The Hand Balancer

Posted By on September 18, 2011

unknown Hand Balancer 783x1024 The Hand Balancer    This trick is known as block building …while you are balancing in a hand stand. The name of the act is unknown to me.

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Billy Miller

Posted By on September 18, 2011

Billy Miller Foot Juggler 817x1024 Billy Miller    Billy performing for some publicity shots. Doc Capell’s, Capell Bros Circus early 1940′s. This photo had to be taken in the mid-west. Doc did not come west until the late 40′s to a town called Coolidge, in Arizona. There the Capell family made their home and their winter quarters for over forty years.

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Billy Miller

Posted By on September 18, 2011

Billy Miller 2 1024x788 Billy Miller    This photo was taken inside the big top of the Doc Capell Circus.

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The Five Eriksons

Posted By on September 18, 2011

The 5 Eriksons 1024x872 The Five Eriksons   At the time of this photo the Eriksons were living in Tampa. Fla. according to the notes on the back of this photo.

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Arumi Singh

Posted By on September 18, 2011


Arumi Singh Indian Lion Trainer 660x1024 Arumi Singh    Arumi Singh was featured with the Wallace Bros Circus during the 1952 season. Singh came from India and in his first year in America he worked a large lion act. Ben C. Davenport was president and general manager of the show. It is said that he was also the sole owner of Wallace Bros.

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Capt Eddie #1

Posted By on September 18, 2011

Capt Eddie 12 787x1024 Capt Eddie #1   Capt Eddie was with the Capell Bros Circus & Carnival. Doc Capell got away from the big top and used a stage and a ring curb for the animals to work in instead. Doc also had a circus back drop or side wall that had numerous circus painting. This circus sat at the back of the midway. A performance of one or two acts would start about every forty five  minutes lasting about fifteen minutes. The idea was to keep the people moving around the midway Capt Eddie was one of the attractions. 

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Capt Eddie #2

Posted By on September 18, 2011

Capt Eddie 21 1024x876 Capt Eddie  #2  Most of the carnivals had some sort of entertainment on the back end of their midways. They most preferred was circus and aerial acts such as Capt Eddie. It was good public relations to put a free circus on the back of the carnival as it would cool some of the heat on the midway and it was also easier to book a spot.  In the old days there were adult games and once in awhile there was a sore loser.

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Capt Eddie #3

Posted By on September 18, 2011

Capt Eddie 31 798x1024 Capt Eddie #3   To my knowledge The Siebrand Bros Carnival was one of the first to put a full circus on the back of their show.  There were others,  but the Siebrands in their beginning carried about 30 to 40 performers. The carnival and circus started in the early 1930′s and continued with more and more shows having a free circus. This trend continued until the 1980′s.  In some cases there are still is a few carnivals that have a circus combination. Today,  there are bigger faster rides with monster midways that offer more and different types of entrainment to the public.

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Clark’s Bears

Posted By on September 14, 2011

Clarks Bears 804x1024 Clarks Bears

Ed Clark, what a sweetheart he was. Ed’s personality was like opening a bottle of soda. He was constantly effervescent and always in a good mood. Francis, his wife, can barely be seen here behind her bear…. Excuse the pun. I have another photo of them where Francis is seen better in the blog.

I first worked with them in 1952 at a small fair in northern California, at the Colusa Grape Festival. Dad knew both of the Clarks and was good friends with them…… What I saw and heard I will never forget as long as I live. I’ll set the stage for you.

On this particular night, the last show was over around 8 p.m., which is early.  It’s enevitable that all the performers will get together to spend the rest of the evening with a potluck and cutting up jackpots. We had all been advised that there was a mosquito problem during this time of year and that the county had men that would be spraying a poison to kill off the mosquitoes. HOW EVER…we were not informed of when or where.

We were all sitting around having a fine time, not too far from the Clark’s old school bus they called home for themselves and the bears.  Francis loved her animal dearly and collected other little creatures, like two deer fawns, a bear cub  a goat and others. All of her pets were tied out along side of the bus where she could keep a mothering eye out.

Then it happened. From out of nowhere came this jeep with a fogging machine on the back, spewing out white clouds of mosquito poison, billowing everywhere so much so that it became almost impossible to see. We all took off in different direction to our trailers.

As I looked around, I could see Francis literally throwing her pets into the bus with Ed’s help and at the time yelling out at the top of her voice…. STOP! STOP! You are killing my animals, YOU G #:;%3/! What kind of a Dumb #9573hoqtnjtnpvty8n are you!? I want to tell you this little women cussed him out so badly you could see him wilt with fear. Then she headed toward the jeep…and him.

The man did not have a chance. He was a snowball in hell. She nailed him with more punches than I could count. This little lady could put a pro boxer to shame. Thanks to Ed, who pulled her off the guy and, I guess, made some kind of apology,  the jeep and the fellow drove off and disappeared, never to be seen again. There was no heat over the mishap. I don’t think the man wanted to tell anyone how he got the tar beat out of him by a 5 foot 2 inch woman.

The fog cleared and all became peaceful again. We finished the festival and went on to the next shows.

Oh yes…the poison was non lethal to humans or animals, just MOSQUITOES.

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Ray Chandler

Posted By on September 14, 2011

Ray Chandler Elephant 1024x822 Ray Chandler

I consider myself very lucky to have found this publicity photo of Ray Chandler’s elephant act with his wife presenting Princess. The center of the photo had been stained with ink. I got most of it out, but still a little blue remains.

The Chandlers were from the old school of circus. There was never a time you couldn’t depend on him, no matter the circumstances. Ray was noted for his fine training abilities,  He worked in every facet of our business and never left a job undone.

I first met Ray and his family at Louie Goebel’s Jungleland in Thousand Oaks, Calif. in the mid 1950′s. Throughout the 50′s and 60′s, we worked numerous show together, and I always looked forward in having conversations with him concerning animals.

There were some funny jackpots, especially when he would talk about the movie he worked in handling the camels. The movie’s name is Humps. He said what happened behind the camera was funnier than the movie itself.

He is gone now, but the memories lives on in the minds of those who knew and loved this fine man. The daughter Janice lives in the southeastern part of Arizona. Once in a while, we get to talk about old times at Jungleland.

I just spoke with Janice today, 5/24/ 12. She told me that the photos in this composite were shot on the Capell Bros Circus, in the very early 1960′s.

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