8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A Sunday Afternoon 'Must See' Show On the ABC TV Network, B&W Console!, Right Up There With "ZOO PARADE."Those were the Days!
John T. Ryan (email@example.com) from United States
28 October 2007
In addition to providing a sort of 'vulgar' entertainment for the
common man, the Medicine Shows, Wild West Shows and Circuses, provided
contact with the Big Cities "back East" for so many "frontier" towns in
the Middle West and Western United States. The arrival of such an
entertainment in town was a highly anticipated event, possibly being
numbered among the truly great moments in any year of the 19th and
early 20th Centuries.
So it comes as no surprise to any Buffs of the Big Top or any genuine
Historians that the World of Sawdust, the Exotic and All Superlatives
is so deeply ingrained in our own History and Collective Psyche of the
Modern Western Civilizations of Europe and the Americas. The use of
canvass tents and virtual cities on wagons are as much of a subject of
popular fiction as they were of their own World. At one time, in the
period of time between the World Wars, traveling circuses, carnivals
and the like, probably numbered in the hundreds in a Depression
shackled, 'New Deal' America alone.
In the 1940's, with the End of World-wide hostilities and the Defeat of
Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan and their little buddy
Satellite Nations, the rise of television came to the forefront in
matters of modern culture. In addition to introducing a vast portion of
the public to Athletic/Entertainment/Morality Plays that we call
Professional Wrestling, TV programming sought identification with and
exploitation of the long existing world of Circus.
This development was felt by the live Circus World (the "legitimate"
Circus, if you will) in two directly opposite ways. Like anything else,
the exposure on "the Tube" enhanced recognition, familiarity and fame
of any act in any branch of the showbiz industry. That is the upside of
As for the downside, It is the same thing! Yes it is. We simply mean
that by virtue of its mass communication powers, over-exposure proves
to be the real problem. The best and worst aspects of TV are the two
sides of the same coin!
So, TV was here and the Execs, even then being the unimaginative
bean-counters that they were, and are, wanted their own Circus. So it
then We saw the rise of such shows as the CBS TV's "SEALTEST BIG
TOP"(1950-57) on Saturday Morning's and Sunday Afternoon's "SUPER
CIRCUS"(1949-56), shown over ABC TV Network.
There was a special affinity that we had in our household for "SUPER
CIRCUS", and young as I was then, this connection was perfectly clear.
(having been Born 11/02/1946 in Chicago Lying In Maternity Hospital,
located on the Campus of The University of Chicago). The irrefutable
evidence was perfectly clear. Unlike so many other TV Shows (most in
fact)originated in New York (Radio City) or Los Angeles (Television
City), good old Claude Kirchner (Ringmaster)and Company were Broadcast
Live, from Chicago, "that toddlin' town!"
The Cast was composed of the aforementioned Human Bean Pole, Mr.
Kirchner and a large, Circus-type Brass Band. The gang from "Clown
Alley" were very prominent in the intros to the visiting Real Circus
Acts, as well as in providing the Laughs in the usual Comic Relief
Sketches. They were "Cliffy, Nicky and Scampy"; also and otherwise
known as Radio & Film Actor Cliff Soubier, all-around Funnyman Nicky
Francis and in this corner, not 1 but 2 separate, but equal & distinct
younguns portraying 'Scampy'. One Bardy Patton originated the Role, but
the tendency toward rapid youthful growth left him out and was replaced
by one even 'scampier'Sandy Dobritsch.
It was Miss Mary Hartline replete with her: A). Long Blonde Hair, B).
Long Feminine Legs C). Majorette Costume & Baton or D). All of the
Above ; who provided the necessary pulchritude (aka "Sex Appeal) as
Claude's Helper. (the Answer is D)., of course, All of the Above!)
During its hour, there were the usual bits of business with Claude,
Miss Hartline and the Clowns and 2 or 3 Top World Class Circus Acts
from Big Top Big Shows, such as "The Greatest Show on Earth, Ringling
Brothers and Barnum & Bailey's Combined Shows!" (This limited
Television exposure was certainly good for business, kinda like havin'
free advertisements!) We can speak from some personal family experience
of this "SUPER CIRCUS", for my older Sister, Joanne Ryan (1942-90) got
to attend a live Sunday Show done at the Civic Opera House Theatre, 20
S. Wacker Drive, right here in Chicago. This was either 1950 or 1951,
which would make her 8 or 9 years old. She went in her Brownie Scout
Uniform with her Troop from St. Cecelia's Catholic Church.
She remembered that Ringmaster Claude Kirchner had a nasty off-camera
disposition and did a lot of hollering at the mostly Kid Filled
Audience to "keep it down!" She further related that the commercials
done live for Mars Candy (now M&M-Mars of Chicago) featured a give-away
of their Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers and Forever Yours Candy
Bars. The Camera always caught a couple of rows of smiling kiddies,
happily munching on these chocolate bars.
But guess what! Only the kids in the first couple of rows were given
these "samples". Can you imagine the cheapness of those 'Suits' at
Mars! And they had the audacity to say "THE BEST CANDY ON EARTH COMES
FROM MARS!" Maybe the "Best", but definitely not the Kindest!"
It seems that when the Producers start to change the format of a
Series, it is usually the end.This we learned very early on, as the
final season of "SUPER CIRCUS" saw a move (to LA or NYC) and a new cast
with veteran funnyman Jerry Colonna as MC/Ringmaster.
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