On the Ringling Midway, 1898

On the Ringling Midway, 1898
and on their way to guilt-free amusement. They did not enter the big top with "issues."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Big Top Bits: Big Apple's Ringmaster Kane on Themes and Acts .... Will Kelly Miller's Mysterious Juggler Show? ... Mickey Rooney Silent Circus Film to be Restored.

Randomly on Parade! ...


Mickey Rooney, who just left us, got his first starring gig in a circus ring, did you know?  You now do.  Twas in a 1927 silent film, Mickey's Circus, recently discovered along with a slew of other long-missing silents.  San Francisco based National Preservation Film Foundation, partnering with EYE Film Museum of Amsterdam, planning to bring the films back onto screens.  No doubt filmed in Los Angeles, I look as always for authentic background set pieces, thinking parts of the old Al. G. Barnes Circus, which spent winters in movie-land, may show ... Mickey was just six years old at the time when he was signed to play the ringmaster of a kid's circus.  For a period,this pint-sized dynamo was the highest paid and/or most popular film star.

Waiting for Kelly Miller to produce the mysterious Ethiopian bounce juggler, Abrham Gebre pitched my way by James Royal favoring me (a veiled tease, it felt) with info on new acts, some time back:  "... has appeared with Mother Africa, European shows, and dd the winter season for Cirkus Scott in Sweden."  Now,  that's a pretty impressive venue record.  The Kelly Miller website, under "2014 show," still lists last years acts. Evidently, Steve and Ryan are still on the show.   Go figure, somebody.  If there is anything John Ringling North II is without a doubt weak on, it is marketing, advertising, PR.  Some simply call it "the front end."

Big Apple Circus's apparently winning ringmaster, John Kennedy Kane, a shuffling off to Buffalo native, said to be in talks to extend his contract by another season, which would keep him aboard through the 2016 tour.  I wonder if he is that good. I hope.  Says he, to the Patriot Ledger up Boston way, on the tenuous subject of themes and story lines, "Sometimes I don't think you need the theme.  These are the best circus acts from around the world ... the Academy Award winners of circus acts."  That's not a spin, either.  Wonder if the Ethiopian bounce juggler is pitting Big Apple against Kelly Miller?

End ringers:  Did you know there is a circus out there called Ramos Bros?.  They've got what sounds like a perky little troupe, family acts and a "very funny dog" who performers with its master, Colombian clown Pollo Ronco ... The fading, chipped, and all-to-often ignored  plaques at Sarasota's Circle of Fame (and Infamy)  to be restored to "their pristine original condition," thanks to a delicious $100,000 donation by Herta Klausner of the famed bear family troupe (they charmed me as a kid).  The Circle is curiously unknown to many locals there, well, to the bus driver who once drove me in that direction, never having heard of the place! ...

5 comments:

Jim Royal said...

Abrham is due to land at St Louis next Sunday after a lengthy wait for the visa. I must take issue with you regarding the front end. I don't see how you can judge our effectiveness by simply looking at a website. Do you check the promotions in the towns, analyze the advertising, etc? Do you have access to our attendance figures? I am curious.

Showbiz David said...

I am happy to know a very interesting act has landed!

No, I have no idea what your attendance figures are; might you share them with us? (just kidding)

I, too, am curious, over a wonderfully designed website, yours, so behind the times in vital information.

A valid critique?

bob good said...

Correction, Big Apple Circus ringmaster is John Kennedy Kane, not Joseph, and he is that good.

Jim Royal said...

Yes, absolutely a valid critique of the web site, but to say "If there is anything John Ringling North II is without a doubt weak on, it is marketing, advertising, PR. Some simply call it "the front end"? The website is but one small element in the front end. In the age we live in, if we were weak on the front end, we would soon be out of business.

Showbiz David said...

Bob, Thanks for the correction, and I have not forgotten your Mister Mistin story; may do something with it yet.

Jim: You could accuse me of speaking stupidly about your front end, yes I know little about it, for which I stand corrected. However, a website in today's world must count for a big part of marketing on the advance, as I see it; Frankly, until your marvelous redesign came about a season or so ago, I found the earlier website version amazingly passive. It's an impression I have of JRNI II, that he himself has faint interest in PR and marketing. It all goes to the top in any organization, be it even a circus.
I am delighted that you seem to be doing so well, as implied, and still find potentially exciting, as I have said on this blog, the three acts from other shores.