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!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

CIRQUE du SOLEIL TENTS TO HAITI

(CNN) -- Several large circus tents previously used by Cirque du Soleil are on their way to Haiti to be used as a temporary headquarters for the Port-au-Prince government, according to the man donating them.
The self-contained tents would replace government buildings destroyed a month ago by the devastating earthquake that killed at least 200,000 people, Nevada real estate developer Tom Schrade said Thursday.

ELVIS IS BACK IN VEGAS ( MIKE NAUGHTON)



SAVE DAVE

FAMOUS COLE POSTERS (1960'S)







CIRCUS SOUVENIRS







CHEERFUL GARNER--ELEPHANT TRAINER


BILLY MARTIN'S COLE ALL STAR CIRCUS


CIRQUE du SOLEIL-STYLE THEATRE WANTS TO LEASE FLORIDA STATE FAIRGROUNDS


By RICHARD MULLINS The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 18, 2010
TAMPA - The Florida State Fairgrounds could see development of a Cirque du Soleil-style theater and entertainment complex.
There are few details as of yet. But Fairgrounds officials say entertainment entrepreneur Marco Veilleux presented plans to the Fair Authority board for a site to include a theater and development site for shows.
Veilleux has a history in entertainment with projects like Cirque du Soleil, but has set off to operate his own shows through a company called The Imagineering Dreams Factory based in Newport Beach, Calif.
The proposal in Tampa includes eight acres at the fairgrounds. No plans appear set in stone as yet. Veilleux could not be reached for comment. Imagineering Dreams filed incorporation paperwork with the State of Florida in January 2009, with an address in Ft. Lauderdale.
Tampa could have some competition for such a theater project, as developers have proposed a similar project in Sarasota last year.
That site would include a 125-foot-tall Kevlar tent-style theater in an area called The Quay. The project would cost roughly $30 million, and rely to some extent on public money, developers told media at the time. It would hold up to 5,000 people, and be operated by Imagineering Dreams Factory.
Mark Famiglio, a Sarasota developer and entrepreneur, is backing that project. At the time it was revealed last year, Veilleux told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that "When you're in our theater, you're not on this planet."
That concept operates in a theater in Quebec, Canada, the Theatre de la Dame de Coeur, producing elaborate shows with dream-like sets, acrobats, musicians and life-size puppets.
Reporter Michael Sasso contributed to this report. Reporter Richard Mullins can be reached at (813) 259-7919.

VENICE WANTS TO DEMOLISH OLD RINGLING W.Q.

The city plans to tear down the dilapidated Venice circus arena and two other buildings that used to be the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. STAFF PHOTO / KIM HACKETT
Published: Friday, February 19, 2010
Fifth-generation trapeze artist Tito Gaona has dreamed for years of a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus museum on the circus grounds where he grew up and Gunther Gebel-Williams trained lions and tigers during nearly three decades of winters in the city.
Now Gaona's dream has a deadline.
City officials say the old circus buildings must come down in the next few months to make way for future development.
The former circus arena, north of the Circus Bridge, is on valuable city airport land near the Intracoastal Waterway. Since the circus left in 1991, Venice officials have balked at spending money to preserve it.
"It is a landmark," said Gaona, who revived his Venice Circus Arts Foundation last month to save at least Gebel-Williams' animal training building. "It is the first arena the circus performed in after the big top."

The city plans to tear down the dilapidated Venice circus arena and two other buildings that used to be the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Assistant City Manager Nancy Woodley has told the City Council that the buildings are filled with asbestos and have deteriorated beyond saving.
The council plans to spend $250,000 to demolish the circus complex and create a plan to develop the land.
Mayor Ed Martin said he did not know if it was feasible to save the training building.
"It's not something that has really been discussed," Martin said.
Gaona started a save-the-arena campaign in 2003, creating a nonprofit foundation and collecting 500 signatures, but the momentum slowed when the real estate market heated up and the city planned to develop a marina and hotel on airport land.
The foundation dissolved a year later.
Gaona has since filed papers with the state for a new one.




Volunteers hope to again gather signatures and build support to save the animal training building and turn it into a museum, next to where Gaona has been teaching trapeze since 1998.
Gaona shakes his head thinking of the area memorials to the circus: the Circus Bridge over the Intracoastal, a mural on a wall along the Tamiami Trail and streets named for the circus.
A museum would be an authentic memorial, he said.
"Where would that all be without the circus?" Gaona said.
The circus had its last performance in Venice in 1991, and departed to Tampa after the city and the railroad refused to upgrade the railroad tracks.
Venice rented the arena over the years but it has been vacant since 2000.
Photos of the arena and Gaona's trapeze classes chronicle the complex's decay.
A decade ago, city officials estimated it would cost $450,000 to rehabilitate the 5,100-seat arena. The YMCA and other circuses wanted to lease it.
Now, gouged walls, graffiti and seven-foot weeds greet Gaona every day he drives past the arena through a rickety fence to his outdoor trapeze school. Last year someone started a fire on a couch inside the arena.
Gebel-Williams' old training building, built to resemble a big top, looked freshly painted white with red wood edging in a 2004 photo.
The building paint has faded and the red wood dangles off the sides of the building. Inside, the sun shines through gaping rusted holes in the roof. A ripped, faded director's chair with the name "Tito" leans against one wall and a cluster of rusting spotlights against another.
Even local historians have said the time may have passed for saving the buildings.
"You have to pick your battles," said Betty Intagliata, former president of the Venice Area Historical Society and chairwoman of the Sarasota County Historical Commission.
Gaona said he cannot let the building come down without one last effort to save it. "They want us to forget," Gaona said. "But we won't forget."
from the SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE



Friday, February 19, 2010

HOW TO JOIN THE CIRCUS

DeLAND'S PUGH IN CIRCUS RING OF FAME (DeLAND-DELTONA BEACON)

PHOTO COURTESY COLE BROS. CIRCUS
A rewarding life — John W. Pugh, left, and his wife, Brigitte, show off a marker inducting John Pugh into the Circus Ring of Fame in Sarasota. Pugh, who owns the DeLand-based Cole Bros. Circus, said he has loved his life in show business, and is not finished yet. The circus opens its 2010 season in DeLand March 20.

John W. Pugh of DeLand, CEO and owner of the DeLand-based Cole Bros. Circus, was honored by his peers Jan. 17 with induction into the Circus Ring of Fame at the 23rd annual installation ceremony in Sarasota.
Sarasota is home to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and also is home to a wealth of circus history and culture.
Circus great John Ringling of the Ringling Brothers purchased St. Armands Key at Sarasota in 1917. Its central shopping area is laid out in a circle, like a circus ring, and is used like a Hollywood Walk of Fame. Bronze circus wagon-wheel markers permanently display the names of Ring of Fame honorees.
Pugh, one of six inductees this year, joins the ranks of circus greats such as P.T. Barnum, Emmett Kelly, Clyde Beatty and John Ringling North.
Pugh said the induction into such a group of famous people was emotional for him and his wife, Brigitte, who introduced him at the ceremony.
John Pugh has been with Cole Bros. Circus since 1961.
“It’s a seven-day-a-week job. I enjoy it. It’s a great life,” he said.
John started as an acrobat. He also presented animals.
“You had to be able to do a little of everything,” he said.
After an injury knocked him out of acrobatics, the circus offered him a job as assistant manager, then jobs as a supervising manager, vice president and president.
“For job preservation, I went on to be the owner,” he said with a laugh.
Now in his late 70s, John Pugh has been in show business all his life. He started in his native England, where he was a movie stuntman and performer. He was also involved in theater and BBC-TV, where he was an assistant producer.
He was actor Richard Burton’s stunt double for the movie Cleopatra, completed in 1963. Pugh described the filming as a spectacle in itself, with the romance between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor unfolding before the cast and crew.
The Pughs have owned a home in DeLand since 1962. It was demolished in the 2007 tornado that tore apart the west side of DeLand. A new home has now been built on the site.
Pugh isn’t resting on his wagon wheel or his laurels. He’s getting ready to fly to Haiti with a big-top tent, at the request of the Haitian government.
The need there for shelter and service areas is desperate. Pugh will take one tent, 350 feet by 250 feet, weighing 30 tons, and supervise local workers to get it set up. He estimates it will take a good day’s work, or two. If he were using his regular circus crew, it would take only hours, but the Haitian people need work, Pugh said.
If that goes well, he will take a second tent to Haiti.
Pugh is also getting his Cole Bros. Circus ready for the 2010 season, which runs March-November. The season will kick off in DeLand with shows at the DeLand Municipal Airport showgrounds at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 20, and at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 21, hosted by the DeLand Jaycees. Call 1-888-332-5200 or go online at http://www.tickets.com/ for more information.
After its DeLand debut, the 2010 Cole Bros. Circus will travel up the Eastern Seaboard to New England, and as far west as New Orleans, setting up two or three times a week
from the DeLAND-DELTONA BEACON
FEBRUARY 13, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010


FOLEY & BURKE EMPLOYEE PINS

Foley & Burke was a large railroad carnival on the West Coast.





CIRCUS WORLD REUNION PART 1 (FROM MIKE NAIGHTON)

Circus World People Gather to Remember the Park
By Gary WhiteTHE LAKELAND LEDGER
Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 11:54 p.m.
Clowns get artistic in this shot of performers at Circus World.
A shopping center occupies the southeast corner of the intersection of Interstate 4 and U.S. 27, housing a collection of chain stores - Target, Best Buy, PetSmart - that could be in Dayton or Dubuque as easily as Davenport.There isn't a trace of the distinctive presence the location once held, a short-lived theme park called Circus World.
But Dan Stapleton remembers the place, and he's not alone. Stapleton, who worked as a magician at the defunct attraction from 1978 to 1981, has organized a reunion of former Circus World employees. They will gather Friday, not under a big top but in the ballroom of a resort in Kissimmee.
Stapleton said the idea of a reunion has been germinating almost since Circus World folded its tent 24 years ago.
"Every year I hear from someone who worked at Circus World, and every one of them said the same thing over the last 20 years - 'We ought to have a reunion,'" said Stapleton, an Orlando resident. "So six months ago I came home and said, 'Guess what? ... I'm going to do it.' So I just started contacting people who I knew (worked at Circus World), which weren't very many. Then I put it on Facebook, and it just took off."
Stapleton expects more than 100 former Circus World workers at the reunion, with attendees coming from as far away as California, Washington state and New York. The reunion will take place at the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration, where Stapleton works as director of entertainment.

Musicians, elephants, jugglers, clowns and acrobats made Circus World a favorite destination.

Stapleton, 57, said the gathering will include a former ringmaster, trapeze artists and clowns, along with people who worked on the technical crew and in food service, security, park operations and administration.
Circus World, originally known by the unwieldy name of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus World Showcase, opened in 1974 and last until 1986, experiencing two changes of owners. The original admission fee was $1.95 for adults. Attendance peaked at 1.3 million in 1975, and the attraction had about 450 employees.
The centerpiece at Circus World was the Showcase, a 27,000-square-foot building designed as a big top and painted in white and red stripes. It housed a 600-seat IMAX theater, promoted at the time as the world's largest indoor theater, which showed a circus-oriented film.
The Showcase featured trapeze acts, elephant performances and other typical circus fare.
Stapleton performed in the James A. Bailey Theater of Illusion, which held about 200 people. He said at one point he was doing nine shows a day.
The attraction had many rides, including a wooden roller coaster, the Florida Hurricane, that Stapleton said was a favorite of the late Michael Jackson. A 150-foot-high Ferris wheel offered views over acres of citrus groves.

CIRCUS WORLD REUNION PART 2 (FROM MIKE NAUGHTON)

Circus World occupied the corner of U.S. 27 and I-4 from 1974 to 1986. Attendance hit 1.3 million people in 1975.
Jerry Darkey worked as a clown at Circus World in the early 1980s, when he was fresh out of Clown College, then located in Venice but no longer in existence. His companion, Paula Large, worked as a caricature artist and later as a lighting and sound technician from 1980 to 1984. Now living in Orlando, they still work in entertainment and plan to attend the reunion.
"We thought, 'Well, what a great idea, and it's probably long overdue,' " Darkey said. "Just being in the show was always fun - keeping my eyes open for the elephants."
The Circus World site was later reconfigured as Boardwalk and Baseball, which lasted only a few years. The last remnants of that attraction were eventually razed for the construction of the Posner Commons shopping center.
"People ask me, 'Why did Circus World not make it?'" Stapleton said. "Back then it seemed like a long way from Orlando or the other parks. It really wasn't."
Stapleton said the high cost of employing live entertainment was one reason the park didn't survive.
Organizer Dan Stapleton
Friday's reunion will recreate some of that entertainment. Stapleton said he will revive some of his magic tricks, and jugglers and clowns are also expected to perform.
Stapleton will also be showing a medley of home movies shot at Circus World that capture performers in action. He said memorabilia from the park will be on display, with one former employee pledging to bring enough to cover three tables. A meal will be served as well.
Based on the responses he has received so far, Stapleton said only a small percentage of former Circus World employees remain employed in similar jobs. He said members of the Flying Robins, a trapeze act, still do circus work, and some of the technical crew now work for rock bands.
The reunion will pay tribute to those Stapleton called "circus angels," former employees who are no longer alive. Stapleton said he knows of at least 40 of them.
Stapleton asks anyone interested in attending to notify him in advance at 407-491-3287 or
IF YOU GO:
What: Reunion of Circus World employees
Where: Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration, 2900 Parkway Blvd, Kissimmee
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
How much: $35
Phone: 407-491-3287
E-mail:
magicdanstap4u@aol.com

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WALTER L. MAIN CIRCUS PERSONNEL (1904)


POLISH CIRCUS PROGRAMME 1964 (MIKE NAUGHTON)



Polish circus programme performing in Budapest, Hungary circus building. Blazak, Adela Smehaja, Brusky, 3 Mecner.

FISHER BROS CIRCUS 1971 #1 (FROM JIM ELLIOTT)







Mel & B K Silverlake toured this show in the late 60's and early 70's



B K 's Dad Raymond Duke was the general agent.

















































FISHER BROS CIRCUS 1971 #2 (FROM JIM ELLIOTT)





























FISHER BROS CIRCUS 1971 #3 (FROM JIM ELLIOTT)






























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