Literature / The Circus of Doctor Lao
The Circus of Doctor Lao
is a novella written by newspaperman Charles G. Finney. Published in 1935, it tells the story of a rather unusual circus coming to the town of Abalone, Arizona.
It was loosely adapted into a film
, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao
, in 1964, with Tony Randall starring as the eponymous doctor.
This novel provides examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: A sympathetic example; Mrs. Cassin is an older woman whose husband simply left her. Since she lost her looks and charm a long time ago, she has no luck in attracting men.
- All Men Are Perverts: The men in the town are extremely eager to check out the "peep show".
- Blind Seer: Apollonius of Tyana
- Brutal Honesty: Apollonius again. He answers questions about the future with absolute, painful accuracy, rather than the wishful fortunes given by charlatans. It falls on deaf ears regardless.
- Circus of Fear
- Crappy Carnival: Many think Dr. Lao's circus is one of these, especially with that crazy ad in the newspaper, and the less-than-impressive parade through town.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: The fine folk of Abalone, Arizona.
- Elective Broken Language: Lao talks like You No Take Candle occasionally, mostly to deflect unwanted questions.
- Film of the Book: 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao, made in 1964.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: The peep show includes scenes of nymphs fooling around with each other.
- Interspecies Romance: The satyr is said to be the child of a goatherd and his goat. Later on, Miss Birdsong ends up having sex with the satyr.
- Lampshade Hanging: The appendix includes a section listing several plot-questions the main story never bothers to answer.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Some of whom are introduced and disposed of in a single sentence.
- Medusa: One of the exhibits.
- Mythical Motifs: Many of the characters are mythical creatures.
- Mysterious Middle Initial: A lot of people in town seem to have "R".
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Like you had to ask.
- Novella: An eight-page introduction, 100 pages of story and then 19 pages of Catalog that includes a lot of additional information.
- Really 700 Years Old: Try seven thousand.
- Running Gag: People arguing about the man/bear/Russian.
- Sadly Mythtaken: Some members of the circus are creatures thought to be found only in myth.
- Sex God: The Satyr and (seemingly) Mumbo Jumbo.
- Taken for Granite: Despite warnings, Kate Lindquist looks at the Gorgon head-on.
- Talking Animal: The snake.
- Unfazed Everyman: A running element of the novel; the townspeople either don't realize or refuse to realize the wonders of the circus.