Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey Circus Train
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Train Report and Photos by Carl Morrison
Blue Unit Opening Night Performance, Anaheim, CA, July 26,
Comments welcomed at Carl@TrainWeb.com
Two hours before the opening night
performance in Anaheim, B.S. Public Relations had a Media Reception at
the Anaheim Pond. There were rotating groups of 3 performers from
Ringling throughtout the hour, two dancers and one clown per
group. Television crews, print media and e-media were present to
photograph, tape, and interview the performers.
There are 17 nationalities represented among the performers, and this
was evident with the first group I approached to interview. The
two dancers were from Brazil, and the clown was from Hungary!
None spoke much English, except to say they were train residents and
the clown had been with the circus for over two years. (This
means he was chosen for a second tour, meaning he must be good.)
"Cricket" Carath (below) is from D.C. He's the new kid on the
block, or rather in Clown Alley. He lives on the mile-long circus
train as well. He mentioned that his 8 ft. by 8 ft. room
required him to be creative in the use of vertical space in his
compartment. He was a barista, making coffee drinks, and party
clown before he became a Ringling clown a few months ago.
asked James, 25, if he had been to Clown College, and he mentioned that
Ringling hadn't had the college since the 1970s, but there are private
clown colleges in Minnesota, New York City, and Europe. He had
been to the first two colleges. Before that he had gone to
Christopher Newport University, A public
liberal arts college in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, and was a
After training, he sent videos and resumes to Ringling and was
hired. I asked him where a clown buys a clown nose and he
mentioned two companys on the Internet: ProKnows and Snot
Locker. Other work experience included selling concessions for
Big Apple Circus.
I asked about extra pay jobs with the circus. James said these
"Cherry Pie" jobs are a chance to make extra cash. I had
remembered seeing some performers, not in their costumes, helping with
the Animal Walk in previous years. He said there wasn't any time
for other extra jobs because of up to 16-hr. work days.
I asked if he was the class clown in school, and he confided that he
was a bit of a nerd and many classmates made fun of him. He said
it was fun now making fun of them and having fun at work. He says
a lot of fun is had in Clown Alley where the clowns get ready for the
show and spend their time while off stage. They are always
'practicing their art' and rehearsing.
James says his parents enjoy his clown employment and have seen him in
quite a few performances. What about the future for him? "I've
got to grow up sometime, but not yet."
One hour before the
evening's performance, we went to the arena floor where the clowns and
other performers were working with the guests, signing programs, doing
educational programs, and being photographed with the kids in
The two-act, two-hour
circus begins and the guests all move from the arena floor to their
The Circus is designed differently this year, but I was not
disappointed. The arena floor is the stage with a 25 ft. video
screen above the entrance curtain. The screen shows live,
close-up pictures of the performers from many cameras. The
graphics on the screen are outstanding as well.
I think you'll agree
that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train carries
some most valuable cargo...terrific professional performers and circus
Go to Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
and see when the circus is coming to
town. Then get your tickets for the Opening Night
Performance. Go an hour early and enjoy the Up-Close-And-Personal
experience on the circus stage!
See you at the Circus!
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