Buffalo Bill - Circus people

Started by Private User on Sunday, April 14, 2013
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Private User
4/14/2013 at 8:56 AM

I know "Buffalo Bill" Cody did shows, but I'm not sure he could be really called a circus person. Private User?

Private User
4/14/2013 at 9:07 AM

He was inducted into the Circus Hall of Fame in 1974.


4/14/2013 at 9:08 AM

It depends on the associations you have with the word "circus", I think.

I think of the Wild West shows as being a kind of circus.

From Wikipedia: "In 1883, in the area of North Platte, Nebraska, Cody founded "Buffalo Bill's Wild West", a circus-like attraction that toured annually."


On the other hand, another article in Wikipedia thinks of them as vaudeville.

"Wild West Shows were traveling vaudeville performances in the United States and Europe. "


That one strikes me as very odd ;) Curiously, this second article shows what it calls a "circus poster".

Private User
4/14/2013 at 9:27 AM

Private User, looking at that list, I think "Buffalo Bill" Cody was more of an honorary induction, after they inducted Tom Mix, who actually did work for a circus. Don't get me wrong, Buffalo Bill was a stunt performer, I just don't think he worked for a circus in the strictest sense, just as I wouldn't call rodeo clown a circus performer.

Private User
4/14/2013 at 9:35 AM

From what I've read, a lot of people who called themselves vaudevillians first started out in the circus. My understanding of a vaudeville show is that it was a group of independent artists coming together, rather than in a circus where everyone is an employee.

4/14/2013 at 9:54 AM

Again, it's a judgement call.

I'm a rodeo fan, so that was my first thought. But, like you, I rejected it because the Wild West shows were more like circuses where everyone is an employee of the show, and less like rodeo and vaudeville where the performers are independent participants.

When it comes to Geni projects, I prefer to err on the side of inclusiveness. I wouldn't want Buffalo Bill to end up in the Ancient Rome project, but Circus? Close enough.

Buffalo Bill's grave is a 20 minute drive from my house. He's buried under a mass of concrete so the folks in Cody, Wyoming don't come steal his body.


Private User
4/14/2013 at 10:06 AM

Haha, I guess you're right, "close enough". I'm sure we're not the first to debate this, nor will we be the last.

Why would people want to steal his body? Just to have him buried in Cody?

4/14/2013 at 10:47 AM

He was an extraordinarily popular man. I could be wrong about some of the details but the way I remember the story, there were three or four cities / towns that wanted the honor of his grave. When he was on his deathbed in Denver, contingents began assembling, all with the expectation they would claim the body. He died, and his wife chose to have him buried in Denver (or sold his body, in one version).

An armed group coming down from Wyoming declared their intention to steal the body. Denver locals armed themselves with the idea of defending the body. There was an idea that the dispute might result in a gun battle, so Denver piled on the concrete in order to make further dispute pointless.

You can read one, very muted version, on Wikipedia:


You can read a Wyoming fantasy that they really did snag the body here:


Buffalo Bill's Colorado grave is just off I-70, west of Denver. And, it's very close to the Mother Cabrini Shrine, honoring another local celebrity:


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