The sudden shut down for good of the Ringling show has generated mourning and sympathy, however scarce, across the country, one-time Ringling clowns shedding the most tears. From a quick scan of what few comments follow news reports, the majority appear gleeful over the "success" of PETA and others in driving the Greatest Show on Earth off the road. Here is a sampling of what I have found, so far, from those who care about circus. If I find more, I will add.
Cry, Clowns, Cry
Sean Davis, who advanced from prop hand to clown over a ten-year period with Ringling: “I cried like a baby last night. I’m not going to lie. I really did. It hurt, just as much as losing someone close to you and your family for me.” Amen, Sean.
Tricia Manuel, another former Ringling clown, to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “We’re a community in mourning. It’s the end of a special era.”
D.J. Weiss, also from the Feld fold. “I’m heartbroken, "but I’m just so thankful to have been a part of it.”
We have a customer. Jodie Januszko of Wilkes-Barre, PA, having taken her her children and grandchildren to the circus:
"I'm kind of shocked. I know they were having problems with protesters about the elephants and everything, but I didn't see this coming ... I think it's sad because it was great family entertainment."
From Katya Quiroga at Circus Vargas
to the San Diego Union-Tribune
Today Ringling, tomorrow your horse, dog, cat and Big Mac
-- The headline on Circus Mania blog
Blogger Douglas McPherson directs our attention to a thoughtful piece written by the UK's last and only still-active tiger trainer, Thomas Chipperfield. You can find a link to it at the right. McPherson adds his own words: "Perhaps one day, when it's their dogs and cats and Big Macs at stake, the world will remember that a lion tamer tried to warn them that it was about much more than circuses all along."
From the Carson and Barnes family:
HUGO, OK — The Carson & Barnes Circus family is heartbroken by the decision of the Feld Family to close the Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey units of their corporation. Ringling Brothers has been a household name for more than a century and has been a leading force in the entertainment business.
We extend our gratitude and appreciation to Kenneth Feld and his family for their contributions to the great American Circus. Our thoughts are with not only the members of the Ringling Brothers directly, but with the worldwide circus industry and primarily to our entire nation…for we have truly lost a great American icon.
The circus is woven throughout our American History, bringing thrilling entertainment and family fun to cities and rural communities across the land. Children of all ages have been introduced to the wonder and magic of talent from around the world thanks to the traveling circus."
Thanks to Don Covington, who linked me to many of these news reports and others that have informed my coverage.