Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mystery Photograph

From Buckles Woodcock's "Buckles Blog:"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
No idea where I got this. The trucks look more interesting than the elephants. I'm guessing that this is either the Circus Festival at the Sarasota Fairgrounds or the marshaling area for the Milwaukee Parade. Note the calliope in the background.
Posted by Buckles

Anonymous said...
This is a tough one--the nicely painted truck reminds me of Toby Tyler, but the three babies remind me of Great American (Lisa, Heather, and Donna) from 86 or 87. Great American was the host circus at the Milwaukee Parade in 87.
Maria Vonderheid

J Goodall said...
The photo was not taken in Milwaukee. Never have seen the calliope in the background.

Paul Ingrassia said...
Most certainly not Milwaukee. the two years Alan was with us I recall a little too well so that not it either...

Anonymous said...
Appears to be Sarasota Festival and either Toby Tyler Africans Or Allen Hills. I would lean toward Toby Tyler because of the adjoining trailer.

Anonymous said...
Appears to be the "Two Jesters" in the background.

johnny said...
Either of the acts of Africabs at that time were quite impressive and the three that Joe Frisco Jr. trained for Great American from scratch were very nice and certainly gave Joe his credentials as an Elephant Trainer and one of the few select African elephant trainers. The Toby Tyler three remain somewhat controversial on just who did what, but when I saw Paul Duke work them with an unidentified young lady assisting him, they were quite impressive as well.

Richard said...
The wagon is the Harp & Jesters from the Ringling Museum.
Dick Flint

Without a date or location, it is more difficult to identify these elephants. The elephant truck is not the one featured on Allen C. Hill's Great American Circus in 1994, pictured recently in photographs contributed from the collection of Bill Prickett. Help is sought to identify the elephants, their owner and the vehicles pictured to the right. Can it be confirmed this is the Great American herd with Lisa, Donna and Heather?


  1. Logic says to start narrowing down the possibilities first. With Heather, Lisa and Donna being imported in 1990 and then in 1997, leaving the circus business for various reasons, the mid 1990's is a good possibility.

    While Dick Garden owned several African elephants in the 1980's, I believe they were all gone after 1988.

    I'm not an expert on elephants but they appear to be in the 4 to 5 year range just as a general basis by their height. So ball parkish, you are talking 1985-1988 if you are thinking they might be Dickie Garden's or about 1994-1995 if you are thinking they are Allen Hill's.

    Jorge and LouAnn started getting their Africans near the end of the 1980's. That could but this closer to the early 1990's but they didn't have a painted truck as in the front. That is definitely a show truck and not a private owner.

    Bret Bronson had his Africans in the 1990's as well. Again early to mid 1990's is very possible.

    I agree with Dick Flint that this is taken in Florida as the calliope in the back is the Harps and Jesters which resides at the Ringling Museums. With that, the location is solved.

    So there are a few items to chew on but no real answers other than Florida.

  2. Ryan,
    I forgot to add that neither truck matches the 1991 painting of Allen Hill's show.

  3. AnonymousJuly 07, 2011

    "Toby Tyler elephants. If you look close you can see more feet than elephants. Plus two elephants don't have ivory. All three Great American elephants had ivory. Buckles put some other pics taken at the same time from a different angle showing and naming them earlier this year. Look close tell me if you see more feet."

    Mike Swain

  4. AnonymousJuly 07, 2011

    "Toby Tyler for sure."

    Joanne Edling

  5. Bob,
    That is some great detective work as well as a nice review of circus African herds from the 1980s-1990s. I have been working on some research regarding Africans of this time. There is a listing in Circus Report 1987 that lists six Africans, three of which are males, on the George Carden show.

    Mike and Joanne have both confirmed these are Toby Tyler elephants. Joanne has been helping me compile some history of the Toby Tyler herd. She and her husband Hans Werner trained the original group of calves for Dick Garden. More information to come regarding that group, as well!


I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.