Sunday, November 07, 2010
Sunday Morning with Frank Braden: Rack Up Another Record Ringling Ramble ...
"Confounding big top strategists and its own high command, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus last spring began topping its 1948 banner Manhattan business even before it opened the 1949 season in Madison Square Garden.
By April first, the advance mail orders for seats had reached a new high. Modest, but striking, display ads in the New York newspapers had precipitated the golden deluge of check-enclosed letters, for these ads alone annually inform the New York public of the when, where and how for ticket purchases by mail. Then, as the lines stormed the selling windows in the Garden, John Ringling North's 1949 edition of The Greatest Show on Earth, the best in 79 years, was in the bag before the band played opening night.
New York acclaimed the new performance, told the nation via newspapers, radio, magazines and word-of-mouth, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Minot to Miami . Capacity and turnaway business prevailed throughout the four-and-a-half weeks Garden run, and often one day's gross exceeded a week's abundant "take" for a two-train circus of former years, Of course, nowadays, there are no other circuses half as large, so there is no current comparison. The Big Show, railroading from Coast to Coast on its four long streamlined carriers of ninety 72-foot and 84-foot steel cars, is as conspicuously supreme as is the love of liberty in the heart of mankind."
-- from his route book summary of the season, 1949.
Oh, the talk of turnaway crowds, of Ringling exceptionalism by this exceptionally gifted press agent and writer, gives me the urge to watch my DVD of The Greatest Show on Earth tonight!