Golden Bros. / Lee Bros. / Ken Maynard Air Calliope
It is not known for certain just when this wagon was built, who built it or for what entity. The earliest know photograph shows it on the Golden Bros. Circus in 1924. George Christy bought the holdings of the Golden Bros. Circus after the 1924 season closed. he then put this air calliope on his second unit he called Lee Bros. Circus in 1925 and 1926. George Christy never used this wagon again. It remained in storage in the fields of the Christy winter quarters in S. Houston, Texas until Ken Maynard bought it for his 1936 Diamond K Ranch Wild West Show.
( 1936 – Joseph Bradbury Album # 6 – photo # 10C – Ken Maynard’s Diamond K Ranch Wild West Show )
The Ken Maynard show folded shortly after closing. Most of the show was re-possessed by United Tent and Awning of southern California for the unpaid canvas bill. By 1950, this wagon was re-located to the Bradley and Kaye Kiddieland Amusement Park near Los Angeles, California. At some point between being re-possessed in 1936 and going to the Bradley and Kaye Park, the wagon was re-painted to a white body with colorful decorations.
( 1953 – Joseph Bradbury Album # 15 – photo # 80B – Feb. 1953 at Bradley and Kaye Kiddieland in Los Angeles, CA. )
It remained there until 1955 when the Walt Disney Studios bought this and several other wagons from the Bradley and Kaye collection. The wagon was part of the Mickey Mouse Circus Club and appeared in the Disney film classic, “Toby Tyler.” In 1965, the Disney Studios graciously donated this wagon to the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
( 1980 – Jerry Cash photo )
Since arriving there, it has been involved in some of the historic circus parades in Milwaukee as well as being on display at the Museum. It has been re-painted at least three different times over the years while at the Circus World Museum.
( 1992 – Jerry Cash Photo )
It currently has a 1920 Tangley CA-43 Calliaphone in it. This musical instrument was not the original unit but is a good representation of what would have been in it while on the road in the 1920s and 1930s.
( 2007 – Painted as in the 1936 Ken Maynard scheme – Bob Cline photo )
The Wagon is 11’3″ long, 7’10” wide and 10’2″ tall.
The wagon can be seen in person at Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin
If you have any questions or have more photographic evidence, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org