The Grind Show

Posted By on January 27, 2013

Lilli PutianThis was a midway grind show. It was composed of 6 inch mechanical people that performed simple tricks. Each worked off cables and gears and it was most amazing in it’s time… 1914.  In the ticket box Walter Estes, on the left Auto Durkee and his wife on right Molly Durkee. These folks are all related to Billie Henderson Schuller and Peggy Henderson MacDonald. This kind of show was found on fairs, carnivals and circus midways. There were many different shows each presenting something new and odd. For instance… freak animal shows, mummy shows, pit shows consisting of snakes  etc. and the list goes on. Find or build something different, then put up a two pole top and you have a show….that’s the definition of a grind show. You stay open till close. There is no beginning or ending of a performance.  It is a continuous  sale of tickets. In the back ground can be heard a constant bally of the odd and unusual that can be seen inside the tent.  Hence the name GRIND, because it is a grind to work all day long.

There is another type of grind show, it’s name is a “Ding Show”. T he Ding Show sells no tickets….. it works on donations. One person can operate this show. On the way into the show you pass through a bally curtain. Just before passing there is a ding  box where you drop your coin. In the box there is a small bell  that is placed so that when the coin is dropped in,  it hit the bell making a dinging sound. Hence the name DING Show. Oh yes if the owner of the show that is sitting over in a corner of the tent does not hear a ding ………….. You are thrown out of the show quickly.

Thank you Billie for the great photos and letters.

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Rent A Indian

Posted By on January 27, 2013

Cole Bros Clyde BeattyAfter reading this letter, I had to sit back in my chair and think about how I felt as mixed emotions of anger and disbelieve went  through  me.  I was appalled at disrespect for our Native American brothers and sisters.

The native American played an important part in the Circus and Wild West Shows but never got the credit for their performances.  Bill Cody and Tim McCoy were the exceptions. After Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show proved to be a great success,  other Wild West shows were created. There was a great hunger for this type of entertainment. Even the circuses presented an after show consisting of cowboys and Indians. If there were no Indians to be had, they would book a cowboy movie star for a personnel appearance. 

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Indian For Rent

Posted By on January 27, 2013

IContract

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Pick An Indian

Posted By on January 27, 2013

StLouisWF  Pine Ridge AgencyIf you were to take a Sioux Native American and a Blackfeet Native American and  stand them both together, no one could tell them apart other than another Native American………… Stupid stuff went on then and it still goes on now.

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Read all About It

Posted By on January 27, 2013

ShowInad.jpgThanks Billie for all the articles you sent for the circus blog.

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The Zoppes

Posted By on January 27, 2013

The Zoppe Family #1

Please go to categories if you wish to see the Zoppe, Zavatta photos and more history.
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The Zopppes

Posted By on January 27, 2013

Zoppe Familt #2A little known fact……Just before World War II broke out two great circus families were desparate to come to this country. The Zoppes and the Zavattas. Both were close knit families and they sacrified all they had to become  part of the American Dream and Circus. It took a lot of luck and the one person to helpmake it happen. Aurilla Zavatta was the spokes person and was responsible for handling all the business concerning government paper work needed to bring both families to the U.S.A. Later as the years passed the family separated, both going the their own successful ways. The rest is history and is still being made.

 Randy Runyon thank you for finding this letter and sharing it with the circus blog. Also thanks to Geno Zavatta for his information on Aurilla  Zavatta.

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R.B.B&B

Posted By on January 20, 2013

Ringling BBros Barnum and Bailey  Bagage wagon 1936 Posted 1 of 13On the notes of this photo is written 1936 baggage wagon. On the license plate it says Indiana 40?.

The info on this is photo not correct, even though on the photo envelope is written with the above. Thanks to Bob Cline’s comment we will all know what this wagon was used for. Thanks Bob.

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R.B.B&B

Posted By on January 20, 2013

Ringling BBros Barnum and Bailey  Generator 1938 Lights for  show Posted 1 of 2913 This is one of the show’s generators. Looks to be a 150 or 200 kw. The show did carry more than one, most likely three to four generators were needed. Photo taken 1938.

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R.B.B&B

Posted By on January 20, 2013

Ringling BBros Barnum and Bailey Readalbl Name on train cars530 Posted 1 of 13I believe this poster is from 1936.

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