Circus - Netflix

Over the course of six dramatic hours, the documentary follows the legendary Big Apple Circus on an unforgettable journey from the big top to the "back lot", where nail-biting drama unfolds both high in the air and down on the ground and the real heart of the circus beats. Circus goes behind the scenes to explore a distinctive world with its own rules and lingo and no fixed address. It reveals the sights, sounds and stories of the circus' fascinating cultural legacy in unprecedented breadth and scope as viewers escape into a place of passion, excitement, perseverance and even heartache. From the training and rehearsals to the bravery and the intensity of life - and work - in the circus, the cameras capture it all. Grab a front-row seat as members of the Big Apple family experience life-changing moments.

Circus - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2010-11-03

Circus - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus - Netflix

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, also known as the Ringling Bros. Circus, Ringling Bros. or simply Ringling was an American traveling circus company billed as The Greatest Show on Earth. It and its predecessor shows ran from 1871 to 2017. Known as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, the circus started in 1919 when the Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, a circus created by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey, was merged with the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows. The Ringling brothers had purchased Barnum & Bailey Ltd. following Bailey's death in 1906, but ran the circuses separately until they were merged in 1919. After 1956 the circus no longer exhibited under their own portable “big top” tents, instead using permanent venues such as sports stadiums and arenas. In 1967, Irvin Feld and his brother Israel, along with Houston Judge Roy Hofheinz bought the circus from the Ringling family. In 1971, the Felds and Hofheinz sold the circus to Mattel, buying it back from the toy company in 1982. Since the death of Irvin Feld in 1984, the circus had been a part of Feld Entertainment, an international entertainment firm headed by Kenneth Feld, with its headquarters in Ellenton, Florida. With weakening attendance and high operating costs, the circus closed on May 21, 2017 after 146 years.

Circus - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus - Netflix

The circus suffered during the 1930s due to the Great Depression, but managed to stay in business. After John Nicholas Ringling's death, his nephew, John Ringling North, managed the indebted circus twice, the first from 1937 to 1943. Special dispensation was given to the circus by President Roosevelt to use the rails to operate in 1942, in spite of travel restrictions imposed as a result of World War II. Many of the most famous images from the circus that were published in magazine and posters were captured by American Photographer Maxwell Frederic Coplan, who traveled the world with the circus, capturing its beauty as well as its harsh realities. North's cousin Robert took over the president of the show in 1943. North resumed the presidency of the circus in 1947.

The Ringlings purchased the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth in 1907 and ran the circuses separately until 1919. By that time, Charles Edward Ringling and John Nicholas Ringling were the only remaining brothers of the five who founded the circus. They decided that it was too difficult to run the two circuses independently, and on March 29, 1919, “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows” debuted in New York City. The posters declared, “The Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows and the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth are now combined into one record-breaking giant of all exhibitions.” Charles E. Ringling died in 1926, but the circus flourished through the Roaring Twenties. John Ringling had the circus move its headquarters to Sarasota, Florida in 1927. In 1929, the American Circus Corporation signed a contract to perform in New York City. John Ringling purchased American Circus, owner of five circuses, for $1.7 million. In 1938, the circus made a lucrative offer to Frank Buck, a well-known adventurer and animal collector, to tour as their star attraction and to enter the show astride an elephant. He refused to join the American Federation of Actors, stating that he was “a scientist, not an actor.” Though there was a threat of a strike if he did not join the union, he maintained that he would not compromise his principles, saying, “Don't get me wrong. I'm with the working man. I worked like a dog once myself. And my heart is with the fellow who works. But I don't want some ... union delegate telling me when to get on and off an elephant.” Eventually, the union gave Buck a special dispensation to introduce Gargantua the gorilla without registering as an actor.

Circus - References - Netflix