Cole Bros Circus

Posted By on August 27, 2012

Clyde Beatty’s lion cage wagon.

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Cole Bros Circus

Posted By on August 27, 2012

Cole Bros cargo and baggage wagons. Photo was taken at their winter quarters 1936.

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Mark Smith

Posted By on August 24, 2012

Mark Smith and Tina on the back of the rosin back horse, Janis” Skeeter” Farren is running to the vaulting board.  Skeeter is the mother of Brad Farren,  he is the person responsible for all the latest Mark Smith photos. He also just sent a CD of a 20 minute show of Horse Capades produced by Mark Smith in the 1950’s. I hope to download it soon on the circus blog. This photo was taken at Mark Smith’s ranch in Southern California.

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Mark Smith

Posted By on August 24, 2012

This was one of the tricks that Mark broke for motion pictures. I must have seen this in a dozen different movies, each time shot at angels which really made it look realistic.

A must read comment from John Herriott.

John “Red” Stuart has made a comment, Thanks.

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Jungeland Bull Hooks

Posted By on August 24, 2012

First,  I want to thank Jerry Osborne for sending me these old bull hooks from Jungleland….. they date back to the early 1950’s. Jerry is the nephew of Billy Richards who, with Trader Horn owned Jungleland for a time in the 1950’s. Billy gave the bull hooks along with numerous photos and collectibles to Jerry who has now bestowed them to me. The cane hook was used by one of the Jungleland trainers. It’s function is for cuing the elephants for different tricks. The smaller straight cane hook as well is used for cuing as well , but primarily with baby elephants.

The elephant hook as it is commonly called originated in India and dates back thousands of years. When the elephant came to the American circus so did the elephant hook, however we modified our hooks to be smaller and the hook portion to be blunt. In India the elephant hooks are much different. At one time the elephants of India were revered and the men that work with them were highly respected. These men are called Mahouts, their lives are dedicated their elephants, they live and work with them day in and day out. A life long partnership begins with both elephant and man at a very young age. The Mahouts job is never ending one, feeding, bathing, caring and training to work hauling , pulling carrying the teak wood logs from the jungle forest. The Mahout will have with him a long staff with a large hook and barb it is used to guide, direct and cuing the elephant for what ever is needed by his trainer. The elephant will respond willfully and haul tons of teak logs on his tusks.

 There is a time when bull elephants are not used in work and that is when they are in musk. Bull elephants are left alone to go though their musk, they are watered, feed and made to be as calm as possible by the Mahout. In the American circus most of our elephants are female, for some reason we call them bulls. Female are much easier to handle and you don’t have to worry about musk, but females have their problems too and so you just treat them by not asking to much from them when they have their bad moments.

THE BULL HOOK……… Why the way some people speak of it, one would think that it is an instrument of cruelty and death. In all of my years in this business I have never seen a bull man mistreat his elephants with a bull hook. I have met,worked with or have known just about every bull man in the past 68 years, their devotion to their animals is impeccable. I do know of a few cases of those that got a job on a show as a groom and did some stupid things with a hook………… but they lasted about a day. Everyone on a circus watches out when a newcomer joins up and when we see some thing that is not right or is shady………… He or she is gone! For those of you that are negative in your thoughts concerning the circus and it’s people, I ask you to join us for a few weeks and learn the truth.…………. You will never want to go home.

 

Thank you Casey for the kind and honest comment.

Thanks Janice for your comment.

A MUST READ COMMENT BY WADE BURCK.

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Jerry Osborne

Posted By on August 24, 2012

Jerry found the circus blog and began corresponding with me. Through him I discovered that he was the nephew of Billy Richards who was a part owner of Jungleland in the early 1950’s.  Before Jungleland Billy Richards had been with many of the circuses in the 20’s 30’s 40’s. Jerry has become a true and good friend and has sent me many of the photos and memorabilia that now is part of the circus.

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Elephant Mahouts

Posted By on August 24, 2012

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Kenya Africa

Posted By on August 24, 2012

Here is another of those mystery photos sent to me. I am posting it because of this magnificent elephant. The photo was shot in 1986 and the person with the elephant is Peter Davies. I can’t help but to notice the bull hook.

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Cole Bros Circus #1

Posted By on August 23, 2012

Photo taken in 1936.

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Cole Bros Circus #2

Posted By on August 23, 2012

Cole Bros winter quarters 1936. After an enlargement of this photo I could read on the back door of this wagon “The Wonder Show”.

Harry Kingston has an interesting comment……. Thanks Harry.

Another comment made by Bob Cline.

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