Annual blessing of the circus performers and animals at Chessington Zoo.
Chessington Zoo, Chessington, Surrey.
M/S of a caravan door opening and a circus ringmaster stepping out. Another caravan is seen two circus girls step out dressed in a bikini style outfit and swimsuit with tutu affair. They walk along together holding hands. They are followed by a woman in Spanish costume, then another in a bizarre blue number with feathered hat. A poodle watches them all trot past. M/S of Shetland ponies being led out of a stable by a man in a clown outfit. The ponies have feathers attached to their bridles by the clowns and other circus performers.
L/S of a group of choirboys walking across a courtyard in the zoo. The circus performers follow them. It is the occasion of "the blessing of the circus". Various performers and animals are seen passing the camera. The vicar of Chessington, the Reverend Edward Lucey gives his blessing to those in hazardous occupations in the ring - this is an annual tradition. The vicar gives an elephant something to eat. The trapeze artists and animal trainers are blessed. C/U of a poodle sitting on its hind legs beside two of the circus girls. M/S of the vicar petting one of the ponies. "Circus folk are like a family" says the narrator. Various shots of the vicar, choirboys, circus animals and circus performers. One of the pony handlers takes off his cowboy hat as they all bow their heads in prayer. Various shots of performers taking off their hats and bowing their heads. Narrator states that even the animals seem to sense the solemnity of the occasion.
Note: very solemn music throughout. According to paperwork the circus is Gilbert's International Circus. Ringmaster is Bill Gilbert. Emile Paulo is the girl in net stockings with Mitzi the performing poodle. Elephant is Barbara led by Head Keeper Joe Page. Camel is Sheena led by Keeper of Pets Corner Alex Smith.