Circus Boy

Circus Boy is an American action/adventure/drama series that aired in prime time on NBC, and then on ABC, from 1956 to 1958. It was then rerun by NBC on Saturday mornings, from 1958 to 1960.

Circus Boy
Title screen
Written bySee Episode List
Directed byGeorge Archainbaud
William Beaudine
Fred Jackman, Jr.
Robert G. Walker
Douglas Heyes
Lew Landers
StarringMicky Braddock
Noah Beery, Jr.
Robert Lowery
Bimbo the Elephant
Theme music composerHal Hopper and
Victor McLeod
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes49
Producer(s)Norman Blackburn and
Herbert B. Leonard
Running time2426 minutes
Production company(s)Norbert Productions
Screen Gems Television
DistributorColumbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001)
Sony Pictures Television
Original networkNBC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 23, 1956 (1956-09-23) 
December 12, 1957 (1957-12-12)


Set in the late 1890s, the title of the series refers to a boy named Corky. After his parents, "The Flying Falcons," were killed in a trapeze accident, young Corky (Micky Dolenz billed at the time as Micky Braddock) was adopted by Joey the Clown (Noah Beery, Jr.), and the whole Burke and Walsh Circus family.

The young boy quickly found a role with the circus as water boy to Bimbo, a baby elephant whom Corky would come to consider his pet. Riding Bimbo's back, Corky dealt with adolescent problems, and helped the show's adults including Joey, owner/promoter Big Tim Champion (Robert Lowery). and head canvasman Pete (Guinn Williams), keep the circus successful as the traveling show moved from town to town each week.

Outside of an elephant being the animal companion, the series was similar to popular "boy and his dog" shows of the time, such as Lassie/Jeff's Collie, and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.


Series regulars

Micky BraddockCorky
Noah Beery, Jr.Uncle Joey the Clown
Robert LoweryBig Tim Champion
Guinn WilliamsPete
BimboCorky's pet elephant

Recurring roles and notable guest stars

Billy BartyLittle TomEpisodes 1 and 2
Andy ClydeCol. Jack BixbyEpisodes 2, 18, 31 and 39
Coco Dolenz
sister of Micky Dolenz
Annie SimmonsEpisode 26
Coco from the orphanageEpisode 42
Anthony CarusoGambinoEpisodes 3 and 22
Ed HintonMikeEpisode 18
SheriffEpisode 43
Glenn KeyesEpisode 48
Sterling HollowayElmer PurdyEpisodes 15, 37 and 44
Brad JohnsonFrank DillardEpisode 27
Russell JohnsonBen OsgoodEpisode 5
Ralph MoodyCasey PerkinsEpisodes 6 and 41
Chief Spotted HorseEpisode 9
Ezra HillmanEpisode 23
Nan LeslieMurielEpisode 30
Ken OsmondSkinnyEpisode 23
Hal PearyAl GarsonEpisode 33
Slim PickensCurlyEpisode 8
Dan White (actor)Deputy Gus, Sheriff and Ben OtisEpisodes 16, 21 and 26
Willard WatermanMayor HumphreyEpisode 42

First episode guest stars

The following cast appeared in the debut episode only. Several sources erroneously list these three, as well as Billy Barty from Episodes 1 and 2, as series regulars.

Leo GordonHank Miller
Eddie MarrBarker
Olin HowlinSwifty

Series overview

Season New
Network Time Slot Season Premiere Season Finale Final Season
Broadcast (Repeat)
1 36 47 NBC Sundays, 7:30 pm September 23, 1956 (1956-09-23) June 23, 1957 (1957-06-23) September 8, 1957 (1957-09-08)
2 13 52 ABC Thursdays, 7:30 pm September 19, 1957 (1957-09-19) December 12, 1957 (1957-12-12) September 11, 1958 (1958-09-11)

Episode list

Season 1 (1956–1957)

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original US air date
11"Meet Circus Boy"Robert G. WalkerDouglas HeyesSeptember 23, 1956 (1956-09-23)
Big Tim Champion buys the Burke & Walsh Circus, and arrives just in time to stop a fight between the circus troupe and some strangers. He then turns his attention to Corky, the orphan who has been living with the circus since a trapeze accident had taken the lives of his parents. Initially, he decides that he cannot allow Corky to remain with the troupe.
22"The Fabulous Col. Jack"Robert G. WalkerVictor McLeod and
Seymour Robinson
September 30, 1956 (1956-09-30)
Corky persuades Big Tim to hire Col. Jack, but the others of the troupe become suspicious of him when his tall tales come true.
33"The Great Gambino"Robert G. WalkerVictor McLeodOctober 7, 1956 (1956-10-07)
The circus buys a new lion, but it is too ferocious, and turns on the trainer.
44"The Amazing Mr. Sinbad"Robert G. WalkerVictor McLeodOctober 14, 1956 (1956-10-14)
Horseback rider Ben Ali is the circus' star performer. He takes a dislike to Corky, and threatens to quit if the boy remains. Corky runs away and ends up in a ghost town, where he meets Mr. Sinbad, a former cavalry camel.
55"Corky and The Circus Doctor"Douglas HeyesDouglas Heyes and
Otis Gaylord
October 21, 1956 (1956-10-21)
The circus veterinarian, Pop Warren, seems powerless to stop the spread of disease among the animals. This prompts Big Tim to hire a new veterinarian, Ben Osgood. When Bimbo takes ill, Osgood recommends he be destroyed.
66"Casey Rides Again"Robert G. WalkerLee ErwinNovember 4, 1956 (1956-11-04)
A flood has washed out the bridge to Carson City, where the circus is scheduled to perform. Retired railroad engineer Casey Perkins saves the show.
77"The Little Fugitive"Douglas HeyesDouglas HeyesNovember 11, 1956 (1956-11-11)
Arthur Pincus, a friend of Joey's, plans to marry a widow, and must win the friendship of her son.
88"The Proud Pagliacci"Robert G. WalkerVictor McLeodNovember 18, 1956 (1956-11-18)
Fritz Phieffer, a former circus performer, visits his friends at the circus, and leads them to believe that he owns the farm where he works.
99"White Eagle"Robert G. WalkerVictor McLeodNovember 25, 1956 (1956-11-25)
Corky befriends Chief Spotted Horse, the wild west show star. Others of the circus troupe are jealous of the chief's popularity. Taylor, the groom, makes an attempt on his life.
1010"The Little Gypsy"Robert G. WalkerSeymour Robinson and
Victor McLeod
December 2, 1956 (1956-12-02)
Corky, Joey and Big Tim rescue an equestrienne, who has been kidnapped by her gypsy suitor.
1111"The Masked Marvel"Robert G. WalkerMax LambDecember 9, 1956 (1956-12-09)
Circus trick shot artist Billy Stanton is kidnapped by his brother, Earl, who takes his place to rob the circus.
1212"The Good Samaritans"George ArchainbaudDouglas Heyes and
Otis Gaylord
December 23, 1956 (1956-12-23)
At Christmas time, local tycoon Ben Farmer urges the townspeople to let the circus know that it is not welcome. To make matters worse, his son David picks a fight with Corky.
1313"Daring Young Man"Robert G. WalkerCharles StewartDecember 30, 1956 (1956-12-30)
Corky recommends his friend, Cal Jones, for a job as a high dive artist. However, Cal has a fear of heights.
1414"Farewell To The Circus"Robert G. WalkerLee Erwin (from a
story by Victor McLeod)
January 6, 1957 (1957-01-06)
Martha Neilson discovers that she is Corky's aunt. Not feeling that the circus is a proper surrounding for the boy, she attempts to adopt him.
1515"Elmer The Aeronaut"Robert G. WalkerLee Erwin (from a
story by Thonnis Calhoun)
January 13, 1957 (1957-01-13)
Corky helps his friend, fellow circus troupe member Elmer Purdy, build a passenger balloon. Against Big Tim's order's, the two take the balloon on its maiden flight.
1616"The Remarkable Ricardo"George ArchainbaudCharles N. StewartJanuary 20, 1957 (1957-01-20)
The circus escape artist is suspected of being a thief. Corky follows him, hoping to find that it isn't true, but ends up locked in a bank vault.
1717"Big Top Angel"Lew LandersLee Erwin (from a
story by Victor McLeod)
January 27, 1957 (1957-01-27)
Circus wardrobe mistress Mamie is working to put her grandson Ken through medical school. After spending a summer with the circus, Ken wants to quit school to marry Estelle the trapeze artist.
1818"The Return Of Col. Jack"Robert G. WalkerLee ErwinFebruary 10, 1957 (1957-02-10)
While Big Tim is away, Col. Jack shows up. Having loaned money to the circus, he takes it upon himself to run the show. His good intentions result in chaos.
1919"The Knife Thrower"Robert G. WalkerRik Vollaerts and
Victor McLeod (from a
story by Rik Vollaerts)
February 17, 1957 (1957-02-17)
Firpo the knife thrower saves Corky's life, but in so doing injures his eye. He makes Corky and Joey promise not to reveal this, so he can continue his act. Problems are compounded by tensions between Firpo and his brother Marino, the trapeze artist.
2020"Joey's Wedding Day"George ArchainbaudLee ErwinFebruary 24, 1957 (1957-02-24)
Joey, thinking Corky needs a mother's care, considers marriage. Pete sends for his sister, to meet Joey. Once Joey decides that he is not ready for such a commitment, he must find a way to break it off without offending Pete or his sister.
2121"Man From Cimarron"Robert G. WalkerLee Erwin (from a
story by Victor McLeod)
March 3, 1957 (1957-03-03)
The harness repairman thrills Corky with stories of his days in the old west. When he witnesses a robbery, and refuses to identify the criminals, Corky becomes disillusioned.
2222"The Great Gambino's Son"George ArchainbaudVictor McLeodMarch 10, 1957 (1957-03-10)
Gambino the lion tamer brings his son Antonio to the circus, presuming that he will want to continue in his father's footsteps. The younger Gambino initially rebels, then tries to honor his father's wishes, but eventually he finds his own role in the circus. At a staff party, Antonio leads the group in singing a song (the theme song of the TV series, with lyrics).
2323"Corky's Big Parade"Robert G. WalkerWallace BoscoMarch 24, 1957 (1957-03-24)
Small town racket boss Flint demands an exorbitant fee for the circus to perform. A friendly farmer allows the show to set up in his field, just outside town. Corky and the local boys are called upon to promote the show, which Flint tries to shut down.
2424"The Lady and The Circus"George ArchainbaudBarney SlaterMarch 31, 1957 (1957-03-31)
A former sweetheart of Big Tim's arrives, and the relationship is rekindled. They plan to marry, but he feels that the hardships of circus life are more than he can ask his bride to share. So, he contemplates selling the circus.
2525"Counterfeit Clown"Lew LandersVictor McLeodApril 7, 1957 (1957-04-07)
Minerva Murdock, a wealthy widow, hires the circus to perform at her engagement party. There are those who doubt her fiancè's intentions. Joey recognizes him as being a fellow clown from years past, which he denies.
2626"The Pawnee Strip"George ArchainbaudLee IrwinApril 14, 1957 (1957-04-14)
When the government makes grant land available, Corky talks the circus folk into joining the land rush. Then they discover that they must farm the land to keep it. Meanwhile, a farm family, befriended by Corky, becomes the victim of an unscrupulous land investor.
2727"The Cub Reporter"Robert G. WalkerKenneth A. EnochsApril 21, 1957 (1957-04-21)
Working at a newspaper during a winter break, Corky learns the importance of fair and unbiased reporting. He then discovers that the editor is allowing the mayor to control the paper.
2828"General Pete"Lew LandersWallace BoscoApril 28, 1957 (1957-04-28)
In the spring of 1898, at the onset of the Spanish–American War, Pete decides to join Teddy Roosevelt's Roughriders. He had known Roosevelt in years past, and Corky asks him to use his influence to get him on as a drummer boy. While at the camp, Pete discovers a plot to assassinate Roosevelt.
2929"The Tumbling Clown"Robert G. WalkerDavid LangMay 5, 1957 (1957-05-05)
Ned Bailey, former clown and a friend of Joey, wants to return to the circus. However, Joey finds that some detectives are looking for him.
3030"Death-Defying Dozetti"Lew LandersWallace BoscoMay 12, 1957 (1957-05-12)
Aerialist Dozetti feels he's the star attraction, and his aerialist wife avoids the lime light. When he is injured and cannot do his act, he is surprised at his wife's ability.
3131"Col. Jack's Brother"Robert G. WalkerVictor McLeodMay 19, 1957 (1957-05-19)
The circus' friend and creditor, Col. Jack, goes on a trip to Africa, and leaves his brother, Jonathan Bixby, in charge of his business. Against Col. Jack's orders, Jonathan tries to take over the circus, firing some of the crew and cutting the food supply.
3232"The Swamp Man"Robert G. WalkerWallace BoscoMay 26, 1957 (1957-05-26)
While in Louisiana, Corky befriends a young Cajun man, who shows him a mysterious French note from his grandfather. The resulting treasure hunt attracts some local thieves.
3333"Hortense The Hippo"George ArchainbaudLee Irwin (from a
story by P. K. Palmer)
June 2, 1957 (1957-06-02)
Col. Jack sends Corky a hippopotamus to work with. This further aggravates an ongoing rivalry with Al Garson's circus.
3434"The Fortune Teller"Robert G. WalkerMona FisherJune 9, 1957 (1957-06-09)
A new cook joins the circus, and the troupe takes her tea leaf readings seriously.
3535"The Gentle Giant"George ArchainbaudBarney SlaterJune 16, 1957 (1957-06-16)
Abdulla, the circus strong man, quits to join a medicine show. When the circus hires a new strong man, the owner of the medicine show proposes a contest between the two.
3636"Little Vagabond"Lew LandersLee Irwin (from a
story by P. K. Palmer)
June 23, 1957 (1957-06-23)
A lost boy, staying with the circus until his parents can be located, loses his belligerent attitude when he sees the equestrian act.

Season 2 (1957–1958)

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original US air date
371"Elmer The Rainmaker"Robert G. WalkerKenneth A. EnochsSeptember 19, 1957 (1957-09-19)
When the circus enters a drought stricken area, Corky joins Elmer in his balloon, to seed clouds. Their plan backfires, and the townspeople blame them for contaminating their dwindling water supply.
382"Royal Roustabout"Robert G. WalkerLee ErwinSeptember 26, 1957 (1957-09-26)
Eric, 15-year-old heir to the throne of Corvania, runs away from the embassy to join the circus. Big Tim gives him star billing as a horseman, not knowing his true identity.
393"Bimbo, Jr."Robert G. WalkerVictor McLeodOctober 3, 1957 (1957-10-03)
Col. Jack returns, this time bringing a small royal elephant from India. Corky showers the new arrival with attention, and names him Bimbo, Jr. This makes Bimbo jealous, and he refuses to perform and runs away.
404"Alex The Great"William BeaudineKenneth A. EnochsOctober 10, 1957 (1957-10-10)
When Corky's parents had fallen, their catcher felt responsible and left the circus. Later, Joey sees him in the audience and persuades him to come back.
415"The Return Of Casey Perkins"Robert G. WalkerWallace BoscoOctober 17, 1957 (1957-10-17)
Casey Perkins, a friend of the circus, wants to bring a railroad line into a small town, but meets opposition from a rival railroadman, and from Indians.
426"Major Buffington"Robert G. WalkerMona FisherOctober 24, 1957 (1957-10-24)
Two con men, escaping from a small town, stow away on a train which is taking a new tiger joining the circus. Once there, they concoct a scheme to steal the proceeds from performance which is intended to benefit a local orphanage.
437"The Clemens Boys"Fred JackmanKenneth A. EnochsOctober 31, 1957 (1957-10-31)
After seeing the circus, a young man is determined to join, but refuses to allow his brother to accompany him.
448"The Magic Lantern"Fred JackmanVictor McLeodNovember 7, 1957 (1957-11-07)
Big Tim sends Corky and Joey into town to buy supplies, but they use the money to get their friend Elmer out of jail. This involves them in Elmer's latest scheme, the marketing of magic lantern motion picture shows.
459"The Dancing Bear"William BeaudineAndy White and Victor McLeod
(from a story by Andy White)
November 14, 1957 (1957-11-14)
Karl Hofer wants to join the circus, along with his performing bear, Mitzi. Having been cheated by this man in the past, Big Tim does not trust him, but hires him anyway. When Mitzi escapes, local farmers blame her for recent sheep killings.
4610"The Marvelous Manellis"William BeaudineVictor McLeodNovember 21, 1957 (1957-11-21)
Big Tim hires a three-person high wire act from another circus, and then finds that one recently injured member will not perform.
4711"Uncle Cyrus"William BeaudineWallace BoscoNovember 28, 1957 (1957-11-28)
Pete has led his Uncle Cyrus to believe that he owns the circus. When Cyrus visits, Big Tim agrees to play along, and trades places with Pete.
4812"The Judge's Boy"Fred JackmanKenneth A. EnochsDecember 5, 1957 (1957-12-05)
A local judge who is running for congress has little time for his son, Carlton, who joins the circus. Meanwhile, Big Tim rescues the judge from an attack by the son of an opposing candidate.
4913"The Return Of Buffalo Bill"Fred JackmanJerome S. Gottler and
Victor McLeod (from a
story by Jerome S. Gottler)
December 12, 1957 (1957-12-12)
Big Tim tries to convince Buffalo Bill Cody to perform. Cody wants to have nothing to do with the circus, feeling that his devotion to his own wild west show had been partly responsible for his son's death.

References in The Monkees

Micky Dolenz sings the theme to the series in "The Monkees at the Circus", an episode of The Monkees. When asked by Mike Nesmith "What 'is' that?", Dolenz responds "It's the theme song for an old TV series". Their song "Porpoise Song" contains references to the series, most notably with the line "riding the back of giraffes for laughs is alright for a while."[1][2][3]


  1. Pamela RobertsonWojcik (2002). Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music. Duke University Press. p. 94. ISBN 0-8223-2797-X.
  2. James E. Perrone (2006). The Words and Music of Carole King. PraegerPublishers. p. 16. ISBN 0-275-99027-3.
  3. Jim DeRogatis (2003). Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard. p. 638 pages. ISBN 0-634-05548-8.
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