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Author Topic: RIP Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  (Read 831 times)
J. Wilhelm
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« on: January 17, 2017, 08:36:49 am »

After 146 years, the famous Ringling Brothers + Barnum & Bailey circuses are closing their doors to the public. "The Greatest Show on Earth" will be no more.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/15/509903805/after-146-years-ringling-bros-and-barnum-bailey-circus-to-shut-down

In 1875, Dan Castello and William Cameron Coup persuaded P. T. Barnum to lend his name to a circus they called "P.T. Barnum's Great Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Hippodrome."

Independently of Castello and Coup, James Anthony Bailey and James E. Cooper formed the Cooper and Bailey Circus in the 1860s.

In 1882, the two circuses combined into the  "Barnum & Bailey Circus"

Advertisement for Barnum and Bailey, 1900

That same year, the Ringling Brothers, Albert, August, Otto, Alfred T., Charles, John, and Henry Ringling, held their first show in November 27, 1882, in Mazomanie, Wisconsin under the name "Ringling Bros. Variety Performance." They evolved from a one ring show in 1884 to a travelling circus, in 1888. by way of rail road.

Advertisement for Ringling Brothers, 1899

The Ringlings purchased the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth in 1907 and ran the circuses separately until 1919, when the remaining two circus businesses were merged into the "Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus."

On this May 2017, Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, announced that operations would cease, citing declining ticket sales, and further losses after the company retired its touring elephants. "This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company," Feld said.

Is the era of the Circus coming to an end? Barring some famous examples like the multi national Cirque du Soleil and and the American Circus Vargas, there are really very few choices left....


The though just occured to me that the travelling show business might be relegated to the Steampunk community! Certainly I have seen the "travelling road show" motif used in Steampunk, so many times! Especially in America.

Any thoughts?

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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2017, 02:28:05 am »

I personally am saddened at the news of the circus closing. For multiple reasons, such as my love for the big top, the circus just employing their first female ringmaster a short while ago, and the end of a long tradition. This is the end of a legacy.
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2017, 04:25:38 am »

It may be the sad end of an era.  But if it means steampunks can legitimately own elephants ...
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2017, 01:38:31 pm »

When a circus stops using performing animals for entertainment they don't have a lot left to pull in the crowds that people can't find elsewhere I suppose.

And clowns haven't been popular for a long time.
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2017, 02:27:59 pm »

They have just over charged for everything. Last time I went, was a couple of years ago and I could not afford any snacks or anything else.
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2017, 03:18:05 pm »

There are still a couple of circuses active in my area; the Shrine Circus operated by a Masonic order, and the Royal Hanneford circus when Wikipedia dates to the 17th century. There is the Circus World Museum in Wisconsin which has big top performances all summer. And there are probably circuses in other parts of the country that I don't know about. I suspect that the remaining circuses will be picking up some new acts.

I think that Ringling suffered fatigue from fighting suits from animal rights groups for decades which wore away at their spirits and their finances, and, as it turns out, people really do want to see performing elephants at the circus.
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 07:22:24 pm »

I've been on a Steampunk outing last summer in Baraboo, Wisconsin. We saw the restored Ringling Theater, which is full of Belle Epoque opulence and the Al. Ringling mansion. Circus World is planning on opening again for their season this spring.
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2017, 05:27:54 pm »

They do not need to go on about animal welfare activists. Why remove the elephants?
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 03:11:35 am »

They do not need to go on about animal welfare activists. Why remove the elephants?

Public perception of elephants have changed in recent years; they are now widely understood to be intelligent, social creatures with large brains; many people think that they should not be put into captivity and forced to work and perform.
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 04:36:36 am »

This way to the Egress - who else would have an elephant plowing next to the train tracks (actually true)
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morozow
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 08:05:42 am »

As experience has shown...

Those who went to the circus, wanted to watch it elephants. And stopped going to the circus.

And those who wanted freedom of the elephants, did not go to this circus after the release of elephants.

So maybe in society and perceptions have changed, but the money the circus paid not society in General, and specific people.

Well, have you changed the perception of the society or individuals their cries have imposed it, it is also a question.
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2017, 04:21:09 pm »

I'm a fervent supported of animal welfare, so take this in the spirit it was intended.  It's only supposition anyway.  Elephants are intelligent social creatures, just with big feet.  So are dogs.  I recently saw a documentary that suggested the cleverest dogs possess mental abilities akin to a 2 year old old human child.  Is there no way several elephants can be encouraged to play with humans for both their intellectual benefits?  Dogs love it.  My cat loves it.  I'm unaware of any welfare issues with the Indian elephants you see in their sanctuaries when they have frequent interactions with tourists and their keepers.  They seem to love it too.  They're just larger.

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