The Day the Clowns Cried


Sunday July 6th marks the 70th anniversary of one of the worst disasters in Connecticut history, the Hartford Circus Fire. We will have complete coverage on Eyewitness and on Face the State we aired a special presentation, “The Day the Clowns Cried.”


“The Day the Clowns Cried,” is a documentary Channel 3 put together in 1969, hosted by Joe Crowley. You’ll see rare film of the fire, interviews not seen in 45 years, and more.



You’ll also see the touching story of Hartford Police Lt. Thomas Barber, who visited the grave of a circus fire victim.



Watch the documentary right here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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6 Responses to The Day the Clowns Cried

  1. Dot Williams says:

    I would have been there, except for the very hot weather that day. 84 years young, and, unfortunately, living in Missouri, and wishing I could see this film! Because of that tent fire, I never was taken to the Barnam and Bailey Circus, until they performed at the Hartford Civic Center, and I attended with my own growing family!

  2. David Coulter says:

    I would love to see an encore presentation of the “The Day the Clowns Cried” I have always been interested in CT history and how it has turned into the state that it is today and to know what the city of Hartford was before and what the area looks like now.

  3. B. Vane says:

    My brother was a 3 Yr old going that day but came down with chicken pox and couldn’t go.

  4. Maggie Smith Furstein says:

    My Dad was 15. A neighbor had taken him and her son to the circus. When the fire broke out, my Dad grabbed one of the poles. The pole fell out and that is how he escaped. The neighbor and her son were also safely evacuated.

  5. smokefire says:

    Dennis as a retired firefighter, and historian, I am very well acquainted with the Circus Fire. We are friends with a survivor. I have read many of the books about the fire and I have several artifacts, i.e. photos, and a newspaper reporting the fire. Former Hartford Fire Chief, Charles Teale did a wonderful job on the 50th anniversary, and was one of the movers and shakers to get the monument done. Don’t know if you are aware, but former Fire Chief John Stewart, was a youngster, and was at the scene helping out victims.

  6. Dennis House says:

    Thank you for all your comments. What an awful day.

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