Lots of talk about circus museums, some lost to history, some in trouble, some about to open and others maybe about to close ... Let’s start with the greatest flop of them all: Here’s comment guy Jeff Swanson remembering not favorably Irvin Feld’s grandiose Circus World, a spectacular vision born of ego only partly realized that left Jeff feeling stood up: “What I couldn’t dismiss was what wasn’t there. I paid my money and within an hour I was pulling out of the parking lot having seen all there was — not the day I had hoped for. I remember spending a good deal of time reading the display showing what Irvin was planning and wanted the pace to be.” In sync with Ben Trumble’s take on the subject, agreed patron Jeff, “too little too soon.”
Over to Baraboo, still a precarious operation, its fate seeming to be, from year to year, kind of sorta up in the air. Proud as fresh popped popcorn, circus aficionado Harry Kingston recalling long ago floating a revenue-making idea to former CWM exec director Greg Parkinson: copy valued film footage onto DVDs and sell them “Just think of all the money you would make for the museum,” remarked Harry to Greg, only to live through subsequent silence. “Greg said we will see and nothing has ever been done and there they sit, all those donated films that we will never get to see. I told him that would be a gold mine.” Proposed payload left untapped. No, No, Baraboo, keep on getting more old beat up wagons onto the grounds and into rehab for ersatz restoration no matter how many, no matter how lost ... Excuse me, Wisconsin, for venting. I recall the late Don Marcks telling me about tons of donated documents that ended up in corner stacks. You got an extra rare early Ringling Brothers circus magazine, Circus World? Id pay premium bucks.
A more real gold mine Disney might mine when it opens its new three ring under the big top "interactive" circus, now under active construction in the Florida park’s Fantasyland. The Walt Disney empire has the money, it has the marketing know-how, and its has the built-in customer base, which is what our publicly funded museums tend to lack, save for the Sarasota adventure on the grounds of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. They’ve got an interloper's nerve, and they’ve got Mr. Tibbals (oh, why do I keep dropping his name? I guess on behalf of all of us who are jealous of his bank account not being spread around other rings in need ...)
Venice, anybody? If Tito Gaona has his way, and we’re talking fast-fading long shot, he’d turn Venice into some sort of another kind of circus museum. Yes, you read what I just wrote. But the city wants to tear down the old post-tent era Ringling buildings. What’s a “land mark” to Tito is valuable real estate waiting to be developed for profit by unsentimental city officials. Tito envisions a circus bridge spanning the Intracoastal, a mural along the Tamiami Trial (no, make that Trail, though to the pedestrian me, it seemed more like the former), and the great loved flyer Tito Tito can see streets renamed for circus icons ... Why can’t I feel any magic about this minor venue? I recall the building Art Concello built for rehearsals and premiere performances, so Concello clinical. Worse still, the one spooky night I spent in a cheap skate hotel, me the only customer, and how it kept me on the edge of my bed awake through creeping sounds, not a seasoned cockroach host.
I like Harry’s idea. I’d be up for ordering some film footage if I don’t already have. Sorry, Tito, Venice just doesn’t move my imagination.
Now, Disney, that sounds interesting ... Dumbo to the rescue? Heck, maybe I’ll start my own museum, ... And I had so much more down the Convington chute to blog. There’s that kid out there still wanting a shot at the big time, thinking I’m a talent agency, ha! Gotta bring him out here soon before producers who walk this way. And, oh yea, I gotta Kelly Miller Circus customer alert concerning how to properly watch a clown act without it becoming interactive in your face. Genuine kelly-miller thriller ... All on the inside ... Wait for Showbiz David’s Museum of Madness in Mudness! (Sorry, Sandra Bezic lovers or haters, it was a lot of fun having you all in here during the Olympics. What say we meet again? Maybe at worlds?)
That’s a wacky wrap, I know, but wait for my next pratfall ...