Monday, July 28, 2008

Circus Maximus

Scan10521, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Circus Maximus was an indoor show bank-rolled by the owners of the Harlem Globetrotters and featured a lot of big name acts.
So I was surprised to see that they lifted this photo from the Polack program as well as part of Parley's bio for their own use.


Anonymous said...


As somebody who wrote every word in about 25 Ringling programs from the late 1960s to mid 1980s, I was NEVER surprised to see certain of my stories lifted word for word and used by other shows and performers. Once in a while, I still do.

Since I was performing "work for hire" for Ringling, the words didn't belong to me. Well, like the old saying goes, thievery is the sincerest form of flattery.

Wade G. Burck said...

I would assume they got the idea for shows reusing posters from prior shows, and just pasting on a new name.

Mike Naughton said...


You are not just a "somebody"!

Hope all is well.

Harry Kingston said...

A perfect example of using other shows stuff is when Floyd King used some of the old Cole Bros photos from the 1930's in his King Bros. programs. Working for Cole back then I am sure he had some extra stuff he held on to.
Also with the posters the famous Cole Bros. Circus with Clyde Beatty and is 40 lions and tigers.
I know Hamid Morton used it by cutting off the Cole title and having a new name strip printed and glued on the top of the poster.
The Clyde Beatty railroad circus used this same poster also.
I saw a photo where Floyed King bought old Christy Bros multi sheets and left the Christy title on it and posted a King Bros date sheet by the side of it.
I am sure the old show paper was real cheap.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the compliment.

All is indeed well in the Florida Panhandle, Keeping our eyes on the tropics though -- the height of hurricane season is almost upon us.

Best wishes to you and yours.


henry edgar said...

as jack said, thievery is the sincerest form of flattery, and it's always been very common in press departments and even moreso when putting together programs and heralds. much of the stuff used from the 20s up until the 70s was created by floyd king when he was doing press, and the only changes made were the names of the show and occasionally some of the acts. i was told by one of the old-timers that the reason shows usually didn't feature current performers with the show at the time, other than stars like beatty, the cristianis, zacchinis, wallendas and a few others was that they were afraid the performers would ask for extra money for the use of their names or photos in advertising.
Well into the 60s, it was common for most of the shows to use the same 10 or 12 pictures and ad mats that everyone else did. almost everyone filled press releases and heralds with ficticious names. the same is true with posters. there was one stock photo of a hippo with an open mouth that was used by almost every show on the road, including shows that had no hippos. the same with photos of clowns and pretty girls well past the time when the girls became grandmothers. even ringling was guilty of filling the programs with stock photos while ignoring the acts that were actually in the show. when i started doing press, everybody thought i was crazy to hire photographers to take new photos -- and to take more until they got good ones. we also had the first new ad mats in 20 or 30 years and heralds with nothing but current photos and real names. i know that as late as the 70s and 80s, shows were using photos paul patterson took for me in bradenton in 1964 -- i still see them in programs and heralds on ebay. beatty-cole only rarely updated program photos until the year concello came in briefly. ringling didn't seem to start doing much with very many new photos and beautiful programs, etc, until mr. feld took over and jack started doing the programs and running the press department. i've never understood the value of promoting something you don't have like a hippo or a giraffe or even a riding act or a cat act or a flying act -- eventually, people will find out anyway and it creates unnecessat heat. a good publicist can make a standard web sound like a star turn, particularly if he's lucky enough to have a good anouncer and a good band back on the show.