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April 23, 2014

Interesting Vintage Circus Photos From Between the 1930s and 1950s

In the 19th century, there was one sure sign summer had arrived: the circus pulled into town, unpacking its canvas tents and wild animals from the trains that carried it around the country. Here's a collection of 20 interesting vintage circus photos from between the 1930s and 1950s.

Circa 1930: Under the spotlight in a circus ring two elephants balance on their hind legs. (General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

April 1938: Dixie riding on the wall of death at Southend. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A woman circus performer, dressed in a leopard skin gladiator costume, places her head in a lion's mouth. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

An elephant from Earl's Court Circus with a man in its mouth. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Circa 1955: A fakir performing the bed of nails trick. (Peter Purdy/BIPs/Getty Images)

Circa 1930: Circus horses walking on their hind legs during a circus act. (General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

Artist Dame Laura Knight sketching chorus girls behind the scenes at a circus at Olympia. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A polar bear looks on at a model wearing a fur coat at a fashion festival at Chipperfield's Circus. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Spanish high wire cycling act The Mestelrich Trio, performing high above Battersea Pleasure Gardens, London. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

March 1935: Strong man, George Challard of Woowich shows he can bend an iron bar with his teeth. (Arthur Tanner/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

German circus performer Alsons Tonelli performs a headstand on a rope 120 feet from the ground at Battersea Festival Gardens, London. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

18th December 1959: The Ghezzis, a comedy acrobatic team, perform at the Bertram Mills Circus at Olympia, London. (Derek Berwin/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A young fire-eater gives his father a light from his tongue. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Acrobatic dancer Beryl Lapidge, who appears in pantomimes all over the country, in action while helping out in her father's cafe. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Clown Charlie Cairoli from the Blackpool Tower circus and his donkey wishes Andre Baldet of Northampton good luck for his 48 hour drive to Paris and back in a Trojan Lambretta bubble car. (Keystone Features/Getty Images)

A scene from 'The Circus Adventure' at the Arts Theatre. Douglas Dempster as the wicked ringmaster holds up the talking cat played by Ursula Jones watched by Pinky the clown played by Matyelok Gibbs. (Aubrey Hart/Getty Images)

May 1928: Elephants from the Blackpool Whitsun Circus being unloaded at Tilbury docks. (H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

November 1949: Animal trainers from Bertram Mills Circus rehearse with the elephants at the circus's winter quarters in Ascot in preparation for their next performance at Olympia in London. (Monty Fresco/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

December 1938: Comet, an elephant from Chessington Zoo spends the weekend as a waiter at the Trocadero Restaurant in Piccadilly Circus, London. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Circa 1955: The International Circus Clown Club acts as a sort of Union for clowns. A clown can register his painted face with the club to protect his individual make-up design from being pirated. (Peter Johnson/BIPs/Getty Images)


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