The Last Real Circus

Meet the lion and elephant trainers,

the ringmaster, the chief clown, the operations manager,

the owners, the roustabouts.  Glimpse the human side of this

traveling community that blends a wide diversity of personalities and

ethnic origins into a smoothly running, focused group that is able,

every few days, to entirely pack up, move hundreds of miles, and

mount anew, a live entertainment that fills a tent the size of a

football field.  Yet in the midst of this seasonal on-the-road life, they

are able to maintain their family ties, and the friendships that bind

them together as performers.  That their culture now seems

threatened by the age of electronic entertainment, casts new

perspective on a way of life whose survival for the past hundred

years has rested on its own unique sense of community.


The traveling three-ring circus is a truly American cultural form that has been

performing around the country under canvas since the 1880s.  Photographed the last year

before the circus began changing its century-old traditions, this documentary

faithfully captures a day in the life of

a classic American family entertainment.

The Last Real



Refined and expanded from its first edition in the Virginia Festival of American Film, and

digitally re-mastered from the original footage:  50 min + 5 chapters convenient for educator use:

You are there even before dawn to watch as the circus

trucks roll in and the roustabouts and elephants set about

raising one of the largest canvas shelters ever erected

by man.  In the traditional method that has been used for

generations in tours around the country, see close-up what has always been the

greatest free show on earth: the raising of the Big Top.



With just ropes, pulleys, and the skill

of elephants and trainers, the mighty canvas is hoisted overhead--high and strong enough to safely support the

dazzling feats of flying trapeze artists and to shelter the crowds who come to marvel at their daring.  By early

afternoon the stakes will be driven, the grandstand seats and rigging set, and the musical balloon, popcorn and

cotton candy concessions will be opening for the first show.

No cinematic tricks or special effects here--it's

face-to-face real people creating live entertainment. Can a man really survive in a cage full of lions and tigers, even

put his head between a lion's teeth? Can one man really support the weight

of seven others on his shoulders, or walk on stilts three times his height?  In a three-ring circus,

something is always happening:  mid-air somersaults, troupes of clown

antics, dancing horses, including one of the last performances of the breathtaking Cloud Swing.

From the live band and the gala opening parade, to the spectacular finale of the elephants' Walking Long Mount, the

circus shows why it has remained, for generations of Americans, a wholesome family entertainment without equal.

filmed in the last year

before the canvas was

changed to plastic and

the raising done with

mechanized winches, this authentic

documentary captures the true form of the circus as it has

inspired children of all ages in home towns across America.


DVD 50 min ....$19.95 ....$4.50 S&H


VHS 50 min ....$19.95 ....$4.50 S&H



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