Saturday, March 26, 2016

Big Tops Battered Round the World: Ramos Circus Patrons Fire Bombed ... West Bank Clown, a Terrorist? ... Come In at Your Own Peril, and Don't Trust the Popcorn!

Cole Bros. Circus update, 3/27:  The website does not come up when searched.

 Crashing the tent in San Bernardino, 2015: That's where these fanatics took their anger.

War Zone Midways:  Customers exciting the big top following a  Ramos Bros. Circus show in Las Vegas were forced to dodge a Molotov cocktail lobbed in their direction. Luckily, the fire bomb missed its human targets, hitting a truck and shattering into pieces.  The show has been drawing volatile opposition from animal activists, causing cancellation of some dates.

In San Bernardino last year, clowns fought off protesters crashing the tent during a performance.  One of the hot heads threw a megaphone in the face of show owner and ringmaster Oliver Ramos, splitting his lip. Two clowns were injured, two protestors arrested.  “They’ve been getting more aggressive,” Ramos told a reporter.

Snarling Protests in the Big Cage?  Ramos believes he was being harassed by animal fanatics.   I have an idea for a new act:  Those protesters should hire themselves out to circuses as a new breed of wild animal — ready to hiss and snarl and HAVE AT IT in combat with a trainer’s whip, gun and chair -- and in the big cage, of course while the band plays ''Give Peace a Chance."

According to the website Samidoun, a growing international  drive is on to free Abu Sakha.  Several European countries are participating.

Closet clown terrorist?   On the ever-tranquil West Bank, a Palestinian clown, juggler and rope walker, Mohamed Abu Sakha, detained by Israeli police since last December for “renewed activity” with a Palestinian group fighting for liberation from their overlords in Tel Aviv and opposed to peace with them.  Sakha runs a circus school for mentally challenged for kids ... Hard liners seeing more than mirth to his act.  Israeli security forces defending their action for dubious associations. “Abu Sakha was arrested because of intelligence about his recent activities on behalf of the Popular Front.”

Incredible to believe that a circus clown would ever be up to undercover mayhem, claim his defenders.  But, roared back a realist leaving a comment, “What on earth difference does it make that he worked as a clown??? Are all clowns automatically good people???"

Good question, I suppose. Of late, the answer would have to be NO.  Many are the wackos out there who find the funny face a convenient disguise. Stop the show, I want out before my peanuts explode.

No, it’s not funny.  Whatever it is, and it never ends,  pray that somebody out there with the right brain cells can liberate these groups from their perpetual war, and I will tactfully say no more. 

END RINGERS: Will Cole ever roll again?   Nothing up there yet to suggest it will. Website still down, waiting word that the Fat Lady won’t be singing any time soon ... Wild speculation: I wonder if some fans close to Johnny Pugh (the website message -- WE'RE NOT DEAD YET! -- suggests a fan at work) are urging him to take the show out on the road, or others are scrambling to raise money to fund a season reboot or take over ownership or management of the circus. Sir Harry of Kingston:  Sorry but it doesn't look good  ...  Here’s what does not make sense: Why Pugh pushed his pachyderms onto an unfriendly public for so long?  He endured numerous problems and protests, and had to pay a huge fine for something having to do with the transfer of elephants in or out.  

On the big show bandstand, continuedAbout my item on Merle Evans and his musicians who advanced to other venues as well as those from the outside who sat in as guest players, Don Covington remembers how the Evans band was considered “one of the finest musical organizations for its day.”  The maestro, Don tells us, kept in touch with hundreds of musicians in every state, and  many of them were “thrilled to play the show when the circus was in town.” ...  New York Philharmonic's Buster Bailey spoke of his guest time in the band as "a highlight of his career" on the drums ... How much fun drumming under the biggest big top must have been! ...   Looking through my old Ringling-Barnum route books, in a photo of the '55 band I count 26 windjammers .. .

Is that all there is?  Or ever was?   Let's  take a look at Kelly Miller, just for the fun of it: Okay, please, Shirley North II, look the other way.  I dunno.  The not very new edition, a holder over from last year, itself a holdover from the year before, looks rather thinly rehashed.  No?  Lots pinned on their new clown in his second tour, the funny to look at (for sure) Fajolino.  If only he had a better script writer .. . On K-M's Facebook, I found this photos of the old All G. & Kelly Miller Bros. Circus when it came to my neighborhood in Northern California.  How well I recall those festively painted trucks and the dramatic unloading at dawn ...Those were the days -- before circus goers risked fire bombs on their way out, and clowns were not suspected of embarking on suicide walkarounds.

Sorry, Shirley.  Ill try being nicer next time.


Harry Kingston said...

Hi David,
I hear Cole Bros is coming out but time will tell.
I hate to see a long time tent circus like it go down the tubes and hoping they will get it together and head down the sawdust trail.
Johnny told me he cannot go on forever as he is no spring chicken anymore.
But I hear it will be a very different show and no animals.
Now how will those East coast folks react to that.
But Pugh and Elvin are a great team and know all aspects of showbiz.
When will they start out as Garden Bros is playing the hell out of many Cole dates already way ahead of what Cole used to play and hear they are doing good and have the Carson and Barnes elephants that were on Cole last season now on Garden Bros.
I wish the best for Cole Bros as it is like old man river that keeps a moving on, come hell or high water, and one of my favorite tenters.
Johnny and Elvin's jackpots are always the best.
I heard from another fan that they have North Carolina dates booked as Cole Bros presents.
I bet the wagons will roll before long and hope they have a great season and hope they will come Texas way.

Showbiz David said...

Hi Harry,

I hope too that Cole will roll. I would think that without animals, although I don't know why Johnny may be planning not to have any, that he will do better business and find the going much easier.

Harry Kingston said...

Hi David,
Yes, I sure hope Cole Bros gets on the sawdust trail real soon.
I have many great memories from Beatty Cole and Cole Bros.
We did not get them here in Texas as much as the East Coast got them but they were sure fan friendly to us.
To see that tent go up was a real thrill to me and it went up fast.
Many great folks with it though the years, Clyde Beatty,Wallendas, Herbie Webber, Rex Williams, Fred C Logan and family, Willie Storey, Harry Hammond, Edna Antes,and many more great friends through the years.
I just cannot imagine what it would be without Cole Bros Circus.
I wish them the best and Johnny and Elvin get it rolling soon.
Harry in Texas

Showbiz David said...

Sir Harry, I won't forget one of my top ten all time favorite circus shows high on my list -- Beatty Cole, 1961, Richmond Virginia. Was it Steve Fanning, not Rex Williams who rode a horse while presenting the elephant display? Program magazine says Fanning. Show loaded with talent. Boom Boom had the band sailing on more modern refrains, to a breezier tingle. The show moved well, don't think they had an intermission then. It practically floated over the sawdust that warm afternoon. An idyllic big top.

Whenever I went to see the Cole show over the years, there was always an air of top-line professionalism about it. I know that many of the dept heads came off the Big One, Ringling-Barnum after North pulled the tents off the road in '56.

I feel your yearning!


Harry Kingston said...

I also was at the 1961 Beatty Cole show here in Beaumont on Sept.19th right in the middle of hurricane season.
Mom got the reserved seats at the sheriffs sale so we were right by the band stand on the back reserves.
So had a great view of the band and Clyde Beatty in the cage.
I got to meet Boom boom later on through Bubba voss that lived in Orange, Texas just down the road from me who had the KM band and worked on BC for many years and was with Boom on the Ringling 1955 band.
I made copies of Booms tapes as he did not have the money to get it done.
I never charged any show folks a dime as they work damn hard for there money.
What great music he had and I can hear Beatty's act and Herbie Webbers a tiskit a taskit and the continental and the elephants thundering around the track with Booms great music.
Beatty Cole moved fast and went up in the air just as fast and that 150 by 300 tent
and billed it like Ringling and paper all over the place.
Johnny Pugh, told me at first he knew nothing about the money but later on Pugh said McClosky took 50% right off the top.
Many great memories from Beatty Cole as they treated us fans royally.
Harry in Texas