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Ringling Bros. Circus Opening Night Performance, Anaheim, CA 7/26/06

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train


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2006 Circus Train Report and Photos by Carl Morrison

Blue Unit Opening Night Performance, Anaheim, CA,  July 26, 2006

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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.)


Two dancers from Brazil.


Clown from Hungary who had been with Ringling for 2 1/2 years.

This clown is also from Hungary.


James "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.

I 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 psychology major.

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 attendance.


Young guests get autographs, photos taken, and can say they got up-close and personal with a real live Circus Performer.




Zedonkey  Cross between donkey and zebra.

My favorite animal (above) and my favorite souvenir (right).  The elephant does a painting during this portion of the show, and you can sign up to win it...a signed original!



The clowns will pose until you run out of film! Or, until the show begins.



The two-act, two-hour circus begins and the guests all move from the arena floor to their seats.

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.



These 15 guys were my favorite act.  They take multi-tasking to new heights...each juggling 3 hats while balancing themselves and someone on their backs!

This scene commenced with a giant food fight between the clowns!
Cossack riders standing on horseback, jumping over fire!

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I think you'll agree that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train carries some most valuable cargo...terrific professional performers and circus staff!

Go to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and see when the circus is coming to your 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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