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Circus Capers (1930)

A dog ringmaster woos away the mouse bareback rider from the mouse clown.

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The circus is in town and heralds its coming with a parade. Elephants dance with bells on their feet, and even turn their trunks into steering wheels and pretend to be cars. The giraffes dance, too, with wooden clogs on their feet. The mouse clown in the parade performs somersaults, but his impressive antics are mainly for his girlfriend, the mouse bareback rider who is just ahead of him, blowing kisses from her fat horse. The side show features a scantily-clad fat lady, who shakes her exposed buttocks provocatively, enticing the audience to flock inside the tent. Inside, the bareback rider performs her gravity-defying stunts. The clown forms his arms into a hoop for leopards to leap through. He even makes the "okay" sign, and a leopard defies physics by jumping through his fingers (and losing his spots in the process). The ringmaster doubles as a lion tamer and performs a dance with a ferocious lion, who ends the routine by kicking his tamer in the rear. The clown angers the ... Written by J. Spurlin

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Release Date:

28 September 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zirkuszauber See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Van Beuren Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Featured in The Smiling Man (2015) See more »


Laugh, Clown, Laugh
Music by Ted Fio Rito
Lyrics by Sam Lewis and Joe Young
Sung by the clown
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User Reviews

Animal circus antics
10 January 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Van Beuren cartoons are extremely variable, especially in the number of gags and whether the absurdist humour shines through enough (sometimes it does, other times it doesn't), but are strangely interesting. Although they are often poorly animated with barely existent stories and less than compelling lead characters, they are also often outstandingly scored, there can be some fun support characters and some are well-timed and amusing.

'Circus Capers' is one of the best Aesop's Fables cartoons and also to me one of Van Beuren's best overall. It may not be a masterpiece or a cartoon classic, but it is so much more entertaining than most Aesop's Fables/Van Beuren cartoons. There are a few of the usual flaws but a lot is done right as well.

Its weak point is the animation, which is not great with erratically sloppy character designs in particular while the simplistic background detail and lack of fluidity and crispness are just as difficult to ignore.

Occasionally the pace drags, especially in the first third which is basically slight set up, and the ending is something of a strange one. However, two thirds of 'Circus Capers' goes at a snappy pace and contain some well-timed and amusing, if never hilarious, gags that are many and has a likeable strangeness.

The circus antics and animals (which are cute, fun and easy to remember) are fun to watch, and the excitement and danger of the setting is done well. While still somewhat random, 'Circus Capers' makes more sense than most Aesops Fables cartoons and the story is generally enjoyable thanks to the characters and their antics.

Generally the pacing is lively once things get going and some of the synchronisation is not too sloppy, at least not at odds with everything else.

Best of all is the music score, it is typically peppy and great fun to listen to. It is so beautifully and cleverly orchestrated and full of lively energy, doing so well with enhancing the action.

Overall, enjoyable if not mind-blowing. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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