The following five inaugural inductees are this evening dishonored for their unwelcome acts against the American circus
Ingrid Newkirk. She leads the parade of infidels. A shameless animal rights activist and founder of PETA, for hypocritically inflicting untold damage on the circus world through malicious innuendo and smear tactics (on her below-the-belt "circus criminals" website), distorted and often misleading inaccuracies, and a relentless campaign on selected circus lots to harass and intimidate the public away from attending circuses.
James C. Petrillo. Union tyrannizer who coerced musicians into expecting prohibitively expensive wages, in effect turning them into another world’s oldest profession. Petrillo’s money-hungry campaign was launched against Ringling Bros Circus in 1942, resulting in a mass walkout of windjmmaers and the trend-setting substation of canned music in the wake of their exit for the duration of the season. Most American circuses today, minus theirs bands, bear the infamous legacy of this man’s gargantuan greed.
Sid Kellner. Operator of James Bros. Circus, later, George Matthews Great London), for squandering away his great potential to be a major showman on his notorious phone room addictions. Kellner, perhaps by sheer accident, produced a classic, near perfect performance (scored by an exemplary live band) under a big top in 1968, then reverted thereafter to a slow downward slide chasing his insatiable appetite for maximum profit through fraudulent phone room tactics that placed a quick buck over a good show. The charismatic and talented Kellner, sadly, must stand with the giants of telephone room ripoffs of the seedy 1970s.
The Unknown First Hula Hoop Performer (possibly a Russian). Subjected the sawdust ring to a display of domestic recreation passing for circus art. So many third rate hula hoop acts have followed, it’s a wonder we are not now witnessing marbles and mops in motion or triple somersaulting blow dryers.
Dick Garden. Canadian huckster of haphazard mediocre lineups whose sterling credits include the collapsible portable seats he used on his since-shuttered Toby Tyler Circus and, in recent years, the mass saturation of free kids tickets to promote his paltry wares. For example, at a Cow Palace date in San Francisco operating as Sterling and Reid, Garden’s three ring set up looked more like a carnival midway, pre-show; and there, the “performance,” truly a circus from hell, contained sub-mediocre acts scored by pop CDs pumped through an atrociously loud, ear shattering sound system. Garden’s operation (and others like it) are an assault on Spangleland.
Indicted Inductees, take your proud places in the Ring of Shame!
First posted August 6, 2008