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Circus

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Ewbooks-tightrope

Elmo walks the tightrope.

Harveykorman

Harvey Korman trains Thog.

Fentini

The Great Fentini.

Gilchristcomic-color2

Back from a day at the circus.

Jtecircus

Big Bird walks the tightrope.

Ewdogs-circus

Elmo as a circus dog.

Dakin1988MuppetBabies

Muppet Babies Circus Plush.

Folge2480-11

Reporter Wolle at the circus.

Elmojuggler

Elmo as a juggler

Subway.86

A circus poster in the Subway.

MathieuMixMatch03

The Sesame Street Mix or Match Storybook

Circus set

Muppets Babies PVC set.

Ss dictionary circus

The Sesame Street Dictionary visits the Circus.

MuppetBabiesComic21

The Muppet Babies comic book.

Sesamstrasse064-(Uwe-Friedrichsen-and-Samson-play-circus)

"Zirkus Samson" on Sesamstrasse.

Liontamerfozzie.JPGHornercorner

Lion tamer Fozzie Bear.

Sesame Street Circus Alphabet01:33

Sesame Street Circus Alphabet

The "Circus Alphabet."

The Circus is a group of performers, including but not limited to acrobats, clowns, animal acts, jugglers, and daredevils who perform in a troop, often in multiple rings or arenas, and led by a Ringmaster. The Circus dates back to ancient Rome, where it consisted of horse and chariot races, and China where they consisted of primarily acrobatic acts.

The first western circus opened in Philadelphia in 1793, but it was P.T. Barnum who was the pioneer of what audiences are familiar with today. Upon his death and subsequent merger of his circus with that of James Anthony Bailey, a more familiar circus was born, with a large canvas tent, human oddities for a sideshow, and multiple rings housing continuous acts. In 1919, the Barnum and Bailey show merged with the Ringling Brothers show, to form the quintessential American circus, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The modern circus is an amalgam other influences as well. Bands of Gypsies often brought with them circus skills and trained animals while traveling Britan, and Antonio Franconi, the founder of the French circus, is often credited as a co-creator of the modern circus. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show was also an precurser to the circus we are now familar with.

While often touted as an evening of excitement and fun, not all is always happy with the circus. Clowns were often used as a distraction to the audience when an accident occurred (or an act flopped). Stephen Sondheim's song "Send in the Clowns" is a metaphorical looks at this stage practice. With the advent of more theatrical stages, clowns became pure comic relief, and have even provided a launching pad to a successful career outside the circus, as was the case for Bill Irwin.

Animal cruelity has shrowded the circus for years. With animal acts involving Lions, Tigers, Elephants and more, animal activists have been concerned over their housing and training. This concern became the focus of a Dinosaurs episode titled "Charlene and Her Amazing Humans", where Cavelings are mistreated to perform on cue.

The sideshow also became an intrigal part of the circus, with "freaks" (such as Tattooed Ladies or gimmicky acts (such as the Flea circus) luring people into spending additional money for the secondary show.

Aside from the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus, other famous circuses include Cirque du Soleil and The Big Apple Circus, and famous acts have included Emmett Kelly and Gunther Gebel-Williams.

The Muppets have visited the circus on numerous occasions.

The Muppet Show

Mildred: George, do you like circuses?
George: Oh, I love 'em!
Mildred: Then, you must love Ringling.
George: I don't know. I never ringled!

Sesame Street

  • Guntag Gelman Jones, a flea trainer, brings his world-famous flea circus to Sesame Street to perform in a 1994 episode. The acts include Olaf the Weight-Lifting Flea and Tatanya Flea on the tightrope.
  • Ernie has explained to Bert that he enjoys the circus better than bottle caps.
  • Gordon appears as the strongman in the circus, and bends a solid metal bar into the number seven. (EKA: Episode 0314)
  • Marvin the agent receives a call from the circus requesting something yellow with fur and black stripes, so instead of sending his Tiger client on the call, he dresses a Banana to match the requires and sends him out.
  • In "Journey to Ernie" segments, Big Bird walks a tightrope at the circus, and Ernie searches for Big Bird at the circus.
  • In a 1991 episode, Maria reads Elmo and Snuffy the book "The Snuffleupagus and the Rope," which is about a rope who works as a tightrope in the circus.
  • A 1974 episode features Luis the ringmaster demonstrating "before" and "after" in a circus routine.
  • The song "Women Can Be" features Margaret, who has had a successful career at the circus as a Lion Tamer.
  • A 1974 episode features Bob showing the kids a picture of elephants in a circus parade.
  • Video segments involving the circus include a boy named Anthony and his trapeze artist parents ((EKA: Episode 3663)), a girl named Shirley performing in the circus with her clown father and an elephant act ((EKA: Episode 3697)), counting circus clowns ((EKA: Episode 1836)), and a gymnastics team practicing for their act ((EKA: Episode 3006)).
  • In a Thelma Thumb animated sketch, Thelma rescues an acrobat when his trapeze breaks.
  • In the book Everyone Makes Mistakes, Big Bird knocks down Susan's clothesline, and thinks about telling her that a circus came to perform, and the tightrope walker practiced her act on it, and knocked down all the clothes.

Muppet Babies

Bear in the Big Blue House

International Muppet Productions

  • For Sesamstrasse's 1000th episode, Big Bird guest starred alongside his German counterparts on a special show that was taped at Zirkus Althoff.
  • Sesamstrasse also featured its own circus, Circus Samson, on one episode of the early 1980s.
  • In an episode of The Hoobs, the Hoobs help Iver decide which circus job would suit him best.
  • A live action segment on Sesamstrasse had two siblings showing how it is to grow up in the circus.

Creature Shop Productions

  • The film MirrorMask features the Campbell Family Circus.

Other

  • Muppets Ahoy!, the shipboard stage show, featured "Pavarotti", an Italian circus performer dressed in a fat suit.
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