Photo: Jill Freedman, 1971
The Clyde Beatty Circus was founded by Clyde Beatty (1903-1965), an animal trainer. He formed his own circus in 1945 after touring with several circuses including Hagenbeck-Wallace Cicus in his early career. Beatty toured his circus in conjunction with Russell Brothers Pan-Pacific Circus in 1946, then decided to open a show under his name only. In 1956, the circus was sold to the Acme Circus Corporation, and Beatty was hired as a star attraction. In 1957, the Acme Circus Corporation acquired the Cole Bros. Circus name and the show became Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus. Beatty remained the star of the show until his death in 1965.
Later Eddie Allen was appointed boss elephant man thereby gaining much publicity and even more a few years later on the Ringling Show when he put together the best remembered elephant number ever done with that show, "The Changing of the Guard".
Winter quarters in DeLand.
1958-2004 Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. circus
John Pugh became became President and owner of Cole Bros. Circus, Inc. in 1981
1973: A keeper was killed by one of the elephants:
Circus Helper Crushed to Death By Elephant He Was Handling
TENAFLY, June 4 – A 45-year-old circus laborer was picked up and thrown to the ground twice yesterday before being crushed to death by an elephant he was handling after a performance on Roosevelt Common.
The laborer, Alvin Kelly of Dallas, was helping to water a group of 13 elephants following the afternoon performance of the Clyde Beatty Circus.
“We have reports that Kelly had been drinking heavily earlier in the day and that might have had something to do with the elephant’s actions,” the spokesman said. “He also was carrying a big stick, which he may have poked the elephant with at the wrong time.”
The elephant, the police spokesman said, is now with the circus in New City, N.Y., where it had a performance today. “The elephant is a problem for the circus to take care of, not the police,” the spokesman continued.