Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Now that's a lot of elephants

Please note the use of one of those round thingys on the ground. Of course no one has this many elephants on the road anymore either.

Hold your horse, Here comes the elephants!

What a sight this would have been. Note the fine dress of the day by the Elephant Department. Things have really changed.

Now watch that first step.

Another Christmas card sent to my aunt & uncle years ago.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Unknown Tiger Act

I have many of my aunt & uncle's old Christmas Cards that was sent to them over the years. This particular Tiger Act is unknown. There isn't even a signature on the card to know who sent it. It is definitely a mighty short arena. It would never get in California now a days.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Welome to Downtown Atlanta

I was just in Atlanta further advancing my research of Circus history for a couple days. After a fabulous journey into the Circus past, I took a mini 4 hour vacation downtown. Here you are in walking distance of CNN, the World of Coke, and the Georgia Aquarium. All these photos were taken on May 16, 2008. Enjoy a little diversion.
This fine piece of Coca-Cola Memoribilia was issued in 1931.

Welcome to the Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium's Beluga Whales

The African Penquins

Georgia Aquarium's Zebra Sharks

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Al G. Barnes in the beginning.

The Al G. Barnes Circus was a three, four, and eventually five ring circus featuring the greatest animal acts of all times over the years. Here we find a part of the Al G. Barnes Circus that really isn't talked about that much. This is the beginnings of his fabled career where he has a Dog & Pony show out of New Jersey. We will all remember years later his quarters in Baldwin Park, Ca., carrying Tusko and Black Diamond the two huge male elephants, Mabel Stark, Louis Roth, Walter McClain, and the list goes on and on. This ad was placed in Billboard on October 1, 1904 as found on page 25.

You don't see this anymore.

Here is an ad for a classic thrill act of the day. I wonder how many people it took to assemble this rigging? You couldn't find enough people that could work on this safely now with all the OSHA requirements in place today. The artwork is just fantastic. Another credit to the great artists of the times that were employed in the printing houses of Letterhead and Litho companies. This ad was in Billboard on May 9, 1908 on page 31.

Wagons "R" us!

The Beggs Wagon Co. turned out many a wagon for the entertainment industry over the years. They made anything from a simple buggy to the ornate parade wagons of the day. While just slightly related, I have an article from 1908 about the parade wagons at the Wm. P. Hall farm being re-painted and gold leafed. It took almost $30.00 worth of Gold Leaf to do a wagon in 1908. That compares to the $35,000.00 it will take to do the last pony float at the CWM next summer. This ad was in Billboard on January 4, 1908 on page 16.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Here's is a Circus For Sale.

Anybody need a good circus? Apparently Not. Willie Sells and Martin J. Downs offered their show for sale at auction. It is quite possible that the sale never occurred as the Sells & Downs show made the 1904 and 1905 season. This ad was found in Billboard on January 23, 1904 on page 24.

Need any show equipment?

Every show has stuff they don't use any more. Here was a classic example of surplus equipment for sale from one of the biggest names in the business. The ad was found in Billboard on January 25, 1908 on page 23.

A Terrific Circus is for sale!

The Adam Forepaugh and Sells Bros. Circus could safely be considered as one of the biggest shows in America behind the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows and behind Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth. When the show went up for sale, the owners were James A. Bailey, W.W. Cole, Lewis Sells, & Peter Sells.
The day came for the auction, and the auctioneer asked if anyone wanted to buy the entire circus first before the auction started. Sure enough, James A. Bailey joined forces with the Ringling Bros. and bought the show. No item was offered for sale leaving many a person talking about the auction that never was. William P. Hall met Walter L. Main there. Mr. Hall complained about being let down as he had come to buy Circus equipment and animals and got nothing. Mr. Main then informed him his complete show was for sale. Mr. Hall and Mr. Main both went to the Geneva, Ohio winter quarters of the Walter L. Main show where by an agreement was reached and Wm. Hall had bought the Main Circus. This would eventually become the Great Wm. P. Hall Shows in 1905.
This ad was found in Billboard on September 17, 1904 on page 32.

And Another Circus for Sale!

Here we find the Great Pan-American Shows offered in its entirety for sale. The show was owned by Frank Lemen. Wether this equipment and animals was sold or not is unclear but Frank Lemen returned to the Circus Business again the next year as Lemen Bros. Circus. This ad was found in Billboard on March 12, 1904 on page 18.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Looking for a Job?

Every show needed help to get it up and down from town to town. The New York Clipper gave great detail to the shows of the day but not too many advertisements. Billboard however had a fullline of ads through out each publication. This help wanted ad was in the Billboard on December 10, 1904 on page 27.

Help Wanted ads from the Past!

Here was a great example of help needed by the "Horse King of the World" in his one season of circus ownership. Wm. P. Hall always claimed he found it much more profitable to buy and sell circus equipment, rail cars, wagons, and animals than it was to own his own show. This was found in Billboard on March 25, 1905 on page 30.

A fantastic elephant trainer most people never heard about.

Here we find an ad for probably the most successful elephant trainer no one ever heard about. Eph Thompson came up through the Adam Forepaugh dynasty and eventually went to Europe where he was allowed to be successful. He was extremely good at his training of elephants but was hindered in the United States due to the segregationist beliefs of the times. After years of success in Europe, Mr. Thompson returned to the ZUnited Staes with his own outstanding elephant act. This ad was found in Billboard on December 22, 1906 on page 20.

Here is another prime example of the great artwork that accompanied the turn of the century entertainment industry. This want ad was placed as early as any I have seen being in the Billboard on August 10, 1907 found on page 29.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Now we have thee largest supplier of animals in America from the late 1800's thru the turn of the century. Carl Hagenbeck had his own show at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair under the direction of his son Lorenz. Eventually his show was bought by ben Wallace in the latter part of 1905. 1906 saw the new Carl Hagenbeck and Wallace Circus hit the road. Mr. Hagenbeck was furious that his name was being used and even filed suit to stop the use of his name. Alas, the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus is remembered throughout the course of Circus history. This particular ad was placed in Billboard on January 12, 1907 as found on page 27.
Here we find an ad from one of the biggest animal dealers in America. There was a steady flow of stock animals as well as orders being taken. This was found in Billboard March 3, 1904 on Page 8.