Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Floyd and Howard King's Gentry Bros. Circus

By the end of 1916, the remaining Gentry Bros. were in financial difficulties and sold the show to two of their staff, J. D. Newman and Ben Austin. The show was a 14 car show and remained almost untouched through 1922 when they came off the road. Floyd and Howard King picked up the title again in 1926 after laying untouched for the last three years. The King Brothers altered the title from Shows to Circus and kept it on the road for three years until hard times hit them also. This for sale ad was in Billboard Nov. 2, 1929. The three elephants, Mom, Danny, and Eva were sold to the Otis L. Smith Carnival.

Another Gentry Bros. Letterhead

The title using Gentry Bros. Circus was not one used by the Gentry Bros. I can not speak with absolute certainty here but I believe the United Circus Corporation title on top with a California address indicates that Sam B. Dill was the owner from 1930 to 1931 with Mr. Dill being a west coast guy. Can someone give us a better insight on this corporation?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gentry Bros. Famous Shows

The Gentry Bros. began their operation in 1887 as Professor Gentry's Canine Paradox. In a couple years the show had grown to two seperate units called Professor Gentry's Famous Dog & Pony Show. There were four brothers, Henry B., Frank, Walter W., & J. W. Gentry. By 1899 all four had their own unit on the road with 5 rail cars in each show. They bought their first elephant in 1890 which broke it's leg being unloaded and was euthanized immediately. 8 years later they bought a baby elephant again and named it Pinto. Same thing happened again. In 1899 they again bought another Indian female elephant and named her Pinto again. This was the first performing elephant in the Gentry lot. The Brothers started getting out of the business after 1906. Only Walter and Henry remained in business until they sold out in 1916. The title continued many times after 1916 by various owners. This ad was from 1914.

Gentry Bros. Circus

This is glued on a piece of paper. I suspect it is a cover off of the Circus Historical Society periodical the Bandwagon but I'm not sure.

Gentry Bros. Circus Letterhead # 1

Used in 1911.

Gentry Bros. Circus Letterhead # 2

From 1912.

Gentry Bros. Circus Letterhead # 3

Used in 1912.

Gentry Bros. Circus Letterhead # 4

This one is dated 1918.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"My Father Owned a Circus" by Robert H. Gollmar

This is the cover of the 1911 route book as printed in its entirety in this fabulous book by Judge Gollmar. The Gollmars as every one knows were cousins to the Ringlings. They called Baraboo home as well. Their show existed for 25 years closing under Gollmar ownership in 1916. I can't explain why, but rarely do you find anything about the Gollmar show. No posters are displayed in the books that have been printed. You just don't see contracts and other paper laying around. A Great legacy left behind and Judge Gollmar's book captures the essence of the Gollmar bros. Circus completely.

Gollmar Bros. Circus paper # 1

This is the oldest letterhead from Gollmars that I have. It didn't scan worth a hoot. It is very brittle. It is like the old 1st grade drawing paper, a tannish color.

Gollmar Bros. Circus paper # 2

Gollmar Bros. Circus paper # 3

This is a color copy of the original letterhead I have. Unfortunately the white paper on the white background wouldn't show up.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gollmar Bros. Circus newspaper ads # 1

Well, I hope everyone was able to avoid the long lines and pushy crowds with those Christmas in July sales. We saw three Christmas movies this week on the Hallmark Channel. Now we can get back to the matter at hand. If you are going to get people in the seats, you need to advertise. Here are several ads the Gollmar Bros. Circus used. This one was from Iowa City, Iowa - 1908.
( By double clicking them, they will enlarge enough to read them. )

Gollmar Bros. Circus newspaper ads # 2

Found in Fairbury, Nebraska - 1910.

Gollmar Bros. Circus Newspaper ads # 3

Fairbury, Nebraska - 1912. The town had already had a tremendous amount of Circus excitement when the home town heroes, the Campbell Bros. Great Consolidated Shows had returned on August 10th for a tremendous showing only to be foreclosed by the bank for over $50,000.00 in loans two days later. Al G. Campbell was a part owner of the Cole Bros. Circus also and they played Fairbury on August 16th. Now here comes the Gollmar Bros. Circus on Sept. 12th.

Gollmar Bros. Circus newspaper ads # 4

From Fairbury, Nebraska - 1912.

Gollmar Bros. Circus Newspaper ads #5

These aren't the best in the world I know. I took them all off of microfilm but they all display an inherent beauty to the artwork that just isn't seen anymore. This is from Iowa City, Iowa on Friday May 20, 1916.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Christmas in July

In order to celebrate all the Huge, Huge Christmas in July sales going on now, I thought I should get out there and direct traffic to keep the crowds from running over the Red carpets and such.
This is allowable by Blog regulations 3.1.24 of the International Blog Rulers Association as pointed out to me by my mentor, like father like son figure and co-conspirator, Mr. Jim "Da Bagpipe Guy" Peterson who has graciously shown me all the technical, untechnical, and who's being technical aspects of this Blogdom Hoopla!
Which explains the stool in my front room that has Technical wrote on it so that when you sit down on it, you now have technical support! Thanks Jim!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barnum & Bailey - 1915 payroll Statement

Can you imagine working for $9.35 a week?

Barnum & Bailey Expense Account book - 1918

B & B Weekly Expense Book - Inside Cover

This was book # 8 issued to Charles W. Parker, advance agent for Barnum & Bailey in 1918. He was in Buffalo, N.Y. four days, then to Jamestown, N.Y., Erie, Pa., and Youngstown, Ohio. He spent $12.86 in four days in Buffalo, $5.66 in Jamestown, N.Y., $3.00 in Erie, Pa. and $3.39 in Youngstown for a total of $24.91 for the entire week including RR fares.

B & B Weekly Expense Book - Back cover

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Barnum - 1873

I found this in the Billboard dated March 1, 1899 on page 9. Please note that an independent contractor is the bill poster and not a circus employee. This appears to be the norm of the 19th century shows and wasn't until the turn of the century that shows started using their own bill posting crews.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Barnum & Bailey envelopes

I only have a couple Barnum & Bailey pieces. Addressed to C.W. Parker in 1918. Is this the C.W. Parker from carousel fame? I don't know! Anybody have an answer they could share with us?

Date unknown

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Barnum & Bailey - Turn of the Century

The Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth toured England and Europe from 1898 to 1902. Upon their triumphant return, the Strobridge Litho Company produced a wide variety of posters for them. These would turn out to be some of the finest pieces of American Entertainment artwork this country would ever know. The elephants were always my favorites.

Barnum & Bailey - Turn of the Century # 2

Barnum & Bailey - Turn of the Century # 3

Another fine example from the Strobridge Litho Company.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Barnum & Bailey - 1906

This is an original out of the October 13, 1906 Billboard on pages 28 and 29. Being the large show that they were, they garnered a huge double page spread. They had already completed their huge tours of England and Europe and were now re-establishing themselves as a powerful Circus in America. The Barnum & Bailey show was operating under an ownership of Barnum & Bailey Ltd. with George O. Starr as the Chairman, Fred B. Hutchinson and Charles B. Hutchinson as Directors.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sells Floto Letterheads and Envelopes - # 1

Note the different addresses used. This one is original Denver based Sells-Floto. The Chicago address would indicate American Circus Corporation ownership.

Sells Floto # 2

Sells Floto # 3

Sells Floto # 4

Sells Floto # 5

Saturday, July 12, 2008

1927 - Sells-Floto

Real or re-production? I don't know. it was on eBay a while back.

Sells-Floto in winter quarters

This photo was taken by my uncle, Billy Lerche. From what I can see in the background, it looks like this was taken in Peru, Indiana.

1928 Sells Floto daily report.

This was in one of the groups of Circus memorabilia I have bought over the years.

1929 Sells Floto Program

Can you imagine any show giving away anything free anymore? It's amazing to me that the program was not seen as a source of revenue back then. RBBB 1925 program cost 15 cents each.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Great Floto bulls - 1905

Here is a widely distributed photo of the Great Floto Shows. Chris Zeitz was the head elephant trainer.

Great Floto Shows Parade Line-up 1905

Before the tilte of Sells-Floto was ever used, the show was called The Great Floto Shows for one year in 1905. Harry H. Tammen & Fredrick G. Bonfils - Proprietors.

Sells Floto - 1906

This is a copy from Microfilm that i had to enhance with Adobe Photoshop to be able to see it. This was in Billboard on December 8, 1906 on page 29.

Sells-Floto Circus

Again, this is a copy off of the microfilm from Billboard as found on September 8, 1906 on page 29.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Great Wallace Shows

Again this is a copy off the microfilm that was enhanced with Adobe Photoshop. Ben E. Wallace out of Peru, Indiana was a showman that used several titles on his circus over the years including Cook & Whitby, Wallace and Anderson, and the Great Wallace shows. You all know the rest of the story. Ben Wallace bought the Carl Hagenbeck exhibition at the end of 1906. He then added the two names together to become Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, one of the largest shows on the road for 30 more years. This page was in Billboard on Sept. 29, 1906 on page 33.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Frank A. Robbins - circa mid 1900's

This an original copy from Billboard. This was ran in the September 1, 1906 issue on page 29. Frank A. Robbins was a long time showman operating and owning his own shows off and on from 1881 through his final season of 1915. The two young elephants shown should be Cross Country Babe and Queen. Any one interested in his extensive life history need only turn to the 18 part series presented in the Circus Historical Society's periodical, the Bandwagon by Robert Sabia beginning in the May / June 2000 issue and running all the way through the July / August issue of 2003. The entire set is still available as back issues for 4.00 each + Shipping by contacting:
Bandwagon Back Issues
2515 Dorset Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43221

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Cummins Wild West - circa 1906 to 1910

This is one of the series in Billboard. This was issued on September 15, 1906. This is directly from Billboard, thus a better quality than the Pawnee Bill page was. Col. Fred T. Cummins started at the 1904 St. Louis Fair with his first named show called the Cummins' Wild West Indian Congress & Rough Riders of the World. 1905 found him in Chicago now being called the Cummins' Wild West and Indian Congress, Custer's Massacre and Siege of Fort Dearborn. From 1906 to 1909 it was generally referred to as Cummins' Wild West. By 1910 the Colonel had joined forces with Vernon C. Seaver to have the Young Buffalo Wild West show. They stayed in business together through 1914.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pawnee Bill - circa 1893

A friend of ours had this poster in his collection. After he passed away, I never saw it again. Don't know where his collection went. I'm not a Wild West Historian either. Fortunately a fabulous book by Allen L. Farnum has this same poster on the back cover listed as 1893-1894. The book is called Pawnee Bill's Historic Wild West, A Photo Documentary of the 1900-1905 Show Tours. This book is filled with unbelieveable photos of the show on tour. This is a must to anyone that enjoys Wild West Shows.

Pawnee, Oklahoma website

This is on the town of Pawnee, Oklahoma Website. Pawnee Bill's home is open to the public. The Ranch is full of animals. They have a Pawnee Bill festival on the third weekend of June. Pawnee, Oklahoma is also the birthplace of the Dick Tracy artist and cartoon.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pawnee Bill Letterhead - 1906

This is a fine piece of period artwork. Letterheads spoke as much about the show as the actual business dealings at times. As a result, Letterheads were literally pieces of artwork. This particular letter was sent to Wm. P. Hall in Lancaster, Missouri. The original is located in the Wm. P. Hall files at the Circus World Museum. I don't want to cause a conflict of interest, so I am showing you the Letterhead artwork only and have cropped out the actual letter.

End of Pawnee Bill Show # 1

This was a Billboard ad on Dec. 7, 1907. This was one of the first indicators of the Pawnee Bill Show being disbanded and some of what was being offered for sale. ( Sorry, I know I ran this before, but it goes with the Pawnee Bill Show here also. )

End of Pawnee Bill Show # 2

This was the auction coverage of the Pawnee Bill Show as covered by the New York Clipper on May 2, 1908 as found on page 295. As you can see, there are different details allowed in each article.