Friday, October 31, 2014

This morning!

Jim Elliot and I are going down to Bob's train for breakfast, hopefully the Colonel will be there.
And to quote one of my mother's favorite Orton'isms, "We'll tell 'em how the cow ate the cabbage!"

More John Robinson #1

More John Robinson #2

Tim Buckley #1

Continuing with yesterday's Robinson's Military Elephants I lifted this series of pictures from a John Robinson Route Book of their trainer Tim Buckley taken when he first trained them.

Tim Buckley #2

Tim Buckley #3

This looks like a staged shot with the local Vet examining an elephant.
Nice looking tusker.

Tim Buckley #4

Tim Buckley #5

Tim Buckley #6

Tim Buckley #7

Tim Buckley #8

Tim Buckley #9

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From Chic Silber

Military Elephants #1

These elephants were trained around the turn of the century by Tim Buckley and performed such skits at the "dinner table", "barber shop", etc. but are best remembered as the Military Elephants and were so well received the Robinson family retained the elephants after they closed their circus in 1911 and booked them on Fair Dates, Vaudeville, etc. for many years.

Military Elephants #2

Military Elephants #3

Military Elephants #4

Dan "Curly" Noonan is remembered working this act with a dramatic flair.

Military Elephants #5

Militaty Elephants #6

Military Elephants #7

Military Elephants #8

This is my father at left working the Robinson Elephants in the early 1930's.
I wish I had paid closer attention when he talked about the experience, as I recall he was at Hall's place in Lancaster and was loaned out to work the act on a string of fair dates.
He said it was a hard act to work as they were spoiled rotten and didn't volunteer much.
I remember he said one of the "Highlights" was an announcement, "Tillie the talking elephant, will now speak the word "Mama!" 
He said the audience could scarcely hear her faint "maaa-maaa" but his "Louder You Son Of A Bitch!" was clearly audible.

Military Elephants #9

Written on the back, "Robinson elephants, Selig Zoo, Los Angeles."
Looks like they are going to town, dancing on tubs with musical accompaniment. 

Military Elephants #10

After the death of "Tillie", George "Red Cap" Thompson was the last to work the act under the Robinson banner. 

Military Elephants #11

Military Elephants #12

Military Elephants #13

Snap shot taken at Circus World in the 1970's including George Thompson second from right.

While on the subject.....

....this is the rakish Dan Darrow with another popular act of the day, Wier's Baby Elephants "Maude", "Cutie" and "Trixie" later with Dailey Bros. Circus and of whom Barbara has many exciting stories.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

W. C. Fields #1 (From Eric Beheim)

As many of you already know, comedian W.C. Fields got his start in show business as a self-taught juggler, who worked his way up from fairs and tent shows to become a headliner in vaudeville. Even after he was established as a comedian in motion pictures, he liked to sneak juggling bits into his films. The best showcase for his juggling skills is the 1934 feature THE OLD FASHIONED WAY (my all-time favorite Fields film) where he gets to perform his vaudeville act in a close shot, without camera or editing tricks to enhance his dexterity. Here are some frame enlargements from that film.
[THE OLD FASHIONED WAY also includes a play-with-in-play as Fields’ theatrical company presents a cut down version of THE DRUNKARD, with Fields appearing as the villainous squire, complete with top hat, black curly hair and a crooked witch’s cane. At one point, he stands by an open door and intones, “And it ain’t a fit night out for man nor beast!” which is followed by him receiving a face full of prop snow.]  

W. C. Fields #2

W. C. Fields #3

W. C. Fields #4

W. C. Fields #5

W. C. Fields #6

W. C. Fields #7

W. C. Fields #8

W. C. Fields #9

(The setup to Fields manipulating a dozen or so cigar boxes.)

W. C. Fields #10

W. C. Fields #11

W. C. Fields #12

W. C. Fields #13

W. C. Fields #14

W. C. Fields #15

(As manipulated by Fields, the cigar boxes seem to fall through space in a kind of slow motion so that they are exactly where he wants them at just the right time.)

W.C. Fields # 16

W. C. Fields #17

W. C. Fields #18

W.C. Fields #19

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cole Bros. #1 (From Josip Marcan)

Last night, Sat. Oct .25th 2014 I visited Cole Bros.Circus in Panama City, Florida.
Weather was great and attendance was very good.
Show was excellent and I really enjoyed it. Probably the best I have ever seen.
All equipment outside and inside was top quality.
Thank you Mr. John W.  Pugh and Mr. Elvin Bale for your hospitality.

Cole Bros. #2

Cole Bros. #3

Cole Bros. #4