[Rushtalk] Note Liberals destroying another American institution Ringling Brothers by telling it how to operate.

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Sun Jan 22 08:21:13 MST 2017


 

Asian elephants perform for the final time in the Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey Circus Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Providence, R.I.

Guests reach for an elephant during a pre-show performance of the
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Thursday, March 19, 2015 in
Washington.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performers ride camels during a
performance Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris
O’Meara)

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ringmaster Kristen Michelle Wilson
performs Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris
O’Meara)

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey acrobats ride camels during a
performance Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris
O’Meara)

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ringmaster Kristen Michelle Wilson
appears during a performance Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey acrobat jumps on a high wire during
a performance Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clowns dance with fans during a pre
show for fans Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey high wire act performs Saturday,
Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ringmaster, Kristen Michelle
Wilson, performs Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP
Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown takes a selfie with Jennifer
and Kevin Fox, of Fort Pierce, Fla., during a pre show for fans
Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown balances a hat on his nose
during a pre show for fans Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown does a somersault during a
performance Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown performs Saturday, Jan. 14,
2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown juggles for fans during a pre
show Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown juggles for fans during a pre
show for fans Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performers are seen during a show
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performers begin a show Saturday,
Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. (AP Photo/Chris
O’Meara)

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey high wire act performs during a
show Saturday, Jan. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

In this Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 photo, Chief Operating Officer of Feld
Entertainment Juliette Feld, poses for a photo, in Ellenton, Fla. (AP
Photo/Tamara Lush)

In this Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 photo, Chairman and CEO of Feld
Entertainment, Kenneth Feld, poses for a photo, in Ellenton, Fla. (AP
Photo/Tamara Lush)



1 of 21 
Asian elephants perform for the final time in the Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey Circus Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Providence, R.I. (AP
Photo / Bill Sikes) 




By  
TAMARA LUSH
The Associated Press
ELLENTON, Fla. (AP) — After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on
“The Greatest Show on Earth.” The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum
& Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close
forever in May.


The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors,
company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high
operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles
with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.


“There isn’t any one thing,” said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld
Entertainment. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for
the entire family.”


The company broke the news to circus employees Saturday night after
shows in Orlando and Miami.

An Asian elephant performs during the national anthem for the final
elephant performance during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
Circus, Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo / Bill Sikes)
Elephants and circuses
Elephants perform for final time at Ringling Bros.

Why is Ringling removing elephants from the circus? 

Zoos, circuses clash with sanctuaries over elephant tuberculosis

Ringling's elephants retire to Florida


Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30
shows between now and May. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington,
Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn. The final shows will be in
Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the
Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.

The circus, with its exotic animals, flashy costumes and death-defying
acrobats, has been a staple of entertainment in the United States since
the mid-1800s. Phineas Taylor Barnum made a traveling spectacle of
animals and human oddities popular, while the five Ringling brothers
performed juggling acts and skits from their home base in Wisconsin.
Eventually, they merged and the modern circus was born. The sprawling
troupes traveled around America by train, wowing audiences with the
sheer scale of entertainment and exotic animals.

By midcentury, the circus was routine, wholesome family entertainment.
But as the 20th century went on, kids became less and less enthralled.
Movies, television, video games and the internet captured young minds.
The circus didn’t have savvy product merchandising tie-ins or Saturday
morning cartoons to shore up its image.


“The competitor in many ways is time,” said Feld, adding that
transporting the show by rail and other circus quirks — such as
providing a traveling school for performers’ children— are throwbacks to
another era. “It’s a different model that we can’t see how it works in
today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price. So
you’ve got all these things working against it.”

The Feld family bought the Ringling circus in 1967. The show was just
under 3 hours then. Today, the show is 2 hours and 7 minutes, with the
longest segment — a tiger act — clocking in at 12 minutes.

“Try getting a 3- or 4-year-old today to sit for 12 minutes,” he said.


Feld and his daughter Juliette Feld, who is the company’s chief
operating officer, acknowledged another reality that led to the closing,
and it was the one thing that initially drew millions to the show: the
animals. Ringling has been targeted by activists who say forcing animals
to perform is cruel and unnecessary.

In May of 2016, after a long and costly legal battle, the company
removed the elephants from the shows and sent the animals to live on a
conservation farm in Central Florida. The animals had been the symbol of
the circus since Barnum brought an Asian elephant named Jumbo to America
in 1882. In 2014, Feld Entertainment won $25.2 million in settlements
from groups including the Humane Society of the United States, ending a
14-year fight over allegations that circus employees mistreated
elephants.

By the time the elephants were removed, public opinion had shifted
somewhat. Los Angeles prohibited the use of bull-hooks by elephant
trainers and handlers, as did Oakland, California. The city of
Asheville, North Carolina nixed wild or exotic animals from performing
in the municipally owned, 7,600-seat U.S. Cellular Center.

Attendance has been dropping for 10 years, said Juliette Feld, but when
the elephants left, there was a “dramatic drop” in ticket sales.
Paradoxically, while many said they didn’t want big animals to perform
in circuses, many others refused to attend a circus without them.


“We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Bros.
was getting to see elephants,” she said. “We stand by that decision. We
know it was the right decision. This was what audiences wanted to see
and it definitely played a major role.”

The Felds say their existing animals — lions, tigers, camels, donkeys,
alpacas, kangaroos and llamas — will go to suitable homes. Juliette Feld
says the company will continue operating the Center for Elephant
Conservation.


Some 500 people perform and work on both touring shows. A handful will
be placed in positions with the company’s other, profitable shows — it
owns Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live, among other things —
but most will be out of a job. Juliette Feld said the company will help
employees with job placement and resumes. In some cases where a circus
employee lives on the tour rail car (the circus travels by train), the
company will also help with housing relocation.

Kenneth Feld became visibly emotional while discussing the decision with
a reporter. He said over the next four months, fans will be able to say
goodbye at the remaining shows.

In recent years, Ringling Bros. tried to remain relevant, hiring its
first African American ringmaster, then its first female ringmaster, and
also launching an interactive app. It added elements from its other,
popular shows, such as motorbike daredevils and ice skaters. But it
seemingly was no match for Pokemon Go and a generation of kids who
desire familiar brands and YouTube celebrities.

“We tried all these different things to see what would work, and
supported it with a lot of funding as well, and we weren’t successful in
finding the solution,” said Kenneth Feld.


 
  



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