J.H. Eschman’s Sea Shell Tableau
This Tableau was originally built by the Beggs Wagon Company of Kansas City for the J.H. Eschman Circus in 1915. The wagon was used on the Eschman show from 1915 to 1917. When the show folded, it was acquired with more show equipment by Horne’s Zoological Gardens in Kansas City. They were brokering old circus equipment on the side of their animal business.
( J.W. Beggs photograph taken some years after his company built this wagon )
Having sat in Kansas City for a few years, George Christy made a deal to purchase this wagon where he used it on the Christy Bros. Circus from 1922 to 1930. Again, it was parked for several years in the fields of the Christy winter quarters in S. Houston, Texas.
( 1927 – Christy Bros. Circus – note the title on the mudboard and a general overall repainting of the wagon and scrolls. Note that the center is now dark compared to the white center originally. )
Ken Maynard came to Christy for a lot of the equipment he needed to frame his new Diamond K Ranch Wild West Show. This wagon, along with many others, were loaded onto train cars and shipped from the S. Houston location to southern California, where the Ken Maynard show was calling home. Taking to the road in 1936, the show quickly folded.
( 1936 – Ken Maynard’s Diamond K Ranch Wild West – note that carvings have now been added to the mudboard, the border trim is a different color than the wagon body or carvings. You’ll also see that the sea shell and center carvings are a different color than the other carvings. If you compare this photo with the first one, you’ll also see the skyboard is a different shape and size ))
With most of the show being re-possessed by the United Tent and Awning Co., this wagon stayed at the United Tent and Awning facility in California from 1936 until 1949 when it went to the Bradley and Kaye Amusement Park in the Los Angeles area. In 1955, it was sold to the Disney Studios. The wagon appears in the movies Chad Hanna and Toby Tyler.
( 1950 at the Bradley and Kaye Amusement Park – the wagon was leased to the movie studios – You’ll see the carvings are gone from the mudboard, the shyboard is changed again and the wagon has been completely re-painted. )
In 1962, the Disney Studios donated this wagon along with many others to the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
( Circus World Museum Postcard )
When this wagon was re-worked in 1994 by the Museum staff, several changes were made to it. The skyboard and all it’s carvings were replaced as well as the mudboard and its carvings. The red and gold paint scheme now adorning the wagon is a return to the way it looked on the Christy Bros. Circus in 1924.
( 2009 – Bob Cline photo )
The wagon is 16’1″ long x 10’8″ tall x 7’8″ wide. it weighs approximately 6,000 pounds.
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