Cole Bros Circus #11

Posted By on September 14, 2012

Cole Bros monkey cage wagon 1942. I am noticing that most of the wagons were converted over to steel hard rubber wheels. It is evident in the photos that the date is in the early 1940’s. Bob Cline made mention of this. Here is my question…. Were the wheels a special make or were they removed from wrecked trucks such as a Mack? There has been many different types of conversion on circus equipment in the past and even in the present.

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Cole Bros Circus #12

Posted By on September 14, 2012

Cole Bros seal wagon 1936.   I have posted this photo before, this shot is at a different angle.

Bob Cline has made an informative comment.

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Cole Bros Circus #13

Posted By on September 14, 2012

Cole Bros elephant line up. Ready to go on,  just waiting for the whistle. Photo taken in 1940.

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Gene Holter Ad

Posted By on September 9, 2012

 

The following posts were provided by Lucy Olney.  Her father, Bill Olney, was the owner of the Galesburg, Michigan Speedway. He and Gene Holter were the best of friends.

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Gene Holter & G.T.

Posted By on September 9, 2012

His back is turned to us in this photo. Gene Holter and G.T. “Great Tiger” in a 1959 Eldorado Cadillac advertising his wild animal show at the Galesburg Speedway. Gene never toned down his way of advertising his show. He indeed was one of the most flamboyant showmen of his time. I am guessing that the photo was taken in 1960 or 1961.

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Babe & Ray Chandler

Posted By on September 9, 2012

This photo of Ray and Babe was taken in or around 1955. Ray Chandler was the head animal man and trainer for Gene Holter at that time.

Thank you Janice Chandler Trevino for you comment.

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Babe’s Problem

Posted By on September 9, 2012

This is an email that was sent to me by Lucy Olney. As I understand Babe was at the Galesburg Speedway for a few days while Gene was out booking his show. Babe had a little problem with her digestion and had to be raked out.

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Loading Up

Posted By on September 9, 2012

Ray Chandler loading up Babe. The little fellow on the left is Neil Chervenak. Neil had an act in the Holter show, where he wrestled a back Himalayan bear. Later he partnered up doing clown gags with Harry Ross.  The photo was taken at the Galesburg Speedway in the mid 195o’s.

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Ray Chandler & Rocky

Posted By on September 9, 2012

Ray Chandler seen here with baby Rocky. The mother and child may be the Bill Olney family. I received some interesting information from Charles Chandler, the son of Ray Chandler. In 1959 Ray was hired by Disney studio to be the head stock tender on a movie called Swiss Family Robinson. The baby elephant Rocky, along with numerous other animals such as Ostrich, Zebra and a variety bran yard critters were loaded up and shipped to the location in Trinidad. All of these animals had to be trained on location for the different parts of the movie. This was a very large production and along with Ray, other animal trainers were needed. Mel Koontz, Fess Parker and Chet Jusxyk were among the most important animal men on the production.

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Move Up Old Girl

Posted By on September 9, 2012

Babe was one of the nicest elephants anyone would ever want to work with. She was on many circuses, had many handlers, and was bought and sold–I really don’t know how many times. There is one story about her that I remember well as I was there. It was the new edition of the Yankee Patterson circus in 1944. We were playing a lot that, like most, had no water available. On the corner of the lot was a gas station and a small house that sat behind it.

Dad went over to talk with the owner to see if we could buy or trade out with tickets for water. This is an event that happens all the time with circus people. I personally was not there during the conversion with Dad and the station owner, but when Dad came back to the lot we all knew that the answer was NO WATER FOR YOU CIRCUS BUMS. The guy was a real bad customer if you know what I mean. The show did have a small water truck that if you made several trips it would take care of some of the water needs.

After the show that night, it was a about that time Babe could not wait any longer. She knew where the water was and she was going to get some. Babe pulled up her stake using her chain and made a beeline to the gas station. At the back of the station there was a large water pipe–and what’s a water pipe to a thirsty elephant? She pulled up the water pipe breaking it along with others. It seemed almost like revenge–and then drank her fill.

Babe made her way back to the lot unbeknownst to anyone… Until That next morning owner of the gas station came screaming across the lot to the show office where Dad and Jimmy Woods were talking about renting a water truck. The gas station owner as banging at the office door and yelling, “somebody came over and broke, pulled, bent all my water pipes, my whole gas station house is flooded!” Evidently the station owner slept through Babe’s visit. “One of you circus people did it, I will see to it that all of you will be arrested!”

He went on and on, just about as much as my Dad told this story to everyone. Finally Dad and Jimmy calmed the man down, and without taking blame ask what had happened. As the story goes they walked over to the man’s property and discovered that every water pipe had been pulled up.

Jimmy Looked over the mess and said “Why it must have taken a Mack truck to do this,” all the while knowing it could have been Babe. She had done similar things like this before. Dad said we would sure like to help him out, understand we did not see this happen but he said he’d get some men to help repair the damage, that is if we could just get a little water. The Razzle Dazzle took hold and the fix was in. A true Jack Pot

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