The Greatest Show On Earth…Has Come To A Close!

By Dante Vitoria January 17, 2017

Raise your hand if you LOVE the circus OR even the thought of the circus. And when you think of the circus, you think Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey.
Well, I am sad to say that on May 7, 2017 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the tent will fold…for the last time.
It is hard to fathom, but on May 8, 2017 there will be no clown car, no lion tamers, no high wire experts, no trapeze artists, no popcorn, no cotton candy…ZIP, ZERO, NADA, except of course ONE THING…
The SMELLS. Not the fresh popcorn, hot dogs grilling, the elephants, the lions, the tigers and bears, the horses, monkeys or what they “leave behind”…
It is subtler and far reaching than that.
It is our society. Yes, and this time I can’t even BLAME anyone for it.
According to Mr. Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, the company that produces Ringling Brothers, sales continued to trend down and decreased SHARPLY after the elephants were “phased” out of the circus in 2015.

Surprisingly enough, they were not phased out by elephant rights groups according to Feld, but so many local laws and ordinances made it “virtually impossible” to have the ever popular pachyderms included from one performance to the next.
Over the years, the ASPCA had filed suits against Ringling Brothers for cruelty, mistreatment or other offenses against animals. They even attempted to sue, citing the “Endangered Species Act”.

After 19 years of seemingly constant litigation, Ringling Brothers was forced to pay a grand total of $20,000 in fines. To be FAIR, they agreed to pay a $270,000 fine, but were not mandated to do so. Feld stated that it was easier, and also agreed to have a full-time employee to ensure compliance with animal rights statutes.
A point of interest…Ringling Brothers was sued by the Center for Elephant Conservation for mistreatment of elephants.
After the court proceedings, the Center for Elephant Conservation was ORDERED to pay Ringling Brothers $25.2 MILLION for making false allegations against Ringling Brothers. This came 3 years after the ASPCA lost a suit filed against them by Ringling Brothers claiming they also filed false allegations…and under the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), they had to pay Ringling Brothers $9.2 MILLION as well.
This is not really about lawsuits or allegations. That is all just background.
What this is really about (in my humble or not so HUMBLE opinion)…It is about the changing lifestyle of our society. The need it now, and if it isn’t given to me in 140 characters or less, nobody seems to want it.
Where is the TRADITION? The great memories of going to the circus with mom and dad. The excitement of the lights, animals, etc.
You just can’t get that from Netflix…or maybe you can?
How many of you (US) watched the elephant march into the city through the Midtown Tunnel on their way to the Garden?
I know, “don’t get all sentimental Vitoria, after all, you are a Venture Capitalist”! The guys who worship the almighty buck at the altar of profit in the church of GREED!

Not so fast, my friend (thanks Coach Corso).
There are MANY companies that are too long gone…Eastern Airlines, Chemical Bank, Bell Telephone, Standard Oil, Woolworth’s, Paine Webber, Compaq, E.F. Hutton, MCI –WorldCom, Enron, Arthur Andersen, General Foods, and so many more.
“Survival of the fittest”. Capitalism in its purest form. “Kill or be killed”. “Eat or be eaten”…
All of the companies listed above, and all others not listed have either morphed into a larger company OR no longer provided a viable product or service.
Except one…
Where will parents now and in the future take their “lil ones” to see “The Greatest Show on Earth”?
Sadly, it won’t be to Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
I shudder to think it will be mommy’s iPad or daddy’s iPhone.
And what’s next to leave our culture, the Amusement Park, the Zoo, the movie theater?
Makes you wonder…makes me SAD.

Dante Vitoria is the Founder and CEO of The Vitoria Group in New York City.

5 Comments

  1. Rose

    Dante, I too am saddened by the closing of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus. I am now in my 90th year and I will never forget the happiness , excitement and thrills I received when my parents took me to the circus as a child. I also savor the memories of my husband and I taking my own children and then my grandchildren to experience the wonderment of the circus, What a shame my great grandchildren and other children will not have this opportunity! What’s next??

    Reply
    1. Dante Vitoria (Post author)

      Thanks Rose. I too remember going with my parents to the circus. Such a shame the next generation won’t be able to experience it. Thank you so much for reading the Inferno and taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you.

      Reply
  2. Rose

    I’m Dante, I too am saddened by the closing of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus. I am now in my 90th year and I will never forget the happiness , excitement and thrills I received when my parents took me to the circus as a child. I also savor the memories of my husband and I taking my own children and then my grandchildren to experience the wonderment of the circus, What a shame my great grandchildren and other children will not have this opportunity! What’s next??

    Reply
  3. Karen

    I too am very sad to hear this. To this day I still find myself periodically reminiscing about the day my Mom took us to the circus. It was one of the highlights of my childhood. It seems all the good quality entertainment is a dying breed…trick or treating through the neighborhood, just us kids…playing in the streams and ponds of Long Island in our bare feet…riding our bikes until dusk before rushing home to a sit down family dinner…going to the drive in movies…what has happened….if all this electronic, virtual living is what we call progress, I believe we have become more ignorant than we even realize.

    Reply
  4. dante

    I agree with you Karen, somethings can just not be replaced … even if they “go viral”

    Reply

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