2014 Convention



Saturday, August 9, 2008

Leonard Bros Circus 1956 #1

Here's another "Mud Show" from Brother Bill's Collection.
I gues by now you've noticed most of his pictures were mainly of equipment and animals.
This was partly because of his love of building models of truck shows.
But this particular show did have some personnel shots.

Leonard Bros Circus 1956 #2

Please feel free to identify the folks in these pictures if you recognize them.

Leonard Bros Circus 1956 #3

I beleive this show was owned by a gentleman known as "Hard Times" Leonard.
If I'm wrong please correct me.

Leonard Bros Circus 1956 #4

Leonard Bros Circus 1956 #5

Leonard Bros Circus 1956 #6

Leonard Bros Circus, 1950 #7

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.

Duke of Paducah Circus (1960)

This show was named after a very popular country comedian.
It toured in the south, mainly for a few years.
In some of these old pictures I post I can't identify the folks in most of them. If you see yourself or somebody you know please comment and let us know who they are.

Duke of Puducah Circus (1960)

Duke of Puducah Circus (1960)

Friday, August 8, 2008


Soft Ice Cream Trailer
Has a double Electro-Freeze Soft Serve Machine.
Guaranteed to be in working condition!
Located here in Dover, DE.
9,500.00 Fob Dover, DE
(This trailer was used up to two years ago, Played all the big spots in South Carolina for years)

Last of the Big Ones!

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.
Check it out.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Message to Top Penny

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.

Von Bros Circus 1967

The following Pictures were taken in 1967.
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.

Von Bros 1967

Part of the Midway
Office Semi

Von Bros 1967

Elephant Semi
Elephants Getting a Bath!

Top Photo Circus Diner
Bottom Electric Department

Von Bros 1967

Big Top

Von Bros 1967

Von Bros 1967

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Main Entrance-Gibtown 1997

My friend, the late Stu Miller, talked me into this.
Try controling a gate to a carny trade show!
But I was glad to help out the club.
The day before I drove all night to get back from working a date in Nashville, TN for Ron Morris.
Left Nashville at Midnight and got home around Lunch Time . And tyhe show opened the next day.

E-Mail from Austraila

From Steve Robinson
Date 2008/08/06 Wed AM 04:27:36 EDT
Subject Blog

G'day Dick,,

I'm thoroughly enjoying your photos and descriptions of some of those smaller shows like Fisher Bros, Beers-Barnes etc.

Used to read about them years ago in Circus Report but never saw any photos until now.

Do you have any photos and memories of Von Bros and also Jim Silverlake's Lewis Bros?

Thanks from Australia - keep 'em coming!


Steve Robinson



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!

Anyway, keep up the blog!!!!!!

Ron Finch
Newark Valley, NY

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

W C Fields-The Juggler

What Do You Think?

Well here we are in our third week of publishing the blog.

I can't beleive the amout of visitors I've had in three weeks.

Keep in mind that I added the site meter about 5 or 6 days into starting it.

We've had visitors from New Zealand, Australia, England, Spain, Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia and

some countires that I did even know existed!

I would appeciate any comments on any improvements I could make on the site.

As you can tell the circus is my first love and I'm trying to mix the new with the old.

Also if you have anything you would like to post just send it to my e-mail address, It certainly would be appreciated.

Thanks A Lot. Dick

Cole All Star Circus #1

Here's Bill and his crew.
John "Eggroll" Kane and Bo.
Looks like they're ready for a big night!

Cole All Star Circus #2

Dick and Angela Martin in the Souvenier Stand

Cole All Star Circus #3

Mike Snider and Sandy Kaye.
These two guys were great troupers and best of all they were funny!
Mike also did the coloring book pitch for us all 5 years we were up there.

Cole All Star Circus #4

Cole All Star Circus #5

Cole All Star Circus #6

Here is the #1 Route card for 1990.
Bill and I went up there 5 years in a row and only missed two days due to the weather!
Seemed like the harder it snowed the more the people came out!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fisher Bros Circus 1990 #1

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.

Fisher Bros 1990

Again a reminder, if you click on the image the picture will enlarge so that you may read the caption!

Fisher Bros Kids Ticket

What A Group!

Here's group of interested folks.
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.

Royal Hanneford Circus 1992

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!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mills Bros Circus 1955

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.

Mills Bros Circus 1955

Here's the Dog act.
I'm sorry but these are out of order but I just realized I had them!

Mills Bros Circus 1955 (Fred Hoffman Photos)

Mills Show Ticket Office. This show was out of Ohio and toured the East and Mid-West for Many years. It was owned by Jack, Jake & Harry, The Mills Bros.
They brought over a lot of acts from Europe the years they had the show.
One thing they took real pride in was their Horses.
One of their elephants, Burma, appeared in Dwight D. Eisenhower's inagural parade in Washington. I beleive they were from the Cleveland area.

Mills Bros Circus 1955

That's a cage wagon in the bottom picture
Not sure what the top picture is of.

Mills Bros Circus 1955

Mills Bros Circus 1955

On the left-Chief Split Cloud, Concert Feature
On the Right-Joe Rossi, Bandleader

Mills Bros Circus 1955

That's a young Fred Hoffman on the Left in Front of the Prop Truck.

His first year on the road just out of High School!

Chincoteague Pony Swim (Salisbury Daily Times)