Arthur F. Rammer (Art, Rammer, Ramer, Dutch)
Tight Wire Artist Extraordinaire 1909 to 1914
Etta Leon Troupe 1912 Art Rammer was born Aug 26, 1893 in Antigo Wisconsin and begins his Wire Walking career at the age of 15 when he was asked to join the Cevene Brotherâ€™s Troupe. The Cevene brothers had run a laundry in Antigo, Wisconsin. (Antigo Daily Journal, Dec. 7, 1911) Artâ€™s first performance with the Cevene Troupe in 1909, a four person troupe, was working for the SUN BROTHERS CIRCUS.
Art Rammer & Fred Cevene Sun brothers Circus - 1909 Franklin, LA At the end of the 1909 circus season the Cevene Troupe performed the following winter as a vaudeville act at various theaters. Some of the following recorded events in 1910 were: the Bijou Theater in Racine, Wisconsin, the Appleton Theater in Appleton, Wisconsin, the Majestic Theater in Fort Wayne Indiana and a theater in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Opera House in Antigo, Wisconsin.
Cevene Troupe â€“ Wonders of the Wire Bijou Theater - Racine, Wisconsin, February, 1910 (Art Rammer on left end)
Cevene Troupe and others Bijou theater – Racine Wisconsin, February, 1910 (Art Rammer 2nd Row 1st. on left)
Cevene Troupe - Appleton Theater Appleton, Wisconsin – March 1910 (Art Rammer on left end)
(Art Rammer 2nd from right)
Cevene Troupe - 1910 (Art Rammer on top row left end) Photo taken at Madisonâ€™s Studio, Antigo, Wisconsin
Majestic Theater, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1910 In 1911 the Cevene Troupe joined the Gentry Bros’ Show (Circus). They were the Featured Attraction and were billed as the European Wonders of the Tight Wire.
Cevene Trpupe – 1911 ( Art Rammer on far right side )
Cevene Troupe & friend- Chicago, Illinois, July 8, 1911
Cevene Troupe – Gentry Bro’s Show, 1911 The Gentry Bro’s show was known for its dog and pony acts. The 1911 season opened in Bedford, Indiana on April 22nd . Later that year a fire destroyed the menagerie tent. And shortly after that a head-on collision at Pembia, N.D. telescoped three stock cars, killing four hoses and injuring twenty more. There were no personnel injuries but this was one of the most costly wrecks that the Gentry shows had ever experienced. The season ended on December 2 in Victoria, Texas and the show went into winter quarters at San Antonio instead of their normal winter quarters in Bloomington, Indiana. In 1911 the show moved on 15 railroad cars, I advance, 4 stocks, 7 flats and 3 coaches. The great European War in progress from 1911 through 1918 caused poor years for American circuses. Many acts return to vaudeville to make a living. Art had returned to Antigo again at the end of the circus season, residing at his home at 903 East 5th Av. Fred Cevene took his troupe to Cuba for the winter months. Art had received two postcards from Harry Crawford in Havana, Cuba, dated Jan. 1912. Harry was working for Fred Cevene along with Herbert (Slats) Beeson at the Publiloes Circo in Cuba. Fred also sent Art a letter offering him a job when he returned to the states. On December 5th, 1911 Art received a telegram from the Etta Leon Troupe stating as follows: “Can you do understanding and carrying with light top mounted waste running can you carry pole if so wire me your lowest salary and me pay transportation and furnish all wardrobe and how soon can you join answer quick unique theatre here salary must be low as this is steady work the year round”. (Referring to his ability to carry someone on his shoulders and walking with a balancing pole) Apparently Art was qualified because on December 7th , 1911 the Antigo Journal printed the following article about Art.
The Troupe started in St Paul, Minneapolis and by the first week of January, 1912, the troupe was in Butte Montana. At the end of January they were at the Empress Theater in Seattle, Washington. The Etta Leone Troupe then preformed in Vancouver B.C. the week of Jan. 28th , Tacoma Washington the week of Feb. 4th , Portland Oregon the week of Feb. 11th and San Francisco California the week of Feb. 18th . While in California, Art received a telegram telling him that his brother Peter, age 26, who was working as a line for the Great Western Power Company was electrocuted in Sacramento California. No further entries until July 1912. Between July 1912 and March 1913 Art performed as a vaudeville act at various theaters and Country Fairs throughout the USA. During this time Art preformed with the Etta Leon Troupe but also performed with different troupes or as the same troupe under different troupe names. Many of these performances were only one day stands. The following dates and places are listed in Art’s route book for the 1912 and 1913 season. July 1, 1912 New York City July 4, 1912 (opened) Palisade Park, N.J. - Etta Leon Troupe July 8, 1912 New York City, 264 west 38th St. (Laid off) July 15, 1912 Brooklyn, New York – Empress Theater (3 days) - Etta Leon Troupe July 21, 1912 7th Ave Theater, 125st and 7th Ave - Etta Leon Troupe July 25, 1912 Grand Theater, Bowley - 7 Romalo Troupe July 28, 1912 River Side Theater, 96st and Broadway - Six Vaughens (3 Days) Aug. 1, 1912 Gotham Theater, 3rd Ave. & 125th St. - Six Vaughens (4 Days) Aug. 8, 1912 Harlem Opera House, 125th St. & 8th Ave Aug.12, 1912 New York City, 264 west 38th St. (Laid off) Aug. 18, 1912 Saginaw, Michigan, River View Park (1 week) - Etta Leon Troupe Aug. 25, 1912 Champaign, Ill. (opened) Urbana County Fair - Etta Leon Troupe Sept. 2, 1912 West Union, Iowa - Fayette County Fair - Etta Leon Troupe Sept. 8, 1912 Des Moines, Iowa - Etta Leon Troupe Sept. 10, 1912 Green Field, Iowa - Etta Leon Troupe Sept. 12, 1912 visited the Hagenbeck & Wallace Circus at Creston, Iowa Sept. 16, 1912 Creston, Iowa
Sept. 18, 1912 Sept. 25, 1912 Sept. 28, 1912 Sept. 30, 1912 Troupe Oct. 5, 1912 Oct. 14,1912 Oct. 17, 1912 Oct. 21, 1912 Oct. 28, 1912 Nov. 1, 1912 Nov. 4, 1912 Nov. 7, 1912 Nov. 9, 1912 Nov. 11, 1912 Nov. 13, 1912 Nov. 17, 1912 Nov. 24, 1912 Dec. 1, 1912 Dec. 3, 1912
Guthrie Center, Iowa Guthrie County Fair (opened) - Etta Leon Troupe Sedalia, Missouri Sedalia, Missouri, opened Missouri State Fair (2 days) - Etta Leon
Kansas City, Missouri, (Hotel convention) - Etta Leon Troupe Minneapolis, Minn., Miles Hippodrome - Etta Leon Troupe Taske Hotel Milwaukee, Wis., Nixdorf Hotel Milwaukee, Wis., Crystal Theater -- Etta Leon Troupe Sister Hanna came to visit Chicago, Ill., Hamlin Theater - Etta Leon Troupe Chicago, Ill., Lincoln Theater - Etta Leon Troupe Chicago, Ill., Randolph Hotel Buffalo N.Y., Academy Theater - Etta Leon Troupe Buffalo N.Y., Victoria Hotel New York City, 251 West 34 St New York City, Casino theater New York City, Empire Theater, Brooklyn New York City, Proctors Fifth Ave Theater - Lozano Troupe
The New York Evening Journal, dated Saturday December 7, 1912 printed one of Art’s most favorite quotes and he would often repeat it to his family members “Last come the Lozanos a wonderful troupe of tight wire performers who jump through a hoop. They get you all dizzy with feats in the air; for a marvelous balance there’s none to compare.”
Dec. 8, 1912 New York City – laid off Dec. 16, 1912 New York City, 251 West 34st Dec. 28, 1912 Union Hill New Jersey, Hudson theater - Lozano Troupe Dec.29, 1912 New York City, 251 West 34 St Jan. 1, 1913 Laid off Jan 5, 1913 New York City, Colonial Theater - Lozano Troupe Jan 12, 1913 New York City, Alhambra theater- Lozano Troupe A handbill of the Lozano Troupe listed them as the “The Original Mexican Aerial Tight Wire Novelty. First Time in America”. “The Act With Out an Equal Bar None. Fast – Artistic – Daring and Beautiful”
The Lozano Troupe, 1913 (Art Rammer top row left hand side)
The Lozano Troupe, 1913 (Art Rammer top row left hand side) Art joined the B.F. Keith’s greater New York circuit tour group. This later included the famous singer Eva Tanguay as the feature act. Art and Eva toured 21 cities together in 1913. Jan 20, 1913 New York City, Orpheum Theater (Opening stand for B.F. Keith’s) Jan. 27, 1913 New York City, Bronx Theater Feb. 3, 1913 New York City, Brooklyn Bushwick Theater Feb. 10, 1913 Bridgeport, Connecticut (Lozano Troupe joins Eva Tanguay tour group)
Feb. 11, 1913 Feb. 12, 1913 Feb. 18, 1913 Feb. 17, 1913 Feb. 18, 1913 Feb. 19, 1913 Feb. 20, 1913 Feb. 24, 1913
Hartford, Connecticut Holyoke, Massachusetts Worcester, Massachusetts, Bay State Hotel (3 days) New London, Connecticut Taunton, Massachusetts Fitchburg, Connecticut Springfield, Massachusetts, Cort Squire Hotel (3 days) Providence R.I. Colonial Theater (one week) with Miss Eva Tanguay
Note: The Lozano Troupe either changed their name or the program had a miss spelling of troupe name. March 1, 1913 Albany, New York, Broadway Central Hotel March 4, 1913 Rochester, New York March 5, 1913 Ithaca, New York March 6, 1913 Auburn, New York March 7, 1913 Utica, New York March 8, 1913 Syracuse, New York March 10, 1913 Geneva, New York March 11, 1913 Hornell, New York March 12, 1913 Erie, Pennsylvania March 13, 1913 New Castle, Pennsylvania March 14, 1913 Akron, Ohio March 15, 1913 Steubenville, Ohio (Closed with the Eva Tanguay Show) March 16, 1913 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Keuijou Theater (1 week) March 12, 1913 Rochester, Pennsylvania, Majestic Theater (3 days) Laid off account of flood, theater out of business March 29, 1913 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania March 31, 1913 Philadelphia, Nixon Theater, (opening stand of S.C. Tirne) April 7, 1913 Philadelphia, Victoria Theater (3 days) April 10, 1913 Cleveland, Ohio (laid off 3 days) April 14, 1913 Cleveland, Ohio, Duchess Theater (1 week) April 20, 1913 Detroit, Michigan, Broadway Theater (1 week) May I, 1913 Fort Wayne, Indiana, Empress Theater – Lozano troupe
The summer of 1913 Art returned home to Antigo, Wis. In August he received a letter from his friend W. D. (Dormilly) Glasscock with the Lozano troupe. W. D. asked him if he had bought a farm yet. Dormilly and his wife Etta I believe manage and performed in both the Etta Leon and Lozano troupes. It appears that about this time Art join forces with Harry Crawford and Geraldine Lloyd. First listing themselves as Rammer, Lloyd and Crawford, and then renaming them-selves the La Vilas Troupe, â€œMANIACS OF WIREDOM -the fastest of the fastestâ€?. The La Vilas Troupe listed a permanent address at the Belmont Hotel in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. I believe that Harry and Geraldine had at one time performed with the Cevene Troupe. Geraldine had also preformed with the Rosa Valerio Troupe.
The La Vilas Troupe was hired by Sun Bros. Circus for the summer season of 1913. On November 4th , 1913 Sun bros. sent the Vilas Troupe an official layoff notice.
I have no further records as to what Art was doing between November of 1913 and March of 1914. However, it appears that Art had been corresponding with Fred Cevene who was traveling with his troupe in Europe with the Sarrasani Circus. Jan. 2Oth 1914 Art received letter from Fred asking him to join the troupe in Germany. On Feb. 14th 1914 Art received a post card from Fred Cevene who was in Hamburg, German and was to leave for Dresden, Germany on March 8th 1914. Again Fred had asked Art to rejoin his troupe when they returned to the states and start touring with the Hagenbeck - Wallace circus.
Art, Geraldine & Jack -Sun Bros. Circus, 1913 On March 30th 1914 Art received a telegram from Fred Cevene informing him that they will be opening with the Hagenbeck - Wallace circus on April 9th , in St. Louis, Missouri. Art was with the Hagenbeck - Wallace circus on April 9th, when he received another telegram from Fred Cevene “noting that they had just landed in New York and will be on first train. Fix anchors fifty feet long and 6 wide, buy cable if you need it or use stakes, get everything ready. As we will be there Saturday morning eight thirty via Penna. See boss property man for anything you need.” The Fred Cevene troupe consisted of 6 performers; Fred Cevene, Hebert (Slats) Beeson, Cari Miller, Arthur Ramer, Tom Waters and Harry Smith. (note: Herbert Beeson later became a very notable high wire artesian while dress as a female performer, he was also known as Herberta Beeson and Berta Beeson.) The Hagenbeck -Wallace Circus opened in St. Louis (Coliseum), April 11th for eight days and opened their road season at Peru, Indiana (home of this circus) and closed at Paducah, Kentucky October 27th . Season lasted 28 1/2 weeks. Seventeen states were traversed. The route included one eight day stand and 3 two day stands. All of the rest were one day stands. The Circus’s only performances in Wisconsin that year were in Kenosha and Janesville. Weather was always a factor as rain and floods can ruin a season. The worst storm encountered in 1914 was in Sturgis Michigan, a wind storm of cyclonic power struck the canvas endways. However, not a stake was pulled and every tent stood, not withstanding some buildings were blown over. The wind got under the big top and lifted it until the outer quarter poles dangled in the air as high as a person’s head. These poles struck several people sitting on the grand stand. One man died soon afterward and several were sent to the hospital. Many lawsuits were started against the show, but were decided in favor of the circus (unlike today’s justice system). Not any circus property was damaged. The minute the storm was over and after the terrible confusion had given away to order, the performance continued.
Hagenbeck - Wallace Circus, 1914 At the end of the 1914 circus season Art again returned to his beloved home town of Antigo, WI. As I have not found any further information I believe that Art hung up his tight wire shoes for good. September 15th 1915 Art took a job with the Chicago and North Western Railroad as a fireman. Eventually becoming an Engineer for Chicago and North Western and working for them for the next 48 years, till the time of his death on January 17, 1963. Arthur Fredrick Rammer is buried in Antigo, WI. Art married Addis Turney, August 6, 1916 and had five children, Thomas, Mary Alice, Joyce, Phyllis and William. Addis died in 1926. Art then married Dorothy Flader, September 25th 1931. Art and Dorothy had four more children, Patricia, James, Margret and Michael. Art never lost his love for the circus; he would go to every circus that came to town, mostly to talk to the performers and renewed old friendships. As they say in the circus â€œyou can shake the sawdust out of your shoes but not out of your heart.â€?
Circus World Museum, Baraboo, WI
Circus World Museum, Baraboo, WI Written by Arthur Rammerâ€™s youngest son.
Michael Arthur Rammer Oshkosh, WI October, 2009