Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
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Yankee Patterson Circus, 1941
Newhall, California


Ad, March 28, 1941.

Apri 5, 1941 — It was always a big deal when the teaveling circus came to town — usually Circus Vargas, and usually at Bonelli Stadium (Saugus Speedway). This one, however, is the Yankee Patterson Circus, which set up its showground at 10th Street (Lyons Avenue) and Railroad Avenue. It was sponsored by the Newhall School PTA, and admission was 50 cents for adults, 25 cents for kids and 75 cents for reserved seating — plus tax.

Jimmie Wood was the owner of the Yankee Patterson, which was active in the 1940s. He also owned the 101 Ranch Show.

In 1945, a circus program lists the management as Jimmie Wood; Ruby Wood, treasurer; Jack Laughlin, secretary; Harry Mellon, legal adjuster; Harvey Walters, general agent; Herbert Wilson, brigade manager; and Auturo Guitterez, superindendent of the big-top canvas. The 1945 show played from June 2 to Oct. 20, entirely in California (but not in Newhall or Saugus).

In 1946, Wood toured as the 101 Ranch, according to a story by Bob Taber in the Nov.-Dec. 1967 edition of the Circus Historical Society's publication, "Bandwagon" (Vol. 11, No. 6).

In 1947, Wood brought back the Yankee Patterson. Regarding that year's show, Taber writes:

What equipment he [Woods] could salvage from the last tour was repaired, repainted and put in order as much as possible.

The Yankee Patterson of '47 had good people with it. Some of these had been on the 101 the year before. They were willing to try it once more.

The opening was a week-end stand at El Monte the middle of March. After a few close-in spots to L.A., the outfit headed over the Tehachapi Pass with all hoping for the best.

The program for the opening was as follows. One feature was Mabel Stark with her tigers. The show was short on paper and publicity and this act never got the advertising it deserved. She didn't remain long.

Taber quotes from the April 1947 edition of The Billboard, which describes the program:

1. The Guitterez Family in center ring on trampoline. Good bouncing and some laughs for the kids.

2. Clowns Koko and Grace Fairburn in center ring pulling the big fish trick.

3. Ladder perch. Again in center ring, it's two of Landon's midgets for a perch routine. Do the usual perch tricks, including the elbow-hold spin, atop a ladder perch. Gets a good hand.

4. Fred Bowery and five matched mules. Liberty act with the mules following their cues and building up to a good finale with pedestal stands and interweaving runs.

5. Swinging ladder. Martha Cuitterez on the ladder with vocal accompaniment by her sister. Gloria. Miss Guitterez is graceful and the act fills in neatly. Gloria's vocals could not be evaluated because of a dead mike.

6. Tiger act. Spotted in Ring 3 position is Mable Stark with seven cats. She is an able trainer and the animals are put thru a fast routine. Act leads the show in serious entertainment.

7. Educated pony. Fred Bowery, trainer, in center ring has his pint-sized horse do handkerchief pickups, pedestal stands and kneels. Act is smooth and well rountined.

8. Guitterez Sisters. The pair performs on tight wire over center ring. They build to a neat finish with a hoop walk in the final stages.

9. Clowns. In Ring 1, they offer the aged hair-growing routine. Gets the kids tickled.

10. Landon's Midgets. Two dwarfs, a midget and an adult in head balancing and tumbling. Act is fast and gets a good hand.

11. Foot juggling. Gus Lind in Ring 1 with his feet tossing a barrel-sized dummy. Winds up with a bar moving in a circle with a dog on one end and a doll on the other in "airplanes." Turn gets a good hand.

12. Clowns. In center ring are Grace Fair-burn and Gus Lind doing the picture-taking gag. Use a teenage girl, sitting her in the exploding chair. Audience particpation to a slight extent and getting laughs, but some ugly repercussions could come from it.

13. Wire act. Johnny Guitterez in Ring 1 and Maurice Marmelejo in center ring on the slack wire. Both are good performers until they hit the imitation of the drunk with the serape. As this trick is now in its 85th year, they ought to think of something else in its place. They're capable of doing it.

14. High school horses. Ed Ballard and Danny Daniels put their horses thru routines in Rings 1 and 2. Animals are well trained and groomed. The horses work with ease. Good hand.

15. Elephant act. Anna Metcalfe working "Shirley Temple." Because only one is used, the routines are limited. However, pedestal stands and walkovers get a good hand.

16. Clowns. Gus Lind, Koko and Grace Kairburn doing the breakaway dress trick.

17. Auturo Guitterez on the bounding rope. Does swings and crotch catches. Still in his teens, performer shows promise of being a humdinger on the hemp.

18. Prize Fight, Landon's midgets put a new twist on an old routine. This ace actually puts the customers in the aisle.

19. Clowns.

20. Liberty act. Fred Bowery and six liberty horses and a Shetland offer a well studied routine. All except the lead horse are at liberty.


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Yankee Patterson, Newhall 4-5-1941

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