Monday, February 28, 2011

Andy the giraffe man with Fritz- Glasier

This is Andrew Zingraben, known to everyone on the old Barnum show as “Andy the giraffe man.” He was a Hagenbeck employee who accompanied a delivery of giraffes to B&B during their European tour and then stayed with the show for decades. He was born in Hungary in 1861, joined Hagenbeck’s circus, and was later on various Hagenbeck expeditions in Africa. He stayed with the Barnum circus the rest of his life and in his later years tended the giraffe barn. One of his hobbies at winterquarters was raising geese. He died in 1931 and is buried in Bridgeport.

The photo on this postcard is by Frederick Glasier and the original glass plate negative is now part of the thousand or so Glasier circus photos in the Ringling Museum collections. Years ago I went through all the Glasier photos with some old Barnum show people and I well remember one former Siegrist flying act veteran’s immediate identification of “Andy the giraffe man” and fond recognition of his personality and popularity on the show.

Perhaps Richard Reynolds can tell us about Fritz and the giraffes acquired during the European tour.

Dick Flint


Ringling Barnum GIRAFFES (1934) Half-Sheet Panel

From Chris Berry

During the mid-1930s Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey contracted with several lithographers to provide pictorial posters. In addition to many posters produced by Erie Litho and Printing, a number of designs were also executed by Central Printing and Illinois Litho of Chicago. In 1934 the E.J. Warner Co of New York was also brought into the mix, designing several posters for the big show, including this attractive artwork showing a group of giraffes. Although the half-sheet panel (approximately 14"x42") is a standard sized poster - very few pictorals for Ringling-Barnum were created in this size - perhaps because of the fact that the long title would take up so much space - a critical element that the artists at Warner did an excellent job working into this graphic.

"Giraffes" #1 (From Buckles)

SAVE0656, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Barnum & Bailey

"Giraffes" #2

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Barnum & Bailey

"Giraffes" #3

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"Giraffes" #4

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"Giraffes" #5

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1938 Al. G. Barnes with RBBB features.

"Giraffes" #6

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"Giraffes" #7

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"Giraffes" #8

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"Giraffes" #9

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My Giraffe Story!

Our last full season on the road was with Universoul in 2002. Ben worked the act with Margo Porter as Elephant Empress.
Also in the program, shortly after the elephant act, a giraffe was led around the ring. No idea who owned it but Ben said it was very impressive since anyone who has seen Universoul knows that the ring sits on a stage about 4' high to begin with.
One day after exiting the back back door, a Circus Fan stopped Ben and Margo and asked them to pose for a picture with "Anna May". Right in the midst of posing, the giraffe escaped and came thundering down the ramp and out the back door sending Margo ass over tea kettle and Ben sprawling. "Anna May" continued thru the back yard and stopped behind the bull truck.
Amazingly the fan caught the shot just at the point where "Anna May" was saying "Aloha!"
That photo was to conclude today's series but try as I may I can't find it.
Ben couldn't remember the name of the fan but if by some small chance he follows the Blog we might see it yet.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

From Don Covington

tiger+circus, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Circus scraps plans for Coney Island.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus said it won't be in Coney Island this summer -- a move prompted by scheduling conflicts and the expense of running a show all summer.

Over the past two summers, the big top drew more than 250,000 people to Coney Island.

Ringling also called off its regular show at Madison Square Garden this spring because of renovations at the arena, leaving no show in the city this year.

2011 White Plains (From Paul Gutheil)

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2011 White Plains #2

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2011 White Plains #3

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2011 White Plains #4

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2011 White Plains #5

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2011 White Plains #6

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2011 White Plains #7

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2011 White Plains #8

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2011 White Plains #9

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2011 White Plains #10

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From Roger Smith #1


To compliment ERIC's entries on the incredible Johnsons, here are two of their books. I got Osa's book by a sheer quirk of fate. I can spot a bentwood chair at 100 yards, at any speed. On a lonely, 2-lane road in Texas, one sat outside a country flea market. After claiming my prize for a fin, I ventured inside, and was drawn to the book section. Here was Osa's I MARRIED ADVENTURE, in the zebra-print cover. I stand to be corrected, but this one is copyrighted 1940, with no further printing history, so it possibly is a first edition. The lady in charge of books was the quintessential small-town schoolmarm. The owner set his beer down, looked me over, and said, "Aw, let him have it for a dollar." The schoolmarm liked to fainted. Noted here are Osa's other books, OSA JOHNSON'S JUNGLE FRIENDS, JUNGLE BABIES, and JUNGLE PETS.

This copy of Martin Johnson's LION was copyrighted in 1929, with a 4th impression listed for September, 1931. This copy does not list other works by him, but notes that all photos are his, as Osa's are hers. Lest anyone think their works are outdated, let yourself open them to enjoy the immersion of raw excitement and genuine adventure by two of the most respected naturalists ever to go on safari. Thanks to ERIC for sending me into the trunks to re-discover the Johnsons.

Roger Smith


Roger Smith #2

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Scan13278, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.


Scan13277, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Odd how things turn out.
This afternoon I am taking Kay and Jamie down to Sarasota to
attend Breana and Veronica Wells' birthday party.
All involved are about the same age as the adorable child
pictured above.

Birthday Card #1 (From Eric Beheim)

Birthday%20Card-1, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Birthday Card #2

Birthday%20Card-2, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.


At first sight I thought this was the siege in Lybia but on closer inspection turns out to be opening night in Newark.
Some guy puttin' the arm on Kenny.

Friday, February 25, 2011

From Paul Gutheil

IMG_8829, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Enjoyed RBBB Red opening night in Newark. Entire Feld family on hand as well as Dave Kiser and others.

I'm sure you bought each of your grandkids one of these...see photo attached.
In another vein, would this be on your birthday wish list?

Best to you and beautiful Barbara.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

From Paul Gutheil

Buckles: In case anyone might be interested, attached is a poor scanof the book cover. Best, Paul
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Martin and Osa Johnson (From Eric Beheim)

Here are a few miscellaneous items I’ve been meaning to submit. This first photo shows Martin and Osa Johnson circa the 1930s. (For those of you who don’t know who they were, they were adventurers and filmmakers, who wrote books on Africa and who shot several documentary feature films there. They also contributed many animals to the San Diego Zoo during its formative years.)
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Osa Johnson and "Bong"

This photo of Osa Johnson and the Johnsons’ pet cheetah Bong was taken at the San Diego Zoo in 1932. The Johnsons kept Bong in their New York City apartment and would walk him in Central Park. They later donated him to the San Diego Zoo, where he often accompanied zoo director Belle Benchley whenever she spoke before local luncheon clubs and at educational events.
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This photo of the San Diego Zoo’s elephant Queenie was taken on November 1, 1930 when she did a live radio “interview” on station KFSD.
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Dr. Charles Schroeder

This photo of San Diego Zoo vet Dr. Charles Schroeder and “Egypt” was taken circa 1934. Dr. Schroeder also served as a vet at the Bronx Zoo, and later took over as director of the San Diego Zoo following Belle Benchley’s retirement in 1953. (While serving as a vet for the San Diego Zoo, he often doctored circus animals at no charge, as a courtesy to shows that were appearing in town.)
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Wegeforth Bowl

This vintage post card dates back to the “bad old days” when the San Diego Zoo was presenting a circus-type elephant act in its Wegeforth Bowl. (The Bowl is still being used for daily seal presentations, although I doubt that the seals are asked to toot “America” on a set of horns!) Incidentally the Wegeforth Bowl is where the San Diego Civic Light Opera Company (known locally as “Starlight”) gave its first performance back in 1946: Gilbert and Sullivan’s THE MIKADO.
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Belle Benchley

These next two photos were discovered inside a used copy of MY LIFE IN A MAN-MADE JUNGLE, which I bought on-line. This first photo shows Belle Benchley and some tiger cubs born at the San Diego Zoo. On the back, the book’s owner had written in pencil “From Mrs. Belle J. Benchley, Executive Sec’y San Diego Zoo.” There is also a notation written in ink (probably by Mrs. Benchley herself) that reads “My latest babies.” The book’s owner also wrote his name on the back: E. May Caldwell. I looked this name up on-line: there was an artist with this same name, who might have been him. Does anybody know who he was?
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Olga Celeste

This last photo shows the famous leopard trainer Olga Celeste (whom I believe trained the leopard used in the movie BRINGING UP BABY.) Roger Smith can probably provide some background information on her.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From Richard Flint

This slow exposure (read blurry train) taken after sunset shows a pair of Norfolk Southern EMD engines pulling the red show train as it moved last Monday (14) from Greensboro, NC, to Philadelphia. The Ringling-Barnum circus train, in almost continuous use since 1872, is crossing the oldest railroad bridge in the world still in use. Construction on the Baltimore & Ohio’s “Thomas Viaduct,” then named for the railroad’s president, began July 4, 1833, and was completed exactly two years later. For much of its life, it was the only rail line entering the nation’s capitol from Baltimore and consequently during the Civil War was heavily guarded.

The main design problem was constructing such a large bridge on a curve and it became the first multiple arched stone railroad bridge in the world so built. Benjamin Henry Latrobe, II, son of the architect of the U.S. Capitol, solved the problem and today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The 612-foot viaduct, with eight arches of roughly 58 feet each over the Patapsco River valley just south of Baltimore, is now owned by CSX and though carrying considerably more weight than its first train in 1835, remains solid and unaltered to this day.
Dick Flint
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From Robert Perry #1

Buckles in 1936 Wirth,s & Perry,s clashed in Adelaide all Wirth, advertising was wait for Wirths! Robert Perry
From Water Logged Australia
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