SAVE THE DATES
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Kerbela Shriners Circus kicks off with salute to troops
Oct 22, 2011
The famed P.T. Barnum Circus was organized in Delavan in 1871. And more than 130 members of Delavan's 19th-century circus colony - including some storied clowns - are buried in Spring Grove and St. Andrew cemeteries.
The Mabie brothers, who ran the U.S. Olympic Circus - during its time the largest traveling show in the country - quartered their animals during the off-season at the site of the Lake Lawn Resort on Delavan Lake because of its abundant pastures and water.
Alas, the last circus closed its winter digs in 1894, and within 25 years, the huge ring barns and other landmarks were gone. Today, the city celebrates its circus heritage with statues around town.
Delavan also is worth the trip if you're interested in Victorian architecture, fishing or experiencing one more weekend of fall colors in rural Wisconsin.
Things to doA stroll through downtown Delavan will transport you back in time more than 150 years. The streets are lined with flower baskets - at least for a few more weeks - and some homes and shops date to the 1860s. A short walk will lead you to Tower Park, where you'll find a 6-foot clown statue dwarfed by an imposing 20-foot-tall elephant. The statue represents Romeo, who weighed 10,500 pounds and was owned by the Olympic Circus in 1854. Other statues in the park include Ginny the giraffe. See www.delavanwi.org.
For a sense of Delavan's performing-animal past (and present), consider a show at The Dancing Horses Theater, 5065 Highway 50. The equestrian program features a variety of breeds that perform alongside their trainers in what is billed as a "fantastic cavalcade of equestrian artistry." See www.dancinghorses.com.READ MORE AT:http://www.jsonline.com/features/travel/delavan-celebrates-its-rich-circus-heritage-132313573.html
The most interesting thing about this "show" is that apparently, enough people go in to see it to justify it being included in the Powers Great American Midway lineup each year.
This looks to me like a tiny tiny woman in a plush spider suit. And when I say "plush" I mean like a stuffed animal. I could see putting someone in a real looking spider suit and at least making me feel a little creeped out (I'm TERRIFIED of spiders), but this was so fake and harmless looking that it was funny. They don't even try to make it look real. Oh, it's a real "live" woman's head, but it's either sitting on top of a spider suit or that woman's body is stuffed inside it.
I asked the Spider Girl if she could move any of her eight legs. "No," she answered. "They have me tied down pretty tight here." Sure they do. I mean, wouldn't you?
I was checking out the spider girl with Shirley and Earlene from Caroline County, Virginia.
"I don't think it's real," Shirley said. "I can't believe it would be." Shirley thought there might have been an optical illusion that hid the woman's full body. Possible. (I just can't get over how little effort they put into making the spider suit look remotely real!).
"She's a midget," Earlene pronounced. Period.
But is it worth the $1 admission? Remarkably, they both said it was. Even if just to satisfy their curiosity. So there you go. That's how they make the money. Not by trying to fool us into believing it's real, but by making us curious enough to confirm what we already pretty much know: there's no such thing as a woman with the body of a spider. Thank God.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION---
From Casey Gibbs
Uploaded by martincraig 4 on Sep 25, 2011
Ken teaches you how to prepare fresh corn on the cob without those pesky corn silks.
Kaitlin Sanders, 16, and her sister, Gracie Ates, 10, waited in line for an hour to make it inside the fair when gates opened at 4 p.m."So we were like first in line (for the rides)," Kaitlin said as they got off the oscillating carts on the Himalaya ride early in the afternoon. Kaitlin's favorite ride is the Avalanche; her sister's is the bumper cars.
Fair worker Josh Engle holds an albino Burmese python while printing a photo for a customer Thursday on opening day of the Pensacola Interstate Fair. Fair goers can have their photo taken with the snake outside of the "Worlds Greatest Show" on the midway.
In front of a sideshow promising glimpses of a three-legged man, a five-legged dog and a gigantic woman, Amy Pipes and Dorothy Reed of Milton took turns having their photo taken with an albino python around their necks. It was Reed's first time holding a snake, she said. But Pipes said she used to play in a baby pool with a python her uncle owned.At the northeast end of the fairgrounds, a frontier show wowed crowds with cowboy antics, a petting zoo and a wolf show.Michael Sandlofer, dressed in a boots and a cowboy hat, said his family's been running the show for 35 years. Sandlofer, a disabled Vietnam veteran, said the show is aimed at educating children and parents about being good stewards of the land."They can share with their parents how their grandparents lived," Sandlofer said. "It helps them appreciate the environment."On the fair's midway, thousands of plush toys and barkers lured the curious to try their luck throwing footballs through tires, tossing rings on bottles or just hiding their age or weight.
The sights, sounds and smells were familiar to Cathy O'Brien. The 51-year-old Pensacola resident began traveling with a fair when she was 16. It was her first time back to a fair since 1976."I started as the gorilla girl," O'Brien said. "I did that and the dart throw."O'Brien wasn't far into the midway before she noticed one difference. Individual booths used their own public-announcement systems to attract customers."There used to be one emcee who'd walk around the games with a microphone on a really long cord," she said.Through one of those amplified microphones, Ann Duckworth guaranteed a prize to anyone who would toss Ping-Pong balls at small fish tanks for $5. Duckworth said she's been working booths for about six years.Pensacola is the next-to-last stop on Reithoffer Shows' tour of local fairs. After the rides pack up in Pensacola on Oct. 30, the fun will move to the Peanut Festival in Dothan, Ala.Duckworth said her booth had been slow during the first few hours of the event, but she wasn't worried."It'll pick up during the weekend," she said.
RALEIGH -- Dustin Burke christened his first trip to the N.C. State Fair last week by downing seven deep-fried Oreos.
"The Oreos," Burke said, then paused. "After the first one, I knew I had to eat them all because they were just so good. It's a taste you just can't describe, really."
Burke and his wife Samantha moved here four months ago from Lexington, Ky. Burke works as an engineer for Verizon Business in Cary. They are self-described "fair fanatics" but have mostly only visited county fairs in the past. Those fairs, he says, are "just a mini version" of the State Fair.
"I've never been to a fair that had so many different kinds of fried everything," Burke said.
Their first trip on opening night turned into more of a recon mission for their follow up trip this week.
"That first day was just an expedited run-through so next time we go back, we know what we want to do," Burke said. "You need at least two days to really see everything."
They loved the animals and the Flower & Garden exhibits, but mostly couldn't get over the food. Burke said he didn't eat all day in preparation for their first visit."Then I ate a corn dog and pizza." And of course, the Oreos. And some gingerbread muffins for the road.The agenda for their second trip: deep-fried Snickers bars.Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/10/21/1583244/nc-state-fairgoers-share-their.html?tab=gallery&gallery=/2011/10/20/1583088/iphone-at-the-fair-101911.html&gid_index=1#ixzz1bSi45Rzl
Friday, October 21, 2011
PANAMA CITY BEACH — For the next few days, Frank Brown Park will be the home of a bright red and yellow big top tent covering a 2,000-seat arena that signals fun for children of all ages.
The Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars has come to town.
The circus has balancing acts, clowns, cannons and animals ready to delight spectators this weekend.
The animals hanging out near the tent already were delighting people Thursday morning. Most of the tigers were sleeping after a night of travel, but a few were awake and playful.
Juergen Nerger, a 45-year veteran tiger trainer, said the young tigers love to play just like human children do. He has an area set aside for the tigers to have a playground, but the tigers also play around with each other in the traveling cages.
“I give my young tigers always time for playing around,” Nerger said. “They have to be happy for training. They’re like kids; they want to play around. Then you have time to start training, slowly.”
When Nerger spoke to his tigers, they responded eagerly, vying for his attention and rubbing their heads back and forth across his hands, like you would expect to see a housecat do.
On the other hand, the three elephants lounging outside were not moving around so much. They were eating hay and watching the activity around them with lazy swinging motions of their heads. Within a few hours, they would be the center of attention.
The tent was up, chairs were out and a hushed air of expectation filled the big top. Showtime was on its way.
Gaylord Maynard and Chief Bear Paw Perform Their Comedy Drunk Horse Act "The Big Debut" PART 3
Uploaded by revdino on Jan 28, 2011
This video is part 3 of 3, Mr. Maynard has no other choice but to put Chief Bear Paw # 4 into the act after Chief Bear # 3 injures himself.
North Carolina State Fair, c.1940's
Uploaded by ncarchives on Jul 7, 2011
This untitled film footage was shot by an amateur photographer at the North Carolina State Fair sometime during the 1940s. It shows animal acts, car races, stunt driving, the midway with burlesque shows, and other fair events.
Ringling Bros. - Barnum 200 Cheer on Boston Bruins
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is roaring into town with Barnum 200, a new jumbo-sized, un-miss-able event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of legendary P.T. Barnum. From the moment that you arrive, The Greatest Show On Earth® comes to life in a way that can only be inspired by the greatest showman who ever lived. This funtastic and funbelieveable experience answers the FUNundrum!
BJ Hebert, Concession manager , has been in the business for 31 years, 27 of these on C&M
.#2, David "Stilts" Volponi, has been on C&M for 24 seasons.
The Dykes Family joined the show, I believe, in 2003. Ron, Unicyle and inside concessions/novelties,
#3 Ron and Noah Dykes
Robin,Cook and tickets, Simone (21), Single trapeze and Ringmistress, first half of show, Paulina (15) ,Spanish Web, and with Ron
breaking a Big and Little horse act for next season, Lana (11), bird act, and Noah (8) in family Unicycle act. Daughter April (19) is in
college studing art. Sister-in-law, Natalie Cainan, present her dog act and is Ringmistress for the secon half of the show.
Ron and Robin have worked on Roberts Bros, Allen Bros, Royal American and Culpepper & Merriweather, and perhaps other shows, that I can not remember at the moment.
#4... Simone Dykes
#8 Simone Dykes and Natalie Cainan (her Aunt)
Thursday, October 20, 2011
PICCADILLY CIRCUS has everything you’d expect to see at a Circus. Celebrating 25 years entertaining families throughout North America “we’ve pulled out all the stops!”
Where: Town Toyota Center 1300 Walla Walla Avenue Wenatchee, WA 98801When: Thursday October 20th 4:30 & 7:30
Uploaded by revdino on Jan 28, 2011
This video is part 2 of 3, Mr. Maynard has no other choice but to put Chief Bear Paw # 4 into the act after Chief Bear # 3 injures himself
Uploaded by QUALCOMMVlog on Oct 10, 2011
How many praying mantises does it take to power a smartphone? Check it out!
The UniverSoul Circus will bring its big top to Philadelphia, next to the Mann Center for the Performing Arts at Fairmont Park, Tuesday through Nov. 6.
Instead of clowns throwing confetti on the crowd, colorfully clad hip-hop dancers stream out into the audience to get everyone on their feet. Caribbean stilt-walkers lead the crowd in a "Soul Train" conga line and the show finale is a giant extravaganza with everyone dancing to the beat of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."
"We are a circus with animals and acrobats," says Hank Ernst a spokesman for the circus. "The difference is the feel of the show. There's a lot of music and dancing and it's like a big party."
The classic circus with an "urban twist" will be in Philadelphia in a single ring under the big top erected in Fairmont Park next to the Mann Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday through Nov. 6.read more at:http://www.mcall.com/entertainment/events/mc-universoul-circus-20111019,0,5144211.story
Tillman, president of the Craven County Jaycees, stood by a ticket booth Sunday afternoon admiring the growing crowds walking among the rides and games of the Coastal Carolina Agriculture Fair.
“There is something about the fall when there is the smell of food over the midway,” Tillman said.
Crowds have doubled this year compared to last year at the fairgrounds, located on U.S. 70 between Havelock and New Bern. On Saturday about 5,000 people came through the gates, not including children under five who got in free, Tillman said.
“It is not a record year (of attendance),” he said. “But it was one of the best Saturdays we have had.”
Tillman said he attributed the high attendance on “the excellent weather” that brought mild temperatures and sunny skies. On opening night the midways were muddy when rain moved in earlier in the day but the mud patches were filled in, and people came, he said.
A Duplin County couple Tillman talked to at the fair said by far it was one of the best fairs they have attended — professional and clean, he said.read more at:http://www.havenews.com/news/fair-8958-county-tillman.html
FROM MIKE NAUGHTON--
Uploaded by fmichi on Oct 16, 2011
Roberto Guideri ha realizzato un bellissimo video in occasione della tournee in Austria del Circus Roncalli. Ecco il circo sulla centralissima Rathausplatz di Vienna! Il montaggio del circo in un luogo unico e magico!
PERRY -- Even with rain affecting four out of 10 days, the 22nd Georgia National Fair still posted record numbers.
This year’s fair, which ended Sunday, was the third-largest with 439,931 people attending, according to a Monday news release from Michele Treptow, director of communications for the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.
Sneak-a-Peek day, Oct. 6, had its best attendance thus far. Oct. 7 was the best first Friday, and Oct. 8 was the best first Saturday for attendance.
The fair also experienced a sell-out concert Oct. 8 with country music star Blake Shelton.
The second weekend proved second-best Saturday and Sunday attendance.
Throughout the 10 days, more than 10,000 children attended the fair on school field trips, according to Treptow.
Revenue numbers will not be available until the next meeting of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority in November.
Next year’s fair will be Oct. 4-14, 2012.Read more: http://www.macon.com/2011/10/18/1749028/national-fairs-attendance-its.html#ixzz1bGrEyd8Y
The annual show will take place at the Expo Center's outdoor arena rather than in the coliseum, with tickets ranging from $13 to $17. Many area schoolchildren are given free passes to the show.
The Jordan World Circus is owned and operated by Jody Jordan, who comes from a long background of aerialists and circus performers. The circus usually is through a local service club or police and fire association.
The performances will feature all the elements of a traditional circus show — aerialists, daredevils, clowns, elephants, lions, tigers and other performing animals large and small. The show also will feature the Jordan "Danger Zone" riders in the Globe of Death.
"It's a good little circus," said Rochelle Johnson, Expo Center general manager. "It's not on the same level probably as the Barnum & Bailey Circus, the big one, but it's still a pretty good circus."
The Jordan World Circus is easy for the Expo Center to prepare for, too, because it will be held in the outdoor arena, with dirt floor.
Circus personnel will set up the circus and take it down.
"We just have to clean up the facility before, during and after," Johnson said. "They sell the tickets and the whole nine yards."
PETA Offers Reward for Picture of Animal Cruelty at Circus
By Melissa Reid
Fox 8 News Reporter
October 17, 2011
CLEVELAND, Ohio— The Greatest Show on Earth is returning to Cleveland, and so is PETA, with cash.
"We at PETA are offering a $500 dollar reward to any quicken loans employee who can catch a Ringling Brothers employee using a bullhook on an elephant, whether videotape or camera," said Virginia Fort, with PETA.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baileys Funundrum Circus runs Wednesday through Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
FROM MIKE NAUGHTON---
Uploaded by revdino on Jan 28, 2011
This video is part 1 of 3, Mr. Maynard has no other choice but to put Chief Bear Paw # 4 into the act after Chief Bear # 3 injures himself. Please check out PARTS 2 & 3 of the "Big Debut!" For more information about Gaylord and his horses, please visit his website @ GaylordMaynard.com
Four months after viral Internet photos of a dead, one-eyed albino shark pup were panned as a hoax, a Mexican marine biologist has surfaced saying the fish is the real deal, LiveScience reported.
Dr. Felipe Galvan Magana, a shark expert at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine Science, is reportedly on the verge of releasing a scientific paper claiming the find - which was found inside a pregnant bull shark caught by a local commercial fisherman off Cabo San Lucas is June - is a rare case of "Cyclopia."
Tracy Ehring, manager of Pisces Sportfishing, which first posted the photos on the company blog in July, told The News she stumbled on the discovery when a client told her he saw pictures that another fisherman had taken of the bug-eyed, fully-developed pup.
"When I saw the first picture, I said, 'No way,' but then I looked at it closely," says Ehring. "I went to work tracking it down and verifying."
Albino 'cyclops' shark pup is not just fish tale, says expert
The fisherman told her that the albino was one of 10 pups found inside the 280-pound, 10-foot-long female shark, according to Ehring. The other nine were normal bull sharks.
"This is extremely rare. As far as I know, less than 50 examples of an abnormality like this have been recorded," Galvan Magana posted on the Pisces blog.Cyclopia, named after the legendary monster from Greek mythology, is a birth defect where the embryo's eyes fail to split into two.
Not everyone, however, bought the photos hook, line and sinker.
"People did not believe us," Ehring says. "You wouldn't believe the comments we got like, 'A Cabbage Patch Doll is missing an eye."
But that didn't stop calls from as far away as Europe -- including from "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" -- seeking to purchase, rent or borrow the carcass. Don't bother calling: it's locked up in Galvan Magana's university as it's being studied.
"I think it's important that people see this," says Ehring, referring to the impending report. "We want to shut the mouths of the skeptics."
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Joe took Dumbo to Nassau to participate in the Florida State Univ.Flying High Circus on May 2, 1989.
Dumbo and Felicia (Terry Frisco's daughter), 2009, in Marett, GA.
.Terry Frisco and Dumbo painting, about 2006
Dumbo, Felicia and Terry Frisco, Waco, TX, 1996 or 1997
Tim, Joe, Jr., and Joe,Sr., Janet on Great American, about 1994
Dumbo, Gina, Joyce,
FROM CASEY GIBBS--
Fun and Facts About America, John Sutherland Productions. Creative Commons license: Public Domain. This Cold War-era cartoon uses humor to tout the dangers of Communism and the benefits of capitalism.
The circus brings family fun for any audience. But the family fun also extends to the performers.
For many circuses, it is not unusual to have two or three generations performing under the same big top.
“The best thing about being in the circus is having my family with me all day,” said animal trainer Maria Ayala, who along with her husband and four children perform with the Lewis and Clark Circus. “I don’t have to not see them. A lot of parents have to leave their kids all day home alone. They’re always here.”
The Ayalas are part of 14 high-energy acts performing in the Lewis and Clark Circus, which returns for performances at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 and 25 at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, 346 Civic Center Blvd.
It seems once you get a taste of life in the circus, the performance bug takes hold for good.
Ayala, 42, is a fourth-generation circus performer who did the flying trapeze and other acts before training animals. Her husband, Jose, is a sixth-generation performer from Mexico.
He and middle son, Andy, 14, are the clowns in the show and performs a trampoline act along with youngest son, Brandon, 10.
Their eldest son, Jose Jr., 22, is an acrobat who performs the Rola Bola, an act involving balancing higher and higher on a board on top of cylinders.
Their daughter, Elizabeth, 20, is a trapeze artist who does an act where she hangs by her hair.
Despite the constant travel and living and working together, the Ayalas — who reside in Chatman, — try to maintain as normal a family life as possible.read more at:http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20111017/ENTERTAINMENT/111019576
That’s when the Rev. Jerry Hogan dons a colorful chasuble festooned with images of big tops, lions and zebras. As he administers the Eucharist, off-duty performers help sanctify the space by kneeling on the marble floor, praying and breaking spontaneously into Portuguese song.
The event is no act, even if it is associated with a three-ring circus.
After months of living together on a train and performing hundreds of shows a year, these 50 Catholic circus workers and their children are a beaming bunch as they hug the priest and nuns who’ve prepared them for this day.
“This gives me a way to know Jesus and to be protected,” said trapeze artist Ingrid Silva as she prepared for the sacrament of confirmation.
The Circus and Traveling Show Ministries of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provides the spiritual lifeblood for about 4,500 Catholics who work in North America’s 41 traveling circuses, as well as thousands more who work in carnivals, rodeos and auto racing.read more at:http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/circus-ministry-is-a-high-wire-act-of-faith-for-chaplain/2011/10/17/gIQAQNthrL_story.html
Monday, October 17, 2011
From Pet Star in Hollywood to your fair!
Audiences, young and old alike, will delight in Star's ability to answer math problems, perform tricks, and flash a big smile.
Wonderful audience participation!
From: DJdeclown205 Sep 9, 2011
I am a clown with the Culpepper and Merriweather circus. This is my ring gag for the 2011 season. Enjoy!!!!
Plus, we got to meet a bunch of the Zoppé's after the show -- it's hard to miss them, they go out in the crowd and shake hands and do stunts before and after the big-top performance -- and they were all very nice.
The boss of this multiple-generation circus these days is Giovanni Zoppé, who is a goofy clown during the show. Except, watch his stunts. Amazing stuff, including bits on a high trapeze over the hard ground. Meet him after the show, and you realize the man is pretty much all muscle.
Giovanni Zoppe clowns on the trapeze in Redwood City on Saturday night, Oct. 16, 2010. Twenty years ago he fell while doing this act and was in a coma for four days. Grounded by a doctor for a year, he was back up in the air on the anniversary of his fall. ( John Orr )
A couple of decades ago, Zoppé fell off that high trapeze and was in a coma for four days, then grounded by the medicos for a year. On the anniversary of that fall, he was back up in the air.
His son Julien -- born two years ago during a visit to Redwood City --- was in the show last year, standing up on his father's hand. Impressive stunt for a one-year-old. We met him after the show, too. And, his mother, Amy, who does beautiful aerial stunts.
No lions and tigers and elephants, oh my, but a troupe of trained dogs do some funny bits. A charming little act. And some big horses, who run around the ring while the petite Amy Zoppé and others do stunts on their backs. Sort of like dressage in Woodside, only more and less.
And, it's all inside a modern circus tent. Fun.
Go look for the tent on Middlefield Road in Redwood City.
Witness the impromptu show -- most of his shows are impromptu, actually -- Mann stages in the parking lot of the Ellis Island Casino & Brewery on a recent, stubbornly overcast morning.
Standing and dancing next to his taxi -- you can tell it's his by the 8-by-10 head shot in the window bearing the words "Daniel Mann, Taxi Driver/Comedian" -- Mann juggles a trio of cascading silver clubs. He juggles while doing this shoulder-jutting dance move. He balances -- perfectly -- his cowboy hat on his nose like a turquoise-shirted seal.
Ron Purpura and Veronica Mariaca look on with just-this-side-of-amazed smiles. They're visiting from Danville, Calif., and Mann's parking lot extravaganza certainly is the least expensive show they've seen in Vegas.
Mann's talents are "impressive," Mariaca says, while Purpura figures Mann is missing a bet if he doesn't use his juggling talents to attract fares.
"It might even get him better tips," Purpura says. "If there's a line of 10 cabs and one guy is outside juggling, right away I think I might take a ride with him."read more at--http://www.lvrj.com/living/las-vegas-cabby-juggles-dances-tells-jokes-to-entertain-passengers-131940358.html?ref=358
While the circus was in Hollywood he met Buck Jones, an established Western star. Jones persuaded him to get into the movies. He began as a "cowboy extra," but his rugged good looks - and his superb horsemanship - got him a contract with Fox Studios in 1923. Like all "cowboy stars" of the day he had a special horse, which was either white or palomino depending on which reference you consult. In his short-lived comic-book series in the late ‘40s, the horse was represented as white.
The name of the horse was Tarzan, and this led to problems. When Fox began billing "Ken Maynard and Tarzan," Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan the Ape Man, took exception to it and sued. The suit, which dragged on for several years, was finally settled out of court.
Maynard moved to Universal for talking pictures. He was a musician who played several instruments well, among them the fiddle and the banjo. He also fancied himself a singer, though his singing voice was rather nasal-sounding. He did record two songs with Columbia Records, "The Lone Star Trail" and "The Cowboy's Lament," which is more widely known as "The Streets of Laredo." He also sang two songs in "Sons of the Saddle" in 1930, making him the first ‘singing cowboy,' though he never sang in a film again.
In 1931 and '32 he moved to Tiffany Productions and to Sono Art-World Wide Pictures, but he returned to Universal in 1933. At Universal he played the fiddle in "The Fiddlin' Buckaroo" and the banjo in "The Trail Drive," both in 1933.
Ken Maynard was a very egotistical individual - hard to work with and hard to get along with - which may have led to his final studio jump, in 1934, to Mascot Pictures, a much smaller outfit than Universal. However, that year he and Mascot hired two radio musicians from WLS-Chicago's "National Barn Dance" to be part of a bluegrass band featured in "In Old Santa Fe." They were Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette. Autry sang a couple of songs in the picture, but neither he nor Burnette got billing. Nevertheless, that began their careers in movies. The very next year Burnette had a supporting role in a Rin-Tin-Tin serial and Autry starred in a 13-chapter serial called ‘The Phantom Empire," Burnette had a supporting role as his sidekick, "Oscar."
That marked the first of the many, many films Burnette and Autry would make together. There was a slight problem with Autry's serial. He was to play a cowboy. Cowboys have to ride horses. That's essential to the image. Though Gene Autry was a Texan by birth and was discovered by Will Rogers while working as a railroad telegrapher in Oklahoma, he'd never been on a horse in his life! He had to be taught to ride - and Ken Maynard taught him.
Although Maynard made more than 90 films, his egotism - and later, his alcoholism - brought his career in movies to an end in 1944. He became almost impossible to work with and, as often as not, showed up half-drunk on the set. He began making personal appearances at rodeos and state fairs and for a time owned a small circus featuring trick riders, but lost it to creditors. He spent his final years living in a run-down trailer park in California, his fortune gone. However, he was quietly supported by an unknown benefactor until his death. While the unknown benefactor's identity has never been publicly acknowledged, it is generally believed the benefactor was Gene Autry, to whom Maynard gave his big break back in 1934.