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Friday, April 3, 2009

Clyde Beatty Show, The


The Clyde Beatty Show was based on incidents in the life of animal trainer Clyde Beatty. The fictionalized stories ranged from circus mysteries to treks through the wilderness in search of new animals. The shows were transcribed in syndication by Commodore Productions, and later sold to Mutual for Kellogg's sponsorship, Dec. 11, 1950 - Jan. 18, 1952. The shows were 30m and aired three times a week at 5:30. Very entertaing shows.

Apart from the fictionalized radio show, Clyde Beatty (June 10, 1903 – July 19, 1965) actually joined the circus as a cage cleaner as a teen and became famous as a lion tamer and animal trainer. He also was a circus impresario who owned his own show that later merged with the Cole Bros. Circus to form the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus. Beatty became famous for his "fighting act", in which he entered the cage with wild animals with a whip and a pistol strapped to his side. The act was designed to showcase his courage and mastery of the wild beasts, which included lions, tigers, cougars, and hyenas, sometimes brought together all at once in a single cage in a potentially lethal combination. At the height of his fame, the act featured 40 lions and tigers of both sexes. There is some indication that Beatty was the first lion tamer to use a chair in his act.

During the 1930's through the '60's, he enjoyed a celebrity status that today we associate only with leading pop culture figures. In addition to top billing in the circus world, he was the co-author of several best-selling books and starred in a number of hit Hollywood motion pictures. His popularity with children and adults alike cast him as a “real life” hero and role model to countless generations. In the early 1950's, Beatty had not only the popular weekly radio show, but a network television series as well.

Clyde Beatty, 1933.

Through the years that followed and even after his death, the Clyde Beatty title has always been associated with top flight entertainment, a tradition carried on today with the current incarnation of the much acclaimed Clyde Beatty Circus which still can be seen today.

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References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group

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