Great London Circus

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Graet London Circus 1975 1024x702 Great London Circus 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

GLC Side show Ed Russell 1024x669 Great London Circus Sideshow  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

 

Great London Circus 1975 606x1024 Great London Circus Makimba 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

GLC 1975 1024x637 Great London Circus Harry RossHarry “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

GLC MaKimbs 1075 Great London Circus MakimbaMakimba 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

GLC Alfonso Magona 1024x754 Great London Circus ElephantsAlfonso 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

GLC Jack Fullright 616x1024 Great London Circus Jack FullbrightJack 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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Great London Circus Los Latinos

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Los Latinos 615x1024 Great London Circus Los LatinosHerbie and Marcela, Los Latinos. Herbie also did the slide for life on the show. Did I ever write about Herbie and how he could steal the applause from the other acts in a 3 or 4 ring display that he was performing with?  It was easy… he would do his trick fall from the wire at the right time to garner all of the attention for himself. Then he would milk the audience for all it’s worth while the other acts stood in dismay. Herbie never did this stunt to be mean only to teach a lesson, that all acts should end their performance together and share the applause. There were those few acts that liked to be the last to finish in a display so as to get the greater applause but when they worked with Herbie I guarantee you everyone took their bows together. When Herbie was featured with his wire act, he alone did the trick fall as part of his act. The last trick of his act was jumping over Marcela on the wire,  when he took the fall and then with the help of Marcela holding him up and leading slowly back to the wire upright. He would look around and slowly climb back onto the wire where he would attempt the trick over again..Drama..You could hear a pin drop. Of course the trick was completed and many was the time I saw a standing ovation. The fall closing  his act for a few moments made him the greatest wire walker of all. That’s what showmen do.

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Great London Circus Cat Problem

Posted By on September 19, 2012

Great London Loins 1024x627 Great London Circus Cat Problem   The cats that Alfonso was working were not all that bad but like always there is one or two trouble makers in the arena. At this time I had my eye on one of them. At times Alfonso would turn his back to this cat I told him never do so, as he is doing in this photo. The cat was a jughead and if it wasn’t for the two good tricks he did he would be better off in a zoo. Note how all the cats are looking at the Cindy at the back right of the arena. This was not good, too much of a distraction. When I saw this photo, which I had totally forgotten about, I remembered the almost fatal problem. I was watching that one cat, when he lowered his head and leaned forward, I knew he was about to come off his set. I yelled out  “Pancho”,  Alfonso’s nick name and at the same time got up moving toward the cat to catch his eye. A second or two went by as he now was watching me, this was good in that his thinking changed from Alfonso to me. I had some run ins with this cat before and he had some respect for me.

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Buffalo Bill Performer #1

Posted By on September 16, 2012

Page 1 Albert Afraid of Hawk 783x1024 Buffalo Bill Performer #1

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