"Wonder Bears" in Vaudeville














On February 9th, 1914, Martin Beck* and his Orpheum Circuit signed Emil Pallenberg and his Bicycle riding, Rollerskating Bears to a Memorandum of Agreement. which was signed and entered into while Emil, his companion Catharina and his bears were performing in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  Additionally, that same day, Pallenberg and Beck signed almost a dozen contracts, which covered a six month period, each for a different theater on the circuit.

April 28, 1914, Emil Pallenberg, Catharina Wouts Suverein and three acrobatic bears (Ella, Tona & Sasha) set sail from Bremen, Germany for the United States on the Ss Kronprinz Wilhelm, arriving at Ellis Island on 05/05/1914, in order to perform in Vaudeville, on the Orpheum Circuit. Their first booking was at the Palace Theater in Chicago, Illinois.  And the rest is history -- as those bookings and subsequent ones with Ringling owned circuses changed their lives forever.

* Martin Beck (July 31, 1868 – November 16, 1940) was a vaudeville theatre owner and manager as well as a theatrical booking agent, who founded Vaudeville’s Orpheum Circuit. He also built New York City’s Palace and Martin Beck Theatres, in the Broadway Theatre District. Beck (a close friend of escape artist and magician, Harry Houdini) as you now know from what is posted above, was responsible for bringing Emil Pallenberg and his Wonder Bears to the United States in May 1914 in order to perform on his Orpheum Circuit.

You can learn more about Emil Pallenberg and his Wonder Bears by reading "Pallenberg Wonder Bears - From the Beginning, which was published by BearManor Media in 2022.

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