Thursday, February 28, 2008

WALTER GUICE: Janette Rainwater Series

Photos courtesy of Michael Rainwater



More from the Janette Rainwater series; here's someone that I know almost nothing about other than that he spent several years with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Walter Guice.

3 comments:

24-HOUR-MAN said...

Walter was originally what was referred to in the old days as a "hickory stick artist", "hoe handler", or simply a "bar actor". He had an Aerial Horizontal Bar Act Troupe.

tommy moore said...

Walter must have had, thru Ringling, some sort of promotional contract with the Sylvania photo flasbuld company.
He would go around the track with a Polaroid type "camera" take flash pictures of people, then reach into the back of the camera and pull out/and hand out a B&W postard sized autographed photo of himself,with the words Sylvania Sam on the hatband of his derby. Still have that picture (somewhere in a trunk) today.
Tommy

Dick Flint said...

Walter Guice was from Danville, IL, winterquarters to the J.H. LaPearl show. His sister and brother both joined the show and Walter soon joined as a kid take-all-comers boxer but then started to learn trap and bar work. He was with the early John H. Sparks and Sells-Floto shows and by 1910 had his own bar act troupe. He expanded his interest to riding and he was involved with both types of acts in the coming decade on Gollmar, Sparks, and R.T. Richards (an overland show operated by the son of Alf T. Ringling). The '20s had him again on Sparks for all but two seasons when he played one in ballparks and another on John Robinson. For most of the '30s he was on Ringling providing, in 1934-35, three different bar acts but also a fourth he booked on Barnes. 1940 had him on Cole but most of the '40s he played fairs until an injury finally caused him to confine himself to clowning. Throughout much of this time he had also clowned in riding and bar acts, often in character including a tramp outfit and makeup. He was married to Flora Bedini of the famous riding family and after her death in 1950 married Bessie Hollis of another well-known riding family. He retired to Florida and died there in 1971, age 82.
Dick Flint
Baltimore