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Circus Posters From The Golden Age Of The Greatest Show On Earth


        posted by elsy, Spacious Planet, May 08, 2012

The Circus dates back to Ancient Rome when they featured chariot races, staged battles, acrobatics and animal shows. From its earliest history the circus has sought to amaze, shock and entice its audience.

In recent years circuses have become tame events for children with notable exceptions such as the Cirque du Soleil. However, the golden time and place of the Circus was undoubtedly the early 19th century to the early 20th century in America. These were the days of Pepin and Breschard, Dan Rice, P.T. Barnum, Cooper and Bailey and The Ringling brothers.

These were the lewd, rowdy years of the circus and it was common for carnies to get into brawls with the locals. Below are some vintage circus posters from the era that offer a wonderful glimpse into this bizarre world.

... with sunny gleams of fairyland, with scenes of merriest glee, with cute and cunning animals from either side the sea ...
greatest show on earth

This 1934 photo of the performers and carnies of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus illustrates how big a show the circus could be.
circus brothers

seals that exhibit intelligence scarcely less than human
circus poster

The world's most terrifying living creature!
unfortunately animal cruelty is a sad legacy of the circus
circus posterfamous circuscircus animals

The 7 wild wheel whirl wonders
circus acts

Circuses of the nineteenth century could be enormous and were transported around the United States on special trains.
bailey circus
circuses

Freak shows drew the crowds and performers were recruited from far and wide.
this is another sad legacy of the circus as such performers were often mistreated
ringling bros





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