FreightWaves Flashback: Circus ship sets sail for South America

The many industries that make up the world of freight have undergone tremendous change over the past several decades. Each Friday FreightWaves will explore the archives of American Shipper’s nearly 70-year-old collection of shipping and maritime publications to showcase interesting freight stories of long ago.

The following is an excerpt from the March 1961 edition of the Jacksonville Seafarer magazine, which over the years grew into American Shipper. FreightWaves acquired American Shipper in July 2019.

Click here to view the entire addition of the Jacksonville Seafarer – March 1961.

Under the big top…Noah’s ark

They came by pairs, the finest in the land. It was cabin class for the lions and geldings. The veranda deck for the pachyderms, tusked and untusked. There was hay for the horses and elephants. Meat for the lions. Dog food for the dog act – as well as for the chicken which thought it tasted fine.

Cabin stalls on the foredeck acquired the slight smell of barnyard, mixed with circus and salt air. 

Longshoremen mixed with circus roustabouts. The longshoremen got the animals on deck, made their chains and stalls secure. The circusmen managed the animals and the feeding.

Each knew his part of the job, and did it well. It was all part of the loading of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey’s International Circus aboard the SS Mormacrio at Commodores Point Terminal in Jacksonville on Monday, January 30 [1961]. Strachan Shipping Company was the agent.

The circus ship sailed for Rio, there to be met by another ship from Tampa, and plane loads of circus performers.

The Greatest Show on Earth will make month-long runs in Rio, São Paulo and Buenos Aires, then return to the United States in May. But the main story is in the pictures…