Snapshot, 1961: The circus has come to town

It’s April 1961, and while the lion tamers, flame throwers, and sword swallowers are preparing for their summertime circuit under the big top, a new tightrope performer has come to the town of Fort Tregantle, Devon, and its popularity is gaining traction…

In what most would assume was a dare, but was actually an exercise staged by the British Army and the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Sapper Charles Grayson has climbed behind the wheel of his military-fitted Land Rover and gone to task— several metres above the ground. And while these utility vehicles are used to getting some air when going off track, for their tyres to not hit ground again for over 100 feet is something else entirely. Luckily, the Landy has some assistance, with two suspended steel wires and some special outer wheels, but at 3,600 pounds, the fear of the wires snapping and the Land Rover plummeting to the ground is surely on everyone’s mind — from the cheeky grin on his face, everyone except maybe Sapper Grayson.

Photo: Bettmann via Getty Images