Ringling Bros - Sideshow

 

The Ringling sideshow in 1956 was managed by Bobby Hassan who did so in 1955 and in 1956 until the show closed forever under the tents. I think perhaps Dick Best had the sideshow at both the NY and Boston Gardens in 57, 58 and I know for sure Dick had both Garden dates in 1959.

The circus eliminated the sideshow at Boston starting in 1960 when Nate Eagles held the contract and he and I were partners on that show through 1967 when the NY Garden was torn down replaced by the current building atop Pennsylvania station, which is a much smaller building but a larger seating capacity, so there has never been a sideshow there.

When we had the sideshow with the Red unit at Wash. DC in 1973, Irvin Feld sent me to NY to find a place to put the sideshow. Lloyd Morgan the manager at the time and I went completely through the bldg. but there actually wasn't room for a sideshow with the circus there. Perhaps when the new renovation is completed which are now underway there will be additional space.

Trivia: What year was the last time the Ringling show had a sideshow in a tent that toured with the circus?

 

ANSWER: 1985

 

I took one of our shows and made some spots with Ringling's Blue unit out west. It was in the contract that I would personally make a bally opening twice a day. Our bannerline was 165 feet X 20 feet high. The tent was a 35' wide by 100 feet long. Kenneth Feld brought me David Kaiser and Tuba Heatherton to train them to be my assistant talkers. They were both in clown alley and did a great job with me. David is now a top position executive with Feld Entertainment Inc. There were no tickets for the sideshow which was outside the arena buildings, because the only way a customer got in was to show a ticket for the main show and got into the sideshow free.

Over the years we have done quite a few things for the Felds and it has always been a pleasure and an honor to work with them on 'THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH"

Ward Hall


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