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gracie 1937


GRACIE

gracie 1940   Grace Elizabeth Hanneford was born around 1920 in New York City while her father, Poodles, was playing the Hippodrome Theater. Unlike the other Hanneford children, she had a more opulent upbringing. Poodles was a celebrity performer and was able to provide a more exclusive enviroment than either George or Lizzie could provide for their families. She, and her parents, had a private tent on the lot and a private car on the train. The shows provided a maid to take care of her, and they traveled by car from the train to the venue and back.
     Even so Gracie, like the rest of the family, lived and grew up on the road. She learned to walk on the train between shows. Then when Poodles went into movies she moved to North Hollywood, California,  for a while - eventually moving back to Lake George, New York.
Grace Poodles and Gracie 1956     In the family tradition she learned to ride and, after George and Poodles went their separate ways, she took over the female riding role that her aunt Lizzy had created. They used other male riders in the act at first but then replaced them with all girls. Unfortunately, the girls never stayed long and Poodles got tired of having to keep training new ones so they decided to keep the act with just him, Grace, and Gracie.
     Following their appearance in Jumbo, in 1936, Gracie started a solo horse act to go with the family riding act. They worked for Gorman Brothers Circus, Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus,  Cole Brothers, and most of the top shows of the time. During World War II they did many U.S.O. and Red Cross shows that took them to Alaska and the Aleutian Islands with a comedy act without the horses. In the Aleutians the troupe almost died when they got lost in a snowstorm. They had to abandon the jeep and struggle through waist high snow until they finally found their way back to safety.
gracie 1978     In 1954 Poodles decided to retire from riding and spent a couple of seasons touring with his whip act while Gracie did a web routine. Then in 1956 they all quit the circus for good (except for a short stint with George Jr.).
They started working in Frontier Town a theme park in upstate New York. While Poodles clowned, and her mother ran the store, Gracie worked a dog act that her father had helped put together for her. Later, after her father died, she took over running the park Motel, ran the pottery store, and did her dog act. She now has retired and lives in California.


 
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NED AND ELIZABETH
POODLES AND GRACE
LIZZIE AND ERNIE
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