circus

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Circus, Part 2 of 2

 

See how Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey merged to create a circus of more than 1,100 people and 1,000 animals, only to limp through the Great Depression against competition from radio and movies.

 

 

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Circus, Part 1 of 2

 

This two-part series follows the rise and fall of the gigantic, traveling tented railroad circus, recounting the era when Circus Day could shut down a town, and circus stars were among the most famous people in the country. Travel back to 1793 Philadelphia, when America’s first circus was established, and witness its crash into American culture. The arrival of P. T. Barnum in 1871 transformed the trade, and the five Ringling brothers created a spectacle of their own.

 

 

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Ripley: Believe It or Not

 

LeRoy Robert Ripley rose to fame during the Great Depression, as an entertainer who mesmerized the nation with his razzle-dazzle blend of homespun Americana, colorful exotica and freakish oddities. Over three decades, his “Believe It or Not!” franchise grew into an entertainment empire, expanding from newspapers to every form of media in the 20th century: radio, film and, ultimately, television. At the center of it all was Ripley, whose obsession with the odd and keen eye for the curious made him one of the richest men in the country. Americans not only loved his bizarre fare, but were fascinated by the man himself; the eccentric, globetrotting playboy became an unlikely national celebrity.