Looking Back to 1936: Tom Mix to bring circus to Paso Robles
Excerpt from the Saturday, March 14, 1936, Paso Robles Times:
Edward L. Conroy, advance agent for the Tom Mix Circus, visited Paso Robles yesterday, making arrangements for grounds, advertising, etc., which must precede this event.
The magic rumble of red wagons and the mysterious foot-steps of circusdom’s spangled battalions have echoed down the corridors of many summers, yet regardless of whatever else may be on the day’s bill of entertainment, rich and poor, with high hats and in shabby best suits they come. Every vistage of grandeur and pomp are gone, bags of popcorn, peanuts, and cold drinks are consumed.
Children—and grownups too, who have crowded into the front seats of the theater to watch Tom Mix and Tony ride across the silver sheet will sit in the center of sections of the grandstand, or maybe on the hay, put down around the crowded “blue” section, and watch the same Tom Mix and Tony do dashing things in the sawdust rings.
The finest acts, internationally known, are on the Tom Mix program. The famous flying Arbaugh-Ward family, featuring Jimmy Arbaugh’s comet-like leaping double somersault and side twist from the high trapeze; “Oddities of the Jungle”; the famous old circus family of Riding Hobsons, which dates back more than half a century of performance in the center rings; Erma Ward, aerialist, noted for her beauty and her famous one arm planch on the Spanish Web; Miss Ward holds the great Leitzel award for endurance.
A menagerie act with fifty splendid beauties on the Hippodrome track and in the rings, riding, high jumping, waltzing and rumba thorough-bed equines; a bevy of beautiful girls swinging through the dome of the big top; the clown contingent of chalk faced funsters with such noted clowns as “Pop Ash”, oldest working clown in America.
The big rings of performing, educated elephants, ring after ring jammed with acts, thrills and laughter, animals and wonder. Trained lions, tigers and bears; 150 head of motion picture horses from Tom Mix’s own stables.
The circus annex, under direction of Ted Metz, will open at 10 a.m. And is continuous, featuring freaks from all parts of the earth and clean entertainment.
Editor’s note: Tom Mix is considered to be Hollywood’s first Western star, appearing in 291 movies (mostly silent) between 1909 and 1935. He and his horse, Tony, helped define the genre of cowboy stars and their wonder horses. Tony was the first of the cowboy sidekick “wonder horses,” leading the way for the equine stars to follow such as Trigger (Roy Rogers), Champion (Gene Autry), Topper (Hopalong Cassidy), Blackjack (Lash LaRue) and Silver and Scout (Lone Ranger and Tonto), and many more. A visit from Tom Mix and Tony back in the day had a status similar to a visit from Blake Shelton today, except Shelton doesn’t bring his wonder horse.
Read previous Looking Back articles
- Looking Back to 1936: The lost is found — the adventures of Oliver Olsen
- Looking Back to 1940: Four youths arrested in local crime wave, IRS helps locals file taxes
- Looking Back to 1950: City bans bus stop on Spring Street
- Looking Back to The Bearcat news in February 1938
- Looking Back to February 1932: Smallpox vaccines, school burglar, tax on margarine
Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back
Paso Robles Pioneer Museum – Come take a real look back into local Paso Robles history. Open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446, www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org (805) 239-4556.
Estrella Warbird Museum is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. Woodland Auto Display is also open. Hours: Thursday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446, ewarbirds.org, (805) 227-0440.
Creative Concrete & Design delivers the highest level of professional concrete work. Operating in San Luis Obispo County since 2002, Karl Rush brings 35 years of concrete experience to every job and will ensure that you receive the very best quality work. Over the years they have completed a great many works on residential homes. They are very creative and willing to explore options for your next project. Concrete projects have many factors to consider to bring your vision to life. creativeconcreteanddesign.com, (805) 896-1384.
Golden Anchor Financial Services is committed to helping you find the right mortgage product for your needs. They understand that every borrower is different, and offer a variety of products to meet individual requirements. They make the process of securing a mortgage simple and straightforward by offering you the latest in financial tools that enable you to make sound financial choices. Call them at (805) 473-7733 on the Central Coast or (559) 473-7733 in the Central Valley.
1800 El Pomar is the site of a historic Templeton ranch located just three miles east of town. The property features an iconic, aged redwood barn, 3 story tank house, original farmhouse with an outdoor garden, original water tank structures, and many other original ranch buildings. Set on 20+ acres of vineyards, the 360-degree views of rolling oak-studded hills and surrounding vines are a photographer’s dream. A prime ceremony location exists in the vineyards behind the barn between two beautiful oaks. The northwest-facing location creates plenty of shade for your guests in an early to late afternoon setting. A perfect venue with plenty of open space to customize your wedding or event. www.1800elpomar.com.