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Wheeler the Clown Wheeler the Clown                      Presents


P.T. Barnum  Roustabout Circus Quiz


The Answers

  1. Which of the following circus performers is / was not a trainer of the big cats (lions, tigers, etc.)?  
d. Dolly Jacobs, the daughter of the great clown Lou Jacobs, is an accomplished aerialist, not an animal trainer.
   2. Who of the following has never owned (even in part) the Barnum & Bailey Circus?
c. Dan Rice, while a circus owner, never owned the Greatest Show on Earth
  3. What is Fairy Floss?
b. Fairy Floss was the Original Name for Cotton Candy
  4. In circus slang, what is an "Annie Oakley?"
d. A Free Pass to a Circus Performance, so named because it's appearance reminded people of the playing cards that Annie Oakley would shoot holes in then give to the spectators as a souvenir.
  5. When John Ringling North sold the Greatest Show On Earth, what famous location did he choose for the official paper signing ceremony that turned the circus over to the new owners?
e. The papers were signed in the famous Colosseum in Rome, Italy 


Which famous circus animal was never an attraction of the Greatest Show On Earth?
d. Lalla Rhook, who was Yankee Dan Rice's famous tightrope-walking elephant, died in 1860, over a decade before P.T. Barnum coined the phrase, The Greatest show on Earth, for his show.
  7. Who portrayed John Ringling North in the 1952 Academy Award Best Picture, The Greatest Show On Earth?
b. John Ringling North

John Ringling North portrayed himself in the film, which also featured many actual circus performers

 8. Which of the following clowns is or has been (at least as a partner) a circus owner?
d. Emmett "Weary Willie" Kelly, Jr., Yankee Dan Rice, and Larry "Lorenzo Pickle" Pisoni were all circus owners
  9. What, in circus jargon, are lot lice?
a. Bothersome fans who wander into private areas of the circus grounds
 10. Which of the following movies does not have a circus as its setting?
b. Roustabout, starring Elvis Presley and Barbara Stanwyck, was set in a carnival, not a circus.
11. What is the word in circus jargon, for paper money? 
c. Alfalfa
12. What was P.T. Barnum's first circus job?
b. P. T. BarnumBarnum began his circus career as a ticket taker for the Aaron Turner Circus in 1836.
13. What famous straightman of a popular Hollywood comedy team was born in a circus wagon?
a. Bud Abbott was born in a circus wagon of his parents' employer, the Ringling Brothers' Circus. His mother was a bareback equestrienne, and his father held a non-performer job with the circus.
14. The most tragic circus fire in history happened on what date?
b. On July 6, 1944, 167 circus spectators  died when the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey bigtop was destroyed by fire during a performance. Most of the deceased and injured were children.
15. What was the location of the tragedy in Question 14?
a. Hartford, Connecticut was the location of this tragic bigtop fire. 
16. In the early days of the American circus, which of the following skills was an absolute must for the Circus Clown?
c. Horseback riding was a vital skill, since most of the early circuses were primarily trained horse shows.
17. Which of the following "little people" (dwarf / midget performers) was not promoted personally by P.T. Barnum?
d. Frankie Saluto began his circus career as a clown in 1928, 37 years after the death of P.T. Barnum.  
18. In Circus Jargon, What is heat?
d. Arguments or fights between circus folk and local townspeople
19. What is P.T. Barnum's full name?
c. Phineas Taylor Barnum
20. Which of the following famous Clowns never performed in a circus?
a. Red "Freddie the Freeloader" SkeltonRed "Freddie the Freeloader" Skelton, although the son of a circus clown, performed on stage, movies, and television, but never in a circus.
21. What, in circus jargon, is Jonah's Luck?
d. Bad weather
22. From whom did John Ringling North purchase the now famous gorilla he would bill as Gargantua the Great?
e. Gertrude Lintz
23. Which of the Following was not a Condition that John Ringling North Had to Agree to in Order to Purchase  the Gorilla who became Gargantua the Great?
b. Lifetime free show tickets for the Gargantua's previous owner was not part of the purchase agreement, whereas North did have to agree to hire the gorilla's current trainer, build a special cage, and pay $10,000 for Gargantua and two chimpanzees.
24. Which of the following famous circus clowns was originally hired by the circus for another position entirely?
a. All of these now famous clowns began their circus careers in other areas. Lou Jacobs was a contortionist, Emmett Kelly Sr. and Paul Jung were aerialists, and Otto Griebling was an equestrian. 
25. Which of His Following Contemporaries Did Circus Owner and Clown Yankee Dan Rice Count Among His Personal Friends?
c. Lincoln, Davis, Lee, and Taylor were all personal friends of Rice. In fact, Rice's friendship with Davis and Lee  caused riots at some of his shows in northern cities during the Civil War. 
26. Who of the Following was NOT one of the Famous Ringling Brothers?
d. Robert RinglingRobert, like John Ringling North, was of the next generation; the son of original Ringling brother, Charles.  

Score 1 point for each correct answer. How did you do?
   0- 5pts. Can you even spell circus? You need to get out more.
 6-10pts. You must have seen a circus coloring book.
11-15pts. You appear to have slept through a circus or two.
16-20pts.  Okay, you probably attend the circus regularly, but spend too much time at the refreshment stand
21-26pts. Apparently, you know your circuses. Want to keep going?

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     This Page was updated on: 05/18/2004