When New Bedford Hosted the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus
Step right up! See the World's Smallest Girl, the Three-Legged Man, the Tattooed Lady, and the rest of the Sideshow Performers as the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. The circus comes to New Bedford for a weekend of thrilling performances.
Hurry, hurry, get your tickets now! Just an ace note gets you inside to see Bobo the Rubber Boy, the Fire Eater, and the Two-Faced Man.
As I recall, they referred to it as the "freak show," but I'm not sure how politically correct that is these days.
The Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, complete with elephants, barkers, acrobats, and cotton candy, came to New Bedford for performances at the Poor Farm field on East Rodney French Boulevard when I was a kid in the early 1960s.
It was a breathtaking flurry of activity that began pre-dawn when the circus trucks pulled into town.
As a very young child, I recall my father taking me to watch the giant circus elephants raise the big top tent high into the sky, pulling ropes that stood the tent poles upright into position.
I remember the big cats performing in the large tent and the trapeze artists swinging high above in feats of daring courage.
The clowns – always the clowns. What is a circus with clowns?
And the circus parade. Come one, come all! The World's Largest Circus Under the Big Top is in town!
P.T. Barnum and the Ringling Brothers took the American circus to new heights in 1871.
I was a youngster when the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus stopped coming to New Bedford. At some point, civic arenas replaced open fields as circus venues, and then concerns about animal rights and a general lack of interest spelled doom for the circus industry.
Does anyone remember when the circus would come to New Bedford?