Cole Bros. Circus (Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus) in United States

Cole Bros. Circus (Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus)


Owner 1981-: John Pugh
1956: Acme Circus Corporation
Address PO Box 127
Zip-code 32721-0127
Place Deland, Florida
Country United States
Website Website


Key People


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
: Rex Williams
(elephant superintendent)
2013-: Tim Frisco
(elephant trainer)
1997-: Brad Jewell
(elephant superintendent)
-: Eddie Allen
(elephant trainer)
1960-1971: Steve Fanning
(elephant trainer)
1971-1996: Fred Logan
(elephant trainer)

Elephant keepers -1973: Alvin Kelly
Relevant literature

Cole Bros. Circus (Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus), located at PO Box 127, in Deland, Florida, United States , was founded in 1957.

Comments / picturesThe Clyde Beatty Circus was founded by Clyde Beatty (1903-1965), an animal trainer. He formed his own circus in 1945 after touring with several circuses including Hagenbeck-Wallace Cicus in his early career. Beatty toured his circus in conjunction with Russell Brothers Pan-Pacific Circus in 1946 as Clyde Beatty - Russell Bros. Circus, then decided to open a show under his name only.

1956: the Clyde Beatty Circus was sold to the ACME Circus Corporation, and the previous owner Clyde Beatty was hired as a star attraction.

1957: the ACME Circus Corporation acquired the Cole Bros. Circus name and the show became Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus. Beatty remained the star of the show until his death in 1965.

Cole Bros. Circus (Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus) in United States United+States1959-1960: The Norma Davenport (Cristiani) Five act went to Beatty-Cole during he winter of 1959-1960. Steve Fanning came with the act and was boss of the Herd in 1960.

"Dailey Bros. owner Ben Davenport gave daughter Norma five elephants--Norma, Mary, Maude, Bessie and Konti--in 1950 as a wedding present after she married Pete Cristiani. They became the Norma Cristiani elephants and were used on various circuses and Shrine dates until (according to Norma) she sold them to Beatty-Cole in 1960." Lane Talburt

Later Eddie Allen was appointed boss elephant man thereby gaining much publicity and even more a few years later on the Ringling Show when he put together the best remembered elephant number ever done with that show, "The Changing of the Guard".

Cole Bros. Circus (Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus) in United States United+States

Winter quarters in DeLand.

1958-2004 Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. circus
John Pugh became became President and owner of Cole Bros. Circus, Inc. in 1981

Cole Bros. Circus (Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus) in United States United+States
Photo: Jill Freedman, 1971

In 1971 Fred became the head of the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros Circus elephant herd, where he would remain for more than 25 years. On the CBCB circus, Fred oversaw the training and presentation of three rings of performing elephants. The act concluded with the 11 elephant "Walking Long Mount" on the hippodrome track, a truly spectacular sight.

1973: A keeper was killed by one of the elephants:

Circus Helper Crushed to Death By Elephant He Was Handling
TENAFLY, June 4 – A 45-year-old circus laborer was picked up and thrown to the ground twice yesterday before being crushed to death by an elephant he was handling after a performance on Roosevelt Common.
The laborer, Alvin Kelly of Dallas, was helping to water a Group of 13 elephants following the afternoon performance of the Clyde Beatty Circus.

“We have reports that Kelly had been drinking heavily earlier in the day and that might have had something to do with the elephant’s actions,” the spokesman said. “He also was carrying a big stick, which he may have poked the elephant with at the wrong time.”
The elephant, the police spokesman said, is now with the circus in New City, N.Y., where it had a performance today. “The elephant is a problem for the circus to take care of, not the police,” the spokesman continued.

NY Times archives

1977: "The King Bros.- Cole Combined 3 Ring Circus is the title for 1977 only." //Bob Cline

1981: Jerry Collins donated the show in it\'s entirety to the Florida State University in 1981.

Johnny Pugh, who been a manager on the show since the mid-1960 purchased the show from FSU and has been operating it ever since, dropping "Clyde Beatty"from the title and operating it as the Cole Bros Circus.

On the 1983 season of Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus, Captain Fred Logan was in command of nine elephants and a three ring act - Pete, Sue, Helen, Maude, Konti, Ola, Bessie, Jewel and Frieda.
"Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. 1983 #1 (From Joe Giordano)", Buckles Web Log, 2009-04-03

The Beatty-Cole 1997 season carried a six elephant act, lead by new elephant superintendent Brad Jewell, after a seventh elephant Ola did not survive an operation in winter quarters to trim her Feet under anesthesia.
"Beatty Cole," Circus Report No 12 Vol 25, 1997-04-14

2004 Cole Bros. Circus
"Worlds Largest Circus Under the Big Top"
Cole Bros. Circus innovative Crimson and Gold Big Top measures 136 Feet wide by 231 Feet long.

References for records about Cole Bros. Circus (Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus)

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Cole Bros. Circus (Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus), Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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