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Polack Bros. Circus

 

Polack Bros. Circus

Irvine J Polack
Irving J. Polack
Sep 15 1885 - july 13 1949
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Polack Bros Circus was one of the top and most successful circuses in the United States, yet few people remember the name and even fewer the names of Irving J. Polack and Louis Stern. This injustice is due in part to the show being referred to by the public as "The Shrine Circus". The circus was a favorite of circus audiences, sponsors and the performers who worked there.

In the early 1900s Polack's family operated a large railroad carnival. The show was very successful for many years, but for reasons unknown closed in the 1920s. Irving then went to work for a circus as general agent.

In 1931 Polack and Louis Stern, (also a carnival operater) made the decision to start their own circus, as with many new shows the first few years were lean and difficult. I. J. Polack came up with the idea of operating their circus under the sponsorship of Shrine clubs and temples. They had found their niche, Stern & Polack played their first Shrine date for the Ben Ali Shrine in Sacramento, Calif. in 1935.

Stern and Polack put great emphasise on the quality of their entertainment, hiring the best acts and personnel available. The circus was a one ring format and showed in auditorioms and buildings, working 10 to 11 months out of the year.

The Polack Bros Circus became so popular and in demand that became necessary to open a second unit, one operated on the east coast and one the west.

Irving died in 1949 and Louis Stern and Polack's widow Bessie continued operating the show into the mid 1970s. The show was sold in Nov. of 1976 with Louis Stern agreeing to staying on as technical director

 

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Louis Stern
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