I am going back to the Medicine Show days with Princess Lola and Ben and Eva Davenport. Ben had a wrestling bear named "Teddy". Opening night, Pete Anderson and I would wrestle the bear, and Ben would tell the people he would give $25.00 to anyone who could put the bear down and spread his front legs out.
We were playing Mascoutah, IL, when Raymond "Red" Fryfogal came up on "Bear Night" to win the $25.00. However, he got his finger in the muzzle and the bear bit his finger off. To avoid a lawsuit, Ben got Red to join the show. Ben made a dog boy out of Red and we named him "Dog Red". One day Ben and I were hooking up the girlsí trailer to the truck that towed it, when the hitch got loose from us and took the hide off Benís leg. from his knee to his ankle.
I always sat across from Ben in the cookhouse. One hot day we had the cookhouse tables set up under some shade trees, when Dog Red was letting the dogs out for a run. They got under the table between Ben and I and got into a vicious fight. I kicked at them and accidentally kicked Ben on that sore shin. He fell backward and landed on the ground on his back He looked at me and yelled. "Damn you boy, donít you ever kick them dogs".
Allen "Smiley" Brewer is a retired tire salesman, and long time circus fan and circus model builder in HO and ľ" scales. Smiley works winters, part time at Disney World in Florida. At most circus gatherings. Smiley can be found with his vendor tables set up and a spiel of "Do I have a deal for you! When donning his cowboy hat, there is a strong resemblance to Harry S. Truman.
Everyone loves to see Smiley and his wife, Anne, and we always look for them whenever we get to model gatherings.
Mary Kay & Tom Dunwoody formerly of Sauna, Ohio, now call the old American Circus Corporation Winter Quarters, home. Tom is the Executive Director of the Circus Hall of Fame A retired architect, Tom, along with his wife, Mary Kay, has taken over the helm of the Circus Hall of Fame on a full time basis. Tom is a circus model builder and an historian especially on the circus history of Peru Mary Kay puts out fires around the museum on an every day basis.
Lana & Willis Shane Bill has been woodcarving since he was 15 years old. His dad began woodcarving circus pieces in the early 50ís. Bill is currently a controller at the Community Hospital of Ottawa, IL. Lana has been a "go-fer" for Shane ever since Bill took her to Baraboo for their honeymoon. Lana is a k-2 reading teacher.
On behalf of the entire membership, we want to welcome these new members and wish them an outstanding amount of circus fin in the Charlie Smith Tent.
2003 FALL TENT MEETING
Mark your calendars for October 18, 2003 as the Charlie Smith Tent #131 will, once again, have a fall meeting. The hotel flag will be raised at 6:00 pm. at the Angelic Restaurant 1568 W. Larkin Ave., Elgin, IL. It is across from the Larkin High School.
R.S.V.P. by October 11, to Don Sexton at 847-742-9420, so Don can get a head count for the restaurant.
BUSINESS MEETING to take place after supper is completed. We will be opening the ballots for the election of new officers, who will be installed at this meeting. They will be in office for a two-year term.
CIRCUS ROOM GALA: Following the above mentioned dinner and meeting at the restaurant, an auction of old time lithographs from the Sexton collection will he conducted at the Sextonís home at 833 Morgan Street, in Elgin. IL. Proceeds will go to the Charlie Smith expenses connected to Charlieís induction into the ring of Fame on January 17, 2004, Sarasota, Florida.
If you have not been to the Sextons, you will not want to miss this meeting. You will be wonderfully surprised at the circus treasures Don has collected in his basement.
BIG DAY FOR CHARLIE AND TENT
Be sure to mark your calendar for January 17, 2004. This is the day our own Charlie Smith will be inducted into the Ring of Fame at St. Armands Circle, in Sarasota, Florida. This will be a great honor bestowed on Charlie for his many years of dedication in the circus business. Charlie will be joining the ranks of other honorary members of his tent. Previously enshrined members are John Llerriott and Harold Ronk.
Following the ceremony, at 3:00 or 3:30 p.m., Kitty Smith will be hosting a get-together for Charlie at the Showfolks Club ..Ail members attending the ceremony are also invited to the club afterwards. Plan your vacations accordingly and lets give Charlie a great turnout from his tent for this memorable occasion.
GRAND KIDS GET TWO FULL WEEKENDS OF CIRCUS ENTERTAINMENT
Not only was it a treat for the kids, but also grandparents Donna and Wayne Schemer had a wonderfully hysterical circus week with the three grand kids Amelia (age 7),& Aliechia Stout (age 12) from Leonard MN, and Daniel Stout (age 10) from Puposky, MN. We were blessed with two weekends of circus adventures.
Donna drove to Minneapolis to pick up the kids on Friday, July 11, and met Wayne in Caledonia, Wisconsin, just south of Milwaukee, where he had the motor home set up at Yogi Bear Jellystone Park.
THE 2003 GREAT CIRCUS FESTIVAL
Saturday, July 12th, we headed for the show grounds in Milwaukee, where we were immediately greeted by Charlie Smith Tent member. Bob Phebus, who was working the welcome tent.
Once on the lot, the kids enjoyed some of the mechanical rides and the carousel. A!iechia got a chance to ride one of Dave and Maxine Haleís 5-I-I Ranch camels. We introduced the kids to Herb Head who was just getting ready to give a concert on the America Steam Calliope. Everyone got in position at 2:15 p.m. to witness a spectacular cannon shot, by David Smith and his father, the Human Cannonballs, flying across the big top as a free midway attraction.
While strolling around the lot, we kept meeting Charlie Smith Tent President, Lloyd Fengel at various locations. Then, the ultimate mistaken identity occurred! Donna was convinced she had run into Ernest Borgnine and proceeded to introduce the kids to him. I kept shaking my head, no, that was not Ernie, as I had just run into the "real" Ernest Borgnine at the parade office. This very friendly man told us he was a Mr. Borgnine look alike, gave us his name (which we forgot to write down), and agreed to have his picture taken with the kids.
Next it was on to the Wild West Review for the 2:30 p.m. show. From all the pictures Iíve seen of Wild West Shows of the past, the tent configuration and layout of the outdoor arena were pretty accurate. The show was a re-enactment of Buffalo Billís Wild West Show of about 100 years ago. The show had plenty of cowboys, cowgirls, and Indians. We also had a chance to see Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and Ivan the Cossack. We also witnessed a dramatic re-enactment of General George A. Custerís Michigan Calvary Brigade at the Little Big Horn.
Finally it was 5:00 p.m. and time for the Festival Circus, which was a Plunkett Production. Opening the show was the Ringmistress,Christine Herrioft, entering on horseback. She was assisted by Charlie Smith Tent honorary member, and proud father, John Herriott. Next was Christine presenting her six liberty ponies with jockey figures on board. Other outstanding acts were Chirstopher James, dressed in a tuxedo, as a somewhat inebriated wirewalker whoís moves closely resembled the moves of his mentor, Hubert Castle. Also Brian Franzen worked one Asian and two African elephants.
There were several Charlie Smith tent members working at the show grounds. There was Circus World Museum board member, John Goodall, Jr. who was working out of the parade office, and Dale Riker was taking tickets at Clown-A-Rama and Zhaoís Imperial Chinese Acrobats. Sheelagh Jones and Don Sexton worked as ushers in the Big Top. Finally, Edward Sheehan was in charge of clean up, and was responsible for the waste haulers. Ed had access to a golf cart, so he could easily circulate throughout the show grounds.
After a full day of circusing, it was back to the motor home at Yogi Bearís Jellystone Park for dinner and no one contested an early retirement to bed.
THE GREAT CIRCUS PARADE
Sunday, July 13th, 11:00 a.m., found the Schemers and Stouts already set up with their folding chairs and coolers on the corner of Michigan Street, near the end of the parade route. Time passed quickly in anticipation for the start of the parade, as we had our white cocker spaniel, Ladie, dressed in a red circus collar, entertaining people as they passed by. Shortly before the start of the parade we got a wave from new Charlie Smith Tent member, Bill Shane, seated on a work wagon with other workers, which was being pulled by a tractor.
At precisely 2:00 p.m. the Great Circus Parade got underway. There were fewer wagons and bands, and we sorely missed the forty-horse hitch. The real Ernest Borgnine was in the parade, and we also saw Leslie Nielsen (Airplane & Naked Gun) who was Special Guest Grand Marshall. Even with the shortened parade, (less than two hours were required to complete the march) there were no complaints from anyone. The weather was great and this was the end of a fantastic circus weekend.
On Sunday, before the parade started, Charlie Smith Tent member, Shirley Sexton was on duty, guarding a tiger cage.
A huge "job well done", goes out to all those members of the Charlie Smith Tent who were involved as workers in the 2003 Festival and Great Circus Parade.
CHILDHOOD AMBITION REALIZED BY BOB UNTERREINER
Our tent member, bob Unterreiner, was in the Milwaukee Parade last month, playing drums with a thirteen piece circus band, on the Cole Bros. Asia circus wagon. Eight beautiful, black draft horses pulled the wagon over the three-mile route. This was an ambition realized by Bob ever since he was a kid, and he states it was an enjoyable experience. The band was under the direction of Ted Buenger, outstanding trumpet player from Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and the band played authentic circus music. Bob and Ted are both members of the famous Windjammers Unlimited Circus Band. Band members wore oriental band costumes in keeping with the wagonís Asian design. The wagon was attractively colored in gold, white, red and blue colored schemes, identifying the major Asian countries. Bob says the crowd was very receptive to the music played and kept asking for more music as the band moved through the streets of downtown Milwaukee.
CIRCUS SCHEINER GOES TO PERU
Before things had a chance to cool down from Milwaukee, our crew was off to Peru, Indiana for another long weekend of circus thrills. Setting up in the backyard of the Circus Hall of Fame, we were flanked on both sides of the motor home by Charlie Smith Tent members. On the right was Mary & Doyne Snider, from Bourbon, Indiana, and on the left was John Herriott.
Friday evening, July 18 we headed to downtown Peru, where Doug Terranova had his elephant and tiger compound set up close to the Peru Amateur Circus arena. Upon introducing Doug to the grand kids, he proceeded to exhibit one of his newly acquired tigers. Just before we entered the amateur Circus arena, the kids caught a ride on one of Dougís elephants.
Then it was time for the 7:30 performance of the 44 anniversary edition of the Peru Amateur Circus. This yearsí theme was "Run A way to the Circus with Me in 2003". The kids were amazed as they watched their peers at unicycle, juggling, teeterboard. high wire, and flying trapeze. We have been going to Peru for several years now, and it seems like every year they get better, and it is wonderful to watch the kids grow, both in size, and talent The entire town and surrounding communities get involved. The kids are the stars and the parents are the riggers. roustabouts, and trainers.
After the show, it was a walk through the carnival that was set up in the streets of downtown Peru. Of course the kids hit Grandma & Grandpa for a few dinero for some rides. It was a full day.
BETTY HUTTON TRAPEZE FLOAT GETS NEW TASSELS
A couple of our members came to Peru early for the Circus Historical Society 47th Annual Convention. Those members were John Diesso and Dominic Yodice, from New York. Thanks to Domís efforts in procuring the tassels for each corner, the restored Betty Hutton Trapeze Float is as close to the original as it was when it appeared in the Greatest Show on Earth. Dom is employed by Westpoint Stevens, and he had the tassels custom made from their vendor, Conso Trimmings Company of Union, South Carolina. The contact person was Bob Stiso. Many thanks go out to Doni, Conso Trimmings, and Bob Stiso, for this joint effort.
KIDS MAKE NEW FRIENDS IN BACKYARD
While walking our dog, Ladie, in the backyard of the Circus Hall of Fame, Aliechia, Daniel, and Mya got to be friends with a couple of kids from the Flying Pages. First was Five-year-old Mercedes, who fell in love with Ladie. Mercedes is already a star with six hula hoops and plenty of styling in the ring . Anthony, thirteen, one of the family flying act, is very close to throwing his first triple. Both kids were polite and congenial, as is the rest of the family. Needless to say, the grand kids will be going back to Minnesota with plenty of stories.
2003 CIRCUS CITY FESTIVAL PARADE
This year the parade had many different units, including horse and tractor drawn circus wagons, bands, cages with circus animals, calliopes, floats, circus dignitaries, and circus performers. Unfortunately, I was not able to view the parade this year, as Doyne Snider and I had the honor of being part of the parade. As reported in a earlier newsletter, Bill Gresham of Fort Wayne. lndiana, Doyne, and I rebuilt the Betty Hutton Trapeze Float for the 50th anniversary of the Greatest Show on Earth last year. When it was in the parade last year, many of the newer generation spectators did not know what they were looking at. Tom Dunwoody, Executive Director of the Circus Hall of Fame approached us and suggested we make a signature banner. That is exactly what Donna & I did. Doyne and I donned new costumes (Matching circus shirts and pith helmets), and marched in the parade ahead of the float carrying the new banner announcing the Betty Hutton Float behind us. Jill Pages, from the Flying Pages, honored us by perching on the trapeze on the float, substituting for Betty Hutton.
CIRCUS HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS
Saturday evening, July 19th, it was back to the Circus Hall of Fame big top for a buffet style dinner, with the tables being set up like spokes of a wheel, coming out from the ring. This yearís enshrinement into the Circus Hall of Fame, were William (Buckles) Woodcock, Jr. and Hugo Zacchini. Both men followed their fathers as Circus Hall of Famers. Hugoís dad, the late Edmondo (Papa) Zacchini, invented the daredevil act in 1922, and "The Zacchini Brothers" were inducted in 1975. Hugo retired his cannonball act after a 41-year career. Hugo was hailed as a "Cannonball King". Buckles father, the late William B. Woodcock Sr., a legendary elephant trainer was enshrined in 1986. Buckles Woodcock is widely recognized as "The Dean of American Elephant Trainers". Accepting the award for Hugo Zacchini, was Paul Ingrassia of Rockford, Illinois. Accepting for Buckles Woodcock, was our own, John Herriott.
After the awards, it was time for the International Circus Hall of Fame Circus. Under the direction of ringmaster John Fugate.
Although this was a short season of only three weeks for the Circus Hall of Fame Circus, it was the best circus produced at the Hall of Fame in itís history, with the addition of The Flying Pages. Our hats go off to Tom Dunwoody for bringing Jill, Willie, and Anthony Pages, and nephews, Justin and Miguel, with their sensational flying act. Oh, and letís not forget Mercedes. We donít often see a child that young with such professional skills. She was definitely a delight.
Charlie Smith Tent members in Indiana for the Festival were, John Diesso, Mary Kay & Tom Dunwoody, John Herriott, Sheelagh Jones, Bob Phebus, David Reddy, Dale Riker, Wayne & Donna Schemer, Don & Shirley Sexton, Doyne & Mary Snider, and Dominic Yodice.
CIRCUS MODEL BUILDERS DISPLAY AT CIRCUS WORLD MUSEUM
After a seven-year absence from displaying at the museum, a model carnival circus and railroad show thrilled visitors coming through Circus World Museum for three days. (August 15-17) 43 registrants representing 13 states comprised the model show. From the farthest points, we had Minnesota from the north, Florida from the South, Colorado from the West, and Pennsylvania from the East coast. Thanks to the efforts of Larry Fisher and Randy Peterson, it was a fantastic and very successful show. Larry Fisher is the new C.E.O. of Circus World Museutm and Randy Peterson is the in-house elephant trainer, as well as an all around hands-on guy who ram-rodded the event.
The show was set up in the Chappie Fox Restoration Building, where new Charlie Smith Tent members, Lana & Will Shane, displayed their hand-carved figures, and beautiful wagons as well as their animated blacksmith shop. Also displaying in the Deppe Parade Wagon Pavilion another new Charlie Smith Tent member, Smiley Brewer. Donna & Wayne Schemer and Mary & Doyne Snider set up and displayed the Gaffney layout, which they brought from the Model Builders Hall of Fame in Peru, Indiana. The display is a 12í X 20í display of Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus, under canvas. This same display spent a year at the Childrenís Museum in Toronto, Canada. It was moved to Baraboo by the Schemers and Sniders on a lowboy trailer, comprised of three crates and it weighs about 3000 lbs. On September 17-20 of this year, we will once again be moving this layout, this time, to Uniontown. Pennsylvania for Circus Daze, 2003, the National Gathering for the Circus Model Builders. This magnificent layout was built by the now deceased, Tom Gaffney, and donated to the Hall of Fame from his wife in Philadelphia. We are hoping to connect with Mrs. Gaffney in Pennsylvania, to show her that her husbandís labor of love lives on.
At 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning, August l6~ík all interested members met Fred Dahlinger at the original Ringling Bros. train sheds for a personal tour that was not open to the public. This was a fantastic excursion. Talk about turning a bunch of kids loose in a candy store! Once inside, we found Rudy Bundyís and Royal American Showís private rail cars still not completed for display.
At 6:00 p.m. the doors of the museum were closed and a BBQ was held in the Hippadrome Cookhouse for all participants. New C.E.O., Larry Fisher, was found behind a table, serving brats. During the meal Larry thanked everyone for coming and had nothing but praise for the model builders. Mr. Fisher states that the museum would like to, once again, make this an annual show. In fact, the dates for next year have already been set. Next yearís Circus World Model Show in Baraboo will be August 13, 14, and 15, 2004.
Although Charlie Smith Tent member, Tim Tegge was very busy moving, with his wife Gigi, to their new home across the street from their past residence, as well as working as Professor Tegge, at Story Book Gardens in the Dells, he was still able to stop by twice to visit the model displays. He bought some posters from Smiley to use to decorate his new home. The entire house will be circus displays, with exceptions of the bedroom, which Gigi has deemed "off limits" for circus items. Since Tim has one of the best collections of circus items not housed in a museum, we are anxious for him to have the new home ready for viewing.
On Saturday afternoon, new members of the Charlie Smith Tent, the Ortiz family, visited the show. They stayed over night in the Delis and returned at 10:00 a.m. Sunday, to help with the tear down of the Gaffney display. Arrnando, Ben, Michelle and Nick Ortiz helped the Schemers and Sniders carry and the heavy plexi-glass panels.
Trainmaster Editorís note: A big round of applause goes out to this quarterís reporters for supplying information for our Trainmaster. Those reporters were Lloyd Fengel, Wayne Schemer, Don Sexton, Charlie Smith, Bob Unterreiner, and Dominic Yodice. Photo credits also go out to Donna Schemer, Bob Unterreiner, and Dominic Yodice. Donna and I hope everyone is having a great circus season. Donít forget. "Think Charlie Smith", January 17, 2004.