barnum and bailey's circus

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been entertaining audiences for a long time. Its history goes back 146 years — to about the time when professional baseball emerged and before Coca-Cola was invented.

But this substantial chapter in American history comes to a close on Sunday. After years of declining ticket sales and seemingly endless conflicts with animal rights groups, Ringling Bros. will stage its final show in Uniondale, N.Y.

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson is one of hundreds of Ringling performers and crew members with extraordinary talents who will be out of a job come Monday. Recruited fresh out of college, where he’d been studying voice performance and training to be a professional opera singer, he became Ringling’s first African-American ringmaster in 1998.

“Ironically enough, I will be the very last voice in the 146-year history of this show, so I will be the last person you hear to speak of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ — which is a wild little paradox, to be a first and a last at the same time. I don’t know too many people who can say that, in any industry,” he says.

From The Big Top Into The Big World: A Ringling Ringmaster’s Final Bow

Photos: Marian Carrasquero/NPR

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: The final performance

With laughter, hugs and tears — and the requisite death-defying stunts — the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus received its final standing ovation Sunday night as it performed its last show.

“We are, forevermore, the Greatest Show on Earth,” boomed Johnathan Lee Iverson, who has been the ringmaster since 1999. His son, who also performed, stood by his side. The show was held at the Nassau County Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of New York City.

It was an emotional 2 ½ hours for those who worked on the circus. Many of Ringling’s employees are second, third and even fourth-generation circus performers, while others met their spouses while touring. All spent months on the road, traveling from city to city in Ringling’s train cars and describing themselves as a giant family, albeit one with many clowns.

(Photos: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images, Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images, Lucas Jackson /Reuters, Julie Jacobson/AP, Lucas Jackson /Reuters,  Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Read more by the Associated Press and see the slideshow on Yahoo News.

I come from a long family tradition of being circus people and even though I never preformed, I still learned the craft and I’m so sad that the art is essentially dead and that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is done. It will always be an important part of my family and childhood. When I have kids I’m going teach them stilt walking and acrobats like my father taught me.

because @supercrossdisneykeeper asked, here’s what I know about the elaborate back story of Jack Scott’s (paper mill/obc swing) newsie character; Barney Peanuts.

legend has it that his parents were performers with the Barnum and Bailey Circus, since they traveled all over the world, Peanuts was sent to live with his aunt in New York when he was young. since his aunt was not very well off, Peanuts had to sell newspapers to help them make a living.

like many of the other newsboys, Peanuts was no stranger to using tactics to sell more papers. he often turned to the tricks and acts he had learned during the many days he spent around the circus folk, to help him sell more. and during the occasional nights he would spend at the newsies lodging house, he would put on shows to entertain the other boys. 

also like many of the newsboys at the time, he chose not to use his real name. but why did he choose Barney Peanuts? you may ask. take notice in BARNum and BailEY the circus his parents performed with, and whats an iconic circus snack, that also happens to be an affectionate nickname for someone who’s small? Peanuts.

👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀 good shit go౦ԁ sHit👌 thats ✔ some good👌👌shit right👌👌there👌👌👌 right✔there ✔✔if i do ƽaү so my self 💯 i say so 💯 thats what im talking about right there right there (chorus: ʳᶦᵍʰᵗ ᵗʰᵉʳᵉ) mMMMMᎷМ💯 👌👌 👌НO0ОଠOOOOOОଠଠOoooᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒ👌 👌👌 👌 💯 👌 👀 👀 👀 👌👌Good shit

This evening the curtain will fall for the last time on the self-dubbed “Greatest Show on Earth,” America’s biggest and longest-running traveling circus. After 146 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will pump its caravan brakes permanently.