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!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

HAMID-MORTON, HUNT BROS. CIRCUS, PALISADES PARK 1957

HAMID-MORTON & HUNT BROS. CIRCUSThis was the first of these annual shows but I'm not certain how many they did.

4 Comments:

Blogger henry edgar said...

i believe hunt/hamid morton did this date two years, then beatty-cole. in 1962, the beatty corporation produced the show under king bros, sells and gray title because dates overlapped with beatty-cole in comack. bill english from sells and gray managed the show, john cloutman was in the office, jack ames was announcer and i blieve ramon escorcia was bandleader. i was there for about a week in 1962, waiting for the sells and gray advance to go on the road, and i loved everything about the date except the heavy snow. the sideshow and menagerie were set up separately. circus employees got park employee discounts and a lot of the younger people enjoyed playing in the park after the night shows -- the roller coaster was an exciting experience at that time, back when roller coasters were roller coasters. the show included the wallendas in their first date after detroit -- jana (top mounter in detroit) visited on the way back to germany. also the roy rogers liberty horses, la norma, the flying gaonas, alberto zoppe, fred and ortans canestrelli, johnny pugh's trampoline act, the rding dorchesters, chet juszck cats, morris seals, newman-dickerson bears, and many others. rex williams had the beatty elephants there in the beginning, then took them to comack when they were replaced by the woodcoack and cristiani elephants. this dayte was a great way
for an 18-year-old to begin a circus career.

1/25/2009 10:13 PM  
Blogger 24-HOUR-MAN said...

henry:
THANK YOU!!!!

1/25/2009 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Bill: I am hoping you can talk a bit about the actual lengths of acts "back in the day." In general, were certain acts expected to last a certain length of time? And if so, what were the lengths of particular acts? Did producers have certain time slots that they wanted filled, say in the Detroit Shrine Circus, which was one of the first shows that I ever saw back in the early 1960s, there were several 5 ring (or 3 rings and 2 stages) displays where 5 different acts were all going on at the same time; did the producer say for thus and such display you have 7 minutes and then the acts filled in with whatever fit? I know in older act promotional materials, many performers listed times for their different acts, say teeterboard act 10 minutes, acrobatic act 6 minutes, solo trap 7 minutes, etc. Would these have been maximum times for the acts? Would performers cut the times of their acts if asked or required and how would they choose what to cut? Did this make any difference to the producers/owners? I know in the case of wild animal acts that some flexibility was needed in case of problems. In seeing multiple shows, I have seen where cat acts might run 15 minutes for one performance and 25 for the next, depending on any number of factors. Today, there is a cat act that lasts under 3 minutes and I have timed it over and over on several different occasions. I often ponder whether it is really worth all of the hassle and trouble to set it up and tear it down for 2+ minutes of act. I have also heard that Kenneth Feld wants no act longer than 5 minutes and many foreign acts have had problems cutting down the lengths of their acts to fit the tight production schedule, sometimes with not the best results. But this may just be unfounded criticism... I have rarely heard of instances where an act had to stretch out their performance time in case of a mishap or late entrance of an act following, but it used to be that Clown Alley was ready to come on in case of an accident or mishap, but in this day and age, many shows do not even carry a real clown let alone an entire alley, so what happens then? Also, when you were working, how early before your act(s) were you ready to go on? Did this vary from act to act or was there some unwritten rule that acts/performers adhered to for the sake of what was written into contracts or for tradition? Are there contracts that require a feature act to perform a certain trick or tricks? I have read where Irvin Feld promised to pay Miguel Vasquez a certain amount of money for each quadruple somersault that he completed in shows over the length of a season and that it cost Mr. Feld dearly because his rate of completing quads was very high and he had 2 chances in every show, but I can't believe that this was commonly done! Can you shed some light on this for me and the rest of your blog readers? Thanks so much!
Neil Cockerline
Minneapolis, MN

1/26/2009 6:31 PM  
OpenID BlueThunder115 said...

If I read this correctly,the "Ramon Escorcia" mentioned above may or may not be my grandfather. My father's given name was Ramon,which would make him a Jr.,but changed it to Raymond. My mother mentioned a reference and when I googled his name,this came up.If you know more about Ramon,I'd like to know more about him,since no one seems to know much (long story about that).

3/24/2009 12:23 AM  

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