Oakland to DC: Strike up the Bella Band!

Oakland to DC:  Strike up the Bella Band!
One of the best scored circuses in America. Scroll down to see the full story.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Morning with Don Marcks: Going with Don to See Our Friend Hugo Marquardt Perform on Graham Bros. Circus, 1965


Astonished to discover, last week, yet a slew of more letters from Don.

And in one, I discovered this long forgotten photograph of myself.  Had I not put some information on the back of it, I would have totally forgotten that we went to Graham Bros, one reason to see my Santa Rosa friend, Hugh Marquardt juggle with the show.

Hugo was a great guy who had worked on the railroad that ran through Santa Rosa, and was married to the looniest of women.  She was a hoot.

After retiring, I think, Hugo and wife split up, and Hugo went east seeking a life under any big top that would hire him.  He had been an avid amateur juggler.

In Don's letter, dated May 12, 1965, a few sample lines:

"Dear Dave: Enjoyed the trip to Benecia and the Graham Bros. Circus and hope you were able to get home OK without too much fuss [by Greyhound].  Incidentally, how was the weather in Santa Rosa last weekend - good I hope!

"The fair used circus as its theme and too bad that I didn't know about it, might have been able to get my [model] show up there.

"Enclosed is the picture of yourself which I took at Graham Bros.  Unfortunately, it was back a bit too far but in the picture I was trying to get the whole marque,  [I've cropped it here]

"Got thinking today and wondering if I could sometime talk to you into doing some promotion for myself and the model circus?"

I did make an effort to book the variety show that Don himself booked and hosted at smaller county fairs; he also did his magic tricks.  It was called California Varieties, and in it he stepped modestly out of and away from his usual highly controlled demeanor, bordering on, what, the austere?  But I was unable to land a single date.  Not a promoter, I!

Strange that in this letter Don did not mention anything about Hugo.  Years later, Hugo worked I think mostly in the New England area, finding a woman to be romantic with in the mud (I couldn't resist that), and the two of them managed to get sporadic work (he at least finally got to live out his dream), and then our communications faded out.  I seem to recall I was the last one to write a letter.

But the days in Hugo's house with that loony wife of his, oh were there great laughs!

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