Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wanda Moore in Australia.

SAVE0470, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Barbara and I just received a call from Wanda, seen at left at our Paris wedding and who now lives just outside Melbourne. She is sending me some Carson & Barnes material from the days when her father Jack Moore, owned the show.
I couldn't resist asking how she wound up on the other side of the world and she explained that upon retirement she decided to sell her five Floral Shops in Dallas and bought a nice home in Phoenix to spend her days visiting her kids and grand children. Learning that her daughter and family were moving to Australia she impulsively sold the Phoenix Estate and went with them.
She now divides her time between Australia and Hawaii (where her son manages a Country Club and will soon have a marriage in Bali) as well as Dallas to visit her brother and sister Mike and Martha. She mentioned that several years ago while shopping at a mall, she spotted Perry Bros. Circus, introduced herself and received a royal reception. She had Mr. and Mrs. Perry come to her home and remarked how much she enjoyed their company and despite the difference in the circuses, how much they had in common in their stories of everyday pleasures and problems of life in the circus.
I brought up the subject of the Carson & Barnes reunion in Dallas and she said that if it comes about she would certainly enjoy attending.

Taronga Zoo #1 (From John Goodall)

Scan10233, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Enclosed are some pictures from my visit to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia in January 2008.

Taronga Zoo #2

Scan10237, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Taronga Zoo #3

Scan10234, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Taronga Zoo #4

Scan10235, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Taronga Zoo #5

Scan10238, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Taronga Zoo #6

Scan10236, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Weber Bros. Circus #1 (New Zealand)

Scan10239, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

This picture taken in Queenstown, New Zealand last January and shows a publicity car advertising an upcoming Feb. 6-10 engagement.

John Goodall

Weber Bros. Circus #2

Scan10240, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Never occurred to me that people in that part of the world would also drive on the wrong side of the road as in the UK.

Friday, May 30, 2008

More on the Christy Wagons #1

Scan10224, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The beautiful Swan Bandwagon on the Christy Bros. Circus lot in 1927.

More on the Christy Wagons #2

Scan10225, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Now seen loaded on a system flat car and about to depart for the Ken Maynard Wild West Show in 1936.

Photo by Leroy W. Sweetland

More on the Christy Wagons #3

Scan10226, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

My dad wrote on the back of this picture, "Lee Bros. Circus (Christy) equipment leaving South Houston, Texas for California when sold to Ken Maynard."

More on the Christy Wagons #4

Scan10230, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Campbell Bros. Circus 1910-11 #1

Scan10227, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Regarding yesterday's comments on the Campbell Bros. elephants by Bob Cline, here's a good shot of the herd while making parade.

Campbell Bros. Circus 1910-11 #2

Scan10228, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.


Campbell Bros. Circus 1910-11 #3

Scan10229, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Campbell Bros. Circus 1910-11 #4

Scan10231, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

To Richard Reynolds #1

Scan10232, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Now what was the name of the little guy who worked with the Blue show zebras and other hoofed stock? He was around the show a long time and was up in years when I last saw him.

Richard Reynolds

"This is Tommy Henry of whom both Gary Henry and Raul Garcia suggested. Seen here surrounded by David Polk, myself, Shannon and Tom Haffner at the Meadowlands in 1994. (Photo by Paul Gutheil)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

To Richard Reynolds #2

MAIL0088, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Or do you mean this fellow? I can remember the names of the animals "Pasha", "Targa", "Window" and "Max" but at a loss as to the man's name. Stash?

The dog wandered into winter quarters and hung around the elephants so they locked him in the bunk house while they practiced the elephants. Suddenly he came running into the ring, he had jumped completely thru the window shattering glass everywhere. Hence the name.

Hugo decided to put him in this mixed act and he sat in a basket that "Targa" carried in her mouth. At one time he had a second dog, a small terrier that rode on "Targa's" head and would grab the cloth headpiece and shake it like it like a rag doll from time to time. Her name was "Flea".

From Tim Davison

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Tiger trainer was fearless, but one cat was a killer

Tiger trainer was fearless, but one cat was a killer

Pine County mauling death is Minnesota's first fatality in a string of animal attacks


Pioneer Press

Cynthia Lee Gamble was known for being fearless, friends say. But when the longtime animal handler went into the cages that housed her beloved tigers near Sandstone, Minn., something went tragically wrong.

On Friday, as investigators worked to understand how Gamble came to be fatally mauled by a 500-pound Bengal tiger — the first such death in the state, authorities said — friends and neighbors shook their heads in sadness and remembered the hard-working single parent who remained devoted to big cats despite recent adversity in her life.

For years, Gamble was widely known for exhibiting animals at civic events and schools, most recently from her base in Duxbury, Minn., about 90 miles north of the Twin Cities. She raised, trained, and filmed wolves, wolverines, coyotes, and foxes; produced several films about exotic animals; and wrote a children's book on leopards.

"Cindy was a great person," said Michael McCullen, a neighbor whose daughter is a friend of Gamble's 14-year-old son Garrett. "My daughter was there quite a few times and saw the cats. What it basically comes down to was a horrible, tragic thing."

Gamble, 52, was found dead shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday by a friend visiting the 80-acre site, said Pine County Sheriff Mark Mansavage.

The tigers were housed in separate cages within a larger fenced enclosure. The individual cages were normally closed off from a "pass-through" area by drop doors, Mansavage said. The sheriff said one of the drop doors was apparently left open, leaving Gamble exposed to the tiger.

"It appears the cat took one leap and was on her," Mansavage said.

McCullen, a longtime member of the local fire and rescue squad, responded to the scene.

"My first thought was, 'Where's Garrett?' " McCullen said. "When I left my driveway, all I was thinking about was Garrett."

Friends said Gamble, a native of Ohio, was a longtime animal enthusiast. She and ex-husband Steve Kroschel, a cinematographer, began working with animals years ago in nature photography and commercial advertisements, said friend Lee Greenly. She had an animal exhibitor's license from the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Gamble then began working with larger animals such as tigers, creating the Center for Endangered Cats with business partner Craig Wagner in 1992, at first in Hugo and then on 30 acres in Forest Lake Township.

In 1997, more than 30 neighbors signed a petition protesting the center, saying it endangered lives and lowered property values. Allegations were aired of unsafe conditions, according to court records, including cats escaping their cages and a bite that hospitalized one of Gamble's colleagues.

"I'm not surprised at all," said former township board member Dick Tschida of Thursday's attack. Tschida said he once inspected the Forest Lake site and found safety hazards.

"People become pretty complacent about the animals," he said. "I'd have expected it a lot sooner considering the conditions under which she operated in Forest Lake."

Gamble moved to her 80 acres on Duxbury Road in Pine County, which has no zoning ordinance regulating ownership of wild animals.

Gamble was on the road nine months a year as the center's 40 cats made television appearances including NBC's "Today" show, according to a 2002 story in the weekly Pine County Courier. Gamble also had a hand in the 2000 movie "Vertical Limit," providing two snow leopards for a brief sequence.

The center did not let the public onto its grounds, and colleagues said Gamble was a careful operator. It was not her practice to walk into the cages alone, Greenly said.

But Mike Janis, the former director of the Duluth Zoo who once visited the center, said that while impressed with how Gamble and Wagner ran it overall, he was concerned that they occasionally would enter the cages with the tigers.

"A single person never, ever works alone with a big carnivore. All you have to do is slip, or not make sure a gate is closed, and something can happen," Janis said.

Friends said Gamble and Wagner split and Wagner moved to Oregon a few years ago with many of CEC's best show animals. Gamble stayed in Minnesota with the remaining animals.

Wagner, who now runs Great Cats World Park in southern Oregon, declined to commentFriday.

"We're all really devastated here," said the woman who answered the phone at the park.

Gamble, deeply in debt, filed a bankruptcy petition in 2004. Among her possessions were two tigers and a caracal, similar to a lynx, worth $500 in all. She took a job at the Grand Casino in Hinckley and also worked in a local restaurant for a time.

Gamble's death is the first in the state from a tiger attack, the sheriff and others said, but it is not the first mauling. There was a spate of attacks last year, including a 10-year-old boy critically injured by a lion and tiger.

A new law that took effect Jan. 1, 2005, banned private ownership of wild animals in Minnesota but allowed owners to keep animals they had before that date. Owners were required to register their animals with local authorities unless they met one of the law's exceptions, for instance wildlife sanctuaries.

Mansavage, the Pine County sheriff, said Gamble had not registered with his office.

Interest groups on both sides weighed in Friday. PETA, the animal rights group, said it had sent letters to Minnesota legislators urging that only accredited zoos and sanctuaries be allowed to own big cats and exotic animals. The group said there had been 196 dangerous incidents in 39 states involving big cats, with a sharp increase in recent years.

Exotic animal enthusiasts fired back, saying most of the deaths involved owners or handlers who had accepted the risk, rather than members of the public.

Mansavage said the difficult recovery of Gamble's body Thursday night made a powerful impression on him.

"It was one of the worst things I've ever come across," he said. "I couldn't tell you how many times (the tiger) kept running at the fences and just making that screeching roar. It's something I'll probably never, ever forget. I don't know how these people get used to it and work with those animals."

From Jim Clubb

cover full, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Hello Buckles,

Our book has finally been published and is available to buy from

Best wishes,

Jim and Jamie Clubb

From Joey Ratliff #1

cheerful00, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Buckles, here some extra photos of some fine gentlemen that have been
mentioned recently on the blog, starting with Cheerful Gardner on the Al G. Barnes Circus.

"In one of my dad's letters, he detailed an incident when "Barney" (seen at left) somehow snapped off a tusk half way up. "The Old Man" raised Holy Hell demanding to know who found it. Like Capt. Queeg aboard the USS CAINE, he interrogated everyone and went far as to search their crumb boxes.
Later in the day someone noticed what appeared to be a coin on the ground but on closer inspection it turned out that "Barney" had driven his tusks deep into the clay and managed to snap one off even with the surface.
I bring this story up because in the picture above, "Barney's" ivory appears to be trimmed back, possibly to even them up. If my hypothesis is correct, the picture would be dated 1922."

"Now in the Golden Years of life with so little time left, I have managed to squander 10 precious minutes by not noticing that Mr. Gardner is partially obstructing the view and "Barney" does indeed have a full brace of ivory. So like the Wizard of Oz, I now command everyone to ignore the the story above!"


From Joey Ratliff #2

hugo3, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Hugo Schmitt

"The elephant is "Targa".

From Joey Ratliff #3

alan campbell, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Alan Campbell, Baton Rouge Zoo.

From Joey Ratliff #4

sonny2, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Robert "Sonny" Ridley

From Jim Cole #1

July 8, 1913 Sig Sautelle #2, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Sig Sautelle, July 8, 1913
Buckles, Here are some photos from the "Circus in Newport, RI" series. Can you ID these elephants?
Jimmy Cole

"In my files I find that the three big elephants were leased from Wm. P. Hall. They had been included among the elephants Hall had purchased the previous winter from the defunct Campbell Bros. Circus.
No idea where the two little fellows came from or who the elephant man is. Looks like he has done it all before."

From Jim Cole #2

June 8, 1927 Sells Floto #2, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Sells-Floto, June 8, 1927
Any idea who this is?

"No I don't. Joe Metcalf was in charge in '27 but this isn't him. Looks too well dressed to be an elephant man. Maybe the Boss Hostler."

From Buckles #1

Scan10223, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Larry White and "Emma" at Thousand Oaks.
I never met Mr. White, I think he may have been around the Ringling Show during the Richard Shipley Era.

From Buckles #2

Scan10211, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Maybe you Circus World people can identify these elephant guys.
The first four are Ted Svertesky, Chris Schacht, Mike Aria and his cousin Jerry.
From there on it's hazy. Looks like Jewel New's cousin, Enoch, Dave Mannes, Cookie and Gary Hill but I'm not sure.

From Richard Reynolds

SnwLpd-GAmble-99, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

In June 1999, Cyndi Gamble and her business partner, Craig Wagner, were at the Georgia Renaissance Festival south of Atlanta with their "The Great Cats of the World Show." It was based at their Center for Endangered Cats located in Minnesota just north of the Twin Cities. The Center was said to have been in operation since about 1994.

This photo shows their then 11-month old snow leopard, Jetta. They also had in the show a caracal named "Kaya," a puma named "Taz," and a 7-month old Bengal tiger named "Regina." I did not see the show but the news accounts said all cats were presented on leashes uncaged before the audience. The presenters lectured about their natural history etc. They seem to have taken their show around to schools, fairs etc.

I never herd of Gamble and Wagner before or since. Can any reader shed any light on them?

As for the snow leopard, it would be the 4th or 5th one to be seen in an American ring (or stage) per my count. There was Alfred Court's Doutschka (killed beefier opening night in the Garden in 1940), Lucio and Gilda Cristiani's Juno, and a snow leopard in Siegfried and Roy's Las Vegas illusion show. Also I think a couple out of Sarasota - -the Hoffmans - - may have had a snow leopard. They did a sort of big cat educational act as I recall.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Circus Krone 2008 (From Richard Chipperfield)

DSC04212, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Hi Buckles, this is Richard Chipperfield from England sending some photos we took while in Germany last week visiting Martin Lacey on Krone. The photo of me with Martin and the two Zapashny Brothers from Moscow together with Mr Urs Pilz.

Circus Krone 2008 #2

DSC04175, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

............another photo is my mum (Janet) and Martin with his 4 month old son Alexis Henry Lacey Krone.

Circus Krone 2008 #3

DSC04222, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

...........also another of Martin, myself and his lovely wife Jana.

Circus Krone 2008 #4

DSC04200, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Circus Krone 2008 #5

DSC04220, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #1

Scan10213, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

I came across another Joe Metcalf picture while going thru my Ken Maynard stuff. The elephant would be either "Sally" or "Queen" from Louis Goebel.
You Baraboobians should recognize most of these wagons.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #2

Scan10221, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Mr. Maynard at right (check book in hand) is now the proud owner of a circus. Once loaded it will be California bound.
Dick Flint has identified the hand writing as that of Circus Historian, Col. C. G. Sturtevant of San Antonio.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #3

Scan10220, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

The Christy elephants were not included in the sale, this one is "Daisy" I remember her well from my early days in Hugo.
Another elephant had chewed the end of her tail off and she used the remaining part like a black-jack. You had to be careful cleaning up behind her.


1903-16 Gollmar Bros. Circus......1917 Gollmar-Patterson Circus......1918 James Patterson......1924-30 Christy Bros. Circus......1931-40 Leased by Christy to various shows (1931 Barnett Bros.) (1932 Lee Bros. Circus) (1933 Harrington Nickel Plate) (1935 Harley-Sadler Circus) (1938 Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus- Howard Y. Bary)......1939-40 Christy Independent Elephant Act....Sold to Claude and Pauline Webb in 1941.

1941-43 Russell Bros. Circus......1944 Clyde Beatty-Russell Bros.......1945 Russell Bros. Pan Pacific......1946-49 Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros......1950-53 Cole & Walters Circus......1954-55 Famous Cole Circus......1955 Sold to Gran Circo Union (Mexico)

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #4

Scan10212, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Maybe Ole Whitey can explain why they were only showing two days a week.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #5

Scan10214, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #6

Scan10222, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #7

Scan10216, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #7

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #8

Scan10217, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Isn't this referred to as the Whiskers Cage?

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #9

Scan10218, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #10

Scan10219, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Ken Maynard Wild West 1936 #11

Scan10215, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A repeat of one of yesterday's photos.

Scan10204, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

In response to the comment below from Anonymous, I have returned this picture to it's original state, possibly shedding a little more light on the subject.

My recollection is that this might be Sells-Floto about 1931, or at least some time after the show quit daily parading. I'd bet that the image appears in one of Joe Bradbury's many great season review articles in "White Tops." They pulled the air calliope off the band stand and placed it in a baggage wagon for parade. The front compartment, light duty walls and lack of a lifting rig suggest that this wasn't a canvas wagon. The player and his assistant would have been eating the fumes from the gas engine powering the blower.

Joe Metcalf #1

Scan10203, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

No doubt the most travelled elephant man I know of. For some reason, never stayed any place too long but his credentials were impressive.
Seen here in charge of the Hagenbeck-Wallace elephants in 1916 with Anna Donovan.

1910-15 Gentry Bros. Circus
1916 Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus
1918 Howard Bros. Circus
1920-21 Howes Great London (Amer. Circus Corp.)
1922 Gollmar Bros. Circus "
1923 Al G. Barnes Circus (Asst. Supt.)
1924 Robbins Bros. Circus
1925 Gollmar Bros. Circus (Monahan)
1926 Heritage Bros. Circus
1927-29 Sells-Floto Circus
1930-31 Al G. Barnes Circus
1935 Selig Zoo
1936 Ken Maynard Wild West
1940 Lincoln Park Zoo (Los Angeles)
1948 Goebel's Lion Farm

Joe Metcalf #2

Scan10210, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Gollmar Bros. Circus 1922.
Three big elephants are "Nellie Lockhart", "Bughouse Alice" and "Wallace Lizzie". The young male is "Toto".
To the unaware, this was Clyde Beatty's first circus.

Incidently, Gee Gee Engesser might be interested to know that included among the young elephants is "Mary" later of Schell Bros. Circus fame 1928-35.

Joe Metcalf #3

Scan10204, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

With the Floto Show circa 1928.