Long gone are the days of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus actually having the right to proclaim that they were the “Greatest Show on Earth.” There wasn’t any three ring circus, no one was shot out of any canon, no tightrope performance and the trapeze setup looked a lot less impressive or dangerous than I remember as a kid. The souvenir lights were wrapped up in plastic bubbles -- no more tiny swinging flashlights that we had as kids that allowed an impressive sea of circular patterns in the audience (and a few bruised heads.) Lastly, this was the Blue show, making me wonder if this the greatest show. Perhaps the Red or Gold shows were better!
But for David, this was the greatest show on earth. During the 2 ½ hour show, he didn’t fidget, complain, make demands, bang or screech. The only thing he asked for was popcorn, which I was happy to oblige and only cost $7.
The popcorn made David's night... the circus was just a bonus!
He was mesmerized; glued to his seat (which happened to be my lap). During the clowns’ performances, I heard him laugh – not the forced laugh he makes from being tickled or the exaggerated laugh he produces when he’s amused and thinks he needs to laugh.
Prior to the show, or should I say during the pre-show, we got to go to the floor of the
Brendan Byrne Continental Airlines…
Popcorn in one hand, Mini M&Ms in the other,
and a great view of the circus. What could be better?
Shortly after taking our seats, the show started. It had the usual bits; tigers standing on pedestals, white horses running in a circle, and elephants standing or lying on one another. There was a motorcycle ball where seven bikes rode, a trapeze show, and a few other bits that reminded me vaguely of Cirque du Soleil. Vaguely. The sub-plot of the show involved one of the clowns stealing the ringleader’s (Chuck Wagner) hat and keeping it away so that the clown (Tom Dougherty) could run the circus his way, emphasizing the point by referring to the show as his circus.
three trainers and two clowns were unaccounted for.
The grand finale!
When the show ended, David turned to me, smiled and said “more circus!” For David, this was indeed the Greatest Show on Earth.