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True Circus Facts You Shouldn't Miss

Following is our collection of super amazing and curious facts and details explaining Circus. This list is intended for research in school, for college students or just to feed your brain with. Possible use cases are in quizzes, differences, homework facts legend, cover facts, and many more. But nevertheless learn why is Circus so important!

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What is Circus about?

Top 10 Circus facts that will blow your mind.

  1. Pierce Brosnan grew up poor in Ireland, was left by his parents, raised by relatives and sent to a boarding house, studied painting, joined the circus, and was first discovered as an actor by playwright Tennessee Williams. Both his first wife and daughter died of ovarian cancer.

  2. In 1902 a volcanic eruption flattened an entire city, killing everyone but two people. One was a prisoner who only survived because he'd stabbed a policeman and had been put into solitary confinement. He was horribly burned, was pardoned of his crimes and became a circus attraction.

  3. An elephant's memory is so good that it not only recognizes all the members of its own clan, but even other creatures who leave a strong impression on them. A pair of elephants who had performed in a circus together were able to recognize each other when they met again after 20 years.

  4. Barnum and Bailey’s circus was so logistically efficient that prior to WWI the U.S. War Department would periodically send army officers to travel with them and study their transportation methods in order to improve the logistics of the army’s own artillery service (Davis, 2003, p. 78).

  5. Paraffin wax was a common waterproofing method for circus tents but changed in 1944 after the Ringling Bros. Fire in Hartford, CT. The paraffin wax ended up accelerating the deadly fire & 1800lbs of hot wax "rained down from the roof"-killing 167 people; injuring 700, mostly women & children.

  6. There was an unwritten law in the circus world that giants should never allow themselves to be measured. Every circus could then maintain that they had the world’s tallest man and no one could prove otherwise.

  7. Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus has retired all but 11 elephants and will retire those 11 after a final show May 1st, 2016. The elephants will go to a Florida conservation where they help with cancer research, as they possess a special "P53 gene" which fights cancer.

  8. During the time of the devastating 2011 Joplin, MO tornado, a traveling circus was in town but couldn't perform due to the weather. Instead, they enlisted the help of their circus elephants to remove damaged vehicles and heavy debris from the road to clear a path for first responders.

  9. Proceeds from the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon went towards funding the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Also, the members of the band were a fan of the comedy troupe, and often took breaks in the middle of their recording sessions to watch Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

  10. The music commonly associated with clowns in circuses was written by Julius Fucik. It was originally titled *Entrance of the Gladiators* and was meant to represent slaves marching into an arena to fight to the death.

Funny circus details

Interesting definitions that can be fact checked.

Avatar The Last Airbender received a Genesis Award from HSUS in the category Outstanding Children's Programming for "Appa's Lost Days" (2x16). It was described as "a mythical tale about animals held captive for human entertainment that resonates with the way animals are used in circuses today".

Funds earned by Pink Floyd’s album “Dark Side of the Moon“, went towards funding “Monty Python and the Holy Grail“. The band were such fans of the show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” that they would halt recording sessions just to watch it.

The first circus elephant in the United States (and possibly the first elephant brought to the US) was shot and killed by a religious fanatic who thought it was sinful for people to pay to see an animal.

Not my circus, not my monkey" is the Polish saying for "not my problem"

In 1855, a riot broke out at a circus due to a brawl between firefighters and clowns at a local brothel the night before. During the riot, the firefighters set fire to the circus tent.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus was commissioned by David Attenborough, who was Director of Programs at BBC in 1969.

Famed dentist Painless Parker (who wore a necklace of teeth) & his Dental Circus lured naive patients by promising that the 50c extraction would be painless, or he'd pay $5. Screams of agony were drowned by a brass band while the audience was distracted, enjoying contortionists & dancing women.

Between 1896 and the 1940s, thousands of people paid to see premature babies being incubated at circus sideshows. Since most hospitals didn't have the funding available to provide incubators, it was the best chance to safe the infant's lives.

Sir David Attenborough, as controller of BBC Two, commissioned Monty Python's Flying Circus.

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" is onown as "The Disaster March" at circuses, because it is only ever played to signify an emergency without alarming the audience.

Lucky Charms were created by combining Cheerios and circus peanuts.

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" is the last song you want to hear at the circus; known in circus parlance as the "Disaster March", it is only played to alert the performers that danger is imminent and that everyone should evacuate immediately.

The classic circus song is called Entry of the Gladiators and is meant to be serious

Traditional circus clowns are derived from Irish Stereotypes. Bushy red hair, white skin, gin-blossom nose, Drunken behavior, patched clothing.

In 1959, a group attempting to find the path used by Hannibal's army to cross the Alps and invade Roman Italy successfully traversed the Alps from France to Italy with an 11yr old former circus elephant named Jumbo.

In circus and theater the song ''The stars and stripes forever'' is nicknamed ''the disaster march''. And is traditionally used as a code to signal a life-threatening emergency to which personnel must respond without alarming any audience-members.

Some fleas in a Flea Circus were glued to a base of a circus enclosure. Miniature musical instruments were then glued to the flea performers and the enclosure was heated. The fleas fought to escape, giving the impression of fleas playing instruments.

The word "Jumbo" alludes to a remarkably large circus elephant. The word did not exist in the English language prior to the circus attraction, which came to a halt when Jumbo was hit by a Canadian train and killed. As a result, Barnum attempted to sue the railway for $100,000.

In 1940 the first British paratroops were trained by stunt men because parachuting was rare and considered a "circus stunt"

The programming language Python is named after the comedy series "Monty Python's Flying Circus"

Giovanni Battista Belzoni, the 6' 7" strong-man and circus performer was also the first egyptologist and a pioneer archaeologist. He discovered tombs, explored pyramids, found ancient artifacts, all while foiling assassination attempts, dodging bullets, and fighting the French army.

William McGonagall's poetry was so bad, he read it as part of a circus sideshow. He was eventually legally barred from performing because the audience would riot.

In the original Pinocchio novel, Pinocchio spends several months as a donkey, performing in a circus until he breaks his leg, gets sold, and is drowned in the ocean for his leather. The puppet inside survives, trapped in the dead donkey form until a school of fish eats away the flesh.

A man named Painless Parker created the Parker Dental Circus, a traveling medicine show with his dental chair on a horse-drawn wagon. He charged 50 cents for each extraction and promised that if it hurt, he would pay the patient $5.

Circus Peanuts were invented by a guy after he installed insulation in his livestock barn. He found the texture so pleasing, he wanted to eat it. Rather than stick it in his mouth like a Tide Pod, he made a snack that mimicked how it felt.