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Wheeler the Clown Wheeler the Clown                       Presents

John Ringling North

Expert Circus Quiz  

(for those who really know their circuses)


 1. Which Academy Award winners was a circus performer prior to his/her acting career?
a. Ernest Borgnine
b. Audrey Hepburn
c. Yul Brynner
d. Gary Cooper
e. Charlton Heston
  2. Who is credited for performing the first documented quadruple somersault on the flying trapeze?
a. Tito Gaona
b. Dolly Jacobs
c. Jules Leotard
d. Antoinette Concello 
e. Miquel Vazquez
 3. In the 982 edition of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the famous midget performer, Michu, starred in a comedy act spoofing bareback riders. What were Michu's "horses?"
a. Shetland Ponies
b. Poodles
c. Zebras
d. Great Danes
e. Bally Girls wearing costumes with horse ears and tails
 4. In the 1964 movie, Circus World, who played a superstitious performer whose heritage and head were in the clouds on a trapeze, but whose feet were kept firmly on the ground by a stepdad who kept his ward playing such parts as a sharpshooter and a circus clown?
a. Doris Day
b. Jerry Lewis
c. Debbie Reynolds
d. Betty Hutton
e. Claudia Cardinale
 5. Which of the following actors or actresses is a survivor of the Hartford Fire disaster?
a. Charles Nelson Reilly
b. Bud Abbott
c. Shirley Temple
d. Margaret Hamilton
e. Lionel Barrymore
 6. What circus originally owned the first elephant born in captivity?
a. Barnum & Bailey Circus
b. Cooper & Bailey Circus
c. Ringling Brothers Circus
d. Dan Rice Circus
e. Rickett's Circus
 7. In the early 1960s, brothers and circus owners John Ringling North and Henry Ringling North became citizens of what country? 
a. Italy
b. Great Britain
c. France
d. United States
e. Ireland
 8. Besides his usual fare of hay, fruits, bread, etc., what did the famous Jumbo' trainer give the huge elephant as an occasional treat?
a. Beer
b. Lemonade
c. Whiskey
d. Rootbeer
e. Iced Tea
 9. Sometime after Jumbo's tragic death, part of the famous elephant's carcass was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. What was the gift?
a. The mounted hide
b. Tusk
c. Heart
d. Tail
e. Skeleton    
10. In 1956, several clowns (Emmett Kelly Senior, Otto Griebling, Felix Adler, and Poodles Hanneford) left the employ of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Why did they leave?
a. They resigned to show support of a strike of the circus's non-performing personnel.
b. They resigned to protest the circus's treatment of clown performers.
c. They all received better offers from other circuses
d. It had been a bad year financially, so they were laid off
e. None of the Above
11. The Hartford Fire was not the first disaster to strike the American circus in general nor to the Ringling Brothers specifically. What happened to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus on August 4, 1942?
a. a train wreck, which caused several injuries and deaths.
b. a fire in the menagerie tent, which caused several animal deaths
c. bad attendance caused a shortening of the circus season
d. Several elephants died from poisoning from a nearby chemical plant
e. the big top blew over in a wind storm, injuring several people
12. In 1938, the Ringling Brother's and Barnum and Bailey was judged to owe several years back taxes due to the tax fraud conviction of John E. Kelley. How much in back taxes did the circus end up paying the Federal government?
a. $3,080,000
b. $800,000
c. $6,500,000
d. $80,000
e. A federal court overturned the ruling, so the circus ended up paying no back taxes
13. According to the most reliable sources, which of the following acts was in the program but was not actually scheduled to perform the day of the tragic Hartford Fire of 1944?
a. May Kovar
b. Emmett "Weary Willie" Kelly Sr.
c. Edna Bradna
d. Joseph Walsh
e. Alfred Court
14. What year marked the last time that the Ringling Brothers and Barn & Bailey Circus performed under the big top?
a. 1956
b. 1952
c. 1968
d. 1945
e. 1981
15. Which of the following was not one of the "human oddities" appearing at one time in the Barnum & Bailey Circus? 
a. Human Pincushion
b. Human Skye Terrier
c. Feejee Mermaid
d. Moss-Haired Girl
e. Living Skeleton
16. Which of the following clowns was never a part or full owner of a circus?
a. Yankee Dan Rice
b. Emmett Kelly Jr.
c. Albert Fratellini
d. Larry "Lorenzo Pickle" Pisoni
e. None of the above; they all owned circuses
17. Circus performers, like movie stars, often perform under stage names. What was famous sharpshooter and circus attraction Annie Oakley's real name?
a. LouAnn Moses
b. Anastasia Oakley
c. Phoebe Ann Moses
d. Anya Moses
e. Joanne Oakley
18. What, in circus terminology, is a galop? 
a. a fast horse
b. a circus tune
c. a sideshow ticket
d. a shortened circus act
e. a performing dog act
19. What is a funambulist?
a. a boss clown
b. a ringmaster
c. a ropewalker
d. a trapeze artist
e. a  circus program 
20. What was the kidshow?
a.. The menagerie tent
b. A special clown show performed before the main show
c. School for the children of circus performers
d. The sideshow
e. A circus based television show
21. In 1944, the famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus's grand spectacle featured famous clown Emmett "Weary Willie" Kelly, Sr. What was this spectacle called?
a. A Hobo's Dream
b. Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?
c. Cindefella
d. Panto's ParadiseMother Goose Nursery Rhymes
e. Panto's Paradise
22. Who said it? "There is only one Jumbo and only one Gargantua"
a. John Ringling
b. John Ringling North
c. Judge Roy Hofheins
d. Irvin Field
e. P.T. Barnum
23. Which of the following circus figures ran for public office?
a. P. T. Barnum
b. Otto Ringling
c. Dan Rice
d. Gunther Gebel-Williams
e. a & c
f. b & d
24. P. T. Barnum designed one of his famous mansions, Iranistan, after the oriental pavillion of what European monarch?
a. Czar Peter the Great of Russia
b. Queen Victoria of England
c. Napoleon I of France
d. King George IV of England
e. Emperor Meiji of Japan
25. Who or what was Jomar?
a. a trained elephant 
b. a private railway car
c. an old black woman who claimed to be George Washington's nursemaid. 
d. a mansion turned into a circus museum 
e. a bareback equestrian
26. Which of the following is not one of Emmett Kelly Sr.'s early circus occupations?
a. in charge of the sideshow act
b. a comic equestrian 
c. a circus wagon painter
d. a trapeze artist
e. a whiteface clown

Click Here for the answers

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     This Page was updated on: 06/10/2004