THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS!AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!
It's a shame that this is a part of our country's history that is all but gone!
The small shows brought entertainment folks hometowns that were starving for live entertainment. Just think Children had never seen a real live elephant or a camel or any of the exotic breeds except at the circus. Unless they lived near a larger city that was fortunate enough to have a zoo.
This show is touring now. It's season started out in Oklahoma and went as far south as Florida and up the East Coast in to the Northeast and accross the Mid-West and soom will be in Washington State and then down through the West Coast then across the Southwest back to it's winter Home in Hugo, OK!
I've linked this post to their website and even if your not a circus fan this is worth looking at.
They have an elephant breeding program know as the Endangered Ark.
I appreciate getting comments. Ther more the merrier. However unless you identify yourself to me I cannot publish your comments. It sound like some kind of advertising gimmick. If I'm wrong I apologize! Just let me know who you are and I would love to post your comments. Dick
This was the final season, which closed early, of the show.
The owner Henry Vonderheid passed away on opening day.
Henry visited my brother the winter before the show opened and was
really proud of this edition. It's a shame he didn't live to see the show up and moving.
Henry also owned a Wild Animal Farm just out side Dallas, PA, It was called the Red Rock Wild Animal Farm and was quite a tourist attraction there for many years. He had owned the show for many years. And purchased a lot of equipment, including part of the Hunt Bros Elephant Herd, from Harry Hunt. Most of the semis that are painted with pictorials were from that show.
Especially the snub nosed Chevies.
I hope you enjoy these pictures they are from my brothers collection but I don't know who snapped them.
I also have have some Von Bros pictures from the fifties which I will post later.
Your blog is great just the way it is!!!! I found you through Buckles Blog and have enjoyed it very much. You, Buckles, and Trumble are daily links to show biz........keep up the good work!
I remember both you and your brother from Billy Martin, Great American and S&S Amusements. A couple of funny stories I remember........On S & S at Harford Pa Fair, Swika was going to charge you for a center joint! The prior week it had been a line joint!!!! Also, I think someone on the show had made off with a new bally cloth that had just been delivered.
On Billy Martin, he had a couple of big boxes on wheels, which I think nearly most of the show loaded into. Not a bad idea if anyone could move them loaded! They were painted gray and I think you referred to them as the battle ships!
This was a small show framed by Melvin and BK Silverlake,. well know circus family,
unfortunately it didn't last long.
They had a nice performance and everything you would need to make a go of it.
I beleive the show's downfall, which happens to a lot of shows, was they ran out of dates.
The "Front End" of a circus is the #1 priority. It's almost impossible nowadays to find agents to book you. And interested sponsors are an even bigger problem. You need them to sell the advance tickets and help promote the show. It seems as if charitable organizations such as the Local Fire Department, Lions, Rotary, Jaycees and etc. members just don't have the time, or won't make the time to help with fund raising activities.
Just another sign of the times we're living in.
This Photo shows a good crowd turned out for both shows that day in Rioverview, FL.
Starting on the Left Mr & Mrs Harry Fee, Bill Dykes, Dick Dykes, Mr Paul Robinson (Robinson's Racing Pigs), Mr Billy Rogers (Pirates Treasure Cove and Retired Performer), Mr Bill Hill and his Lady, Arlen I beleive) We were all attending the Fisher Bros. in Riverview,FL to wish our good friends BK and Melvin Silverlake good luck on their new show.
These shots were taken by Bill at the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury, MD in 1992. The two pictures on the bottom are on the Left Fernando Bautista, who worked with us on the indoor Cole Show and of course on the right the Hanneford Elephant herd. Notice the beautiful rollong stock that Hanneford always has!
You can see some of the Mills Horses in this picture, naturally the wrong end.
Standing in front of them is a young Fred Hoffman, but I'm not sure who the Gentleman with him is. Maybe someone out there could enlighten us.
Also you might notice the show's address on the truck cab is St Louis. Well back in thos days all the shows used that address because their mail was sent to the Billboard Publishing Co. which was in St Louis.