, a few years later, this incident was dramatized on DRAGNET, the famous cop show that would always open with the announcement, “The story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

From Eric Beheim #2

Black Leopard-2, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

While working Auto Theft Detail, LAPD detective Joe Friday and his partner Frank Smith take a report from a man named Clarence, who identifies himself as a show owner. While en route to a carnival date in Nevada, one of his trucks was broken into in Los Angeles and some animals were either stolen or escaped. Among the missing animals is a black leopard named “Dante.” The report sets off a block-by-block search in the area where the truck break-in was believed to have occurred. Once the story hits the newspapers, the police switchboard is flooded with calls from concerned citizens. Even the Griffith Park Zoo is consulted for advice on the habits of black leopards. While the search continues in the Hollywood Hills, Friday and Smith begin to check out Clarence’s story a little closer. They eventually learn that he had been a former circus press agent who had always wanted to take out his own show. This dream became so real to him that he actually began to believe his circus existed, when in reality, there was no show, no truck and no black leopard. The search is called off and Clarence is taken down to police headquarters. Following a sanity hearing, “appropriate action was taken.”

This program originally aired on the NBC Radio Network on June 15, 1954. The role of Clarence was played by versatile character actor Cliff Arquette, best remembered as TV’s Charlie Weaver.

Since this story was based on an actual event, some of you from the Los Angeles area might remember when it took place, and might even know who “Clarence” really was. Dum-dee-dum-dum!

More leopard pictures!

Scan11811, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Photo by Jim Peterson.

Monday, June 29, 2009

From Dave Powell

roy, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Here is a photo of ROY "HUSTON" HUSTED. I was sad to hear he passed away this weekend. He's is a dear family friend. The photo is from LE Barnes Circus. Roy, Ron Powell and Marshall "

David Powell

From Gee Gee's albums #1 (Part 13)

Scan11801, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The Wallendas

From Gee Gee's albums #2

Scan11802, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The Nerveless Nocks

From Gee Gee's albums #3

Scan11808, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

From Gee Gee's albums #4

Scan11807, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.


From Gee Gee's albums #5

Scan11805, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The Flying Wards

From Gee Gee's albums #6

Scan11804, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.


From Gee Gee's albums #7

Scan11806, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The Flying Padillas

From Gee Gee's albums #8

Scan11803, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Tino Wallenda

From Gee Gee's albums #9

Scan11809, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Arturo Trostl

From Gee Gee's albums #10

Scan11810, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Ryan Kelly

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Soleil Indoors!

b4s_cirque0627_73907d, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

"My daughter Dalilah was by this morning and mentioned that she had seen the Soleil opening performance at the Forum in Tampa, courtesy of former Big Apple cast member, James Clowney.
I was surprised to learn that they papered the house on opening night.
She said they worked to the round end with nearly half the seats walled off with a few hundred chairs on the floor.
I think RBBB works to about three quarters of the house.
She said the crowd was pretty good but not many in the chicken roosts and added that she found Soliel more impressive in the tent looking up at the show rather than looking downward in a huge arena."

Cirque du Soleil's 'Saltimbanco' recycled show with lackluster circus acts
By John Fleming, Times Performing Arts Critic
In Print: Saturday, June 27, 2009

The trademark Cirque du Soleil athleticism is on display in Saltimbanco at the St. Pete Times Forum.

TAMPA — I never thought I'd say this, but Cirque du Soleil has lost some of its luster with Saltimbanco, the longtime tent show that has been restaged for arenas. Don't get me wrong: the Cirque acrobats are still among the most magical performers I've ever seen, but something was missing from the opening show Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Many fans love to experience Cirque in its high-tech theaters in Orlando and Las Vegas, but I most enjoy the tent shows. Under the blue and yellow big top, you are in the company's home, with all the quirkiness and character that can mean. None of that exists in the bland, institutional setting of an arena, and there are times that Saltimbanco seems like just another traveling circus — a good one, to be sure — that lacks the atmospheric twist of weirdness you feel so intimately in a tent.
Part of the problem may lie with Saltimbanco, one of Cirque's oldest shows, dating back to 1992 and due to celebrate its 5,000th performance on Tuesday. There are plenty of people who are put off by the French- Canadian company's artiness, and for them, this may be the show to see, but I have always taken a shine to the more thematically ambitious efforts, such as Quidam, with its dark tale of a girl's coming of age.
In the first act, the pacing of Saltimbanco falters badly. After the marvelous Chinese Poles, featuring about 20 muscular athletes in pastel-streaked spandex, the performance bogs down with a string of traditional, self-contained circus acts. These include a trick bicyclist, a juggler and a clown routine that goes on much too long. The act's finale, Boleadoras, a duet with twirling bolas and percussive flamenco-style dance, is strangely anticlimactic.
Still, much of Act 2 is Cirque at its best, starting with the amazing Russian Swing, which hurls crazily costumed figures into the upper reaches of the arena. Large numbers like this really show off the superbly conceived choreography of Debra Brown and the heavy-metal crunch of Rene Dupere's score. And the scary highlight of the evening was the duo trapeze act by Ukrainian sisters Ruslana and Taisiya Bazaliy, limber sprites in pale blue outfits, soaring high over the crowd to blood-curdling soprano sax.


From Chris Berry

71 years ago today the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus was scheduled to play Hartford, Connecticut. The posters were up - but the train never arrived, the tent was never set up, and show never happened. Following labor problems in Scranton, PA a week earlier - John Ringling North had finally succeeded in getting the big show loaded on the trains and taken to Sarasota, where a streamlined version of the circus was then recast and sent north to Redfield, North Dakota where it joined Ringling-owned Al G. Barnes and Sells Floto. This terrific litho by Strobridge was put up in anticipation of the show's arrival in Hartford on June 28 - but the circus never played there in 1938. Fortunately this poster was pulled from a window and put away so that we could enjoy it here...decades later. Incidentally - Hartford's Barbour Street circus grounds was the same lot where fire engulfed the Ringling-Barnum big top six years later, on July 5, 1944 - 65 years ago next month.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 #11 (From Eric Beheim)

Polack-10, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Unknown chimp act, which I believe was presented by a father and son.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 #12

Polack-9, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The Rosell highwire troupe.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 #13

Polack-11, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 # 14

Polack-12, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 #15

Polack-14, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Unknown seal act.

Polack Bros. Cirus 1972 #16

Polack-15, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 #17

Polack-13, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The Polack elephants presented by Tom and Pom Pom Donaho

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 #18

Polack-16, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 #19

Polack-17, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 #20

Polack-18, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

From Bob Cline

America's Elephants
A new e-Book about the elephants that crossed America for the last two hundred years is now available online at http://www.thecircusworld.com/americas-elephants
Bob Cline has been a circus performer and animal person who owned his own tiger act. Now a Circus Historian, who has written a couple articles published in the Circus Historical Society's Bandwagon and the Carnival Midway, his book is written for the general public to easily understand .
The first elephants to come to America begin to tell a story woven with a description of biological differences between the species, what elephants can and will eat, William P. Hall's farm, Circus Days, Tragedies that befell the elephants, the White Elephants, Jumbo, Zoos, Breeding and Conservation, an entire Chapter dedicated to the great professionals who gave their lives to caring for these magnificent animals and the Circus Organizations and Museums in America.
Enjoy the Amazing Stories of America's Elephants!

ashton circus (From Chantel Rodriguez)

ashton circus, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

brasil and chantel

brasil and chantel, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

dad (braisl rodriguez)

dad (braisl rodriguez), originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

dad (brasil rodriguez)

dad (brasil rodriguez), originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

dad, ashton circus.

dad, ashton circus., originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The National Circus Preservation Society

Your NCPS FUND Contribution is tax deductable
Supports new "Save the Circus" program
by Vern Mendonca & Gary C. Payne
At the Las Vegas Convention, the CFA Board of Directors approved a proposal by Gary Payne to begin a program called "Save the Circus". The program would be started with seed money from the NCPS (National Circus Preservation Society) Fund of our Circus Fans Association. It will immediately purchase two 8' high banners which promote membership and identify our club. The CFA logo, our website and the message "Join Circus Fans Here" will be prominently displayed. Large 3" round buttons with the message "Save the Circus" catch attention. The buttons will be available at nominal cost to you. The banners will be loaned to individuals, Tents, or Tops.
The slogan "Save the Circus" has proven itself as an urgent attention getting message! These materials will identify and promote multiple messages on behalf of our membership and pro-circus pro-performing animal campaigns.
Before leaving Las Vegas, Gary was approached with pledges for an additional 4 banners, by three individual CFA members, and one CFA Top. Many asked how they could contribute to this ongoing effort. Here is how:
The NCPS fund is an effective way for a Circus Fan to contribute a few dollars (tax deductible) that will actually help to Save the Circus.
To contribute: Mail your check to CFA Secretary Cheryl Deptula
2704 Marshall Ave.
Lorain, OH 44052
Payable to: National Circus Preservation Society
On the memo line: Write in "Save the Circus"

FROM DON CURTIS- Bob Childress presents his 3 tiger act on the midway and Louis Posso also performs on the big wheel following the main performance

Louis and Aurea Posso, hand balancing and big wheel-Lewis and Clark, 2009

Jose Ayala, silks and rola bola, Elizabeth Ayala, lyre-Lewis and Clark, 2009

Moose Willis, trained goats-Lewis and Clark, 2009

Friends Barry and Karen DeChant worked on Lewis and Clark in 2008-Barry as ringmaster. (2)

Karen DeChant, show schoolteacher and ticket taker-Lewis and Clark, 2008

Floyd Carter, light and sound operator, show mechanic-Lewis and Clark, 2009 (2)

Red Cunningham, animal care-Lewis and Clark, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

From Jim Cole

scan0001, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Michael Jackson was a frequent visitor to attractions in the Central Florida area. Here he is with Monica and George Bertini, (brother and sister) teenage unicyclists at Circus World in the early mid 80's. Photo from Circus World archives.

Much of the music made famous by the late superstar has been used during the past 4 decades to accompany circus acts, including most recently "Thriller" at Sailor Circus in Sarasota.

Polack Bros. Circus 1972 (Part 1) From Eric Beheim

Polack-1, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

In 1972, the Polack show played San Diego’s historic old Balboa Stadium on behalf of the local Shrine. There was no live band, and the acts worked to music that had been taped at an earlier performance.

Although the Stadium was not the most ideal place to get good photos, Don Covington and I were on hand to shoot movie footage at one of the matinees. Here are some frame enlargements from the 16mm Kodachrome footage I shot that day. That year, no printed programs were being sold, so many of the performers shown in these photos are listed as “unidentified.” (Many of you probably know who they are, so please help by providing their names. Thanks!)