In digital age, circus maintains flesh-and-blood appeal

Budapest’s international circus festival shows audiences are still captivated by the emotion of a live performance, Charlie Chaplin’s son Eugene, who heads the jury, said. The 12th Budapest International Circus Festival, with artists from all over the world, has performances from horseback-riders, jugglers, illusionists and aerial acrobats. And this year, it pays tribute to the 250th anniversary of the founding of the modern circus by Philip Astley, an English equestrian, in London in 1768. “The circus has a big show value. My father liked it and I think the important thing is you … must have some kind of emotion, and if this feeling, this emotion comes out, the public gets it,” Chaplin told Reuters. Chaplin was the biggest star in Hollywood’s silent movie era. Eugene Chaplin is one of his 11 children, and is a renowned recording engineer, and documentary filmmaker. In the opening act, Kevin Richter, a young Hungarian artist, performs a traditional horseback acrobat act, riding close to 20 horses in the circus ring. “The audience loves it that it is not a film they are watching, not some kind of edited recording, or a digitalised film… here acrobats risk their lives and this is a unique experience,” said Florian Richter, his father. Florian himself won the Golden Clown award at the 32nd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in 2008 with his own horseback act.

It’s refreshing to hear that the circus still has it’s appeal in this digital age..    🙂

Fans thankful to see ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ one final time

It’s curtains this weekend for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and some people don’t want to miss the act. Heather Greenberg showed up at one of the last shows at Nassau Coliseum in suburban New York. She says the end of the circus makes her feel like she’s becoming an adult at age 46, unable to go anymore with her father. Clarissa Williams said she’s thankful she and her daughter get to see the circus one last time but worried about the animals. A circus spokesman says homes have been found for the animals. “The Greatest Show on Earth” blames declining attendance and high operating costs for its end. There are three scheduled shows Saturday and three on Sunday. The final show Sunday night will be livestreamed.

How sad future generations will not be able to see “The Greatest Show on Earth.”  As a kid, I remember going to see it..  Perhaps some smart venture capitalist will revive it at some point..  For now…the end of an era..

Ringling Bros. circus plans to shut down ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ after 146 years

After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May. The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors, company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise. “There isn’t any one thing,” said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.” The company broke the news to circus employees Saturday night after shows in Orlando and Miami. Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn. The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21. The circus, with its exotic animals, flashy costumes and death-defying acrobats, has been a staple of entertainment in the United States since the mid-1800s. Phineas Taylor Barnum made a traveling spectacle of animals and human oddities popular, while the five Ringling brothers performed juggling acts and skits from their home base in Wisconsin. Eventually, they merged and the modern circus was born. The sprawling troupes traveled around America by train, wowing audiences with the sheer scale of entertainment and exotic animals. By midcentury, the circus was routine, wholesome family entertainment. But as the 20th century went on, kids became less and less enthralled. Movies, television, video games and the internet captured young minds. The circus didn’t have savvy product merchandising tie-ins or Saturday morning cartoons to shore up its image. “The competitor in many ways is time,” said Feld, adding that transporting the show by rail and other circus quirks — such as providing a traveling school for performers’ children— are throwbacks to another era. “It’s a different model that we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price. So you’ve got all these things working against it.” The Feld family bought the Ringling circus in 1967. The show was just under 3 hours then. Today, the show is 2 hours and 7 minutes, with the longest segment — a tiger act — clocking in at 12 minutes. “Try getting a 3- or 4-year-old today to sit for 12 minutes,” he said. Feld and his daughter Juliette Feld, who is the company’s chief operating officer, acknowledged another reality that led to the closing, and it was the one thing that initially drew millions to the show: the animals. Ringling has been targeted by activists who say forcing animals to perform is cruel and unnecessary. In May of 2016, after a long and costly legal battle, the company removed the elephants from the shows and sent the animals to live on a conservation farm in Central Florida. The animals had been the symbol of the circus since Barnum brought an Asian elephant named Jumbo to America in 1882. In 2014, Feld Entertainment won $25.2 million in settlements from groups including the Humane Society of the United States, ending a 14-year fight over allegations that circus employees mistreated elephants.

which..of, course, is ridiculous.  Ringling Brothers has brought joy to millions since before our Civil War.  And now, thanks in large part to so-called “animal rights” fascists…the “Greatest Show on Earth” is calling it quits.  Thanks to the pc police, kids will no longer experience the wonder of this great show that I had the privilege of seeing as a kid….and that’s too bad.  Hopefully some enterprising person or persons, a venture capitalist, etc will have the vision..and take the risk to continue the “Greatest Show on Earth.”

Last dance: Final performance for Ringling Bros. elephants

The curtain fell a final time for elephants performing at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as the circus ended a practice that enthralled audiences for two centuries but became caught between animal rights activists’ concerns and Americans’ shifting views. Six Asian elephants danced, balanced on each others’ backs and sat on their hind legs during their last show in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday. “This is a very emotional time for us,” Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson told the crowd as the performance came to an end. He called elephants beloved members of the circus family and thanked the animals for more than 100 years of service. “We love our girls. Thank you so much for so many years of joy,” he said as the elephants left the ring for a final time. “That’s history tonight there, ladies and gentlemen, true American icons.” Elephants have been used in the circus in America for more than 200 years. In the early 1800s, Hackaliah Bailey added the elephant “Old Bet” to his circus. P.T. Barnum added the African elephant he named “Jumbo” to “The Greatest Show on Earth” in 1882. “We came to say farewell to the elephants,” said Sheila Oliver, of East Providence, who brought her 4-year-old daughter, Lilliana. “This is her first circus and, unfortunately, it’s their last one.” Five elephants also performed earlier Sunday in a Ringling Bros. show in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. The Providence show opened with the national anthem. An elephant carried a performer holding an American flag then stood at attention as the song ended. A few minutes later, six elephants entered the ring, each holding the tail of the one in front of her. After Sunday’s performance, the animals will live at Ringling’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida, said Alana Feld, executive vice president of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus. Its herd of 40 Asian elephants, the largest in North America, will continue a breeding program and be used in a pediatric cancer research project. The Humane Society says more than a dozen circuses in the United States continue to use elephants. But none tour as widely or are as well-known as Ringling Bros. It’s also getting more difficult for circuses to tour with elephants. Dozens of cities have banned the use of bullhooks – used to train elephants – and some states are considering such legislation. Before Sunday’s show, around half a dozen protesters stood outside, including one wearing a lion costume, to protest Ringling’s use of animals.

Awful..  The PC fun-police have struck again.  This time those that lose are the little kids.  I remember going as a kid to see Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circuses…and seeing the elephants.  Great memories!  Sorry that they bowed to the pressure from PETA and other liberal anti-fun nazis.  Definitely the end of an era in America.  If you get the opportunity to see a circus that still has elephants, go see the show.  And, support them because they’re probably getting the same heat from these fascists.

Ringling Bros. Circus to give up elephant acts in 3 years

The family that owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus won’t say just what it was that made them finally decide to remove elephant acts from the “Greatest Show on Earth.” The move announced Thursday is bittersweet and didn’t come easily, Feld family members said as they broke the news to The Associated Press. Elephants have symbolized this circus since P.T. Barnum brought an Asian elephant named Jumbo to America in 1882. Animals have been part of their show since Barnum formed his “traveling menagerie” in 1870. “It was a decision 145 years in the making,” said Juliette Feld, who now helps run the circus company with her sisters and father, Feld Enterprises Inc. President Kenneth Feld. Animal rights groups immediately took credit Thursday, saying it was their pressure that led to Feld’s decision.

Booooooo!!!!!!!   I’m SURE that’s exactly what happened.  The animal rights wackos like PETA and so on brought this about after decades of never-ending pressure, lawsuits, media-blitzes, etc.  The idea of the “Greatest Show on Earth” withOUT elephants is hard to imagine.  What a disappointment..  If you have little kids..take to see the show now, while it still IS the “Greatest Show on Earth.”  It won’t be 3 years from now..unless enough people put pressure on Ringling Brothers between now and then to make them re-evaluate this awful decision.