Saturday, August 09, 2014

Ringling Bros. Circus, 1951

Today I have a few fun slides from 1951, when the circus came to town! Unfortunately I don't know which town, although there were many other slides from the Detroit area, so make of that what you will.

Just outside the Big Top, various circus performers (they look too fancy to be roustabouts!) relax and catch some rays before the big performance. Those pretty ladies might be aerialists or acrobatic equestrians. Laundry is hanging to dry (when you're on the road, you wash your clothes whenever you can)… do you think that the dozens of buckets to the right were used for washing? Or are they there in case of a fire? I am kind of amazed at the complexity of the many ropes… it's like the rigging on an old sailing ship.

I love this picture… the elephants - walking billboards for popcorn and lemonade - with their pink plumes; and their uniformed handlers… it really evokes another era.

It's almost time for the big show! I wish this one wasn't quite so dark, but it's still fun to look at the people milling about.

There are more pictures from this circus - coming up. Stay tuned!


Nanook said...


And here all this time I thought the silly animated characters, circus animals and dancing hot dogs and bags of popcorn shilling for the myriad of drive-in theatre snack bars were the product of the imaginations of Filmack Studios - or their ilk. It appears the elephants, at least, inspired at least a part of those trailers.

Let's go out to the lobby...

Thanks, Major for these swell images.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, maybe one elephant is named "Popcorn" and the other is named "Lemonade"! Probably not though. As a kid my mom took us to the drive-in theater a bunch, but we only got popcorn, even though we craved french fries and other greasy goodies!

K. Martinez said...

WOW!!! These are fantastic! If you've got more, I'm definitely interested. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I have a few from the side shows. Not "freak shows" unfortunately (!), but still fun.