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John Robinson Circus


John Robinson Circus


Circus Trivia, Did You Know?   Did You Know,the name "John Robinson" is used to tell showpeople to shorten the show/act. Example: There's a storm coming, lets John Robinson it.
John Robinson Circus
John Robinson Circus

The John Robinson Circus toured from 1842 until 1911 (69 years), it was one of the longest running family owned circuses in the United States. The Circus was owned and managed by four generations of "John Robinsons".

John Robinson I, 1807 - 1888

John F. Robinson II, 1843 - 1921

John G. Robinson III, 1872 - 1935

John G. Robinson IIII, 1893 - 1954

John Robinson I ran away from home at an early and at age 15 began working with Colonel Page’s Menagerie. He worked four years with with Page and McCracken, were he became a performer. In the years that followed he was with Turner's Circus, Stewart's Amphitheater, Hawkin's Circus, Benedict and Haddoch Circus and the Zoological Institute. After perfecting his preforming and circus management skills he then organized a circus for the "American Theatre" of New Orleans, which toured the U. S. and Cuba, it is during this period that John began gaining his wealth.

In 1840 Robinson opened the "National Theatre", in New Orleans. He kept this for two years sold it for a great profit. Then in 1842 the "John Robinson Circus" was born. In 1845 Robinson' s good friend and America's most famous clown joined the show.

The circus first traveled by horse and wagon and then for short time by riverboat and barges then in 1881 the circus changed to railways.

For the season of 1898 the circus was leased by the Ringling Bros. Circus and managed by Henry Ringling, in 1889 the Robinsons continued to operate the circus.

The circus continued through each of the succeeding sons until 1911. The show did not go out in 1912 through 1915.

In 1916 the circus was purchased by Jerry Mugivan and Albert C. “Bert” Bowers. Mugivan and Bowers sold off the shows original equipment and kept only the circuses well established name. In 1921 Mugivan, Bowers and Edward M. Ballard formed the "American Circus Corporation"in Peru, Indiana. During it's years of operation the corporation owned Howes Great London Shows, Robinson’s Famous Shows, Hagenbeck-Wallace, Sells-Floto, Sparks Circus, and the Al G. Barnes Circus.

In 1929 the American Circus was purchased by thr Ringlings, who continued to operate the circus until 1938.

See John Robinson, in our "Circus Owners" section for more information!


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