Posted 6 months ago
Ringling Bros: "In Days of Old" (1918)
By Chris Berry
Although there isn't a clown or a wild animal to be seen on any of these posters from 1918, what boy or girl wouldn't want to see "In Days of Old"? - the spectacle that was presented by Ringling Bros the last season before it combined with Barnum & Bailey. This series of lithographs do exactly as intended - whetting the appetite of the kids and adults who would be buying tickets to the show, just about two weeks after these posters first appeared in a store window.
Several striking lithographs were produced by Strobridge to promote the spectacle "In Days of Old" which was a feature on the Ringling Bros Circus of 1918. All of these posters are probably a fair representation of what circusgoers saw both in the street parade, and as the spec passed by on around the Hippodrome.
When these posters were produced just prior to the "Roaring 20s", women's apparel was still quite modest - and to see the legs of dancers such as those appearing in the spec "In Days of Old" was scandalous in some locales. During this period over 1200 workers traveled with both the Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros circuses, and hundreds of them - including canvasmen and roustabouts - appeared in the "spec" as extras.
"In Days of Old" was the last spectacle presented by the Ringling Bros Circus prior to its merger with Barnum & Bailey in 1919.
(Horizontal lithographs from the Tibbals Digital Collection at the Ringling Museum of the American Circus)