What It Costs in Money and Effort to Devise a Circus Spectacle

You might recognize the name of the man featured in the above photo: Alfred T. Ringling, more famous as half of the Ringling Brothers. It took a lot of work for him to run the circus:

“The working basis of a spectacle is 1,000 people, 100 to 150 horses, 10 to 25 elephants, about as many camels, sacred cows, zebras, and other exotic animals as needed, and about 30 minutes by the clock. When the spectacle is being given in Madison Square Garden a couple of hundred “supers” are hired; but when the show gets on “the road” under canvas and the Barnum & Bailey army is recruited up to its full marching strength by the addition of its corps of canvasmen and its corps of cook-house men, etc. every actor in the spectacle is a circus person and, conversely, practically every circus person is a spectacle actor.”

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus stopped using elephants in May 2016, and in January 2017 announced their circus would end completely in May after 146 years. Check here to see if their farewell tour will be stopping by you in the next month.

What It Costs in Money and Effort to Devise a Circus Spectacle: Just a Short Curtain-Raiser, But It Means Nearly as Much Work as All the Rest of the Performance (PDF)

Published Sunday, April 8, 1917

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Written by Jesse Rifkin

April 9th, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Entertainment

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