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Frontier Circus


CBS Network
1961 - 1962
60 Minutes

Circus adventure set in the Southwest of the late 1800s about the T&T Circus, a traveling band of entertainers lead by Colonel Casey Thompson (Chill Wills) and his partner, Ben Travis (John Derek).

As the circus wagon train trekked across the wilderness in search of a new town to exhibit their acts, they encountered both internal problems with performers and external troubles from the strangers that crossed their paths.

Internal troubles included the trauma experienced by a blind equestrian when her favorite horse dies, a squabbling  family of high-wire aerialists, a run of bad luck, including a stampeding elephant and an escaped lion, spoiled meat that sickens the circus performers, and the search for a quick dollar by gambling in a poker game to win funds to bring the circus out of the red.

External problems were brought on by hostile Indians, a terrified woman fleeing from her abusive husband, horse thieves, rowdy buffalo hunters, a bigamist accused of murder, a slave seeking justice from the man who killed his master, and a rich woman who sets her sights on marrying Colonel Casey Thompson.

John Derek as Ben Travis and Chiil Wills as Colonel Casey Thompson - FRONTIER CIRCUS
Ben Travis and Colonel Casey Thompson

Other employees in the T& T Circus included:

  • Richard Jaeckel as Tony Gentry, the circus trail scout who rode ahead to find  possible places the circus could visit.
  • J. Pat O'Malley as Duffy, the animal handler who cared for Jeremiah the Lion, Suzie the Elephant and Atlas the Bear.
  • Nora Marlowe as Madame Sonya, the fortune teller called the "Mystic Seer of the East".
  • Duke Johnson as Juggler
  • Fred Johnson as Juggler
  • Joan Johnson as the Contortionist
  • Albert Paulsen as Rodales, the Knife Thrower
  • Barbara Stuart as Melda, the Knife Throwing Act Assistant
  • Nehemiah Persoff as Durando of the Daring Durandos, a high-wire aerialist act.
  • Wally Blair as a clown
  • Nicos Minardos as The Great Roberto

Screen Captures from FRONTIER CIRCUS
Ben, Tony, and Casey - FRONTIER CIRCUS T&T Circus Wagon - FRONTIER CIRCUS


Rodales the Knife Thrower and Casey - FRONTIER CIRCUS

Madame Sonya the Gypsy - FRONTIER CIRCUS Closing Credits - FRONTIER CIRCUS


Obituaries: Chill Wills: 12/15/1978; John Derek: 05/22/1998; Richard Jaeckel: 06/14/1997.

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