11
Jun-2019

The Clyde Beatty Exhibit, Bainbridge

Blog Feature   /  

The circus came back to town to Bainbridge during a special event in May. Since then, a new exhibit, The Clyde Beatty Exhibit was born just a few buildings away from the Paxton Theatre where the “Big Top Bainbridge” took place. The exhibit is a collection of memorabilia, stories, photos and videos of the famed animal trainer.

Who was Clyde Beatty?

Clyde Beatty was born in 1903 in Bainbridge and at the age of 18 he and a friend jumped onto a boxcar heading to Washington Court House where they joined the circus. He began his circus career as a cage cleaner but became famous as a lion tamer and for his animal training abilities. He later purchased a circus, which in turn purchased the Cole Bros. Circus to become the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus – the largest tent show in the United States at the time.

In addition to his circus career, Clyde Beatty appeared in several motion pictures. The Big Cage (1933) was based on the book written by circus star, he also appeared in the Abbott & Costello comedy Africa Screams released in 1949, with his final role in the 1954 Ring of Fear. He was also featured in six other films and documentaries during his career.

The Clyde Beatty Exhibit includes a look back over the career of this famous Ross County native through the collection now on display. Items featured include tickets, programs, media, letters, books & magazines, posters, photos and much more. The exhibit also includes clips from Beatty’s film appearances. You can visit this exhibit on Saturdays from 10am – 5pm. It’s located at 128 E. Main Street in downtown Bainbridge. Come out and explore the exciting circus career of the famed lion tamer – admission is free!


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  1. Cathy FELSTEIN /

    When he left bainbridge it was with his first cousin, Lawrence McMullen, founder of McMullen trucking in Greenfield. They were younger than 18. Lawrence became homesick and returned home. Lawrence was my mother’s brother.

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