4to. 32 by 27 cm. Mostly comprised of photographs, which have generally brief captions describing what is depicted -- the buildings, the infrastructure, the performers, the audience and other denizens of the circus, etc. Most of the photos are original, with some cut-outs from other publications. Also pasted in are programs, promotions and brochures associated with these circuses. The scrap books were obviously intended as a tool for set designers, costume designers, scenarists, screenwriters, and anyone associated with a production, prospective and/or in the works, that had or could have a circus scene. While MGM was the largest studio in the thirties, we are hard-pressed to think of notable movies it was involved with during these years with circus scenes. Perhaps its best known circus-related movie up to then was "He Who Gets Slapped", a 1924 vehicle for Lon Chaney Sr. and also starring the young Norma Shearer and John Gilbert, and one can see the relevance of many of the photos to that movie. While the movie clearly pre-dates the scrapbooks, it is apparent that MGM seriously considered a sound era remake of the silent movie, as evident from the surviving library cards in the volumes. (Why the studio didn't proceed with a remake of what had been a major hit we can not answer.) In the mid-1930s MGM also bought the rights to the musical extravaganza, "Jumbo", and that particular property surely did spur the compilation of these photos. That adaptation, though, didn't come to fruition until the early 1960s when Doris Day starred in it. The major circus-related movies of which we are aware, such as "Trapeze" or "The Greatest Show on Earth", were done by other studios. Still, regardless of how much MGM capitalized on this material for actual movies is beside the point. Here we get what seems an unvarnished glimpse of the circus, and specifically European circuses, from a bygone era. Considerable wear to the bindings. The photos can have rippling. MGM has its name stamped on most pages and often on the photos themselves. Bookseller Inventory #
Title: European Circuses Scrap Books (3 volumes)
Publisher: 1920s, 1934-1938
Publication Date: 1920
Book Condition: Good
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