Nowhere left to run away to: The final days of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Costly court battles with animal rights activists that led to an end to elephant acts — and the fact that some people didn’t want to see a show without elephants.But mostly, in an era of Pokemon Go, online role playing games and YouTube celebrities, the “Greatest Show on Earth” doesn’t seem so great.“It’s been through world wars, and it’s been through every kind of economic cycle and it’s been through a lot of change,” said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling Bros. There are many suspects: increased railroad costs. And I think it isn’t relevant to people in the same way.” “In the past decade there’s been more change in the world than in the 50 or 75 years prior to that. What killed the circus?
Sprawling companies traveled around America by train, wowing audiences with the sheer scale of entertainment and exotic animals. And every place in between saw the same thing,” she said. Deborah Walk, assistant director of legacy and circus at The Ringling — circus impresario John Ringling’s mansion, art and circus collection in Sarasota — said that the circus’ impact on small town America is often overlooked.“That wonderful show that you can see in Madison Square Garden crisscrossed the country and ended up in San Francisco.

Some of the early performances were merely zoos on wheels and a few human oddities, but over time, the acts became truly spectacular — attractions like Jumbo, touted as the world’s largest elephant. Eventually, Barnum, the Ringlings and another performance-minded businessman named James Bailey pooled their resources and knowledge. For a long time, the circus was more than relevant — it was the stuff that dreams were made of.The first circuses were created in Europe; the American twist would be canvas tents that allowed mobile troupes to go to the far-flung audiences of the 19th century.Phineas Taylor Barnum’s traveling menagerie was wildly popular, while the five Ringling brothers performed juggling acts and skits in Wisconsin.

>> Goodbye to death-defying feats — daring young men (and women) on the flying trapeze, whip-wielding lion tamers, human cannonballs. Goodbye to the scent of peanuts and popcorn, the thrill of three rings, the jaunty bum-bum-dadadada of circus music.Send out the clowns. SARASOTA, Fla. Grant was president and minstrel shows were popular entertainment. The Big Top is coming down — for good.On Saturday, officials of the company that owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it will close in May, ending a 146-year run that dates back to a time before automobiles or airplanes or movies, when Ulysses S.