The Big Top

The Big Top

Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show

Live, from the Convention Hall in Camden, New Jersey, it's The Big Top, with your host, ringmaster Jack Sterling!

With trained circus man Sterling leading the parade, The Big Top featured five or six guests each week, each one an acrobat, trapeze artist, or other circus staple. Clowns in full regalia would serve as entré acts, and chief among the funnymen, hidden under heavy makeup and a blinking red nose, was none other than a young Ed McMahon.

More than 300 people worked behind the scenes of The Big Top, making it the largest live TV production in the mid-1950's. Adding to this number was a band, led by Joe Basile, that supplied live music throughout the show, and barker Bob Russell (host of Your Pet Parade and an emcee for the Miss America pageant) kept the crowds drawn in to the excitement.

The Big Top began its run on primetime television, but after six months, the show moved to Saturday mornings for the remainder of its network life. Bringing acts from around the globe into your very own living room, The Big Top enjoyed a seven-year run before the circus finally left town permanently in 1957.

Release History

7/1/50 - 9/21/57 CBS

TV Sub Categories


TV Studio

Flying A Productions

Television Cast

Ringmaster Jack Sterling
Head Clown Ed MacMahon
Clown Chris Keegan
Circus Dan the Muscle Man Dan Lurie
Brass King Joe Basile

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