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Mary Hartline (1927–2020), star of early TV show “Super Circus”

by Linnea Crowther

Mary Hartline was one of TV’s earliest stars, best known as the bandleader in “Super Circus” from 1949 to 1955.

Early TV stardom

“Super Circus” was one of the first shows broadcast on ABC television, debuting just a year after the network’s launch. The weekly circus program was broadcast live, featuring circus acts, clowns, and Hartline in white boots and a short skirt leading the Super Circus Band and acting in skits. The show made Hartline a star and a sex symbol, and she was featured on Kellogg’s cereal boxes and in ads for Canada Dry ginger ale. Hartline also hosted “The Mary Hartline Show” in the early 1950s, and after “Super Circus,” she hosted “Princess Mary’s Magic Castle” for a year and a half. Hartline retired from television in the late ‘50s.

Hartline on her “Super Circus” days

“I really loved what I was doing. I really loved the children. That’s what the show was about.” —from a 1998 interview with Howard Rosenberg for the Los Angeles Times


Tributes to Mary Hartline

Full obituary: The Journal-News

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