1 9 5 0 – 1 9 5 7 (USA)
The Big Top featured American and foreign circus acts, many of which travelled from Europe to appear on the show.
The series initially aired for six months on the CBS prime-time schedule before being moved to Saturday mornings, where it continued for the next seven years. It was filmed in Camden, New Jersey, the winter home of many travelling circuses.
One of the performers was the relatively unknown Ed McMahon who was then working for CBS’s Philadelphia radio affiliate, WCAU, writing, producing and hosting as many as 13 shows at once.
Producer Charles Vanda had hoped to offer McMahon the role of ringmaster on the show but CBS insisted on Jack Sterling.
McMahon, instead, became the principal clown – a more popular and appealing character.
Circus Dan the Muscle Man (Dan Lurie)
Joe Basile and his Band
Lott and Joe Anders