Friday, September 28, 2012

2013 CHS Convention

You won't believe what we have in store for the CHS Convention next year. Just you wait and see!

Hotel details will be available in the CHS Newsletter coming out this weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

West Baden WQ

Springs Valley Herald - July 22, 1915

West Baden, Ind., July 10 - (Special)

Ed Ballard, who, with C. E. Cory, controls the corporation which operates the Great Hagenbeck-Wallace Shows, accompanied by a landscape artist and architect, arrived here today and announced that the Hagenbeck-Wallace Company had chosen this city as the place where it would erect its big winter quarters and repair shop.

The leading citizens were jubilant over the news, and a movement was promptly inaugurated to grant the big circus exemption from taxation for ten years. It is also planned by the people of the valley to raise a fund by subscription and with same to build one of the new buildings.

Mr. Ballard is easily the most popular man in these parts and the people hereabouts feel that in as much as he turned down many alluring and attractive offers from other municipalities that it is up to them to reimburse him.

West Baden feels highly complimented.

Every citizen concedes that Mr. Ballard has treated the town handsomely and deserves handsome treatment in return.

The grooms, animal men, keepers, trainers, and mechanics in the repair shops that will be carried through the winter will easily number a hundred and the population of the town will be permanently increased to that extent.

Besides that the shows will rehearse and open here annually, and that means that the whole 500 employees will be here each spring for periods ranging from two to four weeks each. The money paid out in salaries will amount to huge sums and merchants and hotel men will benefit vastly.

The winter quarters, furthermore, will be a distinct acquisition as a show place and will be an added interest for the guest of the big hotels.

It is planned to erect very beautiful buildings and to park the land all about them and make the site as attractive as artistry and ingenuity can.

Mr. Ballard's handsome home will not be greatly distant from the location chosen. This mansion, the most spacious and beautiful in the Valley, has also lent much class to the great American spa.

Extensive boulevards are building in every direction, and it is planned to "tarvia" all roads and turnpikes centering at West Baden, thus providing many charming drives and excursions for automobile parties.

There is no evidence of hard times or tight money at West Baden. Money is being spent like water on improvements.

By the fall the resort will be the most attractive in American, if not in the world. - Billboard Magazine

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

West Baden WQ

Here's a few pictures from the West Baden WQ circa 1920-1923. Looks like spring has sprung and the horses are being harnessed up again.

West Baden WQ

West Baden WQ

Must be a good day to work on the canvas in WQ. Note the three spool wagons sitting in back.

West Baden WQ

Here's a great view of the extra wide steel rims on these heavy wagons.

West Baden WQ

There were some large two story buildings on the property.

West Baden WQ

I don't know it they were practicing or not but the horses are hitched to be able to move the spool wagon.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

eBay helps Benefit the CHS

eBay has a helping hands program for Non-Profit Groups. The Circus Historical Society is one of those. Go to the CHS eBay Giving page at and save it as a Favorite. Anytime you buy anything off of this page, a percentage is given to the CHS. You can make a donation to the CHS without buying anything or you can donate $1.00 or $2.00 to the CHS when you purchase anything from a seller that is registered to donate to the CHS. Powerful help even at a $1.00 a time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Circus Photos special - Benefits the CHS

I have this RBBB CD # 13 listed on my website at all the time and is on eBay right now for 7 days only. This CD has over 550 photos that were taken mostly in the 1940s and 1950s of the Sarasota WQ and on the road. This has been collected for years from circus fans, family and friends. At less than 10 cents an image, you won't be disappointed!

Anyone that buys it in the next 7 days on eBay or my website has 70% of the purchase price donated to the Circus Historical Society!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sarasota's Sailor Circus DVD

Sailor Circus’ 63rd Annual Spring Show DVD Based on Mary Poppins is available for purchase. Approximately 1 and 1/2 hours in length and this video was made by Richard Czina.

Make check payable to Sailor Circus Novelties for $12 postage included. (You may also pick your up at the arena for $10)

Send your check to:

Pete Adams

Sailor Circus Novelties

5578 Burnt Branch Circle

Sarasota, FL 34232

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bandwagon is in the Mail.

The latest edition of the Bandwagon was dropped in the mail to all of the Circus Historical Society's members on Friday September 7th, 2012.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Bandwagon Special - 1991

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!
     The Bandwagon Special for the complete year of 1991 is ending September 30th. You don't want to miss out on one of the greatest deals filled with Circus history to ever be found. These issues are covered in detail on our website under the Bandwagon Magazine tab, indexes of Bandwagon Articles, then to 1957 to 1999.

     These issues are filled with great circus history as authored by Bill Johnston, Joseph Bradbury, Gordon Carver, Orin C. King, John Polacsek, Fred D. Pfening Jr. Mark St. Leon, Stuart Thayer, Ward Hall and more.
     Maybe you haven’t been in the CHS for 20 years and would love to read lots more about the circus or maybe you’re looking for that perfect gift already, but you can’t pass up a deal like this.


Includes the shipping in the US!

Make your check payable to the C.H.S. and mail it to: Bandwagon Special - 1991, 1075 W. Fifth Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43212 or you can use PayPal on our website at

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Olga Celeste

I was sent a bunch of photos a couple years ago that included these four photos of Olga Celeste. IN February of 2011, our friend Roger Smith commented on Buckles Blog about Olga.

Roger Smith said...

     Olga Celeste was born April 9, 1888 in Lund, Sweden. Her formative years are very remote, but she had a strong history as the Enchantress of Leopards in early 20th century circuses, notably the Barnes show, and in vaudeville. She worked on at least 4 pictures: JUNGLE REVENGE (1915), a short; DeMille's CLEOPATRA 1934), uncredited as a slave girl, but onscreen with her leopards featured in the dance scene; off-camera trainer to Nissa leopard, who played the title role in BRINGING UP BABY (1938); and as trainer for the leopards needed for TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD WOMAN (1946).
     Olga retired in 1951. When her last leopard died then, she did not suffer the cruel demise as did her contemporary, Mabel Stark, who ended her life when her Goldie tiger was shot, in 1968. Olga bore up to retirement, and carried on. Mabel often told me of going to visit Olga, driving herself along the freeways in that massive Buick of hers. That Mabel so enjoyed friendship with Celeste was something of a miracle, since Olga (at times) was also a blonde animal trainer. The decisive factor was that Olga preferred leopards, and was never competitive with tigers. Some time back, a blog contributor noted knowing Olga, and where she lived--maybe he'll re-write his comments to refresh our memories.
     In the 1930s, Olga was sufficiently established in Hollywood, that she was invited to sign a shirt with fellow film folks Elizabeth Taylor, then a child star, Abbott & Costello, Cary Grant, Mabel Stark, Louis Roth, and little Shirley Temple. In 2005, bids for the shirt ran close to $1,000.
     Look up "Luna Park Zoo" for her history and photos there, where she performed from 1925 to 1931. Co-workers were Louis Roth and Mel Koontz. Admission then was 30-cents.
     The Enchantress of Leopards, died at 81, in Burbank, California, on August 31, 1969.

Olga Celeste

I see he's smart enough to keep his hands to himself!

Olga Celeste

There is nothing on front to indicate this is a promotional photo and yet nothing is written or stamped on the back either, other than her name written in pencil.

Olga Celeste

This is an 8 x 10 with just Olga Celeste written by hand on the back.