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!
My name is Nicole Zimmerman (formerly Valentine). My ex-husband, Ray Valentine, and I had the Flying Valentines flying trapeze act on Circus Gatti, and numerous other shows, between 1991 and 1997. I came across your wonderful Balloon Mann posts and saw pictures of people and acts from "back in the day" that brought back great memories, I loved seeing the pics of Lalo Murillo, Alex, Patti with Eric Braun, and especially the Sandou Troupe. I couldn't remember the name of their act but have thought of them often because they were phenomenal.
I am wondering if you have any flying act or cradle pictures of us. We were The Flying Valentines and also had two cradle acts that worked the same dates. If you do, I'd love to see them. I have a few grainy videos. Wish I'd have converted those to CDs years ago! Any pictures you might have would be great to see. I did not do any power tricks, splitz across, layout, etc.. Mostly created wardrobe, choreography, etc. I used to park our kids, then only toddlers, in the tunnels with a Shriner standing by so I could see them from the board. Our daughter would stand by her stroller and do the choreography along with us. I don't have many shots of us, so anything you could share would be appreciated.
Thanks again for posting such great stuff!
Nicole p.s. Not sure how far back your circus background goes, but my step-dad was Big John Strong, who had a tent show for many years, and then stage shows before health problems slowed him down. If you happen to have any pictures of his show, during the late 70's and 80's I'd LOVE to see those. That was during my teen years; I did swinging ladder, web, dressage horse (a black and white paint) and assisted with whatever needed assisting.
A note from "The Balloonman"---
I sure would like to help this lady so if you have anything you
think she'd like to see please send it to me and I'll forward it on to her.
When Circuses Came to Honeoye Falls
by Paul S. Worboys
Reprinted from The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel of
August 22, 1991.
They came by wagon over rutted dirt roads. They came by rail in specially-designed trains. They came over macadam highways in mammoth trailer trucks. And people came from miles around to witness their entrance and marvel at their merriment. The steady heartbeat of life in rural and small town America realized a quickened pulse when visited by a segment of living Americana, the traveling circus.
In the mid-19th century, when Honeoye Falls had developed beyond the status of a crossroads milling hamlet, touring shows of many kinds scheduled performances. Bringing "culture" to the rural folk, minstrel shows, revivals, acting troupes, carnivals and special exhibits were hauled from town to town, charging nominal fees for a chance to open a window on the world. Usually comprising no more than a half-dozen people, appearances ranged from satisfying entertainment to unadulterated sham.
Moving the circus, however, was a logistical nightmare, with its dissimilar elements housed under the irresistible Big Top. Therefore, due to travel limitations, it was slow to capture the American imagination. Europe's concentrated populace was long familiar with its appeal as caravans of animals and entertainers could travel about on improved turnpikes. Children from the Urals to the Atlantic dreamed of being a juggler or an aerialist, a clown or a lion tamer.
While dating to 1793, with a performance before George Washington in Philadelphia, the circus could not easily reach the United States' far-flung inhabitants. By the Civil War, however, with the development of roadways, the advent of railroads, and the spread of population centers large and small, the American landscape was crisscrossed by a variety of nomadic shows.
Scant references note that several circus troupes visited Honeoye Falls in the decades prior to 1880, perhaps as far back as the 1850s, and lacking outside entertainment, the village sometimes created a home-grown show, such as the march of the "Ancient Horribles," when citizens and conveyances paraded through the streets in hilarious attire. In the Centennial celebration of July 4, 1876, the revelers built life-size elephants constructed of barrel hoops and canvas. The "carcasses" were later cast into the field near the New York Central Railroad bridge above the falls, and train travelers passing by covered their noses at the perceived stench.
The first documented circus was October 24, 1883, when "VAN AMBURGH'S GREAT SHOW" came to town. With half-page ads in the Honeoye Falls Times, the buildup worked the citizenry into fits of expectations:
James Brothers Circus performed (big) topless in Stadium parking lot: Cleveland Remembers
Clyde E. Witt, The Plain Dealer Baron Julius Von Uhl cracks the whip on eight jungle cats during the James Brothers Circus' 1970 run in Cleveland, in the Municipal Stadium parking lot. from: cleveland.com By Special to The Plain Dealer January 19, 2012 The Cleveland Jaycees sponsored a circus in the summer of 1970. It ran for three days and nights in the parking lot of the football stadium down by the lakefront.
The "advance sales" team set up about six weeks before the circus, seeking contributions from local businesses to let kids attend the circus for free. The objective was to oversell the seating capacity in the belief that many tickets would not actually get into the kids' hands, but the attendance at the scheduled shows was so high that the circus had to put on extra performances Two weeks before the circus was to arrive, their tent was destroyed by a tornado, so we had to go ahead with the event with no tent! You can bet we were praying the weather would be favorable.
Everything went well, and the event earned the Jaycees a large profit to put toward their community projects.
-- John Dahne, chairman of the circus event, Maryland Editor's note: It was the James Brothers Circus, which made other trips to Cleveland for charity events in that same era as well. The circus came complete with Baron Von Uhl and his lions and tigers, the Great Huberto's slide for life, and the Riding Cristiani Troupe.
The James circus played here Aug. 10-12, 1970. According to online sources, its tent had been blown down in late May of that year. But the photo we found in our files clearly shows the lion act performing under the sky, so it looks like the circus was still open air when it got here.
The local paper in Grand Junction, Colo., has a story in its archive that says the cause of the tent collapse turned out not to be a tornado, but heavy winds. From the Sentinel's story (which is behind a paywall):
There already was a strong wind blowing in from the southwest early in the evening when the crowds started arriving at the James Bros. circus tent that had been set up ... on May 20, 1970, for the 6 p.m. show.
With just 15 minutes and two acts from the end of the show, a strong blast of wind snapped the guy ropes along the south edge of the tent and carried the tent and poles up and across the arena, dumping them behind the grandstand on the north side where most of the children were seated, leaving 80 injured.
The tent did not collapse on the audience. The injured were struck by the 300-pound main poles that went hurtling through at least three of the grandstands or by the whipping ropes that had snapped loose from the stakes.
Former trapeze artist visits circus for her 80th birthday
JASON BEHNKEN/staff Teresa Jones gets a hug from Ivan Vargas at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus at the Forum on Thursday night. When she was a trapeze artist in the 1950s, she didn't much care for the clowns, she says. By JULIO OCHOA| from TBO.com January 05, 2013 TAMPA -- She never talks about that other life. Flying high above rapt audiences gaping at her airborne choreography, the graceful twists and turns in her sparkly sequined costume, was something that happened such a long, long time ago.
"I did it, and when it was over, I moved on," says Teresa Jones matter-of-factly of her years as a trapeze artist with the famous "Flying Zacchinis" troupe of Tampa. "I didn't really bring it up to people."
More than 50 years have come and gone since she's been back to the circus.
She buried one husband, divorced another, raised two children and worked as a counter clerk for a rental car company. The photographs and handbills of her high-flying days, performing at state fairs and with circus companies all over the country, have yellowed with age and were packed away in dusty boxes.
Teresa Jones Jones was recruited to be an aerialist with the Flying Zacchinis. At left is Eddie Zacchini. At right is George Alvarez, whom she married Then, out of the blue, a fellow resident at the Bayshore Presbyterian Apartments in South Tampa presented her with an 80th birthday present: A ticket to Thursday's performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at The Forum. It was time to go home and relive some of that glorious past, if only as a spectator. A lot more to read at: http://www2.tbo.com/entertainment/breaking-news/2013/jan/05/former-trapeze-artist-visits-circus-for-her-80th-b-ar-598247/
Interactive 2013 Zelzah Shrine Circus Brings New Line-up the Orleans Arena January 10-13
Las Vegas— International performers from more than 15 countries will dazzle during the 2013 Zelzah Shrine Circus, coming to the Orleans Arena for seven shows January 10-13.
The theme of this year’s Shrine Circus is Broadway and will include an original score, new costumes and thrilling feats. Acts scheduled to appear are:
- Daniel Raffo, World Renowned Tiger Trainer. Raffo’s bevy of beautiful Bengal big cats come direct from Argentina. - Andrea and Lluvia, Courageous and Indescribable. This daring duo hangs by their hair high above the arena while spinning at dangerous speeds and juggling flaming batons. - Priceless Pachyderms, trained by Larry Carden. Dancing elephants perform precision feats to a Broadway-themed original score. - Everyone’s favorite clown, Johnny, and his surprising side kick Baby Pach. Watch Johnny clown around with his “toy.” - Oodles of Poodles. Clever canines cavorting on a challenge course. - Hernando and Marius, Motorcycle Madness. Not for the faint of heart, Hernando and Marius take motocross to new heights, combining dangerous daredevils and a delicate incline wire.
Show times are: January 10, 7 p.m.; January 11, 8 p.m.; January 12, 11 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and January 13, 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Attendees are welcomed into all three rings of the circus for the pre-party one hour prior to show times to meet performers, ride the elephants and clown around.
General admission tickets are $14 for children 12 and under, and $18 for adults. Reserved seating is available for $27 or $45. Children 2 and under are free but must sit in a parent’s lap in reserved seating. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Orleans Arena Box Office at 702.284.7777 or by visiting www.orleansarena.com.
The Zelzah Shrine Circus is a fundraising event for the Zelzah Shrine Temple of Las Vegas, renowned for its community service projects and philanthropic pursuits. Zelzah is a local chapter of Shriners International, one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the world. Proceeds from the Shrine Circus benefit the Zelzah Shrine Temple and are not deductible as charitable contributions. For more information on Zelzah Shrine, visit www.zelzahshrine.com.
TONNY PETERSEN'S HELL DRIVERS
Once again, the ringing in of a New Year means that in just six more months, fans can get ready for the thrills of The Tonny Petersen Hell Drivers live at great venues all over the country for our 2013 tour… This year the sport comes roaring out of the gate and on to the race track with incredible action set in cities from coast to coast. Experience a gravity-defying daredevil driving production. Ramps, props, and stuntmen make up a dynamic theatrical landscape, as an entire Hollywood stunt production comes to life featuring a colossal captivating display of talent as the momentum builds so will the anticipation.
An Inside Look at Ringling Bros Presents BUILT TO AMAZE! -
Meet Elliana Grace
Published on Jan 3, 2013
Meet Elliana Grace from Built To Amaze! The 143rd Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey. For show information and tickets go to www.Ringling.com.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents the 143rd exhilarating edition of the Greatest Show On Earth. Surprise and wonder build such incredible anticipation it could only be Built To Amaze!℠
Elephants, tigers, acrobats and aerialists join together from across the globe, each a spectacular piece of the puzzle, forming one exquisite design of magnificence and precision. From the blueprints to the band, from the crates to the clowns, from the hammer to the high wire comes one breathtaking performance of non-stop thrills so astonishing you have to see it to believe it.
Join us as we measure out the perfect mix of marvel and majesty in an imagination equation where the impossible comes to life. Be a part of the brand-new spectacles from around the world immersed in the circus tradition you have come to know and love. Experience it live and feel the amazement! Children Of All Ages will be inspired for years to come at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze!
'Big Top' raised today for circus in Venice Performances to raise money for Venice Circus Arts Foundation
Friday, January 4, 2013
VENICE - The International Czechoslovakian Circus is coming to Venice to raise money for the Venice Circus Arts Foundation.
The visiting circus run by the Coronas family, with roots that date back 200 years in what is now the Czech Republic, will be under the “big top” at Jacaranda Plaza, 1687 U.S. 41. The public may want them raise the tent today at 10 a.m.
Sixteen performances will be from Jan. 10 to Jan. 27. Tickets are $15 to $35, plus tax, and are available in advance at Brindley’s Liquor Wine and Cheese Shop, Collector’s Gallery and Framery and the Madison Avenue Hair Spa.
The foundation is raising money to restore the arena in Venice once used by the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus.
For more information about the shows and foundation, go to
2013 Lansing Shrine Circus Celebrates 70 Years of Family Fun! SOURCE Lansing Shrine Circus
FLINT, Mich., Jan. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Elf Khurafeh Shrine Circus is set to arrive at the Lansing Center January 9th and will continue until January 13th. This year the Elf Khurafeh Shrine Circus celebrates seventy years of family friendly Shrine Circus Fun. In light of the many sellout shows in 2012, the Shriners are going to be adding more shows than ever and making it easier for guests to get their tickets through the official Lansing Shrine Circus website at www.lansingshrinecircus.com.
If you've ever been let down by a circus experience, the Lansing Shrine Circus is the antidote to disappointment. With an emphasis on spectacle and the feel of a classic big top traveling circus, the Lansing Shrine Circus is one of the greatest shows of its type.
This all new Shrine Circus will combine a dazzling entourage of animal attractions including trained elephants, enormous alligators, beautiful horses, Egyptian camels and exotic tigers, not to mention the breath taking spectacle of the traditional circus performers that you come to the big top for in the first place, not the least of which include the trapeze artists and gravity-defying daredevil stunt performers.
The fun begins an hour before the circus opens with elephants and pony rides for the kids, face painting for the young and young at heart, and a wide array of challenging games for kids of all ages. The younger kids will love the bounce houses, while anyone who's feeling a little hungry will be able to explore the wide array of fried, baked and boiled foods on display.
This is just for starters as there simply isn't enough space here to list all of the activities and attractions on display surrounding the circus, but take our word for it: you won't be able to experience everything before the gates open for the main event. Once you've had your fill of salty treats and sweets and you've walked and talked with the animals, the circus itself will take place within the comfort of the Lansing Center.
To learn more, we refer you once more to the official Lansing Shrine Circus website at www.LansingShrineCircus.com where you can find all of the information that you'll need in order to book your seats and schedule your trip out to the show. Call 810.288.7479 to get your hands on some circus tickets for any of the performances you like, or contact the Circus at the Lansing Center Box Office.
Although the Circus is holding extra performances and making tickets as easy as possible to access, there's no guarantee that "supplies will last" as the saying goes, so don't waste time, get your tickets as soon as possible.