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Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area)

Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area)

Posted: 21 Apr 2010 8:36PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Sonnanstine, Sonnenstine
My great grandfather was Ernest Sonnanstine. He and his brothers, Charles and Edgar, performed with the Sells-Floto circus as a clown act known as the Sonnie Brothers. I have inherieted their traveling steamer trunk. In my process of trying to salvage it I have become very curious about their history. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Pictures would be fabulous!

Thanks,

Kelly

Re: Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area)

Posted: 7 Jan 2013 2:51PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 3 Sep 2014 4:02AM GMT
Surnames: l happen to know and have pics of the circus, sonny, his brothers, all kinds of things. l have Sonny's lil stuffed sassage
kelly. I have become very interested in the lives of edgar and his wife juanita sonnanstine. Ellie lee. Was great friends with them both, from her words, A beautiful life of circus, movies. And most of all, love. I have pictures of all of them. The time with his brothers, and the times with his most famous wife, juanita. Sonny was his name, acribats was what he did, from what l can see, he loved life, and all people. The color of there skin didnt matter to him, back then, it mattered to a whole lot of people. One picture l have, shows sonny, with his arms wrapped around children of color, the smile on his face, and the old fashion hats and cloths, makes this picture, 5 x 7, great!!! I know l have your grandfathers, l have many, including with chistiani circus, with the elephants, post cards, just plain life from the circus. I am a writer, and the life they lived, seems sad, to just let die. So, l will start here, ln hopes, someone might feel the same way, add to the story. appreciate any remarks, carla

Re: Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area)

Posted: 25 Jun 2013 6:56PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Anne
Wow, are you talking about the Juanita that had a group called "Juanita and her champions" from the 1930's, (they were an acrobatic roller skating group.) Ellie Lee is my aunt. She told me great stories of the group when she was alive, wonderful lady. They traveled all over the world!

Are we talking about the same sonny and Juanita? My aunt always spoke so highly of Sonny and Juanita, they took her under their wing in the entertainment industry.

Re: Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area) ELLIE LEE

Posted: 8 May 2014 12:58AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 8 May 2014 12:58AM GMT
I saw this post and had to ask if your Ellie Lee lived in Miami, Florida with her friend Seal. This would have been about 1957? My Ellie Lee who was a somewhat famous roller skater. She purchased a house from my parents and lived across the street. We were great buddies. She taught me how to roller skate and told me stories of appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. Could this be the same person? Susan

Re: Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area) ELLIE LEE

Posted: 8 May 2014 11:36AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Susan,

I believe this is the same Ellie Lee, as she was an acrobatic roller skating champion that performed with Juanita Sonnanastine ("Juanita and her Champions") and her husband Sonny the Clown. She did indeed live in Miami at the time. I do not know who she lived with though. She may have had several properties there. I believe she bought (or maybe sold) them from people with the last names of Campora, Walking and Carter. Do you have any pictures of my aunt? I have some awesome ones of her performing. After her dancing days she went on to open a school for children in Florida. Thank you for sharing your memory of my aunt. She was a super lady. Anne

Re: Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area) ELLIE LEE

Posted: 8 May 2014 1:01PM GMT
Classification: Query
Anne,

This is so exciting. Ellie and I were such great friends. My maiden name is WALKLING. You understandably left out the second L. Ellie purchased the house from my parents after my father built a new house across the street. I would see her almost everyday. She later sold the house to David Carter. I do not know about the Campora people. I would love some photos of her as I have none, Although I was very young when I knew her, she made a huge impression on me. Please send me a link to any photos or biography you have posted, or my email is jskarayanis@juno.com. Susan

Re: Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area) ELLIE LEE

Posted: 9 May 2014 4:22PM GMT
Classification: Query
I found some interesting information for this line of investigation. In 1949 Juanita LaBenton married Edgar Sonnanstine in Dade County Florida. Prior to that she was known as Juanita LaBenton. I found a great article in Billboard Magazine from April of 1942 about Juanita LaBenton and her All American Roller Skating Act being held by the Gestapo in Spain. I have attached the article to this post. I would assume that Ellie Lee may have been one of the skaters being held. I also found a short blurb in another Billboard referring to Juanita LaBenton and her Champions in Morocco. Hope this is of some interest to all of you. Susan
Attachments:

Re: Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area) ELLIE LEE

Posted: 10 May 2014 12:53AM GMT
Classification: Query
I had never seen that article. Thank you so very much! Not Sure if Ellie was a part of this. I do know that Ellie legally changed her name in 1947 to "Ellie Lee La Benton" and she ADORED Juanita. Ellie took care of Juanita in her elder years, they truly had a special relationship. Annie

Re: Sonnie Bros. Clowns - Sells Floto Circus (Ohio Area) ELLIE LEE

Posted: 10 May 2014 2:18AM GMT
Classification: Query
Do you think that the person I knew as Seal could actually have been Juanita? Might Ellie have had a nickname for Juanita? I know that Seal had dark hair and seemed to be several years older. I remember Ellie as having kind of bleached blonde hair that was on the bushy side. Seal was not around all the time; she seemed to come and go. Do you have any photos of Juanita and Ellie you could attach? I think I would recognize Seal if I saw a photo and I am quite sure my parents would remember. Susan
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