Sawdust & Spangles
Excerpt: ...LINE I am glad to know that the circus man who speaks of his patrons as "gillies," and who endeavors to obtain his wealth by fair or foul means, is becoming more and more rare. I recall an illiterate circus man of this description who employed every "privilege" known to the circus world. For example: when traveling by wagon the whole caravan would pass through a toll-gate, stating that the "boss" was behind and would pay the toll. The last vehicle to go through would contain this dignitary and his treasurer, who, when confronted with the long list of vehicles on which he ought to pay toll, would declare that the toll-keeper had been imposed upon, and that half of those vehicles belonged to a gang of gypsies having no connection whatever with the show. He would then cut the bill down according to the easy or hard nature of the custodian of the toll-gate, and in this manner evade payment of what, in a whole season, would aggregate a large sum of money. On one occasion, when about to exhibit in Albany, and knowing that his whole outfit would that day be attached for debt, he ordered the parade to start early, as he intended to give them a "long ride." The procession accordingly started on what has passed into circus history as the "silent parade," for, leaving the city in all the glory of spangle and tinsel, the showmen never rested until they had reached the State line, while the sheriffs, waiting at the tents in Albany for the parade to return, had the poor satisfaction of attaching the almost worn-out and quite worthless canvas. I have often been asked what it costs to start a circus and menagerie. This is a most difficult question to answer, since it depends entirely upon the size and pretensions of the enterprise in question. Shows vary in size from cheap affairs, capable of being carried in three railroad cars, to the elaborate institutions which require two long special trains for their transportation. The expense of running a large show is...
- 189 x 246 x 3mm | 118g
- 13 Sep 2013
- Illustrations, black and white