Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Fred Logan Article (From Don Covington)

SAVE1894, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

CIRCUS PAGES, A Family Business (Photo from Buckles)
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
Saskatoon, Canada

Bob Florence

Water the camels. Feed the lions. For Freida Pages and family, it's business
as usual today. The circus season is done for the year, but the show goes
on. Stitch this. Paint that. Now is the time to get Circus Pages ready for
its 20th season, starting in January.

I told my daughter I'm 44, maybe it's time I retired, Freida said the
other day on the phone from the circus' winter quarters in Myakka City,
Fla., 30 minutes outside Sarasota.

Retirement is a fleeting thought, though, the gut reaction after nine months
on the road. At heart, Freida is a circus lifer. It's in the blood.
I feel like I'm the last heir to my dad's legacy, she said. I want to
keep his memory alive.

Her father was Fred Logan. Aside from the two years he served in the U.S.
Navy during the Second World War, protecting merchant ships in the South
Pacific, Fred enjoyed a more than 60-year run under the circus big top, much
of it performing with family. He was still appearing in the ring into his

Born in Brandon, Man., in 1925, Fred grew up in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw. He
attended Notre Dame College in Wilcox, playing hockey and being mentored by
Father Athol Murray after Fred's father, Walter, a land inspector with CN
railways, died when Fred was 10.

Fred's fascination with the lights and the life of the circus began the
summer he worked a hot dog and hamburger stand for Conklin Shows at the
Saskatoon Exhibition.

Leaving home at 17, Fred hooked up with Terrell Jacobs Circus as a cage boy,
circus talk for someone who looks after the animals. He worked for peanuts
at the start, making $3 a week.

He didn¹t care, said Freida. He loved the road, loved the life.
He not only walked with the animals, he talked with the animals. He'd grunt
and squeak and squawk with the animals. And in working with Jacobs and later
with Bill Woodcock, Fred apprenticed under two of the best animal trainers

Soon, Fred had an act of his own. Captain Logan, he was called. It's said he
had an ivory touch with the elephants.

My mother always used to say to him: You're married to the elephants.
Freida said. I say the same thing to my husband now.

Freida's husband, Jorge, is also from a circus family, hailing from Cuba.
Jorge used to perform with his brothers on the flying trapeze. Now he and
Freida tour with Circus Pages, each season following a route up from Florida
through the eastern U.S., traveling as far north as Michigan then going
south again. Jorge appears in the show with two elephants. Fred taught Jorge
how to train them.

Circus Pages, a small, but ambitious troupe, also includes Freida and
Jorge's daughter Colleen, who works with lions and tigers, and their son
Jorge (they call him Georgie) who rides a motorcycle inside a big metal
globe and helps with the show's music and lighting.

In a family circus, everybody does everything, Freida said.
And always be courteous, said Colleen, 18, a lesson she said she learned
from her grandfather Fred.

Freida and Jorge's oldest daughter, Vicenta, is one of the headline
performers with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, the big circus outfit Fred
worked for in the ¹40s. Vicenta¹s act features six white tigers.

When Fred wasn't on the road, home was Hugo, Okla. His wife, Ora Jo, was a
full-blooded Cheyenne Native from Watonga, Okla. Her father, Chief Joe
Yellow Eyes, performed in wild west shows.

Fred and Ora Jo raised eight children. Fred Jr., Charles, Walter, Mary Jo,
Eileen, Lillian, Freida and Naomi were all in the circus as kids. They rode
elephants and wheeled around on unicycles. They did acrobatics. At every
town along the way, they helped with the circus set-up and takedown.
Years ago (on the circuit), we were moving to a different place every day,
said Eileen Osorio, the Logan girl everyone called Ike. The first thing
father did was get to the lot and plan the layout: Elephants here, tent
there. He'd work with the cats. He'd do a parade in town and put up banners.
He'd sell the tickets.

(When the show started), he worked with my brothers and sisters in three
acts. Then he and mother did the elephant act.
I miss those days, Eileen said, but I don't miss the travel.
Eileen is a bank manager in Las Vegas, but is still connected to the circus.
Her husband, Pancho, who did a high-wire act with his brothers years ago,
and their daughter, Candice, both tour with Circo Osorio, based in Vegas.

Two of Fred and Ora Jo's other daughters also have a link to show biz. Mary
Jo, the oldest of the girls, married an aerialist, one of the flying
Zerbinis. Lillian married Jim Havershorm, who was a band leader with Clyde
Beatty Cole Bros.

Son Walter was an elephant trainer for years, then left to become a truck
driver. He died in 2005. Daughter Naomi works in a grocery store in
Sarasota. Charles is a welder in Houston and Fred Jr. works for the Choctaw
tribe in Hugo.

Of the eight children, Freida is the only one actively involved in the

One of the earliest memories I have is standing in the ring with the
(family in the) Kelly Miller Circus, said Freida. I was five. I didn't
have to do anything, I just stood there.

Dad, he had an amazing memory. His mind was a history book. He could
remember where he went and when, the type of place it was. That¹s a good
show town, he¹d say.

The animals, the children; he loved what he did. People come up to me all
the time and tell me stories about him.

It's hard coming home now, with him not here, Freida said.

Fred died in 2006. At 80, his life was measured not so much in duration, but
devotion. Near the end, he was working as a night watchman for Hanneford
Circus in Osprey, Fla. Freida said he was so looking forward to seeing his
granddaughter Vicenta perform with Ringling Bros.


warren bacon said...

Reading this article made me stop and think about my own career. Now, I was an aerialist and acrobat, not an animal person at all. I never knew Captain Logan personally but was the recipient of his hospitality on an occasion or two on the lot of the CBCB show over the years. He was a gracious host and generous to us visitors.

This got me thinking about how many of the greats that helped out this town boy or "gadjo" along the way and over the years came from the ranks of the animal world. Buckles, Ben, Rex, John H., Roy, Wade, Tommy, Charly, Gunther, and so many more. Must be something about that world of unconditional love and respect that drives the animal world that also leads them to help the rest of us as well.


Circus Photos said...

Captain Logan was a great friend. I'm so glad I get to sit down with him and talk about his circus life. I miss a great friend.