Great London Circus Ready For Crew

Posted By on September 19, 2012

The seat wagons were owned once by the Miller Bros Circus. They were in pretty good condition when we got them.  Just needed a few minor repairs now and then.

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Great London Circus Seat Stringer

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Once the stringers were laid out, the seats could be pulled down and locked in place. There was a total of six sections of seats on the wagon, stacked three high in each section.

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Great London Circus Seats Up

Posted By on September 19, 2012

The seats were a bench type with scissor legs that would easily fold together to clasp the seats for loading. On set up and between shows I would send a crew to check the set to make sure they were still locked down. There were times the scissors would be out of place. The only problems with this kind of seating is because of the blocked off ends you could not high seat the audience. There is a couple funny stories about high seating. I will write about them later. At the beginning of the season Sid ask me if I would keep an eye out on a few things. It turned into a job.

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Great London Circus

Posted By on September 19, 2012

George Matthews Great London Circus was owned by Sid Kellner. This was one of the best looking shows out on the road in 1975. The big top peaked out at 48 feet with 50 foot centers and 120 foot round ends. Dad and I had worked with Sid Kellner when he put out James Bros in the early to the mid 1960’s. He was a gentlemen and still is to this day. Never once did we ever have to worry about money then  or when he took out The Great London. The 1975 season started out jammed up and continued on for most of that year until the beginning of fall. We were playing in Ohio, Akron Canton area. The weather took a turn for the worst, cold and rainy. Sid knew the end was near, he said to me we didn’t head south west soon enough. In a small apple orchard outside of Akron, Ohio the show and performers jungled up while Sid went west trying to book some fast dates. Everyone was willing to wait it out for a few weeks but things did not work out on Sid’s last minute booking tour….. It was all out and over.  I headed west to Arizona and put together Henry Bros Circus. I talked with Sid over the phone every so often, sometimes for for an hour or more remembering the good old times.

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Great London Circus Sideshow

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Ed Russell had the sideshow on Great London. This shot was taken on set up day. The tractor in the midway served as a water wagon and it also pulled a seat wagon. It held a 300 hundred gallon tank that sat in front of the 5th wheel. In this photo there is just a glimpse of the food and candy concession trailer. Herbie Weber who operated the concession for Sid is filling it up with water, which would later be pulled over to it’s location on the midway. If you knew Herbie, he never met a floss wagon he didn’t like. Herbie had two acts in the show, but his big act was butchering that candy. Herbie once told me that sometimes he made more money butchering then what he made with his acts.

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Great London Circus Makimba

Posted By on September 19, 2012

 

I was fortunate to have two great chimps!  Bongie was my hand balancing and comedy chimp.  I lost in him in Las Vegas in the late 19so’s which almost put an end to the act.  Makimba, who you see in this photo, learned Bongie’s exact routine within a year.  Makimba carried the act as Bongie once did. I added “Boy” to the act and he did  just three stunts but he was big and looked good. I had two other big chimps that I would put into the act only when there was a show that called for it and a safe distance away from people. I once thought about having an arena act and working all of my chimps, which at one time numbered ten. I was concerned that it would compromise the comedy in the act. I did not want to destroy the humor that I was noted for, thus I never did the arena act.

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Great London Circus Harry Ross

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Harry “Mophead” Ross produced the clown gags on Great London. This gag is the canon and chicken gag. Rossie was famous the his one liner “You believe that don’t you”? It got to the point that no matter what show he was on everyone would start to use his phase. It is funny how things catch on…….. Sorry I wish I could remember the names of the other clowns.

David LeBianc has made an informative comment. Please read.

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Great London Circus Makimba

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Makimba even learned the comedy piano routine.  This was once Tobie’s routine,  my other chimp while on the Polack circus.

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Great London Circus Elephants

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Alfonso Magona worked the bull for Sid Kellner and the lion act as well. Cindy his girlfriend is doing the mount. The elephants and lion were owned by Sid, along with some other animals. Alfonso got out of the business some time ago. I did speak with him and found out that he became a Minister for the Lord. When he told me this new change in his life I wished him good luck and said it might help if you use the bull hook. The shepherds of God had a similar thing. We both had a chuckle. I have not heard from him in quite some time. I can only hope that he is still doing God’s work.

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Great London Circus Jack Fullbright

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Jack Fullbright was a natural on a horse. I have not seen nor heard of him in years. Sandra Pettus Fullbright, his wife worked in ring two, then she would come to center ring for their final trick. A very good looking act and added much to the show.

Cappi thanks for your comment, I thought Jack got out of the business?

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