I have no idea who this man was, and likely never will. Of all the figures who have owned and moved circuses, Mr. M. is a total blank to me. I see a cigar in his mouth, a man perhaps finally being able to get himself snapped into a publicity photo. A man perhaps in his own mind a big player.
Not to be critical, I recall one of the best shows I ever saw, Beatty-Cole in Richmond, VA, 1961, what a crackling straight ahead 3-ring tentbuster. It sparkled that afternoon. Although it was, they will tell you, McClosky's partner, Walter Kernan, whose passion for the art of the performance is said to have informed and helped shape the generally strong shows. That's what Ken Dodd and a few others have advanced.
McClosky? He has always been a dead figure in my mind. Bring him to life, anybody out there who may wish to inject a little blood into his flat veins. Bright pink cool aid would do. All of the other circus tycoons give off personality, be they true impresarios or borderline crooks.
This came to mind, reading part two (did I miss part one?) of a detailed account by Lane Talburt in the latest issue of Bandwagon, covering the ownership conversion of the Clyde Beatty Circus in the mid-50's away from poor Mr. Beatty, who had to accept a buy out from Jerry Collins (he has a personality!), McClosky, et all, and then, once-again, a performer only status, in the wake of the collapse of his circus during the disastrous 1956 season. That's when King Bros. ended up stranded on a highway ditch, when the mighty Ringling-Barnum big top said bye bye, world, at Pittsburgh, PA.
Name any one you want: John Strong, Otto Ringling, Ben Davenport, Louis Stern, Binder or Byrd, Vargas or Feld or Laliberte -- they all have distinctive personas, whether you like what they have or not.
Frank McClosky? Who he?