Tuesday, May 31, 2011

From Toots Orton

DMR014729-1_20110520, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.


To Lori,

As you can see, cousin Toots is sort of the official Orton Historian and I'm sure she would help you in any way possible. I'll send you her eMail address.


L.E. Barnes #1 (From Jim Cole)

LEB%20Route%20Card%20, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

10 Years ago... Wild animal trainer Dave Hoover, after 20 years on Clyde Beatty – Cole Bros. Circus with his lion & tiger act (1966 – 1985) , then several more in management, had always dreamed of taking out his own circus. In 2001, Dave formed a partnership with entrepreneur Eugene Calabrese and began putting together what is quite possibly the last of the traditional American big top circuses, the L. E. Barnes Circus. Dave used his wife’s maiden name, Lois Evans Barnes, to formulate the title. The show was framed at a location near Eustis, FL, and was kept so secret that the winter quarters got the nickname of “Area 51”.

The circus was about as traditional as you could get, three rings, a brass band, opened with a cage act, lots of animals, and closed with Brian Miser’s cannon.

The show opened on March 10, 2001 in Eustis, FL, and made it’s way up the east coast, following closely the familiar Beatty –Cole pattern. The first few weeks were quite challenging, but then things began to go smoothly, and by summer, the show was in the familiar New England States. However the tragic events of 9-11 had a severe effect on the show, business was off, and dates were cancelled. The show closed about a week later.

L.E. Barnes #2

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L.E. Barnes #3

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L.E. Barnes #4

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L.E. Barnes #5

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L.E. Barnes #6

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L.E. Barnes #7

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L.E. Barnes #8

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L.E. Barnes #9

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L.E. Barnes #10

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L.E. Barnes #11

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L.E. Barnes #12

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L.E. Barnes #13

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From Buckles

2001 was a year I'll not forget, our first season after leaving Big Apple.
We opened in Florida with Universoul but had to leave after the first couple of months due to a pre existing contract with the Catskill Game Farm.
While at Catskill we visited LE Barnes one evening while they were showing nearby. Had nice visits with Laura Herriott and Louie Del Moral.
As seen above it was a beautiful show.
Later in the summer we received word that Gunther had died, although it was general knowledge he had been ill, it came as quite a shock.
Then one morning shortly after returning to Universoul in Detroit, I was unloading groceries from the pick up when Shannon gave me the news that someone had flown an air plane into the NY Trade Center.

Monday, May 30, 2011

From Sue Lenz #1

!cid_X_MA1_1306771389@aol, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Hi Buckles:

Another TV Special to go with Jerry Digney's collection.


From Dave Price

Buckles12, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Was this the first?

From Buckles

SAVE0779, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

1978 RBBB Special

From Chic Silber #1

CARAVAN5, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Hi Buckles

Here are a couple of Caravan Horse photos


From Chic Silber #2

CARAVAN1, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #1 (From Jerry Digney)

Circus1, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Circus TV Specials
when i was the pr guy on RBBB during the 70s, we did a national TV special every year with a celebrity host. These were 60 minutes and aired on either CBS or NBC. In those days, there were still only three networks so the the viewing audience was pretty big. Actually, RBBB annual circus TV specials started in the late 50s and continued into the 80s, so there were roughly 30 years of TV specials. In addition to the circus specials, Irvin Feld produced two, I believe, separate specials featuring Gunther. The annual TV specials were shot over 2-3 days at the Bayfront Center in St. Pete following the week long engagement there. The L.A. TV guys actually started shooting material in Venice but special TV lights and a TV audience were brought in for the final St. Pete tapings. Of course, these were highlight shows so not every act was included and the schtick and banter between celebrity host and circus performers was generally predictable and corny. But in the end they were a great promo for the circus dates.
A change in programming trends saw the circus specials fade away and they've been absent from network TV for almost 25 years. However, my sense is that the TV market is hungry once again for family entertainment like this. Here are some of the ads and stars who appeared over the years on these TV outings which generally aired around Valentine's Day. Of the half-dozen or so I worked on, I remember Johnny Cash being gracious and us working together earlier in the year on TV ads for Lionel Trains, which was that year's sponsor--a less pleasant character was Danny Kaye who hosted in 1979.

RBBB Specials #2

Circus2, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #3

Circus3, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #4

Circus4, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #5

Circus5, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #6

Circus6, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #7

Circus7, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #8

Circus8, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #9

Circus9, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

RBBB Specials #10

Circus10, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

From Roger Smith

Before There Was Christine Jorgenson, Before There Was Chaz Bono...

...There was Anna John Budd, as we see in this montage of newspaper
coverage, compiled onto an 8 x 10 glossy, and autographed to nobody
else but Mabel Stark, in 1934, with the tantalizing sentiment, "Lest
you forget".

Where I found this is a secret that will die with me.

Most famous reassignment!

220px-Jorg2, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

"Ex G.I. Becomes Blonde Beauty" were the headlines in 1952.
She made the Talk Show circuit and in fact walked off the Dick Cavett Show after being asked if it was true her only instruction to the Swedish Doctor was, "Cut this thing off and make it snappy!"

Sunday, May 29, 2011

From Sue Lenz #1

Robert Bros. Circus Winter Stage Circus

From Sue Lenz #2

Robert%20Bros,%201969, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert Bros.Circus 1969

From Sue Lenz #3

Robert%20Bros,%201966, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert Bros. Circus 1966

From Sue Lenz #4

Robert%20Bros,%201960's, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert Bros. Circus 1960's

From Sue Lenz #5

Robert Bros. Winter Stage Circus

From Sue Lenz #6

Robert%20Bros%20Circus, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert Bros. Circus

From Sue Lenz #7

Robert Bros. Circus late 1950's

From Sue Lenz #8

Robert%20Bros%201950's, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert Bros. Circus 1950's

From Sue Lenz #9

RBC, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert Bros. Circus

From Sue Lenz #10

RBC%20Poster%201962, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert Bros. Circus poster 1962

From Sue Lenz #11

RBC%20Jacko%201960, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert Bros. Circus 1960

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ringling Barnum FELIX ADLER TIPPING HAT(1956)

From Chris Berry

This familiar poster was used during the final appearance that Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey made under canvas in Philadelphia. After The Greatest Show on Earth was filmed at the Broad Street showgrounds in South Philly, the show returned to that lot in 1952 and '53. In 1954 Ringling-Barnum moved back to the more desirable Lighthouse Field, returned in 1955 and for the last time in May-June of 1956. As with much of the 1956 season, the stand in Philadephia was marred with problems. The circus trains were late in arriving from Washington and as the wagons started arriving on the lot, union organizers threw rocks at the canvasmen and others trying to set up the show. The late start delayed the matinee until 5pm. There was only one entrance to the lot and it was ringed with union pickets, intended to influence show patrons and effectively keeping union truck drivers away from not only the circus but also the carnivals and independent concessionaires set up on the midway. Memorial Day in 1956 was on Wed May 30 and although the show had great business over the holiday, the weather turned bad Thur May 31 and Fri June 1, keeping crowds away. Approximately six weeks later the big show folded its tents for the last time at the Heidelberg Race Track just outside of Pittsburgh.

Maria Rasputin HW Program 1935

Maria Grigorievna Rasputin Soloviev - 1898 (or 1900)--1977 #1

In reply to Col. Herriott's reference to Maria Rasputin being brought
onto the 1935 Hagenbeck-Wallace show: Sam Gumpertz thought her
famous name would seriously compete in billing against Clyde Beatty's
overwhelming drawing power on the new major rival, Cole Bros. At one
point he railed, "Clyde's coming out again with forty cats?? Well, I've
got Maria Rasputin--that's right, the Mad Monk's daughter, and she'll
be in there with SEVENTY cats!!" It never quite came to that.

The bona fide daughter of the assassinated mystic, Maria married a Russian
officer, Boris Soloviev, who died in 1926. They had two daughters,
although some accounts list another five children but no subsequent
husband. She is reported to have been a cabaret dancer in Romania, then
worked a pony drill in a French circus. Film of her with these five is insuffi-
cient to judge the act. Her advent to Hagenbeck-Wallace was wildly ballyhooed,
but it quickly became clear that despite the "mesmerizing eyes" inherited from
her father, they didn't work in the cage. The woman couldn't work animals, and
her undoing was ignominious. Before she could exit gracefully, she was mauled
badly by a bear. She settled permanently in the US, and gained citizenship in 1945.
In Los Angeles, she lived on Social Security, baby-sitting fees, and by giving
Russian language instruction. She died in 1977. (Sources: The People's Almanac,
and Circus Report.)

From Roger Smith

M Rasputin B Nelson Billing HW Program 1935

Maria Rasputin #2

Display No. 4 gives Ms. Rasputin adequate, but rather tepid and vague concepts
of what to expect. A smaller, pre-lim act was assembled for her, but her inexperience
was not to be overcome, and her moment in the spotlight, and The Gump's enthusiasm,
dimmed early on.

Bert Nelson's billing in Display No. 7 was representative of his star presence and his
highly successful segue from vaudeville cat acts to prominence in the Big Cage. Dave Price
asked how he did this, from single-cat stage numbers with co-stars like Princess Pat, Norma,
and Monarch. I do not know what prepared him to take over the Clyde Beatty
Big Act, unless the answer lies in having unlimited support from the Corporation Show
animal men who would have known the animals.

Maria returned in Display No. 8. With Australian lady polo players, and a Wild West
combination, Maria somehow incorporated her version of The Imperial Russian Ballet.

From Roger Smith

Bert Nelson & Maria Rasputin HW Peru 1935

Maria Rasputin #3

On the back of this, Bert wrote, "Bert Nelson and Maria Rasputin, Hagenbeck-
Wallace Circus Winterquarters, Peru, Indiana, 1935."

From Roger Smith

From Jim Clubb

KGrHqFhcE2h9mCuGBNqMZH7yPw_3, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Hello Buckles,

Please see attached a photo I just recently bought. As you probably know, I am researching a new book on Alfred Court and his trainers. This just covers the period when he was training and producing acts, which actually was only 20 years. This picture is a bit of a mystery to me. I am really trying to find out if anyone can identify the trainer. In my opinion it is Joe Walsh, but it doesn’t tie up with the date on the back. This was a professional newspaper photo taken at Sarasota RBBB. The date is March 1946. RBBB didn’t have a cage act for the 1946 season, so was this act just for the winter quarters shows before they went on the road? You will note it is not appearing in a Court arena. Alfred Court had sold all his acts by then. Joe Walsh went with the last group to Benson’s in 1945. Maybe the winter of 1944. The group pictured is a combination of what I refer to as the Schulz act and the Kovar act with some new young lions added. My research indicates that in 1944 Court put together a combination of these two acts. The lions clearly are not old animals. However, the polar bear shown is an old animal and I can identify it as one of the bears from the Schulz act. The American black bear on top of the pyramid was added along with another one in the winter of 1941 by Schulz and Court, as they lost one of the Himalayans. I would really appreciate any help with this. Also, if anyone has any information on the line-up of animals in the early 1944 season that would be useful.

Kind regards,

Jim Clubb

Circus Festival #1 (From Vincent Manero)

Yasmine_2, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Hello Mr Woodcock,

Several days ago you posted some pictures of the Holscher Elephants. Here are some more photos of their
act at the European Circus Festival in Liège (Belgium) in December 2010. I find Lars did a nice job with these old
girls with limited potential. Good looking African.

Also included three picutres of Yasmine Smart liberty act at the
same festival.

Hope Mr Herriott will enjoy these photos.

Best Wishes.

Vincent Manero

Circus Festival #2

Yasmine_3, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Circus Festival #3

Yasmine_1, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.