Circus Ring of Fame Wheel Plaque

Clarke Family

Inducted into the Ring of Fame: 1992

Circus Profession: Flying Trapeze

clarke family Circus Ring Of Fame Foundation inductees

From: Circuses and Sideshows website:

Parley Edward Baer was born August 5, 1914 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Elizabeth Laura Clarke was born October 17 1921 in New York, her father was English-born Ernie Clark, the first person to complete the triple somersault on the flying trapeze. Elizabeth was nicknamed Ernestine after her father.

The Clarke family had been circus performers for many generations. Ernestine worked in her family’s trapeze act and was an accomplished bareback rider. She rode in the famous riding acts of the Hannefords and the Cristanis. As a solo performer she was featured on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

On April 9, 1946 Ernestine Clarke married Parley Baer.

Many will remember Parley Baer as the cranky mayor of Mayberry, who gave Sheriff Taylor such a hard time on the TV sitcom The “Andy Griffith Show”. Few remember Parley as a circus owner and ringmaster.

Parley appeared in nearly 300 films and TV programs, he began his acting career in radio. From 1952 to 1961 Baer played the role of Chester in the radio version of Gunsmoke.

Coinciding with his acting career, Parley owned circuses and serve as ringmaster on various shows. Baer owned and managed the American National Circus, worked for the Al G. Barnes Circus’ press department and once worked a cat act with seven tiger at at Jungleland in Thousand Oaks, CA. Baer also serve on the board of the L.A. Community Circus, and as a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo

.Elizabeth “Ernestine” Laura Clarke Baer died August 5, 2000 in Tarzana, CA.

Parley Edward Baer died of a stroke on November 22, 2002, in Los Angles, CA. he was 88 years old.