By Eric Beheim, WJU #66
In 1947, Kelley arranged for the production of the record
album A DAY AT THE RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM
& BAILEY CIRCUS. Released by Commodore Records
and scripted so as to appeal to both children and adults, it
consisted of Kelley describing various sights and happenings
on the circus lot, accompanied by appropriate sound effects
that had been recorded on location.
The album began with the arrival and unloading of the circus
train, the walk to the lot, and the erection of the big top. Next
came a visit to the menagerie tent, where Kelley provided
some interesting facts about the various animals on display.
Accompanied by an air calliope playing tradition circus
music, the tour next moved inside the big top where various
acts were rehearsing between performances. Afterwards
there was a visit to Clown Alley, where clown Felix Adler
was heard performing a short skit with his pet pig Gloria.
Rounding out the tour were visits to the blacksmith shop,
the performing dogs, and the cookhouse. All in all, it was
an interesting audio documentary of the circus that probably
worked quite well when it was played on the radio.
Unfortunately, there were no photographs or illustrations,
and children had to use their imaginations to visualize what
Kelley was describing. Very young children probably found