In mid-century America, everything was super. You could take a ride on the Super Chief, fill your car up with Super Hi-Test gasoline, shop at the brand new Super Market for some Super Sugar Smacks, shave with Super Blue Blades, and, if you were lucky enough to have one of those new-fangled television sets, you could watch Super Circus!
Super Circus was a TV show that aired from 1949-1956 on ABC, featuring circus acts performed before a live Chicago audience of kids, testimonials for Mars candy bars, short comedy skits starring clowns and Mary Hartline, testimonials for Mars candy bars, various prize games involving the studio audience, testimonials for Mars candy bars, and testimonials for Mars candy bars. Did I mention the show was sponsored by Mars, makers of Three Musketeers and Snickers? Mary Hartline, literally crowned the "Queen Of Love And Beauty" in high school, became one of television's first national glamour gals through her Super Circus stardom. She eventually married one of the heirs to the Woolworth fortune and still resides in Illinois today. But in the mid 1950s she was the idol of the nation leading the Super Circus merchandising parade!
And now let's join Ringmaster Claude Kirchner - or is it Jerry Colonna? No, it's Claude Kirchner - under the big top and see what Super Circus is all about!
Well, it's a circus, so of course there are animal acts, and this is a Dell comic book, so of course these animals can talk. Did the animals talk on the Super Circus TV show? Only if you drank enough Paramount Super Beer while viewing.
And as all 1950s elephant girls know, your hopes and aspirations are merely a source of amusement for the grownups and human beings around you. You've heard of Tiger King? Bernie here is the Tiger Field Marshal, or he was, before his unfortunate accident about to happen here.
Does the knowledge that the animals and the circus performers can communicate with each other make the whole "animals forced to perform in the circus" thing less objectionable? Did these animals consent to being stuffed in cages, made to sleep in dirty straw, and railroaded from town to town for the benefit of gawking, snot-nosed brats and their mouth-breathing hayseed parents? Or are they the misfits of the animal world who found, like human misfits, that the circus midway was the only community that would accept them as they were, as seen in the fine documentary film "Freaks"?
It's a certainty of fiction that if you show a clown in one scene, that clown will be crying in the next. I think they call it "Chekov's Clown."
Remember clown, you're BORN a clown and you'll STAY a clown and there's NOTHING you can do about it, except endure the laughter of the crowd as it burns its way through your soul.
And speaking of clowns...
Yes it's Clown Alley, where the Super Circus clown team of Scampy, Cliffy, and Nicky run for their lives, because maybe everyone hates clowns, or maybe one of these clowns is one of the many serial killers wandering America at this time.
Guys, it's a CLOWN CAR, of COURSE it makes explosion noises and crazy sounds every time you crank it. That's WHAT IT'S FOR. Go buy a second-hand Packard if you want actual transportation!
Who can those clowns sell their rattletrap to? Who's got lots of money from selling Mary Hartline puppets and Mary Hartline dolls and all kinds of Mary Hartline merch?
Mary, didn't your mom ever tell you to never ever get in a car with three clowns?
Hey clowns, turns out Mary just needed a ride to Lakeville! Now fix your clown makeup and think about what you did wrong here.
All kinds of whacky characters turn up at the Super Circus, including what appears to be a giant schoolboy with sleep apnea.
It's Claude's favorite kind of employee - one that's REALLY STUPID
Heck, it turns out when you take in a wandering giant you're responsible for his food and clothing. Which Mary, being the only prominent female figure and therefore the only maternal influence, is in charge of. Shouldn't she be rehearsing the... drum majoretteing, or whatever it is she does at the Super Circus? What's that? She just stands around in her majorette outfit showing off as much leg as 1952 would allow? Well, I guess that counts for something.
Wait a minute, this circus has a garage? Don't circuses move from place to place, packing up their tents and loading everything onto spooky "Something Wicked This Way Comes" trains as they roll across the American heartland scaring children? How in the heck do they have gas pumps and service bays?
This whole crew seems to have forgotten what the circus life is all about, which is always being on the move! Staying one step ahead of creditors, jealous husbands, and the law! You can't do that if you're tied down by walls and drainage ditches. Drainage ditches! When was the last time you went to the circus and said to yourself, "Gosh, this circus certainly has well-constructed drainage ditches?" NEVER, that's when
Determined to wring every possible iota of child labor out of this simple giant nature boy, about whom we still know nothing, where are his parents, shouldn't he be in school, etc., Mary has a final idea to make him work for his meals. I mean, above and beyond the circus work he does, which should already pay for his meals.
And yes, Mary has to write copy, sketch the layout, deliver the specs to the carpenter shop, take the finished sign to Freddy, and pretty much do everything else around this circus. I guess she does more than stand around showing her legs!
It's Freddy the walking sandwich board giant, wandering around town frightening everybody, falling into bad company, maybe knocking over a few banks before it percolates through his simple skull that stealing is wrong, and then he becomes a rage-filled crime fighter to make up for his mistake. Stay tuned for GIANT FREDDY, this fall! And that's Super Circus, basically Mary Hartline solving everybody's problems while also being the Queen Of Love And Beauty for all America.
One last little tale of Mary dealing with the whole crew of clowns clownsplaining their way right into her kitchen, because of course Mary Hartline has to do the cooking and the baking as well. But let's not feel too bad for Mary- notice the tag line in the indicia there, the official title being "SUPER CIRCUS Featuring Mary Hartline", she was getting top billing and a piece of all that merchandising action. Mary's no clown!
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