This striking Belgian movie poster titled La Gloire du Cirque for the 1935 RKO film Annie Oakley is currently up for auction at High Noon Western Americana. Barbara Stanwyck starred as the sharpshooting “Queen of the Roaring Eighties” who joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1885. The January 25th sale is in Mesa, Arizona, with online bidding available via Live Auctioneers.
While the Hollywood movie was a fictionalized account of Annie Oakley’s career, authentic photos and memorabilia documenting Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show will be on the auction block at the January 31st sale of the Garlow Collection of William F. Cody Family Photographs and related ephemera. Most of the items in the sale at Cowan’s Auctions are descended directly in the family of Patricia Garlow, the great-granddaughter of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
Cody was the first president of the Showmen’s League of America and one of the first international entertainers. His daughter Irma Cody’s Wild West Show Photo Album is among the rarest items in the auction and has a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-$6,000. The album features photos of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley as well as trick ropers, cavalrymen, musicians, show managers and sideshow performers congregating among their tents.
This cabinet photograph of Annie Oakley wearing a chest full of shooting medals was taken by Stacy of Brooklyn in 1894. In May, the Wild West built a huge grandstand on Third Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets at Ambrose Park, where the show “delighted twenty thousand,” according to the The New York World.
Buffalo Bill’s great Wild West Show opened at Ambrose Park, South Brooklyn, yesterday afternoon, in a blaze of glory and amid a shower of ringing coin thrown by the 20,000 people who occupied seats in the grand stands.
Col. Cody had unquestionably in this exhibition surpassed all his former efforts in the show line, and to miss seeing his Congress of Rough Riders of the World, in their most wonderful and daring feats of horsemanship, which, by the way, are perfectly natural, and contain no circus play, is to miss one of the finest educational exhibitions ever given…
The entertainment consisted further of rifle shooting by the celebrated woman rifle shot, Miss Annie Oakley; horse races between a cowboy, Cossack, Mexican, Arab and Indian on the horses of their native lands; an exhibition of the famous old pony express, an immigrant train attacked by Indians on the plains, exhibitions of horsemanship by Riffian Arabs, cowboys, Mexicans, and others; hurdle races, races between Indian boys on ponyback, the battle of the Little Big Horn, illustrating Custer’s last stand; the attack on the Deadwood coach and settlers’ cabins by Indians; buffalo hunts, a military musical drill, the cavalrymen of all nations, and Col. Cody’s wonderful exhibitions of sharp-shooting at glass balls with a rifle while riding at full speed.
The New York World, May 13, 1894
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