The Big Picture

The Circus leaves town

This month, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed for the last time in New England. After 146 years, “The Greatest Show on Earth” ends it historic run. We visted one of the finals shows and also look back at this traveling spectacle that was a form entertainment for many generations.
1
Kristen Michelle Wilson, the circus’s first female Ringmaster, performs during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey presentation of Circus Xtreme at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. on May 6. The final presentation will be on May 21 in Uniondale, NY. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
2
April 24, 1929: The Boston Garden was transformed for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey’s combined Shows. (Globe Staff)
3
Camels circle the ring during the presentation of Circus Xtreme at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. on May 6. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
4
Human Cannonball Gemma Kirby performs during the presentation of Circus Xtreme in Providence, R.I. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
5
October 19, 1983: Tammy Parish, a clown with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus, writes letters between spots at Boston Garden. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
6
Stephen Craig balances a prop on his head while doing push-ups before the second half begins in Providence. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
7
May 14, 1974: A young elephant intrudes in the conversation between a clown and a dancer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus in Boston. (Ted Dully/Globe Staff)
8
Clowns prepare to enter the ring. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
9
May 12.1975: At the Northern Avenue unloading station in Boston, a caretaker uses a hose to cool and clean off tigers after a long trip. (Ulrike Welsch/Globe Staff)
10
Tabayara Maluenda performs with his tigers during the presentation of Circus Xtreme. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
11
May 17, 1971: Penn Central supervisor signals the 30-car circus train into South Boston Railroad Yard. It was one of the few trains running during the first few hours of a labor strike. (Ellis Herwig, Globe Staff)
12
The Sirens of the Sea perform in Providence. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
13
Oct. 20, 1976: The high wire act at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus in Boston. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff)
14
May 1, 1940: Elephants are used to unload circus trucks and cages from flat cars as the circus arrives at the Rutherford Avenue rail yards of the Boston Maine Railroad. The circus was in town for a 10-day visit and performed at the Boston Garden. (Charles Dixon/Globe Staff)
15
Oct. 18, 1978: Children watch Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus elephants leave the Boston Garden to go to a feast at Faneuil Hall Market. (Ted Dully/Globe Staff)
16
Oct. 19, 1983: The elephants eat at Downtown Crossing in Boston. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
17
Oct. 11, 1994: A demonstrator protests the Circus elephants on parade. (Ryan, David L. Globe Staff)
18
May 15, 1973: Elephants file into the Boston Garden. (Ted Dully/Globe Staff)
19
Oct. 20, 1976: During the opening parade, lion tamer Gunther Gebel-Williams rides an elephant with a tiger. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff)
20
The Danguir Troupe performs on the high wire on May 6. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
21
May 23, 1966: The tightrope act at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus in Boston. (James McDevitt/Globe Staff)
22
The Mongolian Marvels perform in Providence on May 6. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
23
The Sirens of the Sea perform during the presentation of Circus Xtreme on May 6. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
24
Ivan Vargas poses with Lilianna Bernardo, 6, of Fall River, during the all-access pre-show in Providence. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
25
Oct. 20, 1978: Peggy Williams, a clown at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus, passes the time backstage with Boston Garden security guard Charles Allan. (Rachel Ritchie/Globe Staff)
26
Victor St. Hill and his son Donald Young, 8, sport their clown masks as they depart the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence on May 6. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
27
Enerel Purev of the Mongolian Marvels troupe visits with one of the camels backstage in Providence. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
28
May 21, 1975: An animal keeper rests on a slow afternoon with no matinee performances. (Ted Dully/Globe Staff)
29
Andrianna Simanski, 3, holds onto her toy horse as she departs the circus. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
30
Gymnast Angelina Hovazhenko stretches backstage before her performance. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
31
May 21, 1974: Trapeze artists Don and Alicia Martinez wait backstage with their daughter Kathie, 1, at the Boston Garden. (Ted Dully/Globe Staff)
32
Performers Lorena Wayane, left, and Jesse Perry talk backstage during intermission. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
33
May 8, 1973: The shoes of Tori-Anne Strait, who plays the clown Poki Doti, weighed six pounds each. (Charles B. Carey/Globe Staff)
34
Performer Legor Bykov stretches backstage. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
35
Clown Gabor Hrisafis dances with children during the all-access pre-show. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
36
May 15, 1973: Buppa the Clown, who is Troy Strait behind his comic mask, smiles with children at the train as the train arrives in Boston. (Ted Dully/Globe Staff)
37
Animal superintendent Jonathan Miller tends to Medusa, a carpet python, backstage. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
38
Oct 20, 1978: Georgia Stephenosn sits on a bench with her family’s dogs backstage at the circus in Boston. (Rachel Ritchie/Globe Staff)
39
Clowns perform during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey presentation of Circus Xtreme. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
40
Ivan Vargas teaches Nathan Harrington, 9, of Duxbury, to spin a ball on his finger during the all-access pre-show. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
41
Michelle Sullo, 4, of Riverside, RI, offers her tiger impersonation as she leaves the circus in Providence. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
42
March 27, 1995: Former Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus clown, ‘Dr. Bubbles’ also known as James Robertson from Gilford N.H., sits at the Boston Garden, where he has so many memories from performing there from 1985-1990. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
In this blog: Big Picture
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