Spirit of America Bookstore

The American Circus

color photo from the movie "Water For Elephants" [2011]            brief history

books about the circus
circus fiction
books for young circus fans

movies & TV

stageplays, other media

legendary circus people

American circuses

circus music


“Damn everything but the circus!” — poet E.E. Cummings

“Every country gets the circus [that] it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy, the Church. America, Hollywood.”
— Erica Jong

“Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.” — Ben Hecht

          B R I E F   H I S T O R Y
          t e x t
          h e r e
1881 March 28: Formation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus by the merger of P.T. Barnum's Greatest Show On Earth with the Cooper & Bailey Circus; later purchased by the Ringling Brothers (1907) and finally merged as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Curcus in 1919.

'circus' entry at Wikipedia
search DVDs & Blu-ray on keyword 'circus' at Amazon returns 1,600+ titles

Spirit of America Bookstore's Circus Film Festival Page

Selected  Books  About  The  Circus
search books on keywords 'circus history' at Amazon returns 1,000+ titles
search books on keywords 'circus fiction' at Amazon returns 2,300+ titles


"The Big Top" [1952] by Bredna & Spence

"Center Ring: The People of The Circus" [1956] by Robert Lewis Taylor

"American Circus Posters (in full color)" [11/1978] Edited by Charles Philip Fox

"The American Circus: An Illustrated History" [4/1990] by John Culhane

"Josser: The Secret Life of A Circus Girl" [1999] by Nell Stroud
A modern day true story of what happened when Stroud ran away with the circus

"The Victorian Clown" [8/2006] by Prof. Jacky Bratton & Ann Featherstone

"The Advance Man: A Journey Into The World … " [2010] by Jamie MacVicar /1593932030/

"The Circus Book, 1870-1950" [11/2010] Dominique Jando

"Professor Risley and The Imperial Japanese Troupe: How An American Acrobat Introduced Circus To Japan
-- and Japan To The West" [12/2012] by Frederik L. Schodt

Through the Back Door of the Circus book by George Brinton Beal  
"Through The Back Door of The Circus with George Brinton Beal: The Inside Story of The Big Top" [1938]
McLoughlin Bros, Inc. 9x6 hardcover [1938] out of print/scarce
McLoughlin Bros, Inc. 9x6 hardcover [1938] out of print/scarce
Circus Trains Album of Photographs book from Kalmbach  "Circus Trains (Trains Album of Photographs, Number 19)" [1947]
by Charles Philip Fox

Kalmbach Publng hardcover [1947] out of print/scarce
Under the Big Top / A Season with the Circus book by Bruce Feiler  "Under The Big Top: A Season With The Circus" [1995 classic] by Bruce Feiler
The author ran away with the circus and spent eight months travelling America working as a clown with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus.
Kindle Edition from HarperCollins e-books [10/2009] for $9.78
Harper Perennial 8x5¼ pb [3/2003] for $13.49
Scribner's 9¼x6½ hardcover [6/95] out of print/many, many used
Trains of the Circus, 1872-1956 book by Fred Dahlinger  "Trains of The Circus, 1872-1956" [2000]
by Fred Dahlinger, Jr. and Circus World Museum

Iconografix 8¼x10 pb [6/2000] out of print/used
Show Trains of The 20th Century book by Fred Dahlinger  "Show Trains of The 20th Century" [2000]
by Fred Dahlinger, Jr. and Circus World Museum

Iconografix 8¼x10 pb [10/2000] for $26.96
Circus & Carnival Trucks, 1923-2000 book by Bill Rhodes  "Circus & Carnival Trucks: 1923-2000 Photo Archive" [2001]
by Bill Rhodes

Iconografix 8½x10 pb [10/2001] for $11.69
Circus & Carnival Tractors, 1930-2001 book by Bill Rhodes  "Circus & Carnival Tractors: 1930-2001 Photo Archive" [2002]
by Bill Rhodes

Iconografix 8½x10 pb [11/2002] for $17.29
Step Right Up, Stories of Carnivals anthology by edited by Nathaniel Knaebel  "Step Right Up: Stories of Carnivals, Sideshows, and The Circus" anthology [2004]
Edited by Nathaniel Knaebel

Anthology of both fiction and non-fiction; contributors include Kevin Baker, Michael Chabon, Susan Dickinson, Katherine Dunn, Lee Durkee, Robert Hough, Ellen Hunnicut, Joseph Michell, Flannery O'Connor, Fred Rosen, Jim Tully, and Eudora Welty
Carroll & Graf 9x6 pb [4/2004] for $14.40
Spangles, Elephants, Violets & Me memoir by Victoria B. Cristiani Rossi  "Spangles, Elephants, Violets, and Me: The Circus, Inside Out" [2007]
by Victoria B. Cristiani Rossi

iUniverse 9x6 pb [4/2009] for $17.42
iUniverse 9x6 pb [9/2007] for $19.95
iUniverse 9x6 hardcover [9/2007] out of print/used
Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918 book by Richard M. Lytle  "The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918: Tragedy On The Indiana Lakeshore"
[2010] by Richard M. Lytle

Kindle Edition from The History Press [11/2011] for $9.99
The History Press 9x6½ pb [7/2010] for $15.86
America's Greatest Circus Train book by Bruce C. Nelson  "America's Greatest Circus Train" [2013]
by Bruce C. Nelson, Foreword by Fred Dahlinger, Jr.

The annual circus parade in Baraboo, Wisconsin began as a small test in 1963, but the response was enormous, so they added taking the circus by train to Milwaukee and then to Chicago; but the Bush economy took its toll, and the last such circus train was in 2003; 335 mostly-color photographs.
Heimburger House Publng 10½x10½ hardcover [9/2013] for $49.46
Beneath the Big Top Social History book by Steve Ward  
"Beneath The Big Top: A Social History of The Circus In Britain" [2014]
by Steve Ward

Pen and Sword 9¼x6 pb [11/2014] for $18.66
Big Top Burning book by Laura A. Woollett  "Big Top Burning: The True Story of An Arsonist, A Missing Girl, and The Greatest Show On Earth" [grades 5-8; 2015] by Laura A. Woollett
At Hartford, Connecticut in 1944, the Ringling Brothers main circus tent burned to the ground in ten minutes; 167 people died and many more were injured. The author examines the long-unsolved arson case with the purpose of asking the many questions that remain unanswered.
Kindle Edition from Chicago Review Press [6/2015] for $9.99
Chicago Review Press 8¾x5¾ hardcover [6/2015] for $14.79

"No Performances Today: June 22, 1918, Ivanhoe, Indiana" [1972] by Warren A Reeder

http://www.amazon.com/Wallenda-A-Biography-Karl/dp/091529804X/ [1976]

"The Circus Moves By Rail" [1978] by Tom Parkinson & Fox + SA/RR 0871085151

http://www.amazon.com/The-Great-Southern-Circus-ADVENTURE/dp/1450038581/ [2/2010]

¨            ¨

Selected  Circus  Fiction

mystery & sci-fi author Harry Stephen Keeler [1890-1967]
Keeler wrote over 90 mystery & science fiction novels (including a circus series); all of them are in print today at Ramble House.
publisher's author homepage • Wm. P's unofficial author website • author entry at Wikipedia

Short Stories of Harry Stephen Keeler collection edited by Fred Cleaver  "Strands of The Web: The Short Stories of Harry Stephen Keeler" [2009]
Edited by Fred Cleaver

22 short stories by Keeler, with a complete bibliography of short works (26 stories,
one stageplay, and one short film scenario)

Ramble House 9x6 pb [4/2009] for $19.99
ugly cover for 'Three Novellos' book by Harry Stephen Keeler  "Three Novellos" [2010] by Harry Stephen Keeler
Ramble House 9x6 pb [7/2010] for $17.99
Keeler wanted these three stories published together in one volume, but publishers rejected the idea; published as individual volumes in 2002, and finally together by Ramble House in 2010; contains "Adventure In Milwaukee", "The Blackmailer", and "The Flyer Holdup"

"The Vanishing Gold Truck" [1941]
"The Case of The Jeweled Ragpicker" [1948] (U.K. title "The Ace of Spades Murder")
"Stand By — London Calling!" [1950]
"The Case of The Crazy Corpse" [1954]
"The Circus Stealers" [1956]
"A Copy of Beowulf" [1957]
"Report On Vanessa Hewstone" [1957]
"The Six From Nowhere" [1958]
"The Case of The Two-Headed Idiot" [1958]

"Hard Times" [1854] by Charles Dickens
When Sissy from Sleary's Circus joins the children's class of stodgy Mr. Gradgrind, she is promptly asked to leave, as her circus background makes her much too fanciful; Louisa & Tom Gradgrind's joyless education does not serve them well, and by the end of this cautionary tale, it's circus girl Sissy who is the moral victor.

The Young Circus Rider in Kindle format by Horatio Alger, Jr.  "The Young Circus Rider; or, The Mystery of Robert Rudd" [1883]
by Horatio Alger, Jr. [1832-99]

A young orphan raised in the circus searches for his true identity, survives injury and a murder plot, and locates his family, thus becoming heir to a fortune.
Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [1/2013] for 99¢ {sic}
New York Public Library 8x5 pb [2/2011] for $21.99
The Young Acrobat in Kindle format by Horatio Alger, Jr.  "The Young Acrobat of The Great North American Circus" [1888]
by Horatio Alger, Jr. [1832-99]

No doubt the typical Alger 'rags to riches' plot, eh?
Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [5/2012] for FREE {sic}
Wildside Press 8½x5½ pb [9/2007] for $9.95
Wildside Press 8½x5½ hardcover [9/2007] for $19.95
1953 paperback cover for Road Show / Circus Parade novel by Jim Tully  "Circus Parade" [1927] by Jim Tully, Illustrated by William Gropper
"A thrilling, violent story of circus life - Complete & Unabridged" Essentially an autobiographical novel of Tully's several years traveling with the rough crew of a circus (before becoming a reporter in Hollywood)
Black Squirrel Books 8x5½ pb [6/2009] for $17.96 with Foreword by Harvey Pekar
Kessinger Publng 9x6 hardcover [4/2005] for $33.40
Albert & Charles Boni hardcover [1927] out of print/used
KS's Jim Tully [1886-1947] fansite
Circus Parade, Stories of the Big Top anthology edited by Phyllis R. Fenner  "Circus Parade: Stories of The Big Top" [1945]
Selected by Phyllis R. Fenner, Illustrated by Lee Ames

Kessinger Publng 9x6 pb [9/2007] for $17.90
Kessinger Publng 9x6 hardcover [7/2009] for $30.79
Knopf Children's Book Club hardcover [1955] out of print/used
Knopf Children's Book Club 8¼x5½ hardcover [1955] out of print/used
Gus the Great circus novel by Thomas W. Duncan   "Gus The Great" [1947] by Thomas W. Duncan
"Four women were his stepping stones to the top"
Dell mass pb [1953] out of print/scarce
J.B. Lippincott 8½x6 hardcover [1947] out of print/used
Nancy Drew & The Ringmaster's Secret 1953 mystery novel by Carolyn Keene  "Nancy Drew: The Ringmaster's Secret" [#31 = 1953, rev 1974] by Carolyn Keene
Nancy is learning horseback riding stunts, so Aunt Eloise sends her a second-hand bracelet with five horse charms, with a sixth missing. The Sims Circus, where Nancy's instructor used to work, arrives in town, and when Nancy visits the circus, the clown tells her that the aerialist Lolita has the sixth charm.
Kindle Edition from Penguin Publng [1954 edition] for $6.99
Armada Books mass pb [7/81] out of print/used
Grosset & Dunlap pb [1974] out of print/used
Grosset & Dunlap 7¾x5 hardcover [1954] for $7.19
book entry at Wikipedia • Nancy Drew Mystery Series Page at BlackHat Mystery Bookstore
Carny Kill novel by Robert Edmond Alter  
"Carny Kill" [1966] by Robert Edmond Alter
"This time I was really running scared. You see, they found this corpse on the Midway, and he had this knife in the middle of his chest . . . The cops thought I had put it there."
Vintage 8x5¼ pb [3/93] out of print/many used
Fawcett Gold Medal mass pb [1966] out of print/used
Wickedest Show on Earth 1985 anthology edited by Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini   "Wickedest Show On Earth: A Carnival of Circus Suspense" [17 stories; 1985]
Edited by Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini

17 stories by authors Robert Bloch, August Derleth, Stanley Ellin, Paul Gallico, Evan Hunter, Stephen Marlowe, Edgar Allan Poe, Ellery Queen, Cornell Woolrich — and eight more
William Morrow & Co. 8¼x5¾ hardcover [11/85] out of print/used
Blood and Circuses mystery novel by Kerry Greenwood  "Blood and Circuses: A Phryne Fisher Mystery" [#6 = 1994] by Kerry Greenwood
A former flame asks flapper-era amateur sleuth Phryne Fisher for help to figure out who is sabotaging his circus. Phryne goes undercover and quickly realizes that she may be out of her depth, what with having neither servants nor friends to rely on. Then someone is murdered . . .
Kindle Edition from Poisoned Pen Press [1/2012] for $4.99
Poisoned Pen Press 8½x5½ pb [7/2007] for $13.04
Poisoned Pen Press 8¾x6 hardcover [7/2007] out of print/used
Blue Moon Circus novel by Michael Raleigh  "The Blue Moon Circus: A Three-Ring Novel" [2003] by Michael Raleigh
Set in 1926; several years after a catastrophic flood shut down his circus, Lewis Tully is in court in Oklahoma for gambling at a speakeasy; the judge suspends Tully's sentence if he rebuilds his circus and goes on the road. Tully calls on old friends for help and manages to collect a dying snake charmer, a vengeful camel, assorted clowns, a mind reader, a trainer of housecats, and a nine-year-old orphan boy.
Sourcebooks Landmark 8½x5½ pb [3/2004] for $19.99
Sourcebooks Landmark 8½x5¾ hardcover [4/2003] out of print/used

"The Final Confession of Mabel Stark: A Novel" [] by Robert Hough

"The Mumbo Jumbo Circus" [k] by Jane George

the excellent "The Circus In Winter" '[] by Cathy Day

"Roustabout: A Fiction" [] Michelle Chalfoun

"Cirkus: A Novel" [] by Patti Frazee

"The Girl Who Walked On Air" [] by Emma Carroll

"Hetty Feather" [] by Jacqueline Wilson
from book to stage - How did Jacqueline Wilson's wonderful book make it to the West End?

"Burning Bright" [] by Tracy Chevalier
Set in 1792, Dorset carpenter Thomas Kellaway and his family move to London, where he's employed to build props for Astley's Circus.

"Wild Boy" [] by Rob Lloyd Jones

"The Night Circus" [] by Erin Morgenstern

"Pantomime" [] by Laura Lam
brilliant YA story about running away and joining R.H. Ragona's Circus of Magic

"Mortlock" [] by Jon Mayhew

"The Midget's House: A Circus Story... A Love Story... A Ghost Story" [1/2012] by Anita Bartholomew

The Orphan's Tale novel by Pam Jenoff  "The Orphan's Tale: A Novel" [2017] by Pam Jenoff  2/2017
A village teenager is impregnated by a Nazi soldier; the baby is taken away from her and she is given a job cleaning the railway staiton. She finds a railcar of babies and steals one of them and runs away, landing with a traveling circus, where she is trained by a Jewish aerialist . . .
Kindle Edition from MIRA/Harlequin Digital Sales [2/2017] for $9.99
MIRA 9x6 pb [2/2017] for $10.43
MIRA 9½x6½ hardcover [2/2017] for $17.70

Books For Young Circus Fans

"The Circus Boys" Series [1910-20] by Edgar B.P. Darlington
no Darlington entry at Wikipedia or IMDb • Darlington's five books as free etexts at Project Gutenberg

The Circus Boys Series in Kindle format from ignacio hills press  "The Circus Boys Collection" for Kindle [2009]
Kindle Edition from ignacio hills press [5/2009] for $1.00 (sic)
omnibus edition of all five of Darlington's boys' novels, published from 1910 to 1920
"The Circus Boys On The Flying Rings: or, Making The Start In The Sawdust Life" [1910]
"The Circus Boys Across The Continent: or, Winning New Laurels On The Tanbark" [1911]
"The Circus Boys In Dixie Land: or, Winning The Plaudits of The Sunny South [1911]
"The Circus Boys On The Mississippi: or, Afloat With The Big Show On The Big River" [1912]
"The Circus Boys On The Plains: or, The Young Advance Agents Ahead of The Show [1920]

Enid Blyton's Circus Tales [1938-48]
Wikipedia entry for British children's author Enid Mary Blyton [1897-1968]
browse all Blyton books • credits [since 1955] at IMDb • Enid Blyton Society [est. 1995]

Mr Galliano's Circus children's book by Enid Blyton  "Mr. Galliano's Circus" [1938] by Enid Blyton
Jimmy Brown meets Lotta and the other people who work at the circus.
Red Fox mass pb [1990] out of print/used
Deans Intl. hardcover [1986] out of print/used
Dean & Sons Ltd. 7¼x5 hardcover [5/72] out of print/used
Hurrah for the Circus! children's book by Enid Blyton  "Hurrah For The Circus!" [1939] by Enid Blyton
The new boy Eric hates girls, so he tries to get Jimmy to avoid Lotta, but then she catches Eric inside the cage of the new tigers act and trying to tame them!
Red Fox mass pb [12/85] out of print/used
Red Fox mass pb [2/80] out of print/used
Dean & Sons Ltd. 7¼x5 hardcover [1/73] out of print/used
Circus Days Again children's book by Enid Blyton  "Circus Days Again" [1942] by Enid Blyton
Madame Prunella and her talking parrots join the circus, then a great wind blows the big top tent away and two bears disappear, so Jimmy and Lotta and Lucky the Wonder Dog track them to a cave at the beach . . .
Beaver Books mass pb [1987] out of print/used
Red Fox mass pb [4/79] out of print/used
Hamlyn Young Books 7¼x5 hardcover [6/73] out of print/used
Come to the Circus! children's book by Enid Blyton  "Come To The Circus!" [1948] by Enid Blyton
Pint-sized ten-year-old orphan Fenella's Aunt Janet abruptly marries and moves to Canada, leaving the girl in the care of Uncle Ursie and Aunt Lou at Mr. Carl Crack's Circus.
Red Fox mass pb [12/85] out of print/used
Collins/Armada mass pb [1973] out of print/used
Hamlyn Young Books 7¼x5 hardcover [8/74] out of print/used

"Enid Blyton Circus Collection: 3 in 1" [2012] featuring Jimmy Brown and Lotta
Egmont Books Ltd. 7¾x5 pb [5/2012] out of print/used
Egmont Books Ltd. 7¾x5 pb [5/2012] out of print/used

"Enid Blyton 5 Books In 1" [1992]
includes "Mr. Galliano's Circus", "Hurrah For The Circus!", "Circus Days Again",
"The Naughtiest Girl In The School", and "The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor"
Cresset Press mass pb [1992] out of print/used

If I Ran The Circus children's book by Dr. Seuss  "If I Ran The Circus" [ages 4-9; 1956] by Dr. Seuss
Little Morris McGurk imagines the empty lot behind Mr. Sneelock's ramshackle store – just clear out the rusty cans, the dead tree, and the old cars – used for the amazing, world-beating Circus McGurkus.
Random House 11¼x8¼ pb [10/56] for $8.80
Random House 10¾x8 hardcover [1984] out of print/used
Random House 11x8 hardcover [10/56] out of print/used
Circus Girl children's book by Jack Sendak & Maurice Sendak  "Circus Girl" [1957]
by Jack Sendak [1924-95], Pictures by {brother} Maurice Sendak [1928-2012]

HarperCollins 10x7¾ hardcover [10/2002] for $19.95
Circus Girl children's book by Michael Garland  "Circus Girl" [ages 3 & up; 1993] Written & Illustrated by Michael Garland
Dutton Juvenile 10x11 hardcover [5/93] out of print/used
Eugenio children's book by Lorenzo Mattotti & Marianne Cockenpot  "Eugenio" [ages 5 & up; 1994]
by Marianne Cockenpot, Illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti

Abandoned by his poverty-stricken parents, Eugenio is taken in by kindly circus folk
and grows up to become the most popular clown at the circus.

Little, Brown & Co. 13x8¾ hardcover [5/94] out of print/used
"Eugenio" 37-minute animated featurette [France Oct 1999]
Directed by Jean-Jacques Prunès; adapted by Catherine Taillefer • credits at IMDb

Pippi Longstocking Goes to the Circus children's book by Astrid Lindgren & Michael Chesworth  "Pippi Goes To The Circus: A Pippi Longstocking Storybook" [ages 5-8; 1999]
Excerpted from the original novel by Astrid Lindgren, Pictures by Michael Chesworth

When Pippi goes to the circus show, she doesn't just watch, she takes over!
Puffin Books 8¾x6½ pb [5/2000] for $6.16
Viking Juvenile 9x7 hardcover [2/99] out of print/used
Dad Runs Away with the Circus children's book by Etgar Keret  "Dad Runs Away With The Circus" [grades K-3; 2004]
by Etgar Keret, Illustrated by Rutu Modan

Candlewick 11¼x8 hardcover [8/2004] out of print/used
The Circus Ship children's book by Chris Van Dusen  "The Circus Ship" [ages 4 & up; 2009] Written & Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Set in the 1800s; a steamship is wrecked in a storm, and its cargo of circus animals finds its way to an island off the Maine coast; at first frightened, the townspeople become friends with the animals, and when the nasty circus owner comes for his menagerie, the locals unite to keep the animals safe from a life of exploitation.
Kindle Edition from Candlewick [11/2011] for $12.33
Candlewick Press Big Book 17x16¼ {sic} pb [9/2011] for $21.94
Candlewick 10¼x10 hardcover [9/2009] for $12.98

Movies & Television

Another section that just kept growing, so Circus Movies & TV Shows information was split off
to the Circus Film Festival Pages in May 2013.

"The Circus"  [United Artists Jan 1928]
won Honorary Oscar 'for versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing "The Circus" '  Chaplin's The Circus video/DVD  The cops at a circus think that the Little Tramp is a pickpocket; Charlie runs into the big tent and hits attempts to elude the cops are a big hit with the crowd; but Charlie is unable to be funny on purpose, so the circus owner hires him as a sweeper. Produced, written, directed & edited by and starring Charles Chaplin; co-starring Al Ernest Garcia, Merna Kennedy, Harry Crocker, George Davis, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford, John Rand & Steve Murphy; won Honorary Oscar
Warner b&w Special Edition DVD [3/2004] 2 disks for $50.12
full credits from IMDb

"Charlie Chan At The Circus" [Fox March 1936]
Charlie Chan At The Circus movie poster  On vacation with his wife & twelve children, Honolulu detective Charlie Chan visits a circus just as someone murders one of the owners. Directed by Harry Lachman; starring Warner Oland (as Chan}, Keye Luke, Boothe Howard, Drue Leyton, Maxine Reiner, George & Olive Brasno, Francis Ford, J. Carrol Naish & Shia Jung
b&w DVD available as part of color/b&w DVD available as part of box set Volume 2
11"x17" poster from Amazon for $9.99
full credits from IMDb

"The Greatest Show On Earth" [Paramount Pictures Jan 1952]
won Oscar for Best Picture  won Oscar for Best Story    "The Greatest Show On Earth" 1952 movie by Cecil B. DeMille  
two-sheet poster for "The Greatest Show On Earth" 1952 movie by Cecil B. DeMille  
Filmed in 35mm three-strip Technicolor; the manager of a major 'railroad circus' convinces the owners to allow him to keep the show going as long as it brings in a profit; he hires a star trapeze act, which upsets his trapeze artist girlfriend; other problems include a crooked midway concessionaire, and love triangles & professional jealousy aplenty. The fired crook robs the box office and stages a railroad wreck to cover his tracks, which injures the manager, so the girlfriend rallies the troops and the show goes on . . . Co-produced by Cecil B. DeMille & Henry Wilcoxon; directed by Cecil B. DeMille; written by Frank Cavett, Fredric M. Frank, Jack Gariss, Barré Lyndon & Theodore St. John; original music by Victor Young; starring Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Dorothy Lamour, James Stewart, Gloria Grahame, Henry Wilcoxon, Lyle Bettger, Lawrence Tierney, clown Emmett Kelly, circus owner John Ringling North, clown Lou Jacobs & Edmond O'Brien; with cameos by Leon Ames, Oliver Blake, William Boyd (as Hopalong Cassidy}, Bing Crosby, Bob Crosby, Van Heflin, Bob Hope, Noel Neill & Danny Thomas; won Oscars for Best Picture & Best Story, Oscar noms for Best Director, Best Costume Design, Best Editing
Paramount widescreen color DVD [4/2004] 2 disks for $6.99
Paramount color DVD [4/2004] for $8.96
full credits at IMDb • movie entry at Wikipedia
movie-tie-in novelization
Paramount mass pb [1952] out of print/used

"Water For Elephants" [Fox April 2011]
Water For Elephants movie poster  Just at graduation from college in 1931, Jacob's life falls apart; he finds work with the struggling Benzini Brothers traveling circus and falls in love with the wife of the ruthless circus owner. Filmed in California, Georgia & Tennessee, especially on the Tennessee Valley Railroad near Chattanooga (with Engine #18 clearly visible). Directed by Francis Lawrence; script by Richard LaGravenese, based on Sara Gruen's bestseller novel; cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto; starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz, Hal Holbrook, Jim Norton, Paul Schneider, Richard Brake, Mark Povinelli & Tai The Elephant
DVD/Blu-ray not yet available
full credits at IMDb • official movie site • movie entry at Wikipedia

Stageplays,  Radio,  Other  Media

®           ®

'The Circus Girl' 1896 musical stageplay  "The Circus Girl" musical stageplay [Dec 1896]
British play, set in France; opened on Broadway April-August 1897 (but not listed on IBDb); book by James T. Tanner & Walter Palings, lyrics by Harry Greenbank & Adrian Ross, music by Ivan Caryll; praised by Sir Arthur Sullivan; original was quite a production, with a trapeze act and the Human Cannonball onstage
play entry at Wikipedia • entry at Guide To Musical Theatre website
Chappell & Co. playscript hardcover [1897] out of print/scarce
Chappell & Co. playscript hardcover [1897] out of print/scarce
'The Balloon Girl' 1920s stageplay by Robert J. Sherman  
"The Balloon Girl: A Comedy Drama of Circus Life" stageplay [circa 1920]
by Robert J. Sherman

"A story of a sweet, little circus girl, her bad sister, a minister, and meddling town gossips" per the poster online at Library of America; playscript or other info not found {5/2013}

Ellery Queen / Adventure of The Circus Train radio script in Kindle format from Shamrock Eden  "Ellery Queen: The Adventure of The Circus Train" for Kindle [2009]
Kindle Edition from Shamrock Eden Publng [6/2009] for $3.00
script from half-hour "Ellery Queen" radio series, program broadcast 25 March 1943
broadcast recording available from Old Time Radio Catalog
"The Adventures of Ellery Queen" radio show on MP3 format CD [undated]
17 episodes for $5.00 + s/h

"The Circus Starring Britney Spears" worldwide tour [2009]
Circus album [2008] by Britney Spears  Pop star Britney Spears took a circus-themed show to 45 U.S. cities, 7 cities in Canada, 11 cities in Europe & Russia, and 6 cities in Australia, from March to November in 2009; opening acts included the Pussycat Dolls and the Big Apple Circus; the setlist included numbers from Britney's prior albums "In the Zone", "Blackout", and "Circus'; although wishful speculation continues, there is no plan for a DVD of the tour (as-of 2012).
DVD/Blu-ray not available • not listed at IMDb • tour entry at Wikipedia
"Circus" music album [2008] • album entry at Wikipedia
Britney's sixth studio album; includes Billboard #1 song "Womanizer", Billboard #3 song "Circus", and Billboard 100 hits "If U Seek Amy" and "Radar"; added tracks on Deluxe album are "Rock Me In" & "Phonography"
Jive Records Deluxe Edition music CD [12/2008] 15 tracks on 2 disks for $6.77
Jive Records music CD [12/2008] 13 tracks for $9.35

Rhode Island Novelty red foam clown noses [2013] 1 dozen for $3.61
Z Costume red foam clown noses [2013] 25 pieces for $8.49

Legendary  Circus  People  &  Acts

Circus Heroes & Heroines book by Rhina Kirk  
<++++++big>"Circus Heroes and Heroines" [1972] by Rhina Kirk
Brief profiles of famous circus personalities such as P. T. Barnum, Tom Thumb,
Clyde Beatty, and Annie Oakley - plus a short history of the origins of the circus.

Hammond, Inc. 10x7¼ hardcover [1972] out of print/many used
Hammond, Inc. 10x7¼ hardcover [1972] out of print/used

the father of the circus, Philip Astley

Phineas Taylor 'P.T.' Barnum invented the 3-ring circus
P.T. Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT
The Lost Museum {virtual tour of Barnum's American Museum in New York City}
listed #67 on The Atlantic Monthly's Top 100 Most Influential Figures in American History [Dec 2006]

"The Colossal P. T. Barnum Reader" [] by P T. Barnum


"The Mighty Barnum" [1934] starring Wallace Beery /tt0025501/
"Barnum" TV movie [1986] starring Burt Lancaster /tt0090701/
"Barnum!" TV movie [1986] starring Michael Crawford /tt0090702/
"P.T. Barnum: America's Greatest Showman" [Jan 1995] episode of "Biography" /tt0323543/
"P.T. Barnum" TV movie [1999] /tt0209720/ w/Beau Bridges

playscript of 'Bigger Than Life' about P.T. Barnum by Cynthia Mercati  "Bigger Than Life! P.T. Barnum presents: American Folktales & Legends" [1995]
by Cynthia Mercati

45-minute stageplay for children
Pioneer Drama Service, Inc. pb [1995] proprietary/scarce
publisher's stageplay page with licensing info

Bozo the Clown
Capitol Records 1946; Larry Harmon bought the rights in 1956+
"The Man Behind The Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales" autobio [Igniter Books 2010]
Bozo the Clown 1952 pilot "Pinky Talks Back" found by Larry Harmon in Hollywood vault (4/2001)

circus clown Edwin 'Poodles' Hanneford [1891-1967] http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0360372/

Harpo the Clown, based in Palm Springs, California

Emmett Kelly http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0446374/
Emmett Kelly Museum in Sedan, Kansas
"The Clown" [CBS-TV March 1955] episode of "G.E. True Theater" /tt0586285/ based on a book by Emmett Kelly

"Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Memoir of Tiny Kline" [] /B0071UNVUS/

Queen of the Air biography of Lillian Leitzel by Dean Jensen  "Queen of The Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy At The Circus" [2013]
by Dean N. Jensen

A passionate recounting of the life, loves, and career of Lillian Leitzel [1892-1931], once the most famous circus performer who ever lived - a tiny, flamboyant woman who commanded the world's attention and came to the kind of grand, shocking demise that served only to burnish her legend.
Kindle Edition from Random House Digital [6/2013] for $12.99
Crown Books 9¼x6¼ deckle-edge hardcover [6/2013] for $18.89

Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers box (polar bear)       Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers box (moose)       Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers box (gorilla)       Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers box (giraffe)

American  Circus  Companies
'List of circuses & circus owners' at Wikipedia

Buffalo Bill Cody Page / Wild West Show Section at 'Readers of The Purple Sage' Western Bookstore
browse Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Vintage Art Posters category {40+ items} at AllPosters.com

Western Culture Page / Wild West Show Section at 'Readers of The Purple Sage' Western Bookstore

Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show
Pawnee Bill's Historic Wild West Show
Sells-Floto Circus in 1929, 1930 & 1931
Tom Mix Circus [1936-38] page at Circus History website
Carson & Barnes Circus [est. 1937] based in Hugo, Oklahoma
Circus Flora [est. 1987] in St. Louis, Missouri
Clyde Beatty Circus
The Jordan World Circus [] - based in Las Vegas, Nevada
James E. Strates Carnival [est. 1923] based in Orlando, Florida: Wikipedia • official website
Zoppe Family Circus [est. 1842] based in St. Louis, Missouri

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey poster           poster of the five Ringling Bros. 'Kings of The Circus World'
The Cooper & Bailey Circus was established in the 1860s; showman P.T. Barnum [1810-91] established a circus in 1870 that was later renamed The Greatest Show On Earth; the Barnum & Bailey Circus was formed by merger in March 1881; five of the seven Ringling Brothers established The World's Greatest Shows circus in 1884; Ringling purchased Barnum & Bailey in 1907 and finally merged in 1919 to form the 'Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus'. The Feld family bought the Ringling circus in 1967; they announced in January 2017 that the company will close down in May due to the sluggish economy, declining attendance, and animal rights activism.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey official website
John & Mable Ringling Museums, 5401 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota, Florida

"Ringlingville USA: The Stupendous Story of … " [] by Jerry Apps /087020355X/
"The Circus Kings: Our Ringling Family Story" [] by Henry Ringling North /081303311X/

http://www.amazon.com/Ringling-Bros-Barnum-Bailey-Circus/dp/B0036G295E/ = #132
http://www.amazon.com/The-Greatest-Show-Earth-Souvenir/dp/B000G1OD5Q/ = #134
http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Souvenir-Edition/dp/B000RJOITI/ = #135
http://www.amazon.com/Edition-Souvenir-Ringling-Barnum-Bailey/dp/B00186PGS6/ = #136
"Biography: The Ringling Brothers" []
"Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: Be A Clown" video [1987] /tt2027203/
"Ringling Brothers, Kings of The Circus" [2005]
8/2011 video [7:45] of trains passing the Burbank, California Amtrak station,
including the Ringling Bros. circus train

PBS Documentary “The Life and Times of John and Mabel Ringling” directed by Curtis Graham of Greyhouse Films in Florida

Ringling, The Last Laugh book by Michael Lancaster   "Ringling: The Last Laugh - A Novel" [2012]
by Michael Lancaster
{great grandson of Charles Ringling}
'The real story of the Ringling Brothers as told by John Ringling, the last surviving brother, in 1936'
Kindle Edition from Ballyhoo Books [8/2012] for $7.99
Ballyhoo Books 9x6 pb [5/2012] for $14.02

"Cirque du Soleil: The Magic Circus" [1989] TV movie /tt2434722/
"Cirque du Soleil: We Reinvent The Circus" [1992] video /tt0845972/
"Cirque du Soleil: Saltimbanco" [1997] TV /tt0141799/
"Cirque du Soleil: Quidam" [1999] video documentary /tt0219593/
"Cirque du Soleil: Alegria" video [11/1999] /tt0123376/
"Cirque du Soleil: Alegria" [11/2001] TV movie /tt0312571/
"Cirque du Soleil: Dralion" [2001] video /tt0276866/
"Cirque du Soleil: Solstrom" [2003] TV series documentary /tt0824521/
"Cirque du Soleil: Varekai" [2003] TV special documentary /tt0368647/
"Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba" [2004] video documentary /tt0442043/
"Cirque du Soleil: Iris"
"Cirque du Soleil: Zarkana"
"Cirque du Soleil: Totem"
"Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man in 3-D"
"Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away in 3-D" [2012] /tt1792647/

Circus Music   circus calliope version of "March of The Gladiators" [26KB midi file plays 2:16

South Shore Circus Concert Band Store {20+ CD albums} at Amazon

vinyl LP album cover for "Circus Time With The Dukes of Dixieland"  "Circus Time With The Dukes of Dixieland (Volume 7)" [1958]
Craze Prodns audio CD [12/2012] 12 tracks for $9.99
"Big Top Circus Calliope" vinyl LP album  "Big Top Circus Calliope: Recorded Out of Doors - featuring the Wurlitzer Calliola at Paul Eakins' Gay 90s Village in Sikeston, Missouri" [1960s]
Audio Fidelity vinyl LP album [undated] 13 tracks - out of prodn/used

http://www.amazon.com/Circus-Calliope-Vol-2/dp/B004G0VAH2/ = MP3

Circus Links
Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin
Circus Stuff Links Directory
Circus Trains: The Second Greatest Show On Earth
www.circusfans.com.au + gif
Peru Indiana - The Amateur Circus Capital of The world!
International Circus Hall of Fame in 1958
Circus World theme park [1974-86] in Polk County, Florida

Intl. Clown Hall of Fame      Clowns of America Intl.       American Clown Academy [est. 2012] based in Ohio

here on The American Circus Page at Spirit of America Bookstore

top of page   •   brief history   •   books   •   movies & TV   •   stageplays, other media   •

legendary circus people   •   American circuses   •   circus music   •   links

Spirit of America Bookstore's Circus Film Festival Pages

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