It appears that notorious low-end circus producer Dick Garden has leased the Cole Bros Circus equipment from John Pugh, and will take it out under the title Big Top Circus.
According to the report, Pugh will manage. Former Cole spokesman Tim Orris telling the Journal's, "Last Friday I learned of a resurrection under a new management with the Cole Bros equipment leased to Dick Garden but managed by John Pugh, who owned Cole Bros for the last 50 years. I believe they are opening under the name Big Top Circus."
Report focuses on Kelly Miller taking over the annual Cole Vineland, NJ date in a 2-day June stand. Cole held the date for 51 years.
What to expect? From Garden, not nearly as much as from Pugh. But Pugh, I have to assume, was out of money and options. Let's hope we can thank our lucky stars that Garden does not have his hands on the Cole title. I'd hate to see that honored name dragged through the dung of a Garden style operation.
Among Mr. Garden's more noteworthy contributions to the American circus scene, you may recall his infamous Toby Tyler Circus and its collapsing seats. He floods the market with free kid tickets, and brings a carny-circus to town. I saw one of his shows, years ago at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. It was so awful, that I fled the scene just as the rides were taking over the rings at intermission time.
More as the story develops -- or devolves. No, I'm not at all thrilled.