Tuesday, March 03, 2009

RINGLING: Madison Square Garden (Early 1960s)

Early post-tent show era Ringling in NYC. The clip starts with Jackie LeClaire at the elephant walk and ends with Coco doing the painters gag.

This film is labeled as being Ringling 1958 but I would dispute that. When I spoke with Coco he told me that he didn't start with Ringling until 1960 and performed the soap gag until 1965 when he took the Advance Clown job.


Mike Naughton said...

The lovely and athletic Vicky Unus (La Toria) doing the "roll-ups" on the web to the aerial rings. Wade Burck, please note she is wearing heels.

The perch act, THE GEORGIANS, George Hanneford II.

The riding act, George Hanneford II.

Also note: this is the third version of The Garden on 50th Street and Eight Avenue and there are 3 rings and 2 stages.

The Garden Pharmacy, across the street, was a major retailer of Stein's Theatrical make-up. When I bought my fist make-up in 1971 the tubes were beige (later blue) and the clown white came in ONE POUND tin cans.

Anonymous said...

Who was the lady doing the roll-ups on the web? And who was the heel catcher?
Was it George Hanneford's perch and riding act?

Bruce the Clown

Mr Lee said...

I would think the male single trap heel catch act is Gerard Soules

Mike Naughton said...

Can anyone ID the head balancing trapeze and the heel catch?

I believe it is Trevor Bale in the arena.

Who else is with COCO in the paint gag?

I enjoyed the "delay" with the suds in the fanny bit -- great build-up.

Anonymous said...

Head balancing trapeze is Galla Shawn (Tiny Gallagher). Liberty Horse Act is actually Bill Buschbom, who interestingly enough was only brought in for the MSG stand. RBBB publicity photos show him with text for Charles Morowski, but Buschbom was in one end ring (closest to the camera in this footage) with Morowski in the center ring and his wife Gina or Gena (Lipowska or Lipowski) in the other end ring. Not sure who the heel catch trap was, but it is definitely not Elvin Bale although the Tiger Act is his father Trevor Bale. The heel catch act could be Gerard Soules, who appeared with RBBB about this time, but I believe only did his heel & toe trap act one year in the US (1963 I believe) and then in Europe when RBBB appeared there. Gerard later had a dress poodle act that he could perform on skates, so alternated between circus dates and ice show dates. Senor Antonio (Morales) appeared with RBBB around this time too, but he did head balancing trap and certainly not a heel catch. I think Senor Antonio didn't appear with RBBB until 1965 or 66 however. This is either the 1963 or 1964 edition of the GSOE, probably 1963. Victoria Unus was billed as the star of the '63 and '64 edition, but she had appeared in at least the '62 and possibly the '61 edition in an end ring aerial act. In these years, JRN would bring in solo aerialists for one year that usually appeared in an end ring before being moved into a center ring spot as a feature. This was certainly true for Galla Shawn, Victoria Unus, Carmen del Teide and Miss Mara, I believe. Not unlike Betty Hutton in the story of the GSOE on film. In these cases, life imitated art I suppose. Hope this helps i.d. some of the great stars in this clip!
Neil Cockerline
Minneapolis, MN

Anonymous said...

Hi, I tend to Google my uncle's name every now and then and this site came up so I thought I'd take a peek. Mr Lee is correct, the male doing the heel catch trapeze act is my uncle, Gerard Soules. It was so very nice to see that video and it made me all teary eyed! Thank you for posting it, I will share it with my family! If anyone knows where I can get more old videos like that, let me know!