Pages from History

A collection of historic Images - Sam Houston's Show

The images on this page came from the collection of Miss Adonna Houston, the daughter of J. Sam Houston. 


Mr. Houston was originally involved with the Gentry Dog and Pony Show.  He then was involved with Otto Floto around 1905 and helped in the merger of the Sells Flotos Circus.  He was close friends of the Bonfils family of the Denver Post .  He eventually became known for his independent show which traveled the US and Mexico.  He owned Balto the Dog who Saved Nome, Cheetah, the Pancho Villa death car and many other exotic items.


Miss Houston worked at a children's park in Oakland CA that my husband worked at as a child. (Fairyland)  She was the Old Woman in the Shoe but when Count Popo De Bathe (resident clown) went on UNICEF trips, she filled in for him as Lolo the clown. 


I met them both in 1981 but Popo passed away that year.  We stayed in touch with Lolo as we called her and helped her out when we could.  Her father passed away in 1957 but she kept many of the things he had.  Some ended up at Bridgeport in the Barnum Museum.  Popo had a display there for many years along with a wax figure.  A two headed calf and an emu are still there.  She removed Popo's things and some ended up here or in Baraboo.  He started out with Mr. Morris's Monks but was in several circuses including Christy Bros. and the Madrid circus (I think).  She had known Popo thru her father.


Sam Houston worked in the silent picture industry, circus and as an independent showman.  Adonna was as much a partner as a daughter.  She showed with him from 1926, when she ran away from a grandmother until his death in 1957.  She was a stand in for Dorothy Lamour at one time, worked on Rose Parade floats, worked at Fairyland in Oakland, played the Palace as a child.


They had several railroad cars that they used and they took them to Mexico and back.  Sam provided the Hilton Sisters with music lessons and helped them out after they ran away from their manager. 


There is a great deal more about Sam and Adonna but we never were able to get her to write it down or put it on tape.  She never thought anyone would be interested. Lynne Bell


We'd like to thank Lynne Bell for sharing these images with Sideshow World.  All photographs are the property of Lynne Bell and are posted here with her permission.




Sam Houston San Francisco 1947


Post Script: Mr. Houston was born Feb. 14, 1869 in Anderson, IN and died Mar 1, 1957 in Los Angeles.


Joseph H. Huston aka Sam J. Houston - His real last name was Huston!  Sam, ever the showman, took the Houston spelling because of the historical recognition. 


His parent's owned the Huston Hotel in Winchester, WI.  His father was in the Civil War and his mother died in a run away buggy accident.




Click  Below to Read Article


Gorilla and Big Python Arrive from Hollywood

Hilter's Armored Car Contact

Betty Broadbent

Sam and the Baboon

Count "Popo"  International Children's Entertainer

The Sawdust Ring - Adonna Houston Collection

Letter about the Purchase of Shrunken Heads

 Elephant Headdresses

Count Popo De Bathe and Mr. Morris's Monks

 A Letter from Adonna

Prof. Lesko's Letter about the Mummy Case

Tarzan Exhibition in Mexico

Ben Davenport's Inquiry to Trade for Long Car

Mummy Case Toured on Houston's Shows

Joseph H. Huston Circus Figure Dies

Western Union Inquiry

"Parachuting Canine" - Dies

Gorilla and Big Python Arrive from Hollywood

Click on the Photos Below to View Full Size.

Sam Houston's  Show Front Mexico City show of 1947

Sam Houston's  Show Front Mexico City show of 1947

According to Adonna, her

father had permission

to use the Barnum name

172 W. Pike Long Beach CA

Jose DeLeon the armless boy and Betty Broadbent the Tattooed Lady

1118 Market St in San Francisco

Railroad Car

El Paso Texas




Railroad Cars

El Paso Texas


 with one of their G-man dogs

Special Invitation

 to the Floto Circus

Unknown Woman with 4 Legs

Glass Negative

Poncho Villa's Death Car

Good Tooth Jimmy


Dutch lecturer Mink De Ronda

Sam Houston Displays


Popo with emu and stuffed python, two headed calf

 Sam's Displays



by Ansal Adams

San Mateo fair 1955

Original Children's Hospital Oakland California

Popo at Rodeo

El Paso 1947

Popo and Popo

Bridgeport Barnum Museum

Wax Figure Display

Popo and Bones

Hartgett Ringling Show

Popo and Mrs Morris

Monkey Act




Adonna, Popo and Barney Adonna's dog who went every where with her.

Adonna in Hilo Hawaii 1927

after she left her grandmother and join Sam.

PoPo & the Basket Horse

Maybe Gilbert Reichert Popo 



The Count 

Popo, Ernest Borgnine,

Lou Jacobs

Circus World - Circus Parade 1970




Ito on display

 Maui 1927

Jodonna Houston

 Maui 1927


Hilton Sisters

Not Sam's Name on Card

Monster Reptile

Exhibition in Mexico


Exhibition in Mexico

PoPo And Michu

Maybe Daisy Doll

with Camera Man




One of Houston's Show's

Guicel William "Willie" Camper

Tiny Lavonda

World Smallest Lady

Glass Negative

Grace McDaniels

Glass Negative

Kiko & Sulu

Glass Negative

Pigmy's from


Glass Negative

Pip & Flip

Glass Negative

Mary Ann Bevans

Glass Negative

Jeanie Tomaini

Glass Negative

Martha Morris

Glass Negative





Tom Thumb

Glass Negative

Myrtle Corbin

Glass Negative

Anna - John

Glass Negative

Armless Legless

Glass Negative


Glass Negative

Mummy Case

Toured on Houston's Shows

Mummy Case

Toured on Houston's Shows

Mummy Case

Toured on Houston's Shows

Mummy Case

Toured on Houston's Shows

Head of Christ Shadowgraph

Pitch Item





Letter from Glen A Slack Co

To Sam Houston about

Shadowgraph Pitch Items

Arthur Bros Circus Poster

Owned by Adonna Houston

Note Mis-print

Puunene Theatre, Maui, they played in 1927.  Photos

of Adonna in the Indian

costume were taken

Haiku Theatre, Broadside where, they played in 1927.  Photos of Adonna in the Indian

costume were taken

Makawao Theatre, Broadside where  they played in 1927.  Photos  of Adonna in the Indian costume were taken



Olaa  Theatre, Broadside where, they played in 1927.  Photos of Adonna in the Indian

costume were taken

Adonna and Her Wild Cats Strange Cargo Truck Adonna & Popo on Stage 1940

Hilton Sisters






May and Joe

Adonna and Popo Slide Adonna & Popo on Stage 1940

Hilton Sisters


Photographs courtesy of Lynne Bell copyright 2011 all rights reserved


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