Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus

by Candace RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

Following the July 16, 1956, performance of the financially strapped Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH under the direction of John Ringling North ceased operation.

John Ringling North commented that “the tented circus as it exists today is, in my opinion, a thing of the past.” Life magazine wrote that “a magical era had passed forever.”

But don’t despair! The estimable Irvin Feld was on his way!

Irvin Feld and his brother, Israel, had made their mark as pioneers in the burgeoning rock ‘n’ roll concert tour business. They were familiar with the new arenas that were springing up like mushrooms in cities all across America. Feld suggested THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH become an exclusively indoor presentation. On April 3, 1957, the new tour was put into effect with Feld in charge of booking and promotion.

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