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Ringling Bros closing its tent.


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After 145 years or so, Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey circus is coming to an end.   They say they can't make money any more especially with the elephants phased out.  I find the whole thing sort of sad.   There are people being born today who will never see a circus and won't really know what a circus is.  As a kid I can remember seeing Gunther Gebel Williams, and then there was the Michu guy who got married every performance. 


I was last at a one ring version of Ringling Bros about five years or maybe ten, when they had a tent set up in Brooklyn.  The elephants thing was wrong, but the whole thing is still sort of sad.  

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It's a bit sad that an institution like Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus is ending because they've been around so long but the organization, in many was was too slow in adapting to changing times lately.


In NYC, Ringling Bros. also has competition from The Big Apple Circus and The Universoul Circus, both of which are 'leaner' and more nimble organizations able to make adjustments much faster than a sprawling organization like Ringling Bros. For instance, I remember that Universoul Circus had some issues with the animals that they were leasing and the organization that they were leasing them from had complaints from PETA on how the leasing company treated the animals (Universoul does not house/keep animals) and Universoul was said to quickly address the issue.


The Big Apple Circus adjusts its schedule, according to demand, but again, it is a comparatively smaller circus that is used to making changes quickly.

Ringling Bros had some issues with their administration over the years and were pretty much forced to make changes when their ticket sales started to drop (the African American ring master was one, for example). They now have a female ringmaster who barely got in and now they are closing. Sad.


I also have a memory of seeing The Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus as a child when I went to see it at Madison Square Garden, although I don't remember much except that an elephant pooped and it smelled pretty bad. Although it was cleaned up relatively quickly, I was turned off for the rest of the show.

Every time I saw a Ringling Bros. commercial over the years after, I thought about that elephant and as an adult, I started to think about the circumstances that might have caused that elephant to quickly and dramatically drop such a 'load' (were they scared? frustrated? tired...and of what, abuse?). That memory just didn't leave a very good impression on me.


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