By Eric Beheim (see JUL-AUG 2022 Circus Fanfare for full article)
Researchers going through the papers and music libraries of circus bandleaders who were active in the early 1950s might encounter a reference to the Clyde Beatty Radio March. If they look for this title in the catalogs of the publishers of traditional circus music such as C. L. Barnhouse or the Karl L. King Music House, they would not find it since this is not a published march, but rather the theme music from a once-popular radio adventure drama based on the life and career of famous wild animal trainer Clyde Beatty.
n his day, Clyde Beatty enjoyed a celebrity status that we now only associate with top athletes and A-list movie actors. In addition to super-star billing in the circus world, he was the subject of several best-selling books, starred in a number of hit motion pictures, and was called upon give major product endorsements. For children, there were Clyde Beatty “Big Little” books, comic books, and two cliff-hanger movie serials. Then, in 1950, he was given his own weekly radio show. The Clyde Beatty Show was produced in Los Angeles using top West Coast talent. Even though it appeared at a time when radio was starting to take a back seat to television, the program had first-rate production values, with good acting, sound effects, and music.
During the years when The Clyde Beatty Show was heard on the radio, Albert Glasser’s theme music, often referred to as “The Radio March” or The Clyde Beatty Radio March, was programmed by the Clyde Beatty Circus’ bandleader Vic Robbins and might also have been used by the bandleaders at Beatty’s indoor winter dates. Only 16 bars in length, this theme was never expanded into a full-length march or published.