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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Part I:  Circus Trivia


  •  Ringling Bros. Performers think the color green is bad luck.  They never sit on the ring curb for the same reason.

  •  On the other hand, performers consider elephant hair extremely good luck.  They often make bracelets out of it.

  • Many common phrases we use today came from the Circus.  For example:

  •             “Toss your hat into the ring” came from the Circus in 1916, when President

            Wilson tossed his hat into the center ring to show he’d run again.

  •              Hold your horses” comes from the old Circus street parade days, when the

            locals were warned to “hold their horses” because the elephants scared them. 

  •             “Get on the bandwagon” comes from a presidential candidate’s visit to the

            Circus.  The candidate?  Zachary Taylor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1848.

  • The Ringmaster’s costume is supposed to look like a gentleman’s riding habit of the 18th century.

  • P.T. Barnum’s career as a showman began by exhibiting an unusual black woman.  Joice Heth claimed to be George Washington’s 161-year-old nurse.

  • The word “Circus” comes from ancient Greece.  It meant “circle.”

  •   A famous Circus clown, Dan Rice, made the character of Uncle Sam popular.

  • Germany’s army officers studied the efficient loading and unloading techniques of Barnum & Bailey’s train in 1900.

  • The most famous phrase Circus phrase?  “Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages....” said by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ringmaster before every performance.

Pictures used with permission from Carleton Public Relations

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