Vintage Video Footage
Raw footage from the fire site, from private collection:
Circus Colossus: Films of the Late William H. Judd is 45 minutes of home movies from several Connecticut appearances of the RBB&B circus between 1939 and 1956. Here is a clip showing the circus unloading in Hartford on July 5, 1944 - one day before the fire:
Amateur film footage from under the big top when the tragic fire began in Hartford, July 6, 1944:
Workers hang banners advertising the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus coming to Hartford, Connecticut on July 5th and 6th, 1944. The July 6th performance would be cut short due to fire in which 168 people were killed:
Footage from the State Armory where the victims of the 1944 Hartford circus fire were taken for identification:
Amateur film footage of the big top in flames, Hartford, Connecticut, July 6, 1944:
Video footage showing the aftermath and destruction of the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey circus, July 6, 1944, in Hartford, Connecticut:
Rare footage, filmed by William H. Judd, of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus setting up at the Barbour Street lot in Hartford, CT, on July 22 thru 24, 1943. The Barbour Street circus grounds would be the site of the Hartford Circus Fire one year after this was filmed.
Rare footage, filmed by William H. Judd, of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus setting up at the Barbour Street lot in Hartford, CT, on July 16 & 17, 1942. The Barbour Street circus grounds would be the site of the Hartford Circus Fire two years after this was filmed.
Rare footage, filmed by William H. Judd, of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus setting up in Connecticut, 1941. Dates believed to be June 30, 1941 in Waterbury and July 11, 1941 in Hartford. The Hartford footage is from the Barbour Street circus grounds, which would be the site of the Hartford Circus Fire three years after this was filmed.
Rare footage filmed by William H. Judd of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus setting up at the Barbour Street circus lot in Hartford on June 18, 1939. This is the same lot where the Hartford Circus Fire would occur 5 years later.
A collection of photographs by Ringling Bros. photographer Norman Bowen of set-up and behind the scenes life of circus folks. These photos are reported to have been taken the day the circus arrived in Hartford, one day before the Hartford circus fire. The audio accompanying the images is part of a 1944 episode of the Armed Forces Radio Network’s Bandwagon radio show with Ringling band leader Merle Evans interviewed and conducting the band for a couple marches. Watch for a couple pics of clown Emmett Kelly!
Collection of Robert D. Good photographs taken a t the Ringling Bros circus performance in Philadelphia on June 11, 1944. The big top shown here is the same one that would burn to the ground less than a month later in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 6, 1944. The accompanying background is an excerpt from a 1944 episode of Armed Forces Radio Network’s Bandwagon radio show with a musical preview and narrators description of the Panto’s Paradise act in the circus’ 1944 season.