confessions of a circus publicity director

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Guest Ringmaster

The Guest Ringmaster will have to wait, if that's what you tuned in for today. Instead, let us travel to the quaint shanty-town of Tucumcari, New Mexico, this past March. One of my first assignments as publicity director was to visit this town and submit to the third-degree by the police chief.... Sign in to see full entry.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Cook House

There is a photograph that appears with predictable regularity whenever a book on circus history is published. It shows the inside of the Ringling cook tent, circa 1934, with picnic tables demurely drapped with snowy white linen and everyone but the disgraceful clowns gussied up in white shirt and... Sign in to see full entry.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Some More About a Lot

Unless you work for a tented traveling circus you probably have no idea what they need all the room for. So, mine kinder, let ol' Professor Torkildson give you a lecture on what all there is to find room for on a circus lot. The elephants take up more room than anything else except the big top.... Sign in to see full entry.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Lot About the Lot

A traveling tented circus is at the mercy of a different lot each day. Is it big enough? Wide enough? Does it slope? Will it flood in a rainstorm? Is there potable water we can hook up to? Are there underground utilities that a tent stake may puncture? Is it grass or gravel or quicksand? Culpepper... Sign in to see full entry.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lee Marks

Working for a shrine circus, in theory, is a plush job. The pay is tremendous and you get a week here and a week there off, to trifle away as you please. Howsomever, the drawbacks are that you have a hellish travel schedule, sometimes having to jump 400 miles from one date to the next, and you get... Sign in to see full entry.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Marvelous BJ

Now where was I, re: BJ? Ah yes, the boss, Trey Key, told me to bunk with him for a week while I looked over the show prior to hitting the open road as publicity director. Now one thing you need to know about circus folk is that sometimes they do not like people to know their real name. I don't... Sign in to see full entry.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How it all Began, Continued

As I was saying... I packed up my little red Ford Mercury convertible and headed down to Texas. I thought I was going to be putting on the war paint again, fooling around in the ring like my honored ancestors Fredie the Freeloader and Weary Willie. But the boss, Trey Key, a wiley and astute showman,... Sign in to see full entry.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How I Got to be a Circus Publicity Director.

The winter of 2005 was a tempermental one up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sunny thaws were followed by arctic blasts. Through a series of billiant career moves I was spending the winter living with my mother and working as a warming room attendant at the Van Cleve Park warming room. The pay was eight... Sign in to see full entry.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Swede Johnson, an old Ringling clown, prefaced all his stories this way: It ain't the truth, but it's close enough. Wiser words were never uttered by a circus veteran, of which I am one. So hold on to your cotton candy and sno-cone folks; I'm taking you into the world of a one-ring tented traveling... Sign in to see full entry.

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