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”


131 Responses to “About Ivan M. Henry”

  1. Aaron Schallock says:

    Hello Ivan,

    As a long time circus professional and amazing artist I am hoping you may be able to take time out of your busy day to assist our little circus group dream bigger!
    I was wondering if you could help out our small grassroots circus group in Portland, Oregon by doing a write up about our Indiegogo fundraiser and about our circus troupe! Here is the link to the Indiegogo page. I ask that you read the story and see what you think!


    Aaron Schallock
    Neverland Aerial Arts
    Cloud City Circus

  2. Joanne Bigcrane says:

    Hello Ivan M. Henry, I have just started some research about Joaquin Sanchez. I was wondering if you ever received a photo of him? If you can assist, I would be most pleased. Thank You. JOanne

  3. Bob Sawallesh says:


    I have a letter to my late mother from L.B. Greenshaw, Parker & Watts Circus, 11 May 1942.

    I would like to forward a copy for your blog, if you send me your Email address.

    Bob Sawallesh

  4. Manuel King says:

    When I saw Barnes & Carothers I had to make a comment or two. I opened with my lions and dog act with them at Ionia, Michigan fair in August of 1934. Made the jump with a stop in Chicago to see the Worlds Fair there. Met a cat trainer, cannot his name, but enjoyed the fair. Our next fair was the Minnesota State Fair where I had my 11th birthday. Billy Lorette, the clown cop, presented me with a birthday cake for a press picture. The rest of my first year on the road ended after the Dallas, Tx. State Fair and two other small fairs in Louisiana. “Those were the good old days”!
    Yours with a roar,
    Manuel King
    If I make it to September 5th I will be 92 years old.

  5. Dear Mr. Henry,

    Might you be willing to share some of the following information with your readers?
    Those of you who continue to collect such fine circus and sideshow with passion will find this interesting.

    Join us April 3rd at Garth’s Auctions (Delaware, Ohio) for a chance at approximately 70 lots of circus posters and banners to be offered during the Eclectic Auction. Contact 740.362.4771 or bid@garths.com for questions. Visit garths.com for more pictures & lot descriptions beginning March 20.

    ​I produced a video ​(​http://tinyurl.com/CircusPostersatGarths​) ​to give circus/sideshow banner enthusiasts an overview of what will be in the sale.

    It autoplays at ​http://www.garths.com/WebPhotos/4_03_15_Eclectic/4_03_15_Eclectic.asp as well​.

    Thank you in advance!

  6. michelle hilman says:

    Looking for any info about my Grandpa and Grandma,, Tex Vaughn tattoo artist and hi s wife Margie Blair snake charmer/dancer… any info about them would be wonderful if anyone knows.. My family was torn apart in 1947 in Wis im trying to reunite them all before time runs out…
    time frame between 1946 and 1971.. Thank you

  7. Dean Cappy says:

    Hello Ivan,
    My name is Dean Cappy we met a long time ago back in the early 1970’s. My brother is Michael Cappi. I traveled with the George Mathews circus in the summers of my 72&73
    when I was off from school I have very fond memories of my circus days. I was the only kid I knew who got to run away and travel with the circus. I remember Poncho and Cindy, Lothar, Jack and Sandy there last name slips by me they had a Arabian stallions act. . I remember your chimps one time walking into the side door of the big top tent one of them grabbed the tent canvas sidewall and ripped it to shreds like it was paper.memories from long ago. I hope you are well

    Dean Cappy

  8. toni ellis albright says:

    Hi Ivan;
    It has been a long time, 45 years..sure is nice to find you on here.
    My name is Toni, as a child, my mother Sarah “Sally” Ellis-Johnson (married to chuck Johnson the ride superintendent) and my brother Larry traveled with Siebrand Brother’s Circus and Carnival Red Unit during 1959, 1960 and 1961 summer seasons.
    I would sit on a bench and watch your family practice. One unforgettable moment for me was when the show was making a hop, we were driving behind you. You were pulling the Dog Trailer behind you and started weaving across the middle line of the road. My mom drove up along side of your rig into oncoming traffic. Mom yelled and banged until she got your attention and had you pull over onto the shoulder of the road. You came into our trailer, had coffee and took a break. Before we all got back on the road I asked my mom Why she had done such a dangerous thing and she said “We are all family and we take care of our own!!”
    Would you happen to still have the route sheet for the Red Unit and if so, could you please send me a copy?
    I hope to hear back from you! Great site!

  9. Pam Marquie says:

    Hello – would you please mind posting this on your page or forwarding it to any circus groups you ay be part of. Thanks!!

    Inga Vinicky Smaha, widow of Tony Smaha, will be celebrating her 90th birthday Dec. 2 and anyone wishing to send her birthday wishes may do so addressed to:
    Inga Vinicky Smaha
    c/o St. Clare Meadows
    1414 Jefferson St. Baraboo, WI 53913

    Thank you so very much,

  10. Nancy Blake says:

    Hi, I understands my brother Ralph Gasser has talked to you regarding an item you can be helpful in returning to the family of Hugo Zacchini. I may be able to give some details on it. I am interested in your connection to the family. Please email me. I am interested. We have had this item in our family since the early fifties. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  11. Paul McCarthy says:

    Dear Mr. Henry: I am trying to find that picture of you with the white tiger cub in 1975. Can you help? Sincerely Paul

  12. Roger Smith says:


  13. david says:

    Are you the Ivan Henry who beat the hell out of Manson?

  14. Danny Farrow says:

    Hello Ivan this Danny Farrow one of your many employees over the years from Legend city I talked to you awhile back and now iam back living in Mesa AZ I hope to come buy and see you sometime it will be good to remember the good times THX my friend Danny

  15. Hi Ivan,

    My name is Jen Raphaels and I arrived at your blog by clicking on a picture of my grandfather that came up on google images when I googled, “circus family Gautier”. You have a picture of my grandfather, Arsene, more commonly known as Sonny (not Lonny), and my grandmother, Liz. It was neat to see these pictures. I’m currently cleaning out their family home as my mother, their daughter, recently passed away. I’m coming across over 100 years of Gautier circus family history and have many, many, pictures/posters.


  16. Just acquired relics of Billy Richards estate although not much there. We seek any memorabilia of Jungleland, Thousand Oaks Ca. to be achichived and exhibited. I am in process of identification of many persons in photos and preservation of the few items we received. A lot of films which will end up at UCLA in Los Angeles. Your help with anything so much as a ticket stub would be appreciated. The history of this meca of animal training and movie animal actors must not be forgotten or buried in the dust of time. Please help us in our efforts.

  17. Jack Roepke says:

    You have a picture of a sway pole act and it’s titled Ben Morton. His name is actually Ben Mouton He was with the Al G Barnes Circus in 1922. He is a realitive of ours. Thanks!

  18. Bruce Balestri says:

    I wrote a comment on you circus blog about the Hollywood comedy club etc. are you still checking that blog? My stage name was Jules Wood of Jules n Wood. I didn’t ask you at the time if you knew Tom Powers of the Powers Elephant Act, he was in the Hollywood Comedy Club with us, and also lived in our hometown of Fort Lee NJ the first Hollywood!
    Did any of your family ever perform at Palisade Amusement Park there? I’m sure we have some stories to share if you get the chance.
    I’m on facebook The Traveling Troubadour if you want to take a peek!


  19. David says:

    Hi Ivan,
    I love the photo of Sid Kellner in his military unit. Is it okay to use in a book I am writing about the circus? I can give you credit in the caption, or mention it came from you blog.

    Thanks much,


  20. Luiza Reingatch says:

    Hello Ivan,
    I’m so happy to find this info online! I am in search of a relative and I think you may be able to help. She was a trapeze artists with the Ferroni circus family and may have immigrated from Italy to Russia in 1869. She died in the ferroni circus fire January 13, 1883, along with 400 others in what was then, Berdechiv Poland. I know her birth was 1855 – till death in fire in 1883, so she was about 28 years old. Please advise if you have any information or advice for me. This is very important and close to my heart.! The story about the fire is controversial. I have found newspaper articles from around the world on that event from 1883 and confusion on if it was accidental or set intentionally.
    Please advise,
    Luiza Reingatch

  21. Laura Beck says:

    Hello Mr. Ivan,

    I am the granddaughter of Lance/”Brownie” & Juanita Beck, their record Calliope Capers produced by Cuca…. they were life long circus participants/performers. They were first to invent the 6 mule hitched circus wagon. I was wondering if you have any info on monkey cage #81? And, the steam calliope eastern and western versions and both their where abouts today…..

    Laura Beck

  22. J K Hoffman says:

    What a wonderful blog and website! The old photos are fantastic. Great to see images from the Sells Floto Circus.

    I came here looking for information about a Great Great Uncle of mine, Frank Parker, who was a tick shot artist and the Sells Floto “advance man”. Any information would be appreciated!

  23. Mark Blumhagen says:

    Ivan, Mark Blumhagen from Spokane. I have a front gate on a low boy semi-trailer that you pass thru the middle of it. It is built, but not finished (not painted or wired, etc) Where would I advertise this so circus owners would see it? Is there a circus equivilant to Matt’s Carnival Warehouse? Mark 509 990 2968 cell

  24. david helmick says:

    ivan,you tube amazing grqce american indian there are several in your language, !!!!!! david

  25. Tom says:

    Do you know where I could find a photo of Gargantua in his cage like this
    but in a large size?

  26. Roberto Jose Andrade says:

    Hello Ivan, I am doing research for Joe Louis’s time with Dailey Brothers. Can we exchange emails to discuss using some of your photos?

  27. Petra says:

    Hi Ivan .
    I am doing some research on Reuben Castang.
    I have something that he has signed .
    Can I send you a picture of it ?

  28. Lesa says:

    I’ve spent a lot of time lately pouring over your site. YOU HEAVE ALOT OF INFO HERE!.

    I am looking for a picture of Coco the Clown- born George Herbert, who retired in 1922. This goes back a long way, as he was born in 1872.

    He was with Barnum in 1879 as a kid, Master Coco, then later as a clown. I think he was with Al Caron in the vaudeville act “Caron and Herbert” being a clown acrobat as well, for awhile. I’ve got many newspaper clips from USA and UK 1800’s. His obit states he had worked with many circus’. Retired to Florida 1922.

    I have a painting of him in costume but without face makeup. I can’t his “face” anywhere online or in the library, and I’d like to see his makeup. Lots of great vintage clown photos online, but sadly many are not labeled. I could be looking at him and not know it.

    Can you direct me? Would it be helpful to send you a scan of the painting to post?

    Thanks Ivan, for your devotion to this website.

  29. Sue Clark says:

    Hello, in 1960, my husband was 12 when he and his buddies helped set up the circus in Ephrata WA. He was in charge of watering the Elephants. I am looking for any photos from the specific company’s performance, and/or anything like it from 1950 to 1965 in Eastern Washington State.
    Thank you so much for your kind attention to my inquiry. We want to share this experience with our grandchildren.

  30. Greetings Mr. Henry.

    I help to administer the Legend City Facebook page and was wondering if it was ok to post some of your Legend City related photos here to the Facebook site. I’m sure many would enjoy them, and I would be sure to credit you and this site as well.


    Justin Levine

  31. Looking to connect with Dan Carrell, relative of Leo and Dottie Carrell. Leo and Dottie were my Aunt and Uncle through my mother’s adoption. Her name is Carol Ann Wiezorek(Baker). Have you heard of her or Charlotte(Grace) and Sylvester(Bud) Wiezorek?

    Donna Appolson (Baker)

Leave a Reply

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up. Patience is a virtue; there is no need to re-submit your comment.