Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey may be gone, but John Ringling North II is not. And he’s not going anywhere but up the road onto the next stand for Kelly Miller Circus, the mid-sized tent show he bought ten years ago. Interviewed for a segment by HBO about the collapse of the circus his uncle’s helped found, said North, “I don’t think it’s a circus without elephants.”
Bring It On, PETA
This Ringling is tingling with heart, and with a rare sense of humor. He whimsically antagonizes his antagonizers from No-Animals Central: “They generally help business. They get press coverage and people know we’re here, I often go out and thank them, which they hate.”
Love it, Sir John II!
Unlike most TV networks , HBO spread some sunshine through the clouds left hovering over the last Ringling stand in Uniondale, New York.
“The demise of Ringling bros isn’t the end of the road for the circus,” noted reporter Kristin Fraser,. “Small circuses still cross cross the country.” Adding to the hopeful theme, said Kelly Miller Ringmistress. Rebeca Ostroff, “We bring the circus to people, and it’s easier for them to see us.”
I was so depressed the morning after Kenneth Feld’s spectacular fold, so engulfed in a void of desolation, that I hadn’t the heart to move on the first draft of a post I was doing about my feelings. How I hungered for a sliver of good news. Anything. And then came the HBO story, and a YouTube of it linked my way by Don Covington. And my favorite quote from the unflappable North:
“But circus isn’t dead, we’re coming.”
How I’d love to be there when Johnny the Second personally thanks his animal rights opponents for the publicity and patronage they are helping to promote. Gosh, could you ever have imagined it coming to this? A circus owner thanking PETA? Only from wryly amusing John Ringling North II.
His five famous uncles must be smiling down on him and his twelve-hundred seat tent, fully twice the seating of theirs when they opened in Baraboo in 1884.
Super Fan Takes on Kenneth Feld
He’s Pete Adams, past president of the CFA, seen here at his home in Sarasota. He’s fearlessly unafraid to say how how unhappy he is with the actions taken by Kenneth Feld, only a multi-billionaire who could have – chump change to him – kept a smaller unit of the show on the road, with trucks, something he had already done with his Gold Unit. I saw one of its one-ring shows at Coney Island -- one of the very best circuses I'd seen in years.
Not with a Bang, But a Whimper ...
About the sudden close, it didn’t have to happen, Adams implies, as I have asserted on this blog, and how refreshing to hear a super CFA-er take on the most questionable circus axing of all time. Had Irvin Feld been around, Pete Adams does not believe it would have happened at all. ”If his dad was still alive, he’d be very disappointed in his family. I truly believe they made their money to buy the operations they have today based upon what they made originally from the circus.”
This is a story that will only get more interesting — hopefully more revealing — as the embers of a tragedy cool and people begin digging through the ruins for deeper clues into what really drove the Feld of Felds to take such dire action. There are already conspiracy theories floating around. One thing is certain: It was not for lack of money.
And, know what? I don’t feel so bad after turning this one out.
Call me a super circus fan!