Four Circus Greats

Posted By on May 15, 2011

April 30, 1954.

I will do what the newspaper should have done. From left to right, Lou Jacobs, Harry Dana, Charley Cheer and Rudy Docky.

Thanks M.J.K.W.


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.


13 Responses to “Four Circus Greats”

  1. Mary Jo Winter says:

    I just noticed the names are not listed in the same order as the photos. The only name that corresponds with the actual photo position is that of Charley Cheer.

    Caption writer must not have been a circus fan!

  2. admin says:

    It is OK now. I put there names in as they should be,

  3. Bront Gladiron says:

    I was just watching American Pickers and they were looking through a collection from a 5th generation circus family. They found a life sized dancing doll that Rudy Docky used to perform with. Curious as to who Rudy Docky was, I googled his name and found your website. Thanks for being there to educate us.

  4. I was on the Tom Packs Circus in the late sixties, when the show was managed by Karl Wallenda and Jack Leontini…

    Rudy Docky was on the show and did a terrific and much imitated routine with boxer dogs playing basketball with balloons…

    He went on to participate in a cultural exchange program sponsored by the US Dept of State in partnership with the Soviet Union and he toured the Eastern block of Iron Curtain Countries representing US Circus Arts as American “Goodwill Ambassador”…

  5. Donna says:

    I am Rudy Docky’s grand daughter and I only got to meet him once. My mother used to tell me stories of growing up in the circus. I am floored to find this information and I am sure my mother will cry with joy when I share this with her. Is it possible to learn more about his time in the states. He left Germany before my mother was born because of the Nazis and we both missed out on a long term relationship with him.

  6. Louise Dockey says:

    Hi Donna,
    My name is Louise Dockey (by marriage). I’m curious to know if there is any relationship between us Dockey’s and your father Rudy Dockey / Docky.

    My husbands name was Robert Dockey, he was from Burlington, Vermont. I know there aren’t many Dockey’s in the US.

    Hope to hear back from you.

    Thanks Louise

  7. Hi Donna:

    Your posting is over 7 months old so I hope that you see this. I performed with your grandfather, Rudy, back in the late 60’s and early 70’s on both the Tom Packs and Wallenda Circuses. He was a GREAT and Classical clown and acrobat. For me, one of the great clowns that I have ever seen. It was later in his life that I knew him, but it is reported that as an acrobatic clown, he accomplished doing somersaults under a table as well as performing a back-somersault out of his shoes back into his shoes. When I knew him, he was performing with boxer dogs who he comically had play basketball (balloons) while he did slapstick comedy antics that seemed to be the result of getting in the way of the dogs. The balloons would burst one at a time, Rudy would keep pulling more balloons out of a bin and the action would continue. The climax was when there were no more balloons and the balloon salesman would appear in the seats with a full bouquet of balloons. The Boxers would suddenly notice the balloons, begin to annoy the balloon man, who would then run into the center ring where he would collide with Rudy, both falling. And obviously the dogs would destroy all the balloons leaving the balloon man very frustrated and angry. I had the honor of playing the balloon man during those years whenever we worked together. He also did a very comical dance routine with a female dummy doll. But the real demonstration of his talent was when Rudy would come out with his violin, step up to the microphone, speak the composer’s name – “Bacanini” and commence to play. The violin would soon fall apart. Opening his violin case, there would be nothing there but a balloon. Left with no choice, he would blow up the balloon, speak into the microphone “Bacanini”, and play the most perfect, in pitch music with the balloon.
    He was also such a humorous person to be around. I speak of him often and have many great memories. I have found a couple of images of him that I have found on the internet. I know there is at least 1 photo of him in our Circus Club here in Sarasota. I think I could make a photo of it. If you would like me to forward them to you, you can contact me at

    Kind regards,
    Tino Wallenda
    The Flying Wallendas

  8. P. S. In case you didn’t know, your grandfather is the one on the extreme right, opposite Lou Jacobs on the extreme left.

  9. Jordon Denis says:

    Many thanks for the excellent article, I was looking for specifics like this, going to look at the other posts.

  10. Donna says:


    My grandfather was from Speyer Germany and came to the states after the war. Does that help?

  11. Bruno Loyale says:

    Hello to all, Tino’s article above is a great description of this incredible man. I too worked with him in the 70’s on Polack Bros. Circus……he was to me until this day, probably the best clown I’ve ever seen…..he was very kind and had a big steamer trunk with all his memorabilia in it……..the violin and balloon was a show stopper!! But to the young lady that found this blog about her grandfather….yes….by all means, he was a true Circus Star!!

  12. Lydia Ledbetter says:

    Just watched a rerun of America Pickers and googlef Rudy Docky and have been fascinated to reaf thru all these posts. This truly is a small world.

  13. Tony Scutari says:

    I knew Rudy and a number of circus folk back in the early 70’s. My in-laws owned Jo-Art’s Oyster bar in Sarasota where we all worked and Rudy was a regular along with the dogs. Very funny guy! He became good friends with my in-laws and took us all to a circus in St. Pete. We also enjoyed drinking and eating at Show Folks. Memories I’ll never forget.

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