Clyde Beatty Clowns, JFC, May 1949


Jessica Fong gracefully lent me her collection of Joel Dardis negatives acquired at the estate sales for scanning and archiving. These all came in envelope sleeves, a storage method Joel switched to, sometime getting back to photography in the mid 50’s. He still used boxes, but both Jessica and I have multiple envelopes full of negatives and contact prints.

One of the first envelope with press negatives in Jessica Fong’s Collection (JFC) contains scenes from the Clyde Beatty Circus in Stockton.

There’s no date, but checking the circus tour dates for Stockton over history, suggests May 22, 1949.

There was also a May 24, 1950 Clyde Beatty Circus performance in Stockton. We don’t have any images of Joel for 1950, but we do know Joel still photographed in mid 1949, hence the support for the choice of May 22, 1949 date. (We don’t have any images for Christmas 1949 either … )

Clyde Beatty Circus Clowns Stockton, circa May 22, 1949
Clyde Beatty Circus Clowns Stockton, circa May 22, 1949
Clyde Beatty Circus Clowns Stockton, circa May 22, 1949
Clyde Beatty Circus Clowns Stockton, circa May 22, 1949
Clyde Beatty Circus Clowns Stockton, circa May 22, 1949
One Clown, Two Exotic Dancers, Clyde Beatty Circus, Stockton, circa May 22, 1949

The only image Joel printed out in the above series is the last one.

Checking the clowns from the 1948 and 1949 performances, we can observe some of them are the same individuals.

The dwarf clowns can also be found on some of the Ringling Brother’s images at a later time.

As for the clowns in the SF Examiner 1954 article ? I firmly believe these are clowns from a different circus, photographed early on in April or May 1954 in San Francisco or Oakland, two locations Joel would visit occasionally. Publishing these in a San Francisco newspaper would make most sense.

The latter is pure conjecture, but a plausible explanation in light of the current data.

There are two more circus images in this stack.

Clyde Beatty Circus Acrobats, Stockton, circa May 22, 1949 (Printed)
Clyde Beatty Circus Acrobats, Stockton, circa May 22, 1949 (Printed)

That’s all folks !

Cheers !


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