About Ivan M. Henry

 About Ivan M. Henry

Dear Circus Friends,

My name is Ivan M. Henry and I am the 5th generation of a circus/show business dynasty. What you are about to read is an accumulation of circus history spanning 6 generations, starting in the 1800’s to the present. It will include Mud Shows, Vaudeville, Modern Circus, Motion Pictures, and Television including a host of circus performers.

“Once seen, never forgotten, and once it’s over, all that’s left are wagon tracks and peanut shell”s.”

So…Sit back, Relax and Enjoy the Show!


Ivan M. Henry


PPS. For more information about Ivan, see categories entitled “Ivan M. Henry” and “Henry’s Chimps”

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100 Responses to “About Ivan M. Henry”

  1. Latonya says:

    Greetings, I was curious about the man named Ezra on roller skates. By chance do you have his last name? When was the above photo taken? My grandfather was an elephant trainer and worked in the circus. I also know of a story where he assisted in calming an elephant namd Madoc down after the elephant had escaped; I’m wondering if this is the same Ezra? I did want to add that I love the circus and attend reularly. Excellent post, Latonya Peterson, Author

  2. Dear Ivan,

    The famous sway pole artist Bruce Anderson is our friend – he was not only an amazing circus performer but a classical singer with a superb basso profundo voice. We visited him about a year ago but have since lost track of him. If you have any information we would be grateful to know how (and where) he is.

    Best wishes,
    Vicky Brago-Mitchell

  3. Robert Van Praag says:

    I hope all is great since we last spoke and look forward to speaking with you again – Robert

  4. Mike Marryat says:

    Hello Ivan, always remembered your acts at Legend city. Bill Capell gave me your blog site.

  5. George Kellner says:

    Hi Ivan,

    You look just like I remember you from my dads circus……I remember you shooting some holes in Dad’s big top to let the water out.

    Best regards,

  6. Ivan, Its me Chucko Jr.,aka Jeepers, The Randolphs, Mercedes & Benz, Stan Kramiens #2 Promoter. I remember La Bomba, Rocks Springs, Wy., May Kovar”Mama May”, David and Irene and Eduardo’s Gypsy Bears,etc.
    I just got back from T.O.,Stagecoach Inn (Jungleland Museum) gODFATHERS ARE STILL THERE BUT GETTING OLDER AS WE ALL ARE. You look great, would love to get together soon.
    Call or E at your earliest convenience,
    Thanking you in advance for your kind consideration.
    Your Pal under the top…Randy

  7. I Smell sawdust and hear the wolves howling (dogs Barking) in CC CA May God Bless Ted Dewayne and Cliff and Jerry

  8. Michelle Lopez says:

    I came across this website and loved finding the pictures of the Gutierrez Family. I am the daughter of the youngest Gutierrez daughter, Toni. It was wonderful to see all the pictures of my aunts and uncles. My Aunt Armida and Aunt Alice live in Sarasota, FL. My Aunt Dora and Uncle Arthur live in Los Angeles, CA. I am sad to say that my Aunt Molly, Aunt Pie, and Uncle Johnny have all passed. As for my mother, Toni, she lives in Arvin, CA. Thank you for posting all the great pictures and I look forward to seeing many more.

  9. Jared Anderson says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I learned about Charles Carreras today, as I just bought a ring that supposedly belonged to him. Did you know him when he lived in Arizona, or before then?? Anyways, I’m trying to figure out some information on this ring… it has silver balls on it… real nice piece. Thanks alot!!

    Peace, love and jugglin’!!!!

  10. admin says:

    Jared Can you email a photo of the ring. ivanhoemh@aol.com Regards IVAN

  11. arwa salman says:

    Dear Ivan ,
    Iam a Moroccan master student working on Moroccan acrobats in America . I saw a picture related to Antar Wazzan; could you plz provide me with some references of Antar because Iam working on this as a case study. This is my email if you kindly want to send me any material concerning this:jinan_novak01@hotmail.fr
    thank you

  12. Rose Barton says:

    Hi Henry! Wow, you DO look great! So glad to see it. We sure do miss you down at the club. Just had the candlelight meeting and closed up for the season. We’ll have the Homecoming at the close of the AZ State Fair, I’ll be sure to send you a reminder. It would be wonderful to have you and your lovely wife back for some long overdue jackpots! Love the blog, so glad I found it… Keep it up!

  13. Matt Skinner says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Please note my film Circusborn, a year in the life of the Fossetts circus, Irelands national circus.


    It would be great if you might ad it to your store. You can do this automatically and gain commission through the distrify site.

    Best wishes,

    Matt Skinner, Producer/Director, Circus Born.

  14. Francois Delage says:


    I saw your comments about Bert Levey, he was my wife’s great grand uncle and considered like a really nice person with a great sens of humour. I was wondering what you could tell me about him.



  15. Tiffany says:

    Hi Ivan!
    Is your family still performing?

  16. Hi Ivan – I enjoy your blog. I am finishing a novel on my great grandfather and his brothers – “Ringling, The Last Laugh.” The website http://www.ringlingbook.com will open on May 19. The Facebook site will also launch. The book release is scheduled for June 11. I will update you when I release the book.

    Best wishes,


  17. Chris Richardson says:

    Hi Ivan. I often think of you and wonder how you are doing since the day’s you, I, and Whitney sat around and traded war stories after exercising. Drop me a line sometime and we’ll do lunch .

  18. Mark Blumhagen says:

    Ivan, Doc Capell’s name was Henry Nolan Capell. Mark Blumhagen

  19. Pete Rosa says:

    I just found this blog and was wondering how to become a subscriber? You may want to visit my facebook page. I have many photographs of circus history that you are welcome to share with your audience. I look forward to looking at all of your blog.

    THANKS for your time.

    Pete Rosa, 2nd generation showfolk
    Venice, FL

  20. Kate Iltis says:

    Hi Ivan,

    I am the art director for the Texas Observer and I am doing a story on Black Diamond. I found a photo on your site that I would like to run in conjunction with the story. Can I credit you? Or your blog? I need to hear back asap at kate@emdashonline.com


  21. Jennifer says:

    Do you have any contact information for the Great American Circus or the closest relatives of Allan C. Hill??

  22. Casey Gibbs says:

    Hi Ivan, Just left seeing Bill Biggerstaff and he told me the great news. Hope you recover soon and get back to doing the blog . My day is never complete with out coming here for all the great things you post. Take care my friend. Casey

  23. Paul Townsend says:

    I’m a friend of a friend of yours and loved Legend City . . . take a look at this and help if you can!


  24. MIKE CECERE says:

    DEAR IVAN, Great blog you have! Doing a great job with it. If I could offfer an historical comment regarding that long RBBB Cat cage, as much as I would not like to correct a fellow historian/cat person, I

  25. sharon Mall Osterholt says:

    Hello Ivan, my mother would like to contact you, wife of Al Mall, Royal International Circus, she told me my father knew you well. I’ve enjoyed the pictures from the Royal International and it’s brought back some fun family memories. Please send me an email on how to best contact you. My regards, Sharon (daughter of Al Mall).

  26. Hi,

    My name is Lauren Kramer and I am a 7th grader at Kirksville Middle
    School in Missouri. I live in Lancaster, MO and when we had to choose
    our National History Day topic, Hall’s legacy intrigued me.

    This year’s theme is: Turning Points in History, People, Events, Ideas
    and I decided to create a website.

    I won first place at the regional level, and I will
    advance to state on April 20. Before submitting my site for judging, I
    need to update and revise the site.

    I have already visited Buckles Blog and been to the CHS, If you
    wouldn’t mind, I would love for this to be posted for everyone to see
    and enjoy. And, if anyone has anymore insight or information about
    Hall – that would be great too!

    -Lauren Kramer

  27. Richard Senate says:

    I am the son of Circus artist Leonard (leonardo) Senate who painted banners and rides and trucks for Jimmy Woods Pan American Show. He did a lot of work for Jungleland in Thousand Oaks California. i was tearing tickets when I was ten, helping my Dad with painting projects. I am looking for some of dad’s old Banners he did.

  28. Hi Ivan,

    I just happened upon your circus blog and wonder if you would like some pics from the 1950s-60s/ If so, please give me the approx file size desired and e-mail address.

    Also, do you recall anything about a wire walker (vintage 1950s – Shrine Circus?), named “Du Val”? Don’t recall where I came up with the name, but act very similar to Harold Alzana, and I almost wonder if it Harold?.


  29. Donald Tayloe says:

    Hi Ivan, I understand that Empress was sold to a “third party,” who then sold Empress to a Circus in Mexico where she died. Do you have any information on how or when she died.

    Thank you

  30. Diana Philips says:

    Hi there I am Don Philips daughter I put some great shots up of dad on my face book page thought you might want to take a look. friend me so you can see them . and thanks again for the story you did on him it was very nice

  31. Danny Farrow says:

    Hello old friend I was wondering if you attended the reunion for lc I did not make I wished I could be there hope you are well Danny Farrow security LC

  32. FamilyRoomCasting says:

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    A major cable network, the award-winning production company that brought you Big Brother, Fly on the Wall Entertainment, and MysticArt Pictures are now casting nationwide!

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    Do fights break out? Who causes them?

    Now seeking families of at least 5 people, including wild siblings, eccentric uncles, doting grandmothers, competitive cousins, and the in-laws, anyone in your extended family 18 or older, who is ready to go head to head for the family’s chance to win up to $25,000!

    Email: familyroomcasting@gmail.com

  33. Dan Carrell says:

    Hello Ivan,

    My name is Dan Carrell, and my great uncle, Leo Carrell, used to own a Monkey Circus that traveled with different carnival shows, and at least one online article indicates that in the late 30s he was traveling with the Cetlin and Wilson Carnival. My great uncle’s most famous chimps were Susie and Cheetah (who he took into his care after he retired from the Tarzan movies). I have family pictures and postcards of Susie, Cheetah, and my great aunt and uncle along with several of their close carnival friends including the Bearded Lady.

    Since I’m the last one who will continue the Carrell family name, I’m always interested in piecing together the significant and interesting parts of my family’s past. Let me know if you are interested in learning any more or have any information to share.

    Dan Carrell

  34. You might be interested in my new novella, “Circus”, a romance of the big top — http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E3QDBDK

  35. Janell V. says:

    I’m looking for resources to find my great-great aunt who traveled with Ringling Bros. Circus World Museum was unable to find any info for me. Her name was Maizy Gray (not sure of spelling) and she rode the horses, and was one that the elephant put his foot on. My grandmother used to carry around pictures of her to show off to friends, so she’s been unable to find any that have ‘survived’ since then (she’s now almost 82). I appreciate any help!

  36. Margo Dew says:

    Hi Ivan,
    My parents, Joe & Shirley Carpini, along with Ray & Daisy Marian, were the Four Sky Devils. They did a high trapeze act for Tom Packs Shrine Circus, 1952-1954. I have a picture of them that I would like to send, but cannot figure out what digital address to use. To my knowledge, it is the only remaining picture due to a family fire. I would love to have it be part of circus memorabilia and not lost forever. Both of my parents are still alive, in their 80s. Ray & Daisy have both passed. They stopped the show in 1954 when Daisy fell 100 feet during the show when the ropes broke.

  37. Marie Raney says:


    Wondering if you can put me in touch with anyone that knows some history about the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, especially about Mr Wallace.


  38. Larry Ford says:

    Hi Ivan,
    This is Larry Ford from the early 60s on Seibrand Circus. I worked for Nick Thomas on the flat stores. Do you remember ? Do you remember the time in Great Falls Montana, when you showed me your portfolio and I was so impressed, and when I revisited and The Diamonds were on stage and I met you in the bar. Remember when we took the Jag out for a test drive? Wouldn’t Galickio be proud. It would be nice to reconnect, this is a friend’s computer, I only use snailmail but you can reach me at queeniedogfish@hotmail.com
    You were a good friend and your chimp act is still the best,

  39. Ivan, Happy new year and I hope it is a good one for you. I just shared a link for you and want to hear your comments on how likely this is that someone could do this. Dave


  40. Ivan, my name is Marlene Large. I am originally from Montana. I am using my friend’s e-mail as I do not have one. My aunt and her husband, Gertrude “Gertie” Craig and Max Craig worked for the Gil Gray Shriner’s Circus. Do you have any memorabilia for them? To my limited knowledge, in their younger years, she performed on the rope. Max was kind of a jack-of-all-trades. They are both deceased. Gertie died last year. Max died in 1988 both in Texas.

    They had two children: Darrell and Kandra. Kandra has a photoviewer picture that shows her (Kandra) at age 4 or 5 riding an elephant.

    It would be fun for the family to see any pictures that you might have.

    Thank you so very much for your time and trouble.

    Ila Wakley for Marlene Large, niece of Max and Gertie Craig

  41. Greg Barry says:

    Mr. Henry,

    I found your blog while researching the J. E. Henry Shows. My great-grandfather, Albert Barry, was with the J. E. Henry Show in 1914 and possibly for a few years earlier. Albert was a tattoo artist and a contortionist around that time. If you have any more information on your family’s show from the early 20th century I’d be very interested.

    Thanks for maintaining this blog, and thanks for your help.

    Greg Barry

  42. Matt Welke says:

    Hey Ivan, I had a request to do some decals for the Ringling bros ’76 bicentennial scheme. I’ve only got one photo showing a white passenger car. Do you have any photos?thanks Matt

  43. Roger Alan Walton says:

    Fred Dahlinger indicated I should contact you. I have a photo of six men on the back of an elephant and believe that two of them are my great uncles Ed C. and Oscar Walton. I would be pleased to send you a copy of the photo. Mr Dahlinger wrote:

    “. . The “J. E. H.” on the elephant blanket indicates that this is a photograph of the J. E. Henry Circus. They had a well-known band on the back of the elephant [named Gyp, I believe] and later had it in a small bandwagon. If those are Waltons in the photo, then there’s something of a connection between the Waltons and Henry. Perhaps after closing the Walton show they went and joined the Henry operation?. . “

  44. Tiki Kim says:


    I have been researching Cobby the Chimp from a TV Show Cobbies Hobbies circa 1960s. I came across a photo of him from the Jimmy Troy Trapeze Act circa 1950s it says but could have been 60s as well. He was owned by Murray Hill at the time. Have you heard of Cobby? Wondering if he was part of any other Circus Acts.

    Thank you for any information you or your readers may be able to provide.

    Tiki Kim

  45. Jennifer Lemmer Posey says:

    Dear Mr. Henry,

    I am writing to inquire about the use of one of the images on your blog for an upcoming article to be published in the Circus Historical Society’s Bandwagon. We will be running a story about the American Circus Corporation shows first season under RIngling management. Since much of this article relies on correspondence from Pat Valdo, the image you published at:
    would be a great fit. Is this part of your personal collection? Would you be OK if we ran the image in the journal, giving credit to you and your blog?

    I look forward to hearing form you,
    Jennifer Lemmer Posey
    Editor, Bandwagon

  46. Lucy Evans Arenberg says:

    I’m related to Harriet Evans, Clyde Beatty’s second wife, she is my great aunt. If anyone has information about her, I’d love to hear about it as I am working on my family tree. Thanks so much!

  47. David Horner says:

    Hi Ivan,

    It’s been a while since I checked your site, and I’m very happy you’ve showed no signs of slowing down. I know you had some health issues, and I hope you and your family are doing well. As I get older, I find myself thinking more and more of my younger days. I have such wonderful memories growing up on the road during the summers and all the friends I made, including you. I have such vivid memories of you teaching (or trying to teach) us kids to break boards with our hands. Your section on the Siebrand Show has been awesome, and I think Pete and his family would be very happy with the site. Take care and I hope you have many more years of health and happiness.

    Thanks so much.

    David Horner

  48. Leanna says:

    Hi Ivan I just discovered you and your blog yesterday while researching my family tree. I know this is not a circus question but I was wondering if you could email me so I can ask you questions about your mother Mary Annie. Her father was my dads grandfather as well. It would be great if you could fill in a few blanks i have about your family. I also think this is so cool that I have a relative who was a circus performer. :)

    Cousin Leanna from Canada

  49. Patrick Wagner says:

    Hi Ivan….
    I have a photo of 40 horse driver, Jake Posey, taken in 1957 I’d like to post. Can you give me an email address where I can send it?

    Pat Wagner

  50. Michael King, PhD says:

    Hi Ivan,

    My mother Patricia Henry King is your cousin, and I believe that Glen Henry (my grandfather) would be your uncle. My mother is a little older that you and remembered that as a kid they called you “Ivan the terrible” and you always seemed to get in trouble. On one occurrence she remembered that you ran down the midway completely nude. I can remember my aunt (Shirley Henry Atyde) mentioned you several years ago as well. I can remember Bertha and Bum (Arthur) vaguely as a child.

    In any event, I have enjoyed viewing your website! I have several 8×10 photos of Glen, Ethyl, Patty and Shirley when they performing in one of the many circuses they were in, and a few of Gary. And if you would like I could send electronic versions of them if you could provide me with your e-mail or another way to upload them you your site. I also have several of my Father (Billy Woods) when we was a trapeze flyer on several shows.


    Michael King

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