The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

January 26, 2013

Oneonta's Arabian Knights tumbled across the U.S. in the 1930s


“The Arabian Knights, juvenile acrobatic troupe,” it was reported on Tuesday, July 5, “will leave this morning for a 40-day motor trip to California. Prize money earned … is being used to finance the tour.” They planned a northern cross-country route west, and a southern route home. This was a bit of a working trip, as the troupe was scheduled to entertain at various places. They brought tents and set up camp each night.

The acrobats making the trip included Richard Cole, Lester Eckert, Floyd Deane, James Powell, William Dana, Wallace Worden, Harry Robbins, Charles Wilsey, Harry Warren, Earl MacIntyre, Arlene Snavely, Viola Deane, Kenneth Watkins and Richard Dobler. 

Harry Denmark, troupe leader, wrote to the Star during the early course of the trip. It had been a very memorable one, and not even half completed.

“While we were camping in Delhi State park in Iowa, James Powell assisted in rescuing a 10-year-old boy from drowning. He and another swimmer … brought the boy in after he had gone down the second time. He revived quickly on shore.”

“In Chicago, the group attended a Cincinnati-Chicago Cub baseball game and the National Barn Dance.” That show was aired live on Chicago’s WLS radio for many years on Saturday nights, carried locally on WGY in Schenectady. “We went backstage, had a picture taken with Uncle Ezra, and took autographs of the Hoosier Hot Shots, Uncle Ezra and cast.”

“We found Iowa to be the richest state of all so far, miles and miles of crops, corn and hogs which it is noted for. No depression on the farms in Iowa!”

My search was going well. Then came an avalanche, of sorts, as Jo Ann informed me she’d discovered a scrapbook that apparently her father had assembled and had been stored away. It was found in an attic in the fall of 2012. 

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Mark Simonson

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