Museum-Krause Greater Shows
Krause Greater Shows 1911-1935
An album containing seventeen 5 x 7 inch silver prints
photographed by Floyd Edgar Quick
"A traveling carnival (US English), usually simply called a carnival, or travelling funfair is an amusement show that may be made up of amusement rides, food vendors, merchandise vendors, games of chance and skill, thrill acts, and animal acts. A traveling carnival is not set up at a permanent location, like an amusement park or funfair, but is moved from place to place. Its roots are similar to the 19th century circus with both being set up in open fields near or in town and moving to a new location after a period of time. In fact, many carnivals have circuses while others have a clown asthetic in their decor. Unlike traditional carnival celebrations, the North American traveling carnival is not tied to a religious observance.
In 1893, the Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition (also called the Chicago World's Fair) was the catalyst for the development of the traveling carnival. The Chicago World's Fair had an area that included rides, games of chance, freak shows, and burlesque.
(Beautiful Clio. Krause Greater Shows)
After the Chicago World's Fair, traveling carnival companies began touring the United States. Due to the type of acts featured along with sometimes using dishonest business practices, the traveling carnivals were often looked down upon.
Originally, a fair would also have had a significant number of market stalls; today this is rare and most sidestalls only offer food or games. The first fairground rides began to appear in the 18th century. These were small, made of wood and propelled by gangs of boys. In the 19th century, before the development of mechanical attractions, sideshows were the mainstay of most funfairs. Typical shows included menageries of wild animals, freak shows, wax works, boxing/wrestling challenges, and theatrical shows. In 1868, Frederick Savage, an agricultural engineer from King's Lynn, devised a method of driving rides by steam. His invention, a steam engine mounted in the center of the ride, transformed the fairground industry in England and around the world. The preeminent carousel maker in the 19th century, his fairground machinery was exported globally.
(Merry Go Round. Krause Greater Shows)
Through most of the 19th century, rural North America enjoyed the entertainment of traveling shows. These shows could include a circus, vaudeville show, burlesque show, or a magic lantern show. It is believed that the 1893 Chicago World's Fair was the catalyst that brought about the modern traveling carnival. At the Chicago World's Fair was an avenue at the edge of the grounds called the Midway Plaisance. This avenue of the fair had games of chance, freak shows, wild west shows (including Buffalo Bill whose show was set up near the fairground) and burlesque shows. It also featured the original Ferris Wheel, constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.
(Ferris Wheel, Krause Greater Shows)
Following the Chicago World's Fair, the term "midway" was adopted from the Midway Plaisance to denote the area at county and state fairs where sideshow entertainment was located.
Otto Schmitt, a showman at the world's fair, formed Chicago Midway Plaisance Amusement Company. The company featured thirteen acts, including some from the World's Fair, and began a tour of the northeast US. His company closed due to poor business practices before completing its first tour. Some members of his company formed successful traveling carnivals after Otto Schmitt's company closed.] The appeal of this new type of entertainment was embraced. In 1902, there were seventeen traveling carnivals in the US. The number grew to 46 in 1905; by 1937 there was an estimated 300 carnivals touring the country. One such show, The "IT Shows", set up yearly on probably every empty sandlot in NY's Brooklyn, Queens, and surrounding areas." (WIKIPEDIA)
THE BILLBOARD November 1, 1913
"Six years ago, the owner of one lone store,
He landed on this aide but a short time before,
He was ambitious, clean cut and straight,
On peddling novelties, led a merry gait.
He planted his dough every chance be got.
Odd pennies he'd stick down In his sock,
He added new stores as time sped on,
until he had a chain of concessions a city block long.
He added more stores when the time for wheels came,
Until concession king became his name,
Then he took a shot at the managerial game.
Put out a clean show which won him his fame,
Now It is Krause Greater Shows number 1 and 2.
We're watching with much Interest what next be will do,
Ben Krause." (Fultonhistory.com)
KRAUSE Carnival News NEW YORK CLIPPER November 15, 1913
"KRAUSE GREATER SHOWS, RO 1 BT WZSTKBUAN . The number one show has been getting big business through the Carolinas * and Georgia , In which States some of the largest dates of the season have been played . Commerce and Hartwell, Ga ., were both good , and the members of the show are very well pleased with the outcome of their engagements in both towns . There have been several new arrivals and changes within the past two weeks . Frank Haley , recently Joined , has taken charge of Victoria , the fat girl , and Is also serving in the capacity of general announcer . Clyde Cass—Clyde W . ( there 1 go again almost forgetting the W ) ln back with the show again , Inducing the natives to give their sweet tooth a treat with a life size box of Dolly Varrten chocolates . Sam Mechanic recently left to Join the number two show , where he will take charge of bears , dolls and candy . Bessie Wiseman also Joined the number two with her concession . Owing principally to Mrs . Bishops bad health , the Bishops , who have been with tbe Krause » Shows ever since its organization , four years ago . Have add their string of concessions to Mr. Benson , . special agent of the number one show . The departure of the Bishop * will leave an empty spot n the Krause number one . They have been with the show so long that they have become a fixture. The executive staff of the show Is as * follows : Geo . F . Dorman , general manager ; Fat 8 assman , general agent ; Mr . Benson , special agent ; Geo . W . Westerman , special publicity , and Frank Haley , general announcer . KRAUSE GREATER SHOWS , RO . 2 BT WEST-SHAN .
That Dame Fortune continues to smile upon Ben Krause Is very evident from the fact that his new venture has been enjoying the very best of success since its organization four weeks ago . To start with , the new show was afforded one of the best opening dates ln the South , the South Carolina State Fair , at Colombia . The opening date proved to be the biggest week In Ihe history of either of tbe Krauae Shows . While the town was * expected to be a good one It exceeded our greatest expectations . Bennetsvlile , S . C ., which followed , was an excellent date . Everything got big money at this new Southern fair . Florence , the next fair , promise * to be a big one tram all present Indication * . • The No . 3 Show consists of twelve paid attractions * , and thirty-five concessions , with Albertis Italian Band ,
(Albeti's Italian Conncert Band)
No . 2 , and Elma Molr as free attraction . Ben Weintraub , our genial general announcer and band manager , has Just received a shipment of goods from the Bast . Including a new concession top . Ben will frame an arrow concession , which will he some classy outfit . The number two show is under the personal management of Ben Krause , with Joe OppTce ( the old reliable ) as secretary and treasurer . The m *» a and publicity is handled exclusively by Geo . W . Westerman on both shows . Fat Sassman Is general agent : Ben Weintraub . general announcer , and Frank Smith , chief electrician ."