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Since the early 1870s when P.T. Barnum's "Traveling World's Fair, Great Roman Hippodrome and Greatest Show On Earth" took to the rails to entertain more people...when the circus came to town, the town came to the circus.
During the 1920s and ’30s, Franz Taibosh—whose stage name was Clicko—performed in front of millions as one of the stars of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Prior to his fame in the United States, Taibosh toured the world as the “Wild Dancing Bushman,” showing off his frenzied dance moves in freak shows, sideshows, and music halls from Australia to Cuba. When he died in 1940, theNew York Timescalled him “the only African bushman ever exhibited in this country.” InClicko, Neil Parsons unearths the untold story of Taibosh’s journey from boyhood on a small farm in South Africa to top billing as one of the travelling World’s Fair Freaks.
Through Taibosh’s tale, Parsons brings to life the bizarre golden age of entertainment as well as the role that the dubious new science of race played in it. Beginning with Taibosh’s early life,Clickountangles the real story of his ancestry from the web of myths spun around him on his rise to international stardom. Parsons then chronicles the unhappy middle period of Taibosh’s career, when he suffered under the heel of a vicious manager. Left to freeze and nearly starve in an unheated apartment, Taibosh was rescued by Frank Cook, Barnum & Bailey’s lawyer. The Cooks adopted Taibosh as a member of their family of circus managers and performers, and his happy—if far from average—years with them make up the final chapter of this remarkable story.
Equal parts entertaining and disturbing,Clickovividly evokes a forgotten era when vaudeville drew massive crowds and circus freaks were featured inBillboardandVariety. Parsons introduces us to colorful characters such as George Auger the giant and the original Zip the Pinhead, but above all, he gives us an unforgettable portrait of Franz Taibosh, rescued at last from the racists and the romantics and revealed here as an ordinary man with an extraordinary life.
When the circus came to town it meant daring adventurers, animal acts, and hilarious clowns to entertain kids from 2 to 82. That excitement is even better today as circuses seek to provide a special experience for everyone. Some circuses present a pre-show event. Here ticketholders can step into one of the three rings, meet the performers, and maybe dance with an elephant or learn to juggle.
Are you suited to be a clown, aerialist, acrobat, or animal trainer?
1-Which activity would you do with a friend? bungee-jump, parasail, hike, miniature golf
2-What band member would you be? drummer, lead singer, backup singer, lead guitarist
|(Ringling's skill quiz continues)|
Then it's time for everyone to get back to their seats so they will not miss the main event with its
The circus world is one of magic and imagination; of well-known names like Jumbo, Emmett Kelly and Buffalo Bill; of the exotic and unusual. But most of all it is a world of escape and wonder that continues to fascinate the latest generation of circus lovers. No wonder the circus is still called the 'Greatest Show On Earth.'
Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff