Jan 16, 2017

Mail Order Monday - Live Toy Circus (1954)

With the news that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus would be coming to an end this year, I figured it was a good time for a circus related post...no matter how tangential.

You can click the pic for a better look but here's some of the ad copy.

Chameleons are real fun. They love to perform. You'll laugh with delight as they run with delicate balance along the tight rope or swing on the trapeze. They are harmless, clean and no trouble at all to keep as pets. Your friends will really gape with surprise when they see him riding on your shoulder. Your parents will be charmed with this small, clean pet. You'll love him. Sold normally for about 75c, you get this live chameleon FREE with the purchase of your Toy Circus. Here is our offer. Send us your order for the Live Toy Circus Today. We will send you one of these cute, harmless, performing pet chameleons free with each order. You pay only $1.00 and you must be 100% delighted or your money back.

Really makes it sound like the chameleon is pre-trained, doesn't it? I imagine many a frustrated kid trying to get their lizard to swing on the tiny trapeze. You know what's not listed as something you get in this set? A tiny safety net! But you do get a chameleon leash and halter. I'm presuming the halter is a harness and not a skimpy top to put on when it goes clubbing.

If you're not 100% delighted, you can return the toy for a full refund and you get to keep the chameleon! Sounds like a good way to get a free pet lizard to me.

Included are

15 animals from our wide assortment including Clowns (I know a lot of people don't like clowns but calling them animals?), Bears drinking a bottle of milk, Bunnies, Elephants, Horses, Lions, Tigers, Kangaroos, Monkeys, Deer (who wants bunnies and deer in their circus? The only thing less exciting than that would be fish!), Flying Fish (face palm), Giraffes, Pelicans and other birds. 10 are made from bright, colorful break-resistant plastic. (What are the other 5 made from??)

The band Darling Pet Munkee has a song about the "Live Toy Circus (With Performing Chameleon)" which you can hear below. Their songs are all based on classic comic book mail order stuff like this, you should check them out!


  1. My brother sent away for a chameleon from an ad in a comic book back in the early '60's. My mom didn't know he'd ordered it and was the lucky one to open the package when it arrived. Neither the chameleon nor my mother were too happy.

    1. I was really wondering about that process. I mean Sea Monkey? Sure they're kind of in suspended animation. Ants? They're ants. But a tiny lizard by mail?

    2. Yeah, they stuck him in a cardboard box with a little food and shipped him off hoping for the best. He hissed at my mom when she opened the box. He did survive though. Not sure how long my brother had him, but we have a picture of him holding it somewhere.



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