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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Ringling Circus To Close (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Ringling Circus To Close
Terry Monohan
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From: San Francisco CA USA
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 - posted 01-16-2017 11:47 AM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is a sad day for arena circus shows. With two or three traveling Ringling Bros Circus shows going around the USA each year the Feld people are calling for the end. Someone needs to film the whole show in 3-D Imax before they pull the show. Many people will loose their jobs. What will happen to the classic huge circus train, all the props, costumes, lights,ropes special effect gear and the old rings all about to go. Did the Feld Entertainment group even shop the sale of the circus around? They still run their boring repeat lame Disney On Ice shows, maybe some of the equipment will be sent over to the ice arena events? It maybe the group from China that bought AMC Theatres or some rich oil family can save this great American circus. The animal people seem to think they caused the end of the Ringling Circus. I think It has been the parents that let their kids just look at their cell phones all day and play video games instead of going out to a nice arena show once a year when It comes to town. The Ringling/Feld group needed to cut back to just 1 touring group and cut out the cities that did not do well. Also cut back on the amount of shows performed in each city. At least the Feld company needs to think about keeping a arena open in the USA to keep the circus going all year round without the cost of taking It on the road. I have been going since I was a little kid to this circus each year when It came around to the SF Bay,now the end may be coming this May 2017. Lets hope someone with the $$ can buy and save the Ringling Bros Circus for a new generation to enjoy and get the kids off their computer toys and see the excitement a circus can do for you. If they need to cut back on the animals so be It but at least keep a few. Don't turn the circus into another Las Vegas circus act please.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 01-16-2017 12:04 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The times are a changin'. People don't like animal shows as much as they once did. The same thing is happening at Sea World, which is why they are building more roller coasters and other entertainments and ditching the whale shows. I'm sure the dolphin shows will be the next to go.

When Ringling cut out the elephants, attendance dropped -- the elephant rights people didn't come back, and they lost many of the elephant fans. It's as if the Felds thought they would see an attendance go up by cutting out the elephants and it didn't happen.

"Getting the kids off their phones" is certainly not going to happen, because the parents are on their phones just as much.

Downsizing the show to one traveling unit might be an answer, but if their reason for closing is declining attendance for an art form that's run its course, there's not much to be done about that. It would be like trying to bring back vaudeville - it'd never happen, it's out of style. It's been outmoded by other things.

They needed to reinvent a long time ago, not just keep up with the same old thing for 100-plus years. Look at the way people view clowns today vs. just a few years ago, for example. Yet Ringling is probably still trotting out clowns every night, and freaking the kids out in the process.

Circue Du Soleil is the current "form" for circuses They ramped up the glamour/exotica angle which brought the adults out in droves, and did the same thing with the musical background. It's clean and sleek, vs. clunky and dirty. In short they raised the circus to a highbrow-style of entertainment and it's paid off. It's ironic in a way -- instead of trained animals performing, in many cases they have trained people dressed as animals performing.

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Bobby Henderson
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 - posted 01-16-2017 02:23 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, there's a lot of sudden outrage about the Ringling Bros. circus closing, with all the blame going to "bunny huggers." But once you delve past the emotional manipulation in the headlines and "news" reporting it becomes clear the business model for this type of show just isn't sustainable anymore.

Customers have lost a lot of interest in the traditional circus. I don't know how much could be blamed on groups like PETA, but the real fact is most Americans really love animals and any sort of perceived animal abuse can touch off a great deal of anger. I think the bigger problem with the traditional circus is that its type of entertainment seems dated. I think people now prefer to see exotic animals in a more natural looking setting, be it an elaborate enclosure at a zoo, animal park or wildlife preserve. We still get a kick out of seeing animals do tricks, but it's usually good enough to see a domesticated pet dog, cat or bird doing that. And it's probably good enough to watch something like that on YouTube.

Outfits like Cirque du Soleil have an advantage in that their most popular and profitable shows are in "resident" locations, like huge Las Vegas casino-resort hotels. They have a number of different touring shows as well, but the resident shows like Mystère at Treasure Island or O at the Bellagio are still playing since their 1990's launch. Like Mike said, Cirque du Soleil has really upped the theatricality and atmosphere of the experience. Ringling Bros. didn't keep pace with that. Like Sears, another 1800's brand is disappearing into history.

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Dennis Benjamin
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 - posted 01-16-2017 03:23 PM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I used to know a guy who owned a travelling Circus. I don't remember the name, but the guy lived in Vegas.

Back in 2003 he predicted that Circuses would be out of business within 10 years.

I know that smaller circuses will still be out there, especially In Europe and Asia, but I do forsee them going the "way of the Dodo".

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Terry Monohan
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 - posted 01-16-2017 03:49 PM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dennis**I think It was Circus Vargus out of Las Vegas, they still tour a small tent show around malls. Not a very good circus to watch. They always seemed to show up the same week in the SF area as when Ringling was set up in the area. I also liked the Polack Bros Shrine Circus. They were smaller but had better entertainers. I think the Shrine Circus is still around but the Polack Bros Circus out of Chicago is long gone,.

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Martin McCaffery
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 - posted 01-16-2017 04:28 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Circuses have been in a death spiral for decades. The fact that it is Barnum, Bailey and Ringling Bros is a tell right there -- the consolidation of 3 of the biggest circuses into one. And I bet 9 out of 10 people couldn't name another operating circus,
Circuses used to be bigger than vaudeville. But like vaudeville, they got stomped by movies and radio and television. People got the spectacle fill somewhere else.
Where people used to look forward to the circus season and their annual return, now it's probably something to do once to say they've done it.
I just hope it is not the future of movie theaters.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 01-16-2017 05:35 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I remember when I was in high school there was a circus that came through town. It looked like the real deal, with a big top, quite a bunch of animals, etc.

The actual show was pretty lackluster. Upon closer looking it turned out the posters were for the "Barnes and Bailey Circus."

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Martin McCaffery
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 - posted 01-16-2017 06:27 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
^^^^
The grand tradition of There's One Born Every Minute!

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Frank Cox
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 - posted 01-16-2017 08:28 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think people are becoming more jaded and difficult to impress. Circus stunts can't compare with the cgi-aided stunts in the latest action movies.

It's the same with things like music. When everyone watches slickly produced professionally mixed and "perfected" music videos, are they really going to be interested when Uncle Fred brings out his banjo at the next Christmas dinner?

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Martin Brooks
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 - posted 01-23-2017 01:26 AM      Profile for Martin Brooks   Author's Homepage   Email Martin Brooks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The costs of mounting and traveling a circus such as Ringling Brothers is enormous and is not sustainable in today's economic climate. The animal rights issues just added to the problem. But IMO, Ringling also has to take major blame because aside from some minor changes, they hadn't modernized the circus for today's ADD audiences. Feld blames the lack of elephants, but I bet attendance has been sliding for years.

Cirque du Soleil is one example of a modern circus, as others have mentioned, but there's also the highly successful and well regarded Big Apple Circus.

While not all of Cirque du Soleil's shows have been successful, they were smart enough to license the Beatles' material for their 'Love' show, which has been playing in Vegas for almost 11 years and still going strong.

Imagine if Ringling had reimagined the circus and produced a show based upon Star Wars or Marvel comics characters. Or integrated such acts as the Blue Man Group. Or did a whole circus based around the music of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, David Bowie or Lady Gaga to name just a few possibilities. Or gotten a roll call of celebrities to be ring masters. Or combined circus acts with a large scale magic show (the trapeze artist does a summersault and completely disappears!) But they've done none of those things.

And while the circus abandoned the side show and freak shows decades ago, there's a freak show in Coney Island put together by a group of artists that actually does pretty well, although maybe still not appropriate for mainstream family audiences.

While it may have been thrilling at one time, I don't think anyone cares about seeing the big cats in a cage being pushed around to do minor tricks by a guy with a chair and a whip. And seeing elephants running around the ring with some women on top is no big deal either. Kids today have grown up with hyperactive action movies and interactive video games. Most of the circus is a big bore to them and that's aside from the fact that so many people seem to have developed a major fear of clowns...and peanuts.

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Scott Norwood
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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 01-23-2017 11:25 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's still sad. I am not in favor of animal abuse, but there must have been some way to keep the elephants (etc.) in the show while ensuring that they remained happy and healthy. As with zoos, there is value in just giving people a chance to see these animals up close and in person. Not to mention all of the clowns, acrobats, etc. who will now have to find new jobs, while not having the most marketable of skills.

I have some great memories of seeing the RBB&B circus as a kid, and am sorry that future generations will not have the chance to see it. (No, I haven't been since the very early '80s, but I assume that the current show is similar in structure and form.)

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Sam D. Chavez
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 - posted 01-23-2017 01:35 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Martin Brooks
so many people seem to have developed a major fear of clowns...and peanuts.
Well put and funny!

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 01-23-2017 01:55 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think what Martin wrote hit the nail on the head. You need to reinvent to stay relevant. Cirque Du Soleil has it figured out...they have impressive circus-type acts, but they've also ramped up the exotica factor and gotten rid of the expensive-to-maintain + controversial animals. And they've also updated the music for today's audiences -- it sounds exotic and modern and adds a mysterious angle that makes the whole thing very intriguing.

Larry the Cable Guy had an interesting commentary on the elephants I happened to catch on the radio. He said "What I wonder about all this, is what are the elephants thinking? If I was an elephant, I'd be BEGGING to join the circus. Gettin' treated like royalty, eatin' all the loaves of bread you want all day, no worries about enemies and all that, are you kiddin' me? Just imagine the thoughts goin' thru an elephant's head. 'OK, so all I have to do is walk out in an arena where everybody's cheering for me, hold my buddy's tail, walk around in a circle for a while, let some dog run up my back, and put my foot up on a little footstool? And for that I get to eat all the bread and peanuts I want? Sign me up!' But now here comes the PETA, gonna turn 'em all back out in the jungle. So the elephants are saying, 'Them bastards...well, we had a good run fellas. We're going back in the jungle, probably be dead in two weeks.'"

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Bobby Henderson
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 - posted 01-23-2017 02:31 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, that's the whole flip-side of putting exotic, yet domesticated animals back out in nature. Poachers are out there. The illegal ivory trade is still going because there's enough douche bag scum out there paying poachers for those tusks.

OTOH, I thought I heard these particular circus elephants were moved to an elephant sanctuary in Florida.

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Martin Brooks
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 - posted 01-23-2017 06:04 PM      Profile for Martin Brooks   Author's Homepage   Email Martin Brooks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Martin Brooks
but there's also the highly successful and well regarded Big Apple Circus.
Actually I just found out today that the Big Apple Circus is no more, so I was incorrect about that. They couldn't get funding for another season. The founders are helping to fund a farm for the animals run by a former animal trainer. Article in the NYTimes today.

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