Greatest Show on Earth

So when did they stop riding unicycles and juggling at the circus?
i just got back from Ringling Bros, Barnum and Bailey Circus and there wasn’t either to be seen anywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a great show, but I was expecting to see unicycles and juggling. It seems now if your not a Chinese acrobat, you have no future in the circus arts… at least not at the Greatest Show on Earth.

Of course I guess they have to change it up every year, or people wouldn’t need to come back each year. Bello the Clown was great, the rest of the clown acts were ok. The human cannonball was great, and the Globe of Death keeps you from breathing for about 10 minutes. Definitely worth seeing.

Re: Greatest Show on Earth

On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 22:38:22 -0600, bugman wrote:

>Globe of Death keeps you from breathing for about 10 minutes.

Ah, hence the name!

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I have a feeling you might need two points of contact with the ground for such a thing to work? Or at least training wheels on the front and rear. - John Foss commenting on a picture of a one-wheeled vehicle he saw on RSU.

:slight_smile: Good one.

Re: Greatest Show on Earth

round about the time they started riding unicycles off-road and doing xtreem juggling

i’d still like to know if it’s possible to ride a unicycle in one of those?
what kinda speed are those guys doing?

The reason why they stopped juggling was because jugglers drop and its not exiting to watch.

Globe of death? you mean a Walking Globe? if you mean a walking globe, I think its the chinese state circus that had a act were a women rode onto a walking globe on a Giraffe and started doing the cup and saucer routine. Its impresive but gets a bit boring after a while for me.


now now trev, if i’d meant walking globe, do u think i would’ve said globe of death?

the globe of death (check the link) is the big one they ride inside

do u think it could be uni’d?

oh a cage, i wouldnt exactly call it a globe od death. Its possible to ride in it but theres nought much that would be possible to do in it…



Re: Greatest Show on Earth

Trevor’s comment has some validity, but is not altogether true.

The Big Apple Circus almost always features a juggling act and as far as I know the Sterling & Reid Brothers Circus has juggling great Sergei Ignatov traveling with them. And although the Ringling show does not feature any juggling, the pre-show event where the audience gets to come down and mingle with the performers does.

The circus like any other human endeavor is subject to fads and trends and yes, Chinese acrobat acts, seem to be the thing at the moment.

As for unicycling though, yes, such acts in the circus seem to be few and far between. I recently emailed the editor of Spectacle: the quarterly journal of the circus arts to find out what they’d published about unicycling and he said they had never had a single article specifically about unicycling in the magazine.

OK, so here’s an idea. I recently saw the Cirque du Soleil show La Nouba down at Disney World. There was a bicycle act that I would describe as trials in the circus. I’ve no doubt that some of the excellent unicycle trials riders could easily put together a circus worthy act.

Just a thought. :slight_smile:

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

it’s (hosted on a server, and so for Klaas only 1 hop away since I have private peering with your ISP!).

Re: Re: Greatest Show on Earth

I doubt we have had any effect yet on what appears in the circus. Though public perceptions are slowly changing, an act that’s good will still be as good if people have seen something similar on TV.

Juggling and unicycling are still around. But they’re not necessarily in every show. I usually do not see unicycles in Ringling either. Look close when the clowns are doing their walkaround stuff. Normally there should be at least one juggler in there. No juggling at all is pretty rare from my experience.

But getting dead would be pretty easy. If you’ve ever seen it up close with three motorcycles in there and a person standing at the bottom, you can see how amazingly tight the tolerances are. It’s a high speed ballet with a lot of inertia. In the circus, inertia is what can get you injured or killed. I’ve seen examples.

I think the motorcycle speeds in those globes are not very high, but are somewhere beyond a person’s ability to pedal constantly. I’ve seen in China where bicycle acts are done in a giant cylinder with a bowl-shaped bottom. The bikes ride round and round the walls of the cylinder. That’s pretty cool, but I’m sure the gearing helps!

Riding a unicycle around a loop would be a very cool trick. But to make our human-powered speed, even on a Blue-Shift type unicycle, enough to stick to the top would probalby require a pretty small loop. This would make it extremely difficult to make the balance adjustments needed to stay in control into and out of the loop. On a bike, this would be relatively automatic.

It was definitly the Globe of Death. There were six yes 6 motorcycles buzzing around inside that Globe. One misque maybe someone sneezing and it would be lights out for everyone. I would call it a globe of death.

quoting the promo-kit of Douglas Mc Valley (now in Brazil or Australia): “up to 60 mph”. His globe is 14’.

…which is called the wall of death.
The globe of death initially used to be done with bicycles as well.

Or someone without dicipline or brains… forgets what should be done; and puts everyone in an endless loop.

More based on economy, than on what the audience wants.

What xtreme juggling and the globe of death have in common is when you flip a chainsaw or loop a motorcycle the engine interrups.

The circus is just as famous for exaggerated advertising as it is for clowns and acrobats. I can’t be sure, but 60mph in a 14’ globe does not sound realistic. I think if one figured out the g-forces involved, they would find the rider being subjected to more than a fighter pilot.

The bikes used in the globe are usually small, lightweight ones with small engines. They might not even be able to do 60mph on flat ground, and certainly cannot accelerate to that speed in less than 5 seconds (several revolutions of the globe). My guess is that the speeds usually top out around 25 mph or so.

Anyway, I’m getting too technical. Suffice it to say that circus advertisements and claims are often (very) exaggerated. P.T. Barnum did it all the time!

Ouch. I think I’d do some work on my carburetor to keep my engine running regardless of angle! Usually when I’ve seen Globe of Death acts, when the bikes are going vertically they aren’t on the throttle constantly, just on the uphill part, probably. It sounds like BRRRRRRP! – BRRRRRRP! – BRRRRRRP!