"The Big Top"
Circa - 1951

Here's a publicity photo of two clowns from the CBS-TV series "The Big Top." The program originated live from WCAU-TV and was seen coast to coast on the network. The clown on the left opened the show. His name - Ed McMahon. To his right is Chris Keegan. Harry Gehlert was the photographer. He was a staff photographer from 1950 to 1952.

Harry e-mailed this:

I was there from 1950 through 1952.... I Started there at age 18, right out of high school at the munificent salary of seventy five cents per hour. It was really a low paid industry in those days. We used to say that WCAU stood for We Can't Afford U.

McMahon ...did everything. I made his nose that flashed to open the Big Top show. It was a pingpong ball that I covered with a liquid photo emulsion (all under a safelight, of course) then projected the lettering onto it when it dried, just like a photo print and developed it. This was in a darkroom in the original Chestnut Street WCAU building, just before the operation moved out to City Line.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Picture originally donated by Bill Bode
Bill Bode was Director of "Action in the Afternoon"
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