Super Circus was an American television program which aired live on Sunday afternoons from 5 to 6pm Eastern Time from 1949-1956 on ABC. The show originally was produced in Chicago, but production later moved to New York City. The award-winning show featured circus and clown acts performing in front of a studio audience. Mary Hartline and Claude Kirchner were the hosts (Jerry Colonna succeeded Kirchner as "Ringmaster" in the final New York season), and Bruce Chase conducted the band. Sponsors for the show including Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Mars, Inc. (Mars Bars, Snickers, 3 Musketeers), Canada Dry Ginger Ale, and Sweetheart Soap.
For at least the 1951 and 1952 seasons, each day Kirchner selected one child from the audience to stick his hand into a jar full of coins, attempting to pull out and keep as much money as possible. There were no one-dollar coins in the jar, but Kirchner always announced when he spotted a "fifty-cent piece" among the coins retrieved and the audience was prompted to cheer.
A small number of episodes survive in film archives and private collections. Six episodes were released to DVD on October 28, 2008 by Alpha Video.
- "Video Circus Wins Awards:" Billboard, May 26, 1951
- Ted Okuda and Jack Mulqueen, The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television (Lake Claremont Press, 2004), p. 42.
- Billy Ingram, "TV's First Sex Symbol", TV Party.com, accessed 2009-02-17.