Hugo Zacchini

Posted By on July 7, 2010

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Hugo an unforgettable person.  Back in the late 1960’s Hugo lived in Fontana, Calif. just off the interstate 10 freeway on Valley Blvd. Our family lived north of Hugo in El Monte just a few miles away making it easy to stop and visit when we passed though Fontana. From the Freeway you could see the Cannon, It was a give away that he was home. As time passed the Cannon became somewhat like a monument when Hugo’s road days were over.  He had  retired and his hardest job was keeping the weeds down from under the faded silver cannon. Hugo came from a great Italian circus family each member in their own right accomplished performers. This photo was taken in 1930.  John Ringling North himself booked Hugo for the show and was the highest paid act at that time. A little known fact…. Hugo was a fine artist, painting  with oil and water color. His subject was mostly circuses.  Somewhere in my maze of things I have a small painting of his. Hugo’s cannon truck was especially made for him by the White truck Company. I have often wondered where it is now……………….Read comment made by Casey Gibbs.

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About the author

My name is Ivan M. Henry and I am the 4th generation of a circus/show business dynasty. I hope you enjoy the blog.

Comments

10 Responses to “Hugo Zacchini”

  1. casey gibbs says:

    I remember seeing it there for years. A friend of mine from Las Vegas who had the tread mill horses at the Dunes hotel somehow had the title to that truck somehow. His name was Bynes Simson.

  2. Jan says:

    I found a picture of Hugo at an auction in Sedalia, Mo. was so glad to find more information on this amazing man. There are no dates on this picture, just has him standing in front of a truck with a cannon in the background.The picture is 8″ x 11″.
    jan

  3. Bryan says:

    I was given # 9 and 10 of 1250 paintings of a clown Mr Zacchini painted.they were a gift from Meluzzi Zacchini (cha-cha)(Ride Pagliaccio) first woman to fly out of his famous cannon. We were loving neighbors in Sarasota,Fl for years. I am interested in selling these wonderful masterpieces .

  4. Robert says:

    Bryan,

    I might be interested in the paintings. Do you have images?

  5. Barbara says:

    I worked for a doctor in San Bernardino who was a friend of Hugo’s. He gave me a painting the Hugo did for him. It has a note to him on the back. It is 18 X 24, oil and is on some type of a board about 1/4 inch thick. I am trying to find out how much it is worth as I am thinking of selling it. I would like to sell it to a family member or friend of Hugo’s if possible.. Although, the more i read about Mr. Zacchini, the less I want to sell it 🙂 He is an amazing man.

  6. Tabatha Zacchini Crabtree says:

    I am Hugo Zacchini’s granddaughter and I can tell you where the cannon is now. I grew up in the Valley BLVD little green house watching my pappa as we all called him paint and tend his flowers. He loved his birds and would sing to them everyday as he would feed them…He was an amazing painter, philosopher, sculptor, teacher of art, daredevil..and the most important thing to me was he was my grandfather.

  7. Jeff Rickman says:

    I grew up next door to Hugo, Elsie, Butch and Patchy in the 1950’s if Florida. I still have a picture of me on the cannon with my birthday cake. He had a great studio, Patchy and I would sneak in and look at all the drawing and sculptures. I remember going to the circus with them in the cannon and all the circus performers that stayed there in the winter. I wish I had pictures of the place they lived, it was fantastic but Highway 301 was widen and all our places were tore down,

  8. keith phelps says:

    grew up in tampa-always saw the cannons in the garage off swann ave.-great memories seeing the human cannonball many times-what a great family with a wonderful history

  9. GASSER RALPH says:

    I HAVE HAD HUGO ZACCHINI CIRCUS JACKET FOR OVER 50 YEARS ,,HE LEFT IT AT OUR HOUSE IN L,A, CA, WHEN HE WAS AT DINNER ONE NIGHT AT OUR HOUSE. HE BROUGHT THE LITTLE PEOPLE OVER ALSO..NEED TO FINE SOMEONE I CANT TRUST IT WITH ..YES IM SURE YOULL DIND HIS D. AND A . ON IT. ITS BEEN STORED AWAY FOR ALL THESE YEARS. IT IS HIS COAT. NEED HELP

  10. Nancy Blake says:

    Hello Ivan, I see my brother Ralph (see comment above) has contacted you about the coat. Hugo came to our home with several circus performers one evening for dinner. I have more details about the coat and a few personal antidotes and would like you to contact me if you wish. It was in the early to mid fifties that my family acquired the coat. I’ll await your reply.

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