Tag Archives: USA


From my collection

Yo Yo (Bill Alcott) is seen above with a Majorette, which I have just discovered is an American term for a baton twirling marching girl. In Australia we have a different name for this type of performer. We call them  Baton Twirling Marching Girls. Not much linguistic creativity there, Oz! The above souvenir photo is one of many I have seen on eBay, in the past two years or so, where we see Yo Yo posing with a visitor to the carnival or circus. The above photo is the only one that shows somebody in a costume that indicates they were also performers at the event.

My scanner has failed to capture how wonderful this photo is.  There is a depth to the photo that is not visible here. Our marching girl is beautiful. She looks serene and comfortable getting a hug from my favourite clown. I wonder if they were friends?

Below are more photos of Yo Yo with circus goers. Unless otherwise indicated, I do not own them, but copied them from the eBay listing when they were sold.


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From my collection


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I have published photos of this clown before but at the time I knew nothing about him, except that he kept popping up in online auctions in photobooth photos. I am happy to say I now know that this is Yo Yo the clown. Of course he was more frequently known by his birth name, Bill Alcott. I bought this and most of the photobooth photos below from his daughter, Arlene Albrecht. She has so many souvenirs of her own and her father’s career in the circus that she was happy to part with these small items.

Bill started clowning when he was 5 years old as his uncle was a strong man in the circus. He performed well into his 70s. When Arlene was a child she travelled and performed with her father in Jay Gould’s Million Dollar Circus. The circus had a carnival, so it was a complete package for state fairs & other community celebrations. Arlene’s mother had a photobooth and her brother had a slum spindle (which I believe is a game designed to favor the owner, not the player) on the midway. Later the family added snow cones & cotton candy to the business.

The photobooth was very popular during the second world war as all the girls at home were sending pictures to their sweethearts in the military. Their photobooth was a great feature, for children and adults alike, to get a personalised souvenir of the circus. I will post some of that type of photo soon.



It is interesting that his advertisement for work mentions that he was sober. Taking one meaning of the word, it is hardly appealing to employ a clown of sober mood. Taking the other meaning of sober, which is obviously the one intended, one wonders if there were so many drunken clowns in the business, that it  was necessary to specify that detail.


The photos below are copyrighted to Clown Alley. I asked for permission to use them but didn’t receive a reply. I hope using them will not upset anyone.


St Louis Police Circus 1956. Yo Yo is the second last clown on the right.


Yo Yo in colour, cuddling a Policeman clown.

I don’t much like it when elderly couples are characterised as ‘sweet’ or ‘cute’. I think it is patronising and condescending. It ignores the fact that older people are smart, experienced and tough. If they have maintained a relationship for long enough to be growing old together then they are patient, loving and tolerant as well.

This 1930s photobooth photo from the USA shows a couple that has lived well and survived. They appear to be dressed up for a special occasion or simply for a trip into town, which may have been a special occasion itself. They still have a sense of adventure and fun to have stopped, into what was a very recent invention, to have their photo taken. I like their matching granny glasses, her lace collar and beads.

They both have wonderful half smiles that make me feel that they were enjoying themselves and each others company.




This is the third post of photos of the same young, beautiful woman, who I have named Ms Toledo. To read more of how she came to have that name and see more images of her, please click here.

Once again Ms Toledo is showing off a gorgeous, though somewhat precariously place hat and a fashionable hair style or two.

Most of the photos, including these ones, are approximately 38 x 44 mm in size.




This is the second set of photos of images of the same young, attractive woman, who I have named Ms Toledo. She has been named thus, due to a stamp on the back of two snapshots that came with the photobooth photos. Each is stamped with the name of the processor, The Gross Photo Supply Co. in Toledo, USA.

Ms Toledo has a fabulous flare for fashionable hair dos and hats, more of which will be seen in subsequent posts.

Ms Toledo bears a striking resemblance to an Australian actor and comedian, Marg Downey, (see photos below.) Marg obviously stowed away on Dr Who’s tardis in order to get these booth gems.

Most of the photos, including these ones, are approximately 38 x 44 mm in size.

To see the other posts of Ms Toledo please click here.





This is the first of a series of posts I will be doing, of images of the same young, attractive woman. What do we know about her? She was a Christian, indicated not only by the ecclesiastical choice of back-drop but by the cruxifix she is wearing. I know that she came from or visited Ohio, USA in the 1940s, as gleaned from the back of two snapshots (below) that came with a collection of photobooth images of her. They are stamped with the name of the processor,  The Gross Photo Supply Co. in Toledo. I also know that she was fond of photobooth photos.

The two photos above measure 80 x 105 mm and 38 x 44 mm respectively. The larger is a common sized enlargement of a booth photo. Booths, in this era, were commonly located in photographic premises which offered a multitude of services, including enlarging, hand colouring and framing.

Look out for more posts of Ms Toledo in the coming few days. I hope . . .


Stylishly well dressed.



Looking fetching in a proto-bikini!



Catherine at 16


Catherine at 17


Catherine at 18

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Catherine at 18. To a sweet boy, Catherine … (?)


Catherine at 19

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Catherine at 20

This is Catherine. Catherine comes from the USA. She was very curious about the new Photomaton machines she had read about in the news. When the first booth arrived in her town in the mid 1930s, she was one of the first to try it out. Each year, on the anniversary of her first visit, she would sit for a new strip of photographs. She added them to an album, where she kept a page especially for her booth photos.

Catherine was sweet on a boy when she was 18 years old. She had a photobooth portrait hand coloured to give him, but being shy, she lost the courage, so ended up keeping it for her album.

At the age of 20, sick of her lack of confidence, she decided to try a new look. Her dad said she was a beautiful young woman who had sabotaged her looks with those dreadful eyebrows, heavy eyeliner and dark red lipstick. Her mother said, “It is the fashion, dear. Let her be.”.

If anyone can work out what Catherine’s surname is, please let me know. I have tried many combinations of letters but none of them come up with a name recognised by any of the genealogy sites on the net.

I bought this and two other original photobooth display panels from the USA. They date to the late 1960s. These would have been placed on the sides of the booth to show off the quality of the images you could make of yourself. None of the strips are true booth photos, having been copied from the originals for use in multiple locations. As there is some overlap in the models and photographs used, I have chosen this, the best one, to share with you.

I wonder where the booth was located, as none of the models were male? I guess it could have been in an area dominated by hairdressing salons or another type of business with a predominantly female clientele. I love the variety of classic 60s hair and make-up styles.


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Sign Detail


Undated. Possibly 1972 or 1973 “Me and Jay”

Above is the last of the photos of Donna in a photobooth with a friend. This time we have Jay, who could be another of Donna’s boyfriends. To me, they seem more like good pals. If a boyfriend, it is unusual that they are not kissing, given her love of a smooch in a booth.

Below we have the last of Donna’s friends or perhaps relatives. The way the notes on the back of each picture are written, makes it unclear whether this girl is named Sister, or if she calls Donna Sister as a nickname or is in fact her actual sister.

The writing on the back is also the only indication in all of the photos, of our blond beauty’s name. As they all came from the same album, I felt it reasonable to assume the notes were addressed to the owner of the album. The person most frequently featured, who is referred to as me in many of them, being the most obvious candidate as the owner.


Top image. 1973 – “To one of my best friends. Stay the way you are Sister” Bottom Image. 1973 – “To Donna, A re… fr.. your friend always Sister”

Donna is photographed with many boyfriends and girlfriends over a period of 4 years from 1969 to 1973 in this series of photobooth photos. It has been a long time since I started these posts, so if you’d like to review the previous photos, please click here.


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