As part of a yearly partnership between Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus, kids will have an opportunity to meet the clowns from the “Greatest Show on Earth” tomorrow night, March 5 at 7:00 p.m., when members of the famed circus come to Applebee’s, 2505 Emmons Avenue (corner of Bedford Avenue) to clown around perform their shtick.
To sweeten the deal, kids will also have a chance to score discount passes to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® “Built to Amaze!” shows taking place March 20 through April 1, 2013 at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn.
“Built To Amaze!” is the 143rd edition of the Greatest Show On Earth. According to Ringling Bros.’ website, “Circus performers from across the globe create the perfect blend of athleticism and bravery, where power meets fearlessness and amazement has no bounds.”
The tale of Topsy the Elephant is sad and cruel, and today marks the 110th year since her grisly demise at the hands of Thomas Edison’s staged electrocution on Coney Island at Luna Park.
Topsy was a female circus elephant who never was comfortable with her captivity. Over her 28-year lifespan, she killed three men including a sadistic and abusive trainer who tried to feed Topsy lit cigarettes as food. Because of Topsy’s infractions towards her brutal masters, she was deemed too dangerous to live.
Originally, Topsy’s Luna Park owners wanted to kill her by hanging, but according to Wikipedia, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stepped in and prevented that from happening. Although, quite frankly, in today’s world the logistics of hanging an elephant seem far more amazing than any of the alternatives.
But that’s today’s world. One hundred years ago, the alternative offered by famed inventor Thomas Edison was nearly magical. Edison stepped up and had the bright idea of electrocuting Topsy to death. Why that wasn’t considered cruel is beyond me, but everyone was willing to go along with it. It was just that kind of world.
Edison’s motives were to use poor Topsy as a prop in his ongoing war against Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla’s far superior Alternating Current electrical system. Edison, the inventor of the clearly inferior Direct Current method, juiced Topsy with 6,600 volts of Tesla’s AC, dropping her in seconds.
More than 1,500 spectators gathered at Luna Park on January 4, 1903, to witness the grim spectacle, and Edison filmed the execution as “evidence” of AC’s unsafe nature.
Edison distributed his short film throughout the United States, providing one of the earliest examples of filmed corporate propaganda. Ultimately, DC won the battle for America’s infrastructure in large part because of this flick.
While Topsy’s fate was tragic, her memory lives on in the form of a memorial erected at the Coney Island Museum on July 20, 2003.
It’s a no-go for the well-known circus due to high costs and scheduling conflicts.
“We just couldn’t make it work,” Ringling Bros. spokesman Stephen Payne told the Daily News. “We have so many tours moving around the country. There are a lot of moving parts,” adding that the circus is busy planning future West Coast shows.
Payne also said that the circus is still interested in returning to Coney Island in the future, a venue capable of drawing large crowds. The Daily News reported that over 250,000 people attended the circus at Coney Island over the past two years.
The city’s Economic Development Corporation is looking at options to replace the circus. So what would you like to see in its place?
How do you say Greatest Show On Earth in Russian? Is it “Джерси Шор втором сезоне”?
Well, nevermind. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is coming up with its own translation… or perhaps America’s most famous circus is trying to pull in a bit of that “exotic” foreign appeal of Cirque d’Soleil. Regardless, tonight is “Russian Night” at The Coney Island Illuscination.
Planned as a nod to its Russian neighbors in Brighton Beach and elsewhere, Ringling Bros. is partnering with Russian community leaders. Assemblyman Brook-Krasny is serving as “Guest Ringmaster,” and there will be a preshow parade of Russian children in traditional costumes.
The Ruskies are giving back, too. A delicious treat will be presented to the elephants of The Greatest Show On Earth, and a traditional gift of bread and salt will be presented to the cast of the show.
In cooperation with the Be Proud Foundation, Ringling Bros. created special discount coupons for this event which were made available at many local businesses.
Again – this event is tonight. Pre-show activities begin at 5:30 p.m. The Coney Island Illuscination plays in an air-conditioned tent at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue through September 6.