Sunday, July 07, 2013

Sunday Morning with Don Marcks: Mice to Elephants

He embraced the mouse, and might have gone farther.  The mouse being that gadget that slips back and forth across your computer screen.  In fact, I first saw it while visiting Don one day, when he was showing me something about a Circus Report issue underway.

He often considered a new printing press, new word processing modes, etc.  He may have been one of the first to purchase an Apple computer.

How would-might he have adapted to today, to a time when print journalism is sadly on the wane, when more and more people -- even circus fans -- are drawn to the Internet for their daily or weekly fix?

Here he is, addressing the subject in his letter of May 18, 1985:

"I watched a Channel 9 [PBS] program on 'You are on a Computer' this past week and it was rather interesting. As I watched it I could vision a person having all kinds of circus info on such a machine.  It would take a big one perhaps, but can't you imagine what a guy could do with one in keeping track of circuses, people, animals and such.  One person couldn't do it, as you'd need one person just feeding the information into the machine all the time.

"Anyway, I checked with the local computer store and they felt the Macintosh was the machine that would do me the most good ...If nothing more it will be good for the mailing lists and making better mailing labels than the present system."

I think he enjoyed all the mechanical aspects of printing the paper and getting it out into the mails - more than the actual type-setting and editing process.

What might he have done with a possible on-line version of Circus Report?  I think he would have found the challenge irresistible.

Now, from mice to elephants, and to the passion for them by Dorey Miller.  Here is Don at the typewriter, March 14, 1984.

"Carson & Barnes is due to enter Calif. in April and will be in the state about five weeks.  I am a bit disappointed as I thought they would be here longer. Seems after coming all the way out here that they would play more and better spots - surely it must be impossible for them to draw well - might be they make a few spots for a few years, establish themselves and then come for a long run - Can't tell.

"Interesting thing, I think, is that this year they will be carrying 31 elephants, plus a few teams of draft horses, plus all of the usual animals and things - wow, must be quite a show. Good that we'll be able to see it."

I saw the show in So Cal in Ontario, and my brief notes show that I was sold by the pachyderms:  "Great bull display.  Lots of action."

Also by the late great Lucy Loyal riding a horse as if streaming through a cosmic circle, lost in a passionate orbit of her own making.  Well, credit the music, too - some years. I can still hear a pounding song the band played when Miss Lucy rode -- "Guenevere"  from Camelot.

Such a fiery rider!  And so robustly alive was the big top then.


Dennis said...

The long mount of 17. Where D.R. out-showed all the rest before or since.
Always impressive, but bigger than life when you were part of it. Running with the bulls, encouraging each to mount one at a time to the cymbals and then down and running out.

Showbiz David said...

Thanks, Dennis. YOU were there and a part of it. Sounds most exciting.

Jim Royal said...

I can only echo what Dennis has said. That is me announcing the long mount. My wife Beverly was on one of the elephants and she loved to see the reaction of the close to all those elephants.

Showbiz David said...

How stoutly royal you looked, Jim. What a triumphal moment to ringmaster about!

Maybe a day will come, once again, when such a spectacle will lure big crowds back to the big top. Then, it might feel so totally novel as to take the public's collective breath away.

Sometimes, as they've said, history repeats itself.

Dennis said...

I was presenting the cat act that year (1977). My cherry pie was to help with the long mount.
Once, just as we ran in and prepared for the mount, the generator ran out of fuel. In the pitch black we had to convince the herd to NOT mount. Alot of people were sitting only about 3 feet from all those huge feet. The chief electrician was fined $10.00.

Paul H. said...

Ah, those were the days on C&B! That long mount along the track was a sight to behold! Saw it many times in the '80s and '90s and never got tired of it.

Sadly, those days are likely gone forever now. Grateful to have seen the big show when it was still a big show.

Showbiz David said...

Yes, Paul ... sometimes, when something that once was magical and/or spectacular goes away, in time the heart may appreciate what it may have taken for granted. But you are likely right, "gone forever" ...