YESTERDAY'S TOWNS

HOWDY, MY NAME IS BILL STRONG, I'LL BE YOUR "24 HOUR MAN", ROUTING YOU INTO THE PAST TO SEE WHAT THE CIRCUS WAS IN DAYS GONE BY. IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, AND MISS WHAT IT USED TO BE, THEN COME ON ALONG AS WE GO DOWN THE ROAD FOLLOWING THE ARROWS BACKWARDS, TO "YESTERDAY'S TOWNS"! IF YOU HAVE CIRCUS RELATED PICTURES YOU WOULD LIKE POSTED, SEND THEM TO,,,,yesterday1@verizon.net,,,,AND WE WILL TRY TO FIT THEM IN. "24 HOUR MAN" WILL HAVE THE FINAL DECISION ON POSTING.

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Location: GIBSONTON, FLORIDA, United States

Three years at CWM made me a real traditionalist, and I keep remembering Bob Parkinson saying, "I want the people to see what the circus used to be, not what it is today. That's what this site is about!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

CIRCUS AMERICA: MENDEZ & JACQUELINE

GENE MENDEZ

Gene had no pedastal boards on his rigging, it was hung from the ceiling, shortly after opening, the Operations Manager pointed out to me that since the ceiling fluctuated as much as eighteen inches up & down in the wind, and the rigging was hung on steel cables, & guyed out with cable ratchets, there was no give & created a very dangerous situation, so every show he would call the weather dept. for the wind speed to determine whether it was safe for Gene to work. We finally opted for putting poles under the wire.

FIREHOUSE GAG
The Firehouse Gag didn't last long in the program, it was a good gag & included Max Craigs 1/4 scale Hook & Ladder Fire Engine, the problem was, the House was so large,(about 15' square), it was just too awkward to handle.


MADEMOISELLE JACQUELINE
The Space number suffered a set back before we even opened, while working in Miami Jacqueline's brake failed while descending at the closing of her act, crashing her & the rigging to the ground, she was fortunately not injured too seriously, but enough to prevent her from opening in Washington. Tarzan put together a sustitute rigging with two small rockets, & Lisa Bauer worked her trapeze act on it until Jackie was able to go back to work, which was before the date finished.
I was so busy with getting the show ready for opening I had no time to finish the conversion of our rigging to a rocket. One night after a busy day, Jerry Sachs suggested I get some rest, I told him I had to work on the rocket, he replied, "forget the #^%*&@$#* rocket, you'll get paid for it anyway, we need the show ready". The display ended up to be Jacqueline's Rocket, & Dave Smith's Flying Saucer Cradle Act.
THE SATURNAIRES
David & Patty Smith
Dave Smith's Saucer entered the ring with them inside, the winch cable & electric cable were then attached & the rigging raised into the air, one show something caused the electric cable to tangle in the winch pulley, seemingly trapping them in the air. Dave exited the top of the saucer, climbed the greasy winch cable & hanging on with both hands 50' in the air, untangled the electric cord with his teeth.

SPACE PRODUCTION WARDROBE

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When they retired Max sold the little fire engine to the Shriners here in Dallas. They still use it every year in the nightly parade during the State Fair of Texas. The State Fair also ended up with Gil Gray's office semi. It has never been repainted and still looks great. It still reads Gill Gray presents "The Show Beautiful" and is used as an office during the fair.
BG Dallas

5/07/2007 12:29 PM  
Blogger 24-HOUR-MAN said...

It's funny about Gil's semis, in those days they looked big, if you put them beside today's rigs they would look like "Matchbox" toys.

A towner in Roswell NM told me oncce that when he got out of his car in the parking lot, and saw the show's trucks, he knew he was going to see a good show.

5/07/2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Max told me once that Gil made him paint the roofs of the trucks just like the rest of the body. Beautiful scroll work, show name everything. When I asked him why Max said, "For when we played outside. From a grandstand it made them look like a million bucks". A couple of years ago I saw the office trailer at the fair and thought about that. I found a place where I could see the roof of the semi. Sure enough, just as pretty as the sides. I think the fair knows they have something historic. It is never parked outside except during the run of the fair. The rest of the year it is parked inside out of the elements.
BG Dallas
PS It might be 28 feet long if that!

5/07/2007 1:35 PM  
Blogger 24-HOUR-MAN said...

I remember times when Gil would route the trucks through downtown for maximum exposure, & park the empty trucks at different locations around town, there was never any doubt there was a circus in town!

5/07/2007 3:45 PM  

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