This poster promotes the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus for the Greatest Show on Earth. A golden banner at the center bottom points out that this is an all new show in the circus’ 107th year. As the poster illustrates, this new show features Gunther Gebel Williams, the European animal trainer. Below the image is a banner left blank that the circus used to later print the date and location of their performance as they travelled around the country.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, also known as the Ringling Bros. Circus, was an American traveling circus company that brought the audience their performances under the title of The Greatest Show On Earth. Ringling Brothers was the largest circuses in the late 19th and early 20th century formed by seven brothers of the Ringling family. They acquired America's other leading circus troupes, Barnum & Bailey, in 1907 and operated separately until 1919. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows was formed when P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey was merged with the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows. It and its predecessor shows ran from 1871 to 2017. In 1968, as the professional clowns got into their 50s, the circus established the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College to pass down the craft of clowns to the younger generation. Due to weakening attendance rate and high operating costs, the circus closed on May 21, 2017 after 146 years.
Gunther Gebel Williams (1934-2001) was the one of the most celebrated circus entertainers in history. Born in Poland, he later immigrated to Germany with his mother after World War II. He became well-known during the early days of television when circus was a major form of entertainment. He became an animal trainer at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1968-1990, and was particularly known for his works with big cats. Among other feats, he trained lions to ride on the backs of elephants, taught leopards and tigers to jump through flaming hoops, and wrapped panthers around his neck and shoulders. The star performer of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for 22 years, he appeared in over 12,000 shows.
This is an Original Vintage Poster; it is not a reproduction. This poster is conservation mounted, linen backed, and in excellent condition. We guarantee the authenticity of all of our posters.