Carson and Barnes Circus, in the 1960s

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jilted by Big Apple Circus, Charlestown RI Courts Kelly-Miller ... Flyer Lands in Kids' Laps ... Granny, 103, Rides Elephant ... and More!

Big Image Boost for John Ringling North II. You may recall, the Big Apple Circus, citing economic reasons, nixing its long-held date in Charlestown, Rhode Island after 25 years. Jilted, spurned, lonely and deprived, the town sponsor, Chamber of Commerce, reached out with a rosy, please-love-us invitation to Kelly-Miller Circus. Well, maybe not exactly like that, but according to K-M manager James Royal, his is the show they want. And his is the show they are going to get, come July 19 for three days. Ending an e-mail to Showbiz David, Royal quipped, "I am sorry to report....no rain or mud this week." Okay, and I should cry! Advice to Kelly Miler mud mavens: keep the stuff to yourself when you go out on your first date with the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce. I suggest pink sawdust.

Granny, your elephant is waiting! In Sioux City, avid animal lover Alice Anderson, still interactive with life at 103, hoisted out of her wheel chair and up a staircase onto a pachyderm with the Abu Bekr Shrine Circus for a ride around the ring. Dressed in a jumpsuit of black and lavender and assisted by two nursing home staff members, Alice "hung on for dear life" two times around the ring. Did she enjoy it? "No." Staffers reporting her wanting all week long to climb aboard, but once aboard, apparently wanting off. She then thought whoever put her up to it was "crazy." Sounds like a crack flackmaster on his game.

Harvard Roustabouts: If the Big Apple Circus can lure some recent grads into its organization, the props may be getting set up and torn down by future Nobel prize winners from chemistry to philosophy. "The circus is hiring!" was the word spread throughout the campus.

Who Invented the Trampoline? Nice to be able to say, somebody right here in the USA! It was conceived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1930 when a 16-year-old kid, inspired by the sight of trap flyers descending into the net following their act, thought, heck, why not make the net an act in itself? George Nissen, who just passed away at 96, was a member of high school gymnastics and diving teams. He called his invention a "bouncing rig." Working with his school coach Larry Griswold, they continued fine tuning the idea, adding nylon. In 1937, Nissen and two friends mounted a touring acrobatics show called the Three Leonardos, exhibiting through the Midwest and Texas. Down Mexico way, they heard locals referring to their prop as "el trampolin." The young inventor added an "e" and registered "Trampoline" as a trademark. By the year 2000, Nissen's neat bouncing machine is used at the Olympics. Cirque du Soleil has absolutely reaped stunning effects installing vertical trampolines against walls, as witness OVO's exhilarating finish ...

End Ringers: Another big circus festival, to be hosted in Montreal, July 8-25, with funding in the lower millins by Quebec and City of Montreal. Official title: Festival International des arts du cirque. This excites. We here in the states could get there easily, and considering it will be held in Cirque land, it's bound to draw high profile acts ... Big Apple Circus flyer Aleksandr Sotov, following a triple, failing to connect with his catcher Oleg Aniskin, falling to the net, but bouncing up and out and into the laps of two children. Miraculously, according to a news report forwarded by cyber courier Don Covington, "no one was seriously hurt." Whew!

And that's a close wrap.

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