Thursday, May 24, 2007


An educational short produced in 1966 featuring an actor dressed sort of like Felix Adler narrates some footage of the Cole Bros. circus setting up the tents. The film then abruptly changes to the midway of the Clyde Beatty Circus (this is not the "Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, which toured from the late 50s through 2001 or so) and sometimes back again as the performance starts.

It's an interesting look at the old tent show days, with three rings presented under the big top, rain or shine.

It's made more interesting for us by the fact that at about 14:00 you'll see a group of clowns outside the tent. Look carefully and you'll find Bobby Kay amongst them.

At about 16:15 or so you'll see Bobby riding on an elephant in opening.

At one point you'll see a tramp clown driving a float. This is not Otto Griebling and it is not Joe Jackson but he looks quite a bit like both.

And at the end you'll see just how much Emmett Kelly had effected the popular conception of what a clown does.


justlarry said...

I was going to tell you that the clown with the lopsided mouth is Lawrence Cross, but upon further inspection I could be wrong. If it was around '65 or so then It could be it could be Eddie Dullum.

Pat Cashin said...

I would agree that it's Larry Cross.

I think (and I've been way off on stuff like this before) that the Cole Bros. and Clyde Beatty footage is probably from the late 40's/early 50s.

The outdoor shots of the arena at the beginning look to be pre-1963.

I'm judging all of this based on clothing, hairstyles, eyeglasses and my limited knowledge of automobiles, but I can usually come pretty close to dating something using a combination of those criteria.

And if I'm wrong there are usually 10-20 people out there to set me straight ; )


Anonymous said...

That is Lawrence Cross with the lopsided mouth. Eddie Dullum's mouth was much larger. Nice shots of an early Bobby Kaye...I aggree with Patrick in that the footage comes from the 40's. Bobby's makeup by the 50's was very close to the one we all remember from his Ringling days. That tramp sure looks like Joe Jackson,jr., but other than the Ringling Cuba unit, I don't think he worked american circus shows.
Really enjoyed seeing those old Mother Goose floats...the circus museum has restored them and gilded them into incredible works of art.


Mike Naughton said...

Make sure John Herriott is aware of this film, he can identify many, I'm sure.