Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

July 20, 2019, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie was the 1959 Allied Artists picture “The Big Circus,” with Victor Mature, Red Buttons, Rhonda Fleming, Kathryn Grant, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, David Nelson, Adele Mara, Howard McNear, Charles Watts and the World’s Greatest Circus Acts. Guest star Steve Allen, and co-starring Gilbert Roland.

Screenplay by Irwin Allen, Charles Bennett and Irving Wallace, from a story by Irwin Allen. Photography by Winton Hoch. In Cinemascope and Technicolor.  Music composed and conducted by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter. Title song “The Big Circus” by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. Production manager Lowell J. Farrell. Art director Albert D’Agostino, costume designer Paul Zastupnevich, choreography by Barbette, production illustrator Maurice Zuberano, construction supervisor Burt Dreyer, edited by Adrienne Fazan, assistant director William McGarry, script supervisor Irva Ross, makeup by William Tuttle, hairdressing by Sydney Guilaroff, sound effects by Finn Ulback and Bert Schoenfeld, Technicolor consultant Morgan Padelford, optical effects by Robert R. Hoag, set decoration by Robert Priestley, recording supervisor Franklin Milton, sound by Conrad Kahn, music editor Audray Granville, technical advisor Jimmie Wood. Lenses by Panavision.

Produced by Irwin Allen. Directed by Joseph M. Newman.

Lyrics from the theme song: “There’s nothing as gay as a day at the circus with you.”

“The Big Circus” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

Writing in the New York Times (July 18, 1959), Bosley Crowther said:

There is nothing very subtle about a circus. If you will keep this fact in mind — and also the fact that the world’s record in spectacular circus films is held by a most unsubtle champion, “The Greatest Show on Earth” of the late Cecil B. De Mille — then you can better be prepared for the beating you are going to have to endure when you take the kids to see Irwin Allen’s “The Big Circus,” which opened at the Roxy yesterday.

One hour and forty-nine minutes of riotous cliches — that’s what you’re in for, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, as they say, with the tiresome assurance of old showmen who persist in thinking you can’t insult the intelligence of a kid.

July 15, 2019, Mystery Photo

I thought I had exhausted my collection of mystery circus pictures with “The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao,”   but I found another one in the vault. For Monday, we have a mystery clown and two mystery companions.

Update: Yes, this is Peter Lorre in clown makeup. With Marion Ross of “Happy Days” and either Eden Hartford or Anne Dorre.

July 16, 2019, Mystery Photo

And for Tuesday, we have a mystery clown. He does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Red Buttons in clown makeup, filling in for Peter Lorre’s character.

July 16, 2019, Mystery Photo
Update: Monday’s mystery woman No. 2, either Eden Hartford or Anne Dorre.

Note: The identity of Monday’s mystery woman No. 2 is causing me problems. There are two actresses in the mystery film who look very much alike, and, frankly, I’m can’t decide which one is our mystery woman.  So I’ll give credit for both until I can find something more definitive.

Brain Trust roll call: Bob Hansen (Monday’s mystery clown), Stacia (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery clown and mystery woman No. 1), Thom and Megan (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery clown and mystery woman No. 2), Robert Morrissey (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), Dan Nather (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), Suzanne Stone (Monday’s mystery clown), Anne Papineau (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), Benito (Monday’s mystery clown), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), Sheila (Monday’s mystery clown), David Inman (Monday’s mystery clown), Don Danard (Monday’s mystery clown), McDee (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), Chrisbo (Monday’s mystery clown), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), Sue Slutzky (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery clown and mystery woman No. 2), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), E. Yarber (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery clown and mystery woman No. 2) and L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast). And via email: James Curtis (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown).

July 17, 2019, Mystery Photo

Wednesday’s mystery woman is having a lovely cup of coffee.

Update: This is Kathryn Grant

July 17, 2019, Mystery Photo

Hi-Ho! He’s more of a Friday, but why not?

Update: This is Hi-Ho Steverino Steve Allen.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Tuesday’s mystery clown), Eve (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery clown), Chrisbo (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery clown), Tucson Barbara (Tuesday’s mystery clown), Lorenzo (mystery movie and both mystery clowns), E. Yarber (Tuesday’s mystery clown), Howard Mandelbaum (Tuesday’s mystery clown), Jenny M. (Tuesday’s mystery clown), Anne Papineau (Tuesday’s mystery clown) and Sue Slutzky (Tuesday’s mystery clown).

July 18, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Thursday, we have a somewhat mysterious gent and a mystery companion.

Update: This is the amazingly fit Gilbert Roland (in his early 50s) and Adele Mara.

July 18, 2019, Mystery Photo

We also have this mystery guest and Back of the Head Guy. The actor to the left has been cropped out due to his utter lack of mysteriousness. He will appear Friday.

Update: This is Dick Rich, who has 213 credits on IMDB.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Earl Boebert (Wednesday’s Hi-Ho guest), Suzanne Stone (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Lorenzo (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Stevo 3 (Wednesday’s Hi-Ho guest), Jenny M. (Wednesday’s mystery guests), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie), Charles Kjelland (Wednesday’s Hi-Ho guest), Anne Papineau (Wednesday’s mystery guests), E. Yarber (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Beach Bum Bill (Wednesday’s Hi-Ho guest), Sylvia E. (Tuesday’s clown and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Sue Slutzky (Wednesday’s Hi-Ho guest), Dan (Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery clowns) and Patricia Van Hartesveldt (mystery movie, mystery clowns and Wednesday’s mystery guests).

July 19, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have a somewhat mysterious gent – and yes, he does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Howard McNear.

July 19, 2019, Mystery Photo
Also this very unmysterious ringmaster….

July 20, 2019, Mystery Photo
Vincent Price delivers the “ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages” speech. And he’s a complete pro about it.

July 20, 2019, Mystery Photo

Is it possible to make a movie with Vincent Price and Peter Lorre (with Red Buttons) and NOT have it be a horror picture? Well, it’s kind of like making a movie with Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin and having it be a musical.

Then again, those checked jackets are the real horror show.

And look who we have here! David Nelson! From the same year he appeared in the immortal newspaper film “ – 30 – ”
July 19, 2019, Mystery Photo
Our mystery leading lady…

Update: This is Rhonda Fleming.

July 19, 2019, Mystery Photo

And finally our utterly unmysterious leading man.

Update: Victor Mature, about to enter some very lean years in his acting career.

Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mystery trapeze artists), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guests and Thursday’s mystery trapeze artists and Back of the Head Guy), Richard Wegescheide (mystery movie, Monday’s and Tuesday’s mystery clowns and Wednesday’s Hi-Ho guest), Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery trapeze artists, Cropped-Out Guy and Back of the Head Guy),  Sheila (Tuesday’s mystery clown, Wednesday’s mystery woman and Thursday’s mystery trapeze artist), E. Yarber (Thursday’s mystery trapeze artists), Sue Slutzky (Wednesday’s mystery woman, Thursday’s mystery trapeze artists), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery trapeze artists, mystery circus saboteur, Cropped-Out Guy and Back of the Head Guy) and Anne Papineau (Thursday’s mystery trapeze artist).

A special thanks to Richard Wegescheide for sharing memories of the soundtrack for our mystery movie and E. Yarber for some behind-the-scenes information.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1959, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Bob Hansen says:

    This is Peter Lorre, but I don’t know the movie.


  2. Stacia says:

    That’s Peter Lorre in The Big Circus! I think that’s Anne Dore on the right, and I’d say that was Marion Ross on the left but I’ve never seen her blonde.


  3. Thom and Megan says:

    Today’s star is Peter Lorre in ‘The Big Circus’.


  4. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Anne Dore, Peter Lorre, Marion Ross in THE BIG CIRCUS (1959).


  5. Mary Mallory says:

    Peter Lorre in THE BIG CIRCUS?


  6. Mary Mallory says:

    Anne Dore and Eden Hartford.


  7. Robert Morrissey says:

    I think it’s Peter Lorre, and looking at his c.v., I would guess that it’s from The Big Circus, a movie I’ve never seen. I don’t recognize either of the lovely ladies.


  8. Dan Nather says:

    The clown looks like Peter Lorre, but it’s probably too early in the week for somebody like him . . .


  9. suzanne stone says:

    Peter Lorre


  10. Dan Nather says:

    . . . but if it is Lorre, the movie must be THE BIG CIRCUS.


  11. Anne Papineau says:

    Peter Lorre portraying “Skeeter” in “The Big Circus”


  12. Benito says:

    Late career Peter Lorre? A most curious clown. Me too.


  13. tucsonbarbara says:

    Peter Lorre in “The Big Circus”


  14. Sheila says:

    Peter Lorre?


  15. Don Danard says:

    Peter Lorre today but can’t come up with the films title. Not a lot of help this a.m.!!


  16. McDee says:

    For Monday I think that underneath that clown white is Peter Lorre in The Big Circus from 1959.


  17. Chrisbo says:

    Mystery clown looks like Peter Lorre, but he seems rather tall.


  18. Jenny M says:

    Peter Lorre in The Big Circus.


  19. Sue Slutzky says:

    Peter Lorre in The Big Circus. I’m not sure who the ladies are. I’ll have to do some research.


  20. Sue Slutzky says:

    The woman on the right looks a bit like Eden Hartford.


  21. Sylvia E. says:

    Wow. On a Monday! That never happens for moi. (hmmm, unless this is just a movie within a movie and a character within the film is watching ‘The Big Circus’ because he – or she, loves clowns.) Anyway, assuming that this is a straightforward puzzle, here I go…

    The Big Circus 1959
    Our clown is Peter Lorre. Still working on his companions.


  22. E. Yarber says:

    Surely Peter Lorre is too well-known to be a Monday figure, even in heavy clown makeup. If he somehow managed to break into the quiz so early, then this week must be The Big Circus.

    Would that be Eden Hartford, then Mrs. Groucho Marx, with him? She’s lovely, but much more in line with a Monday puzzler.


  23. LC says:

    The Big Circus w/Peter Lorre, Victor Mature, Red Buttons, Rhonda Fleming, Vincent Price,…


  24. Mary Mallory says:

    Red buttons


  25. Eve says:

    The Big Circus–with Peter Lorre, looking scarier than he did in M!


  26. Chrisbo says:

    Tuesday: Red Buttons in The Big Circus?


  27. tucsonbarbara says:

    Red Buttons


  28. Lorenzo says:

    Monday – Peter Lorre
    Tuesday’s clown – Red Buttons
    Movie – The Big Circus


  29. E. Yarber says:

    Either Peter Lorre got on an accelerated Atkins Diet or Tuesday is Red Buttons.


  30. Gary says:

    I claim first prize in The Inverted Mystery Movie Contest: I am the only regular player who does not recognize any of the actors, does not know the whole cast, and does not know the name of the mystery film. I affirm that I did not withhold my answer in order to win this prize.


  31. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Red Buttons.


  32. Jenny M says:

    Red Buttons


  33. Anne Papineau says:

    On Tuesday, Red Buttons


  34. Sue Slutzky says:

    Tuesday’s mystery clown looks like Red Buttons.


  35. Mary Mallory says:

    Kathryn Grant and Steve Allen. You have too many Thursday and Friday people in this film.


  36. tucsonbarbara says:

    Kathryn Grant and Steve Allen


  37. Earl Boebert says:

    Steverino on Wednesday, but isn’t that clip from “The Sunshine Boys?”


  38. suzanne stone says:

    Miss Wednesday is Mrs. Bing Crosby, Kathryn Grant….


  39. Lorenzo says:

    Wednesday’s mystery guest….Mrs Bing Crosby.


  40. Gary says:

    John Cameron Swayze.


  41. STEVO3 says:

    how about steve allen on tv


  42. Jenny M says:

    Kathryn Grant and Steve Allen


  43. B.J. Merholz says:

    I was thinking that the clues were too easy. If it is The Big Circus, I was right.


  44. Charles Kjelland says:

    Steve Allen on the TV, but can’t relate him to a circus movie!


  45. Anne Papineau says:

    On Wednesday, Kathryn Grant Crosby and Steverino


  46. E. Yarber says:

    I think Wednesday is Kathryn Grant. On the other hand, it may be Eden Marx. I’ve been getting so blurry about all this that I thought I saw Eden Marx on the street three times yesterday, once with Erin Fleming.

    At least the second player can be positively identified as Mr. Jayne Meadows, Steve Allen himself, no doubt writing a song on camera.


  47. BeachBumBill says:

    He’s more of a Friday (but on a Wednesday) is it Steve Allen?


  48. Sylvia E. says:

    I have a guess at Monday’s dark haired ‘clown supporter’ – Eden Hartford (one of Groucho Marx’s wives and the sister of actress Dee Hartford) but I’m really not sure at all if it’s her.

    There are a lot of folks in this picture who are relatives (by blood or marriage) to other celebs. Instead of writing up the cast, I’m going to take it one day at a time and guess-as-you-go, because I’m curious which actors you’ll decide to showcase tomorrow and who will be your Friday choices. This is a fun one.

    Tuesday – substitute clown is Red Buttons
    Wednesday – Kathryn Grant (later Crosby) and Steve Allen


  49. Sue Slutzky says:

    Adele Mara and Steve Allen


  50. Dan says:

    As usual, I am either stumped or fooled. But I’m struck by the fact that the first picture of the clown has to be Peter Lorre, but the second photo of presumably the same clown looks like Red Buttons.
    Oh well.


  51. Patricia Van Hartesveldt says:

    The Big Circus. Wednesday: Steve Allen, Kathryn Grant. Monday’s clown is maybe Peter Lorre? and Tuesday’s clown could be Red Buttons. Clowns are so tricky.


  52. tucsonbarbara says:

    Gilbert Roland, Adele Mara, and maybe Steve Carruthers


  53. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Wednesday: Kathryn Grant, Steve Allen.
    Thursday: Gilbert Roland, Adele Mara, Nesdon Booth, Victor Mature.


  54. Richard Wegescheide says:

    I believe it is the ‘The Big Circus’ with Victor Mature. Peter Lorre is Monday, Red Buttons is Tuesday and Steve Allen is Wednesday. I have to confess that I’ve never seen this movie. On my 7th birthday, my aunt gave me the soundtrack record album for this movie since I had gone to see Ringling Bros in the spring and enjoyed it. The album cover is in brilliant color with all the cast members in circus posses on the set. In the days of black and white tv, the color photo was something to stare at.
    That album cover might also help with your actress identification.


  55. Mary Mallory says:

    Gilbert Roland and Adele Mara, Vincent Price must be cut out, Nesdon Booth, and Victor Mature as back of the head guy.


  56. Sheila says:

    Red Buttons, Kathryn Grant, Gilbert Roland?


  57. Gary says:

    A somewhat trimmed George “Gabby” Hayes.


  58. E. Yarber says:

    The happy high-flying couple is Gilbert Roland and Adele Mara. I assume the unshaven character is Charles Watts, but when I tried to look up a clear view of him online I wound up with a heck of a lot of pictures of the Rolling Stones.

    I don’t know enough about this picture to go into a long discussion of it as I sometimes do, but you can always find a lot of interesting connections when you look into the cinematographer. Winton Hoch began in documentaries, worked for Disney in live action, shot The Searchers and The Quiet Man for John Ford, then began a long association with The Big Circus’s producer Irwin Allen in Movies and TV. Future best-selling author Irving Wallace paid his dues writing the script.


  59. Sue Slutzky says:

    Correction to Wednesday’s guess: Kathryn Grant. Today’s guests: Gilbert Roland and Adele Mara. I don’t recognize the man in the hat.


  60. Sylvia E. says:

    Thurs. – Our mystery happy couple: Gilbert Roland and Adele Mara
    Our ‘face front’ mystery guy is Dick Rich. Cropped out, screen left, plaid jacket guy I think is Vincent Price (found a photo with him in said jacket) and the reddish-brown jacketed, B-O-T-H guy I think is Victor Mature (lots of photos with him in a similarly colored jacket.)

    Looking forward to Friday’s extravaganza with its 50s movie and TV stars (sans les clown make-up, avec les trapeze outfits and sporting 50s hair-dos.)

    I so hope you include Howard McNear with your choices for the Friday group. Floyd the Barber may not have been a huge star in this movie, but what a treasure.


  61. Anne Papineau says:

    Gilbert “Amigo” Roland


  62. Mary Mallory says:

    Howard McNear, Vincent Price, Rhonda Fleming, and Victor Mature.


  63. Mary Mallory says:

    Dick Rich as the saboteur Wednesday and is Marion Ross Mystery Lady #1 on Monday?


  64. tucsonbarbara says:

    Howard McNear, Vincent Price, Rhonda Fleming, and Victor Mature


  65. Sue Slutzky says:

    Friday: Howard McNear, Vincent Price, Rhonda Fleming and Victor Mature.


  66. Gary says:

    I give up. It must be The Big Circus with Vincent and Rhonda and Victor. I hereby relinquish the earlier prize.


  67. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Howard McNear; Vincent Price; Rhonda Fleming; Victor Mature.


  68. E. Yarber says:

    Considering that I am usually at a total loss for the Mystery Film, I’ll leave the unshaven guy alone and stick to what I know: Howard McNear behind bars, Vincent Price in the center ring, Rhonda Fleming preparing a press release, and Victor Mature hoping today’s filming will end in time for him to catch a few holes of golf.


  69. Sylvia E. says:

    Ha-ha! There he is as part of Friday’s ‘reveals’, the wonderful Howard McNear (locked in a cage, but still – it’s Howard McNear and I adore him.) Thank you!
    Vincent Price is our ring master. Rhonda Fleming, our leading lady and Victor Mature our leading man.
    I’m guessing that David Nelson will be part of Saturday’s breakdown.

    Really enjoyed looking into this one. Thanks.


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