Army buddies Jerry Hotchkiss (Herry Lewis) and Pete Nelson (Dean Martin) join a circus after they are discharged from their military service.
Jerry is so anxious to become a clown that he takes a job as assistant to the lion tamer just to get a foot in the door. He also tries his hand at tightrope walking and even getting fired out of a giant cannon.
Pete joins the circus as a general handyman (sweeping the tents, washing the elephants, selling ice cream) not only to be with his friend but because his finances are depleted.
In no time Pete becomes romantically involved with two gorgeous girls – one is the lovely owner of the circus, Jill Brent (Joanne Dru) and the other is its temperamental aerial star, Saadia (Zsa Zsa Gabor).
The rivalry between the two girls creates hectic complications.
3 Ring Circus is strictly Jerry’s film with Dean only in support here in a thankless role with not very much to do.
Jerome F “Jerry” Hotchkiss
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Colonel Fritz Schlitz
Puffo the Wonder Clown