Hollywood Lion Motor Drome

Posted By on March 13, 2013

1938 Hollywood Lion Motor Drome Hollywood Lion Motor Drome

This motor drome was owned by Harry J. De Bock, Cleveland, Ohio. Motor dromes were most likely the most popular show on fair and amusement park midways. Throughout the 1930′s and into the the late 1950s’ motor dromes were a common attraction. I saw a performance at the Pomona Fair, southern Calif. in 1959. In this photo the cyclist is gathering a tip. They would bally for about 15 minutes doing stunts. The motorcycle is running haft throttle on roller bearings which allowed the performer to balance. The performance area is a round arena having solid wooden walls seen in the background.The cyclists would ride the walls horizontally at full speed while doing their different stunts. The audience walked up an outside stairway and at the top they stood on a gangway looking down into the barrel like arena. At times the cyclist would ride to the very top of the arena wall, just a foot or two from where they stood. I guarantee it put a fright in you.
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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

One Response to “Hollywood Lion Motor Drome”

  1. James Mundie says:

    That’s surprising to me that they would go to the trouble of having a lion but not actually use it in the show. Sure, great for building a tip, but that’s a lot of expense and upkeep for a bit of bally flash. I suppose they had to keep up with the likes of Ethel Purtle who actually did use the lions in her motordrome performance. Maybe it was that same keeping-up-with-the-joneses drive that caused Thrillcade to introduce elephants into their hell driver shows!

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