Sunday, November 30, 2014

From Chic Silber

Ca' d' Zan #1 (From Eric Beheim)

In 1925, John Ringling was estimated to be worth 100 million dollars (a considerable sum back then!) In addition to a 1/3 ownership in the Ringling-Barnum Circus, he owned oil wells, railroads, theaters, a majority of the stock in the Madison Square Garden Corporation, Florida real estate, etc., etc., etc. In 1929, after he bought the American Circus Corporation, he also owned the titles to every circus of consequence in the United States: Sells-Floto, Hagenbach-Wallace, John Robinson, Sparks, and Al G. Barnes. (To paraphrase W. S. Gilbert, "It is, it is a glorious thing to be a Circus King!”)

From Buckles

"Pirates Of Penzance"

Ca' d' Zan #2

In 1926 John completed Ca’ d’ Zan (House of John), an enormous mansion facing the bay in Sarasota. The house (which cost one million dollars) was actually part of a proposed museum complex that John planned to donate to the state of Florida and which would serve as a permanent memorial to himself and his wife Mable. (Over the years, he acquired a considerable collection of valuable paintings, tapestries, ancient sculptures, carved cinquecento furniture, etc. for the museum to display.) It was planned that Ca’ d’ Zan, would also be open to the public.

Ca' d' Zan #3

This and the following images of Ca’ d’ Zan were all taken in 1956 for a three-reel View-Master set: Ringling Museums Sarasota. (I understand that, after years of neglect by the state of Florida, the house and museum have been completely restored/refurbished.) This view shows the house’s East Façade. 

Ca' d' Zan #4

The West Façade and the steps leading down to the seawall, where John once tied up his yacht Zalophus (sea lion).  

Ca' d' Zan #5

Great Hall from the Foyer. In his book, The Circus Kings, Henry Ringling North describes various rooms in Ca’ d’ Zan. Here is how he recalled the Great Hall: You came into an immense three-story hall with a balcony running around three sides of it. Its pavement consisted of squares of black and white marble and its high, cambered ceiling, from which hung the biggest Venetian glass chandelier I ever saw, was made of carved, pecky cypress framing a stained-glass skylight.  

Ca' d' Zan #6

State Dining Room . . . paneled in dark walnut with crimson draperies. Its most startling feature was a wall-sized still life by the Flemish painter Frans Synders depicting the trophies of the hunt. Painted with meticulous realism was a heap of dead animals, including a deer, a swan, peacocks, rabbits, small birds and a great boar sliced down the middle and running with gore. Weak-stomached guests faintly turned their heads away. Uncle John suffered no qualms. 

Ca' d' Zan #7

John Ringling’s Office . . . a plain, businesslike room, but the telephone was repoussé silver.

Ca' d' Zan #8

Mable Ringling’s Bedroom . . . all curvilinear rococo Louis XV decor.

Ca' d' Zan #9

Music Room from Ballroom . . . what wonderful talk we heard from the brilliant guests, whose names were a Who’s Who of the twenties! Flo Ziegfeld and vivacious Billie . . . Irvin Cobb . . . Tex Richard . . . Al Smith . . . Fred Albee, vaudeville king . . . Jimmy Walker . . . Will Rogers . . . dozens more, and all their lovely ladies. The echo of their long-stilled laughter may yet break the museum pall of that great house nights, when the tourists are tucked in their motels – at least I like to think so. 

Ca' d' Zan #10

Residence Game Room . . . occupying most of the third floor, its groined ceiling frescoed by Pogany with a Venetian carnival scene featuring John and Mable in fancy dress surrounded by their exotic pets.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

From Billie Schuller #1

Movie Premier Publicity!
Peggy and Opal. These footprints were not permanent. I forget the theater, but Buckles probably knows.

"Alas" No!......."Opal" sure looks tiny, no doubt taken in 1953 at while the Besalou elephants were in training."

From Billie Schuller #2

"Opal" #1 (From Buckles)

"Opal" #2

Fortunately Mack had the luxury of a full year's training at 1000 Oaks before the act's debut in 1954.

"Opal" #3

"Jean", "Millie", "Betty", "Kathy" and "Opal".

"Opal" #4

Harry Dann and "Opal".

"Opal" #5

One of the first pictures Parley took of us and "Opal" after we joined the Polack Show in 1965.

"Opal" #6

One of  "Opal's" many appearances on the Sullivan Show, this time with Barbara and Ben.

"Opal" #7

"Opal" #8

"Anna May" trained by my father and "Opal", MacDonald's masterpiece, two elephants that made me look like I knew what I was doing.....along with the lady who til this day I have not quite managed to get under control.

"Opal" #9

......back with Mack in 1970 we see more of his training while on a Hanneford date.
"Ina", "Opal" and "Louie".
The eagle-eyed observer will notice one of the Woodcock bull tubs that I had left at Mack's place five years earlier and possibly remains there  today despite Peggy's often invitations to come and get it.

"Opal" #10

......and the last time I saw her was 1975 at a Shrine date in Tampa being presented by Tommy and Pom Pom Donoho.
Me, Barbara and Gary Jacobson drove down from Circus World, after all I had told Gary  about "Opal" he was anxious to get a few pictures of her. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

On the subject of Billy Barton!

Billy was way overboard as usual but on one occasion there was a non stop party in our state room (half a railroad car) that continued from LA to San Francisco and upon arrival Sid Kellner, who happened to be seeking us in his Limousine, pulled along side and an hour later we were all at his place up in the mountains where the party concluded. First time I ever saw a hot tub.
The visitors in my wife's entourage naturally assumed this happened in every town and the show people involved shall remain anonymous. 

Thirty five years later we have enjoyed a pleasant Thanksgiving and it appears that the Football team in Philadelphia is vastly superior to the one Dallas presents.


 Used to send this to Circus Report every year, then age set in.


Paul Gutheil

From Mark Rosenthal

As recently seen with Joe Frisco Jr. in Chicago.

More "Sidney" (From Chic Silber)

Here is Sid wearing her "Jumbo" hat & cape in a performance of the Beatty Christmas date (early 60s) in the NY Coliseum.

The cape attendants are Kenny Dodd & Billy McCabe

"I'm No Angel" #1 (From Eric Beheim)

"I'm No Angel" #2

"I'm No Angel #3

More Mae West #1 (From Buckles)

I spoke in error yesterday.
My folks didn't go out there for the filming of the movie but worked out of the Studio doing promotion for it's opening, doing such things as seen above.
They concluded by performing the act out front of Grauman's Theater as the celebrities entered for the Movie's premier.
My mother once told me that while they were at the Studio she was invited to watch a war movie being filmed on a back lot. I don't remember the title or it's star but she said the whole time was spent watching the Director berate an actor by repeatedly making him crawl under a fence yelling "You don't look tired!.... Dammit look tired!
She said by the time she left he was truly tired.
So much for Method Acting.

More Mae West #2

More Mae West #3

More Mae West #4

More Mae West #5

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Sidney" #1

Both "Sidney" and "Wilma" were imported by Wm. P. Hall in 1925.
At left William Woodcock Sr. at age 22 seen doing some sort of photo-op.
Both these elephants were named after Hall's daughters, one of which he tried to engage to my father. I think she later became a long time School teacher in Lancaster.

"Sidney" #2

Bill Woodcock and "Sidney".