World Circus Day is always the third Saturday in April; this year, we thought we would use the occasion to help you maximize the usefulness of the content in the Travalanche circus section, with a bit of an aid to navigation.
The section arose organically out of the fact that circus was one of the many art forms which paved the way for vaudeville and continued to feed it and color it throughout its existence. Our initial 2011 post on the relationship between the two forms is here.
And then, as we profiled hundreds of vaudeville stars, and many of them were also circus performers, that content stream did double duty; we have written about hundreds of acrobats, animal acts, jugglers, sideshow acts, and clowns (though not all of the clown posts are circus related).
Starting with PT Barnum (who had a hand in nearly all forms of American show business), we have also written about circus entrepreneurs and their shows, including founders Philip Astley, and John Bill Ricketts, as well as well-known later figures such as the Ringling Brothers, Cole Brothers, Clyde Beatty, James A. Bailey, Adam Forepaugh, Mighty Haag, Hagenbeck-Wallace, Sells-Floto, Al G. Barnes, Yankee Robinson, John Robinson, and many others down to the present day.
Then there is the phenomenon of circus or circus-themed movies, dozens of which we have posted about. These have included:
The Circus Man (1914) based on a George Barr McCutcheon novel
The Biggest Show on Earth (1918) with Enid Bennett
Marilyn Miller’s Sunny (1932)
Walt Disney’s Dumbo (1941)
Eliza Kazan’s Man on a Tightrope (1953)
Carnival Story (1954), a late RKO release with Anne Baxter and Jay C. Flippen
I’ve also written about some circus TV shows:
In addition to the scores of profiles of circus stars, bosses and veterans on Travalanche, and the history, there are also lots of reviews of contemporary circuses and circus books, op-eds about the circus business, circus ethics and aesthetics, and circus news. Again, find it all here.
Happy World Circus Day!