Preface from SD: For a leisurely stroll down memory lane through the floridly comforting verbiage of yesteryear, I invite you to take a trip back to the ancient American circus in its prodigiously peerless prime, sans editorial restraint or spell checking challenges, this being presented to you exactly the way it came forth in, I assume, a circus program magazine.
Display No. 1 --
The Grand Tournament
A GLORIOUS ILLUMINATED PAGE FROM ANCIENT HISTORY.
UNIQUE AND MOST TRANSCENDENTALLY BEAUTIFUL INTRODUCTION TO THE REGULAR PERFORMANCES.
INTENDED SIMPLY AS A PLEASING, PASSINGLY PICTURESQUE TOURNAMENT INTRODUCTION OF THE FEAST OF ARENIC FEATURES TO FOLLOW, AND YET EMBODYING THE RARE AND RADIANT ELEMENTS OF A SUMPTUOUSLY SPECTACULAR TOURNAMENT.
A satisfying, edifying, gratifying, ennobling, superb and sublime spectacular prelude, filling and overcrowding vast areas of the racing-track, the equestrian rings, and even the acrobatic platforms with absolutely the finest, richest, costliest display ever seen. Teeming with life and color and animation, and abundantly replete with all the royal pomp and splendor, magnificence and lavish prodigality characterizing a period of the world's history unexampled for extravagance and riches. Four hundred historical characters correctly costumed, representing Egyptians, Philistines, Phoenicians, Sabaenians, Africans, Arabians, Abyssinians, and others, together with mounted guards, trumpeters, heralds, charioteers, knights, nobles, high priests, foot soldiers, archers, warriors, idol men, banner bearers, dancing girls, fan girls, swaying houris, pages, household servants, slaves, servitors, horses, sacred beasts, train animals, triumphal cars,
floats, peons, choruses, etc. The whole forming a brilliant kaleidoscopic vision of animated and irridescent splendors, with every known human and animal accompaniment in vogue with the people of that age and clime."
Your best guess? Okay, here's the answer:
Barnum & Bailey, 1909
the second season under Ringling ownership
I wonder: Did Alf T. Ringling write this?