Friday, October 31, 2008

Wixom Bros. Great Railroad Shows

I can document the Wixom Bros. Great Railroad shows being on rails in 1899 and 1900. By 1901 they were a wagon show. As you can see from these contracts they removed the "Railroad" from the Show title. By the 1950's they would be only a traveling menagerie.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

John Wixom Menagerie

By the late 1940's early 1950's, the John Wixom owned Wixom Rodeo and Circus Combined Show had been reduced to a mere travelling menagerie carrying 7 lions and other caged animals and livestock.

John Wixom Menagerie cage

By 1960, the John Wixom Menagerie was done and over with. My dad found out that five of the cages were sitting at Zane Caverns in central Ohio. The Caverns were owned by Richard Zeigler at the time. There were three of these large cages and two small ones with a single axle under them. The three large cages were all on the ground. My uncle supplied a chassis from his farm and they got it raised up and mounted. I remember it stayed outside at our house at least one winter until Dad got it in the garage and started rebuilding it.

John Wixom Menagerie cage

This is the final product a few years later. The center upright carving on the skyboards came off of a bed. All the other carvings came from the Parker Carousel at Kiddieland in Cedar Point when the horses were sold off piece meal. My dad's friends, Leonard and Thelma Jefferson owned it and they gave Dad several of the skyboards and mirrors.

Dad owned this cage from 1960 until 2003 when Dick Britton bought it and then donated it to the International Circus Hall of Fame. It is now part of their collection where it is referred to as the Wixom cage.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

TV's Super Circus

Hey now here's some great stuff. The original Super Circus with Mary Hartline and Claude Kischner just released 6 episodes on a DVD today. I got my shipment in. I'll have them on eBay starting tomorrow at my eBay store The Circus World LLC and starting next Monday, I'll be carrying them in my Circus Store at

Friday, October 24, 2008


I guess its my turn now JIM. My computer wouldn't come back on after a re-boot yesterday. My techie says the partition is gone. He's never seen that happen before. His programs all say the hard drive is operating but the computer can't access it without this partition.

So for now, even though I back-up my stuff on discs, I may have lost what I've done in the last several days which includes many of my dad's photos. I can get them again. Just a huge time delay.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bob MacDougall

To all…... It is with a heavy heart the we inform you of the passing of Bob MacDougall - long term Ringling Bros. employee and management team member, Circus Historian, Circus Fan, Circus Model Builder, and good friend to so many. He passed away after complications from surgery on Tues, Oct 21 in Florida. Bob is survived by his wife Pauline.

Arrangements for Memorial service for Robert S. 'Bob' MacDougall:
Date: Wednesday, Oct 29 1:30pm
Location: St. Martha's Catholic Church200 N. Orange Ave Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 366-4210

There is no personal request in lieu of flowers at the time of this writing.
Condolences may be sent to Bob's wife Pauline at:
Pauline M. MacDougall
570 Pinto Trail
Englewood, FL 34223-3952

Please forward this information to any people who knew Bob who may not be included on this copy list. Thank you.
Peggy Williams (for Les Smout, and on behalf of Pauline MacDougall)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ringling Museums 1963

This is the Two Jesters Steam Calliope. The wagon was originally built around 1919 by Leonard Aylesworth and Charlie Luckie in Denver, Colorado for the Sells-Floto Circus. Some of the carvings were on the building of the "Denver Post". They were removed from the building and became the start of the design. From 1920 to 1924 it was on Sells-Floto and maybe even 1925. 1925-1933 it was in storage at the Peru, Ind. WQ. Hagenbeck-Wallace then used it in daily parades in 1934 and lot concerts only in 1935. After being stored at the Peru WQ for years, RBBB used it in specs from 1941 to 1946. It was stored at the Sarasota WQ then in 1949 it went to the Museum of the American Circus at the John Ringling Estate. Now called the Ringling Musuems, you'll note the wooden wheels are leaning against the rubber tires actually on the wagon.

Ringling Museums 1963

During a Christmas break, we made a trip from Ohio to Florida for a few days. While at the Ringling Museums, dad took a few pictures in the back end when the marble pieces from Italy were still stored out there. Notice, one seat wagon was there then.

Monday, October 20, 2008

News - Part 1

The local newspaper did a small write up two weeks ago on the display I put in the Library. Just to slow things down abit, our local newspaper is still a once a week event. ( double click to enlarge )

Jim, there's my copy of Horse Drawn Wagon Collection in the Library. That explains why I couldn't find it yesterday.

Part 2

OK, he didn't get every detail right but for a news reporter, he didn't do too bad. You should be able to double click it to enlarge it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Long time ago

Many of you know that the "America" was originally a telescoping tableau on the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1903. It was built by the Sebastin Wagon Works. In 1917, the telescoping portion was removed and the line above the portraits was added to the wagon's structure. Barnum & Bailey kept this wagon from 1903 to 1918 and then stored it at the Bridgeport winter quarters until 1927. It was then sold to George Christy who had Christy Bros. Circus. In 1934 it was sold to Jess Adkins and Zach Terrell for their new show, the Cole Bros. Circus. They used it in their parades from 1935 through 1938 and left the wagon in storage in 1939. The Steam Calliope was added in 1939 and the wagon went out on Parade again in 1940. From 1941 to 1945 it was again left in storage at the Louisville, Ky. winter quarters of the Cole show. From 1946 to 1950, it was back on the Cole Bros. Circus. The Cole show was going bust by then and it was sold in 1952 to Cleavor Brooks which is a steam and boiler company out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cleavor Brooks kept it until 1959 when they donated it to the Circus World Museum. The wagon is 21 feet long, 10'9" tall and 8' wide weighing about 9 tons. The photo is a Universal Slide Company issue.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jungleland 1959

Jungleland, located in the heart of film country in Thousand Oaks, California, provided many an animal for the film industry over the years. As you can see here, they also provided some wagons. As you look at these other photos you'll see the Whirling title covered over on the ticket wagon. A different movie title is on the parade wagon. There is a ton of interesting history out of Jungleland with the likes of Mabel Stark, Roger Smith, Dick McGraw, Pat Anthony and a slew of other great trainers.

Jungleland 1959

I don't recognize this wagon right off. Did it go to the Circus World Museum?

Jungeland 1959

I take it from the parked cars that this wagon was sitting out front of Jungeland.

Jungleland 1959

The grand old ticket wagon at use again. This photo was taken on the Cristiani Bros. Circus when the played Los Angeles, Ca. in 1959 near Jungeland.

Jungleland 1959

Many of you know that the wagons at Jungleland were old Circus wagons with most of them having a Hagenbeck-Wallace background. Many were then used in various movies being filmed in California. I have never heard of the title on this wagon. Maybe someone can gives us some insight as to which movie this was used in.

Jungeland 1959

This is the other side. I'm pretty sure this is the Arthur Bros. Charging Tiger at the Circus World Museum now. Any thoughts out there?

Friday, October 17, 2008

RBBB quarters 1955

This slide was in my dad's collection while I was going through them this weekend. After sending it to the Ringling Historian, Dom Yodice, Dom came back with this great answer.

The slide is actually from late 1955. On December 4,1955 Ringling actually played their winter quarters for the last stand of the season.

They set up the Big Top and Menagerie and midway along the main road through winter quarters. Along the outside of the midway they lined up many of the floats from the past seasons. That is the slide you have.

You can see going from left to right the Sleeping Beauty 1954, Trojan Horse 1952, Little Red School House 1953, Showboat 1953, Halloween 1955, Thanksgiving 1955, and the Airplane jeep 1952.

Best regards as always,

Fantastic Circus Posters

My good Friend, Hal Guyon, sent this to me last night. To see some really fine circus posters go to Buckles Blog at There has been some great discussion of the combination of show titles in the last two days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Circus Get Together

This fine cage act and the Wallendas overhead came from Joe Yow. The arena was all made out of brass. A real nice looking piece. As a reminder, you can double click the image to enlarge them. The wagon models were absolutely beautiful. This photo is courtesy of Fred Heatley.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Circus Get together

Several of us got together at Hal Guyon's house in Columbia last weekend to share a day together talking circus, models, and history. Joe Yow brought in some models to display along with Hal's models already there while I had a few items from my Circus Store for sale. We enjoyed a trip past the State Fairgrounds as the SC State Fair was being set-up and went in search of what might be an original military ammo wagon still fully intact in a WWII hanger. Hal was going to try to track down a friend that knows a friend to see if he can get a couple photos. Fred Heatley, Glenn Evans, Carter Siegling, Joe Yow, Host Hal Guyon, and myself all enjoyed the day. Above is a Fred Heatley photo.

Malloy Circus

My dad found these banners in an antique shop in central Ohio 30 years ago. I've never found anything out about the show other than the couple papers he got with these banners. There is a fourth banner also not shown. Dad built the Georgia buggy and it served us well for many years with us having a tent with wooden stakes.

RBBB Venice Quarters

This slide was imprinted July 1961. Notice the RBBB ticket wagon in the bottom right hand corner.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Olson Shows # 1

Getting back to some good stuff, these four photos were taken of the Olson Shows Carnival in Toledo, Ohio in 1968 by my dad.

Olson Shows # 2

Olson Shows # 3

Olson Shows # 4

Great news!

I got a phone call tonight saying the Police have arrested two teenagers in the Circus World Museum Vandalism case. I sure hope these two are all that was involved. I put a photo of the burned building on my Circus Store news page

Thursday, October 09, 2008

More News!

I talked with Jim Peterson earlier this week. He hopes to be up and working again this week.

My Editor got caught in Hurricane Gustav. 17 days later she got power restored, internet a day later, but just got her telephane back on about a week a go in Springfield, Louisiana.

I've been talking with Circus Friend P.J. Holmes in Texas who is still cleaning up from Hurricane Ike. He was kind enough to send me this link to a ton of photos being taken by the people that live in Texas. Thanks P.J.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Jim Peterson's Blog

Greetings from ye ol' south. In a mind boggling display of mind over matter, which boils down to if you don't mind, it doesn't matter, Mr. Pied Piper of the Midwest has conducted an experiment beyond all proportions of scientific and existential imaginations to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, although I doubt anyone would even think of doubting him, that the sheer magnitude of a computers inner workings is not worthy of a Ham and Grape jelly sandwich.

As a result of this type of scientific adventure, Jim has decided against posting any further comments on his well recieved blog until he and his computer make up with each other. Further information specifically states that Jim is fine, the computer is not.

Thus, ends the latest broadcast of Hot off the presses news coverage. Back to our original program already in progress!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Windjammers Unlimited - Merle Evans 2 CD set

A TRIBUTE TO MERLE EVANS A Two CD Anthology of Circus Music
The New England Conservatory Circus Band, Conducted by Merle Evans
A remarkable 2 CD anthology containing 43 circus music gems as recorded by the New England Conservatory Circus Band featuring Harvey Phillips. Originally recorded in 1970 and released on LP records, the sensational band is conducted on these recording by Merle Evans himself. Includes an informative 16 page booklet with information about the music and performers. This outstanding 2 CD set has been produced through the cooperation of the New England Conservatory, the Windjammers Unlimited and Walking Frog Records. A must hear for all circus music enthusiasts!
If you love good crisp Circus Music, this is one of the best to hear. I just got in a shipment of them at my Circus Store

The Washington Winds - Circus Days CD

The Washington Winds conducted by Edward Petersen
Incomparable recordings of 25 all-time circus favorites performed to absolute perfection by the exceptional Washington Winds. The arrival of the greatest show on earth to town was always the highlight of every child's year. These recordings will help you feel like you're back "under the big top".
Again this is now available at my Circus Store

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Partners at work!

I have recieved untold amounts of inquiries "What's Jim doing?" I'm sure many of you know that my blogmaster mentor, co-conspirator, and comic relief guy has been silent for a few days now. I am here to report to you that despite the vicious unsubstantiated rumors that he has gone to the State Fairs of other states to preten..., practice, oops, I mean to play his pipes, he scoffs at those stories and says Fiddaddle, and Harr. He is still in Milwaukee, fully decorated and ready for the big Halloween contest coming up at and preparing for a long winters night by showing his beloved how to use a snow shovel, ( shoveling snow cuts deeply into the Blog time ) making sure there are enough blankets in the house and in particular close by. Did I report it all right Jim?

Introduction to the Circus Poster Exhibit at the Big "E"

This is actually the beginning of this entire series. As you can see from the following posters, this was an incredible display of posters, some of which haven't been seen in many, many years. I told Chris Berry that I photographed every poster that was there as I had no idea if I would ever see half of them again. While I didn't publish them all here on my blog, I provided what I considered to be the best of the group. ( if you double click the image, it should enlarge for you to read it.)

Poster Exhibit at the Big "E"

This beautiful poster is a 1/2 sheet flat that was produced by the Strobridge Litho Co. This poster was provided by Emily Parkinson.

Chris Berry Poster Collection at the Big "E"

This one sheet flat was made by the Erie Litho Co.

Chris Berry Poster Collection at the Big "E"

This one sheet flat was produced by the Donaldson Lithograph Co.

Chris Berry Poster Collection at the Big "E"

This 1/2 sheet flat was made by the Erie Litho Co.

Chris Berry Poster Collection at the Big "E"

This vibrant one sheet flat was produced by Erie Litho Co.

Chris Berry Poster Collection at the Big "E"

This is a one sheet flat as produced by the Erie Litho Co.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This amazing 1894 two sheet flat poster was made by the Strobridge Litho Co. It features the Ethnological Congress in the giant midway of the menagerie. This is part of the Chris Berry Collection. This entire exhibit was made possible by Greg Parkinson Enterprises. You may or may not know about Chris Berry. He has known the Parkinson family for years so the assembling of a project of this magnitude was easily fixed with Chris supplying a great majority of the posters for this exhibit. Chris heads up ABC Radio news and travels quite extensively which has helped his locating posters to add to his collection. He is a Circus Historical Society member and has his own blogsite at where he offers simply for trade many great old Circus posters. I have a link for him below simply titled Circus Memorabilia for trade.

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This wonderful poster is a one sheet flat printed in French by the Strobridge Litho Co. for the 1902 season of Barnum & Bailey's European tour. It is part of the Chris Berry collection.

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This beautiful poster was produced by the Strobridge Litho Co. for the 1900 season of Barnum & Bailey's European Tour. It is printed in German. This is part of the Chris Berry collection.

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This fine piece is a One sheet flat produced by the Strobridge Litho Co. for the 1900 season of Barnum & Bailey's European tour. It is printed in German. This is part of the Chris Berry Collection.

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This one sheet flat was produced by the Strobridge Litho Co. for the 1900 Barnum & Bailey European tour. It is printed in German. This is from the Chris Berry Collection.

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This incredible 2 sheet upright was produced for the European tour by Strobridge Litho Co. but was never used. It is printed in French. The folds still showed behind the glass. Courtesy of the Chris Berry collection.

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This is from the Chris Berry Collection. It is a 1/2 sheet flat produced by the Strobridge Litho Co. and used during the 1913 season.

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This beautiful poster is part of the Chris Berry Collection. It is a one sheet flat produced by the Strobridge Litho Co and used during the 1915 season.

Barnum & Bailey posters at the Big "E"

This fine poster is from the Chris Berry Collection It is a One sheet upright produced by the Strobridge Litho Co for the 1909 season. Sorry, I couldn't avoid the glare of the lights no matter what angle I took it from.