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Mills Bros Circus

Mills Bros Circus

The Mills Bros. Circus was owned by brothers Jake, Jack and Harry Mills who all had a background in the circus industry. The brothers purchased the Richard Bros. Circus and on April 20, 1940 the Mill Bros. Circus opened in Tallulah, La., the show ran continuously until 1966. The show was a mid-sized truck show and toured the Eastern and Mid West United States. The circus developed a wonderful reputation with the public and it's employees alike.

The circus carried a large, clean and appealing cookhouse on the show. The Mills took a great deal of pride in their cookhouse and visiting showpeople were always invited to have a meal.

During the first half of the the 20 century there were many smaller "grift shows" on the road, which gave the industry a bad name and cause many patrons to be sceptical of all circuses. The Mills brothers pioneered using local sponsors (civic and fraternal organizations), to sell tickets and promote the show before it's arrival. The sponsoring organization received a percentage of the ticket sales, and many became dependant on the circus as an annual fund raiser. Buying tickets from local people and organizations reassured the public and bolstered the credibility of the circus' name. The use of sponsors was very successful and soon most circuses adopted this system.

After the death of circus owner Paul M. Lewis the Mills brothers purchased the Lewis Bros Circus from Paul's widow and added the equipment to the Mills Bros. inventory.

The Mills brothers were responsible for importing many circus acts and circus families into the United States, some of the decedents of these families still perform in U.S. circuses today.

In 1966 the circus was sold to Sid Kellner who started the James Bros. Circus.

Jack Mills Died July 20, 1974

 
Mills Bros Circus elephant act
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Mills Bros Circus photo 1
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Mills Bros Circus photo 4
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Mills Bros Circus photo 8
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Mills Bros Circus photo 9
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Mills Bros Circus photo 13
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Mills Bros midway June 1947
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Mills Bros Circus photo 7
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Standing in front of Burma, Lena, and two other elephants is KY Seagraves who took over the act after Hugo Schmidt left the show. Thanks to Karl Schmitz for this info.
 
Mills circus in Elkhart IN. 1947
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Mills Bros Circus Tent
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Mills Bros Circus photo 3
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Mills Bros Circus photo 6
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L-R Herman Joseph, unk
and Bumpsy Anthony
Thanks to James Davis for identifying them.
 
Mills Bros Circus photo 10
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Mills Bros Circus photo 14
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Mills Bros Circus photo 2
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Cowboy Actor Jack Hoxie 1947
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Cowboy Actor Jack Hoxie
with the Mills Bros. Circus
June 16, 1947 Elkhart, Indiana
 
Circus performers Mills Bros Circus 1947
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Mills Circus Clown
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Mills Bros Circus band with guest musicians, June 3, 1946
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Circus Clown Mills Bros Circus 1947
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Mills Bros Circus performers
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Clown on Mills Bros circus
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The Mills Circus band
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Mills Bros Circus Truck 1946
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