Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Circuses Are Catty And Cutthroat

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Circuses are a nasty, cutthroat business.

Circuses are traditionally wholesome and family-friendly, but they have a dark and dirty past, according to researcher Allene Hatch.

Hatch, who’s deceased husband along with Henry Ringling North penned the book The Circus Kings: A Ringling Family History, says back in the day, the Ringlings were involved in serious circus wars.

In the late 1800s, when the brothers founded their circus, Hatch says rival big top companies were like the mafia, running their “territories” and taking out anyone who dared trespass.

Hatch says, “It was hair-raising what the Ringlings had to go through. There was a lot of wheeling and dealing and rivalry.”

The circuses engaged in ruthless “signage wars,” in which rival companies removed any advertisements for other circuses to keep them from getting audiences.

They’d even put up posters that called the Ringling Bros. “cheap crooks” to scare people off.

The Ringling circus was no victim though, fighting back with their own dirty dealings and even threatening to “scalp” their rivals.

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