12-year-old Corky has been adopted by a traveling circus owned by Big Time Champion. He is water boy to baby elephant Bimbo and otherwise participates in the behind-the-scenes life of the circus. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Star Micky Dolenz's hair was dyed blond for his role; he grew the dye out after the series ended. Years later when a reporter asked him why his hair looked different, Dolenz joked "I guess you could say I'm a Hollywood phony from way back." See more »
Circus Boy is based on the adventures of young orphan Corky (Micky Dolenz nee Braddock) who along with his Uncle, Joey the Clown (Noah Beery Jr.) work for the Burke and Walsh Circus owned by 'Big' Tim Champion (Robert Lowery). Other regulars are Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams as the cantankerous general handyman Pete and as himself Bimbo the Elephant, who actually gets top billing over Williams. There are also a few recurring characters that generally bring mayhem with each appearance. Set in the Pre-Automobile Age, the circus travels from town to town along the dusty roads of the West setting the stage for a new drama each week. Episodes are a blend of action, humor and family conflict.
After watching Circus Boy again after these many years, there are several takeaways to be had.
(1) Burke and Walsh should invest in fireproof tents.
(2) If you are a Circus Act looking for long term employment Burke and Walsh is probably not for you. A large number of episodes have Big Tim Champion, always pleased to pick up performers for a discount, hiring a new act (often with personal problems) to replace a previous act. Big Tim goes through high wire performers like a pair of cheap socks.
(3) If the Burke and Walsh circus comes to your town turn and run the other way. Townspeople looking for entertainment are instead usually treated to a large dose of pandemonium. Incidents such as forest fires, stampedes and water reservoir poisoning are not uncommon. The circus is also somewhat lax in keeping the wild animals secured.
But things typically turn out pretty well and in the end the victims usually have a good laugh at the misadventures. Running for two seasons then released into syndication, Circus Boy was one of the iconic Saturday Morning Fare of the 1950's. Any resemblance to programming peers Rin-Tin-Tin and Fury was purely intentional, but all managed to capture a sense of adventure for kids of that era.
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