Circus lives on in ‘The Greatest Showman’

A new highly acclaimed motion picture musical hit theaters titled “The Greatest Showman,” chronicling the career of the creator of the famous Barnum and Bailey circus: PT Barnum.

Although the film is a visual and musical spectacle, much of it is fictionalized, showing the massive crowds the magical legacy of PT Barnum’s circus carried on for over a century. Barnum, not the handsome Hugh Jackman, but rather the short 60-year-old man, had made a big sum of money from selling lottery tickets and his general store, so he started his own museum, which eventually burned down and morphed into the first traveling circus, which carried on for 146 years and only shut down very recently.

The circus traveled all around the country, eventually being called the Ringling Brothers. It even visited Iowa at one point.

Just seven months before the movie came out, the famed circus had to close it´s door due to animal abuse accusations and low ticket sales. Public distaste for use of traveling exotic animals and protests from animal rights groups called upon the circus, nicknamed “The Greatest Show on Earth,” to pull it´s animal acts. Elephants were pulled from the show, and eventually the circus became an unsustainable operation, bringing PT Barnum’s legacy to an end.

Before closing, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus was quite the spectacle, employing 500 performers and wowing crowds across the country.

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, the circus gave it´s final performance before closing for good. Animal trainers, trapeze artists, unicyclists, acrobats and more gave a heartfelt goodbye to the millions and millions they had entertained over their 146 year run.

“We never say goodbye in the circus. We say see you down the road. So ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages: we´ll see you down the road,” ringmaster Kristen Wilson proclaimed to the massive sellout crowd of the final Ringling Brothers show.

“The Greatest Showman” serves as a goodbye and bookend to the great circus started by American entertainer PT Barnum, rekindling the childhood magic of the circus onto the big screen.

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