CoolBeat Audiobook 038

Life Story of the Ringling Brothers ~ Humorous Incidents, Thrilling Trials, Many Hardships, and Ups and Downs, Telling How the Boys Built a Circus, and Showing the True Road to Success
by: Alfred Ringling

Read by: Stefen Anderson -- Time: 5 hours 26 minutes

Price = $26.00
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The story of 5 young boys who wanted to start their own circus, and ended up creating "The Greatest Show on Earth".

[Junior (non-fiction) - autobiography] Originally published 1900

Edited by: Lenny Lyons
Cover by: Frances Smith

A disciplined focus on achieving their goal, a willingness to work hard, and a cooperative equal sharing of responsibilities, were all these brothers needed to build the worlds greatest circus. Listen as the middle brother, Alfred, recounts the challenges, fun, and exciting adventures the boys faced, as they pursued their dream.



  1. - In which the ambitions of five brothers are awakened by the sight of a circus boat coming up the Old Mississippi.
  2. - Telling how a Panorama Show, painted on old wall paper, was established in the Ringling barn and how the jealousy of a neighbor boy brought woe and destruction to the enterprise.
  3. - Giving an account of how the Ringling boys established a penny circus and became the owners of a very small tent and a battle-scarred goat.
  4. - In which a "real live" horse is introduced into the lives of the juvenile showmen and the admission to the boys' circus is raised to five cents.
  5. - Showing the sturdy stock from which the five brothers inherited their energy and determination, and pointing out how genius descended to them from their huguenot ancestors.
  6. - In which the boys organize a Classic and Comic Concert Company and plan a winter's tour.
  7. - Telling how anxiety and stage fright attended the first performance of the young entertainers.
  8. - Which relates how a postponed dance brought the boys their first big house, and a Minnesota blizzard gave them their first taste of real hardship.
  9. - Containing an account of the trials and tribulations of the Advance Agent, and showing how his pluck was turned to good account.
  10. - Relating how the brothers outwitted a landlord, a night watchman, and a constable, and how a lead mine served as a hiding-place for the company's baggage.
  11. - Relating how the boys in leaving back their mutinous assistants aroused the anger of an old maid and left the landlord to face her wrath.
  12. - Telling how the boys reorganized their concert company with none but themselves as members.
  13. - Giving an account of how a comedian's joke precipitated a riot in a hall, during which the brothers defeat a mob.
  14. - In which the boys give a performance in a hotel diningroom, with a table for a stage, and buy two antiquated nags at a supposed bargain.
  15. - In which the boys begin preparations for their first circus season.
  16. - Giving an account of an awful trip through forests and swamps with two faltering, lame, and woebegone nags.
  17. - Describing the opening of the first season of the Ringling Show.
  18. - In which the Ananias brothers figure prominently in restraining a homesick teamster who plots to desert.
  19. - In which the young showmen buy their first menagerie animal, and also meet their first opposition.
  20. - In which the Ringling Brothers wage war on circus "grafters" and establish many reforms.
  21. - Giving a picturesque account of a wagon show traveling at night.
  22. - In which the Ringling brothers realize their ambition to own the Greatest Show in the World.

Conclusion - In which the equal ownership and equal authority of each of the Ringling brothers in ALL things are shown as one of the causes of their great success.

About the author:

Alfred Theodore "Alf" Ringling (formerly "Ruengling"), was born in 1861, and died unexpectedly in 1919. The son of a Bavarian harness maker, Alfred, with his four brothers, formed the Ringling Brothers Circus, which later purchased the Barnum & Baily Circus, to form "The Greatest Show on Earth" (the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus). The Ringling circus quickly distinguished itself from others of the time, by being honest and fair in its attitude toward the public. No "grafters" (grifters) or cheats were allowed anywhere near their lot. Responsibilities for the circus were divided between the brothers, and Alf was responsible for circus publicity.

Although Baraboo, Wisconsin, was the official summer home for the circus, in 1900 Alf bought four acres of land in Jefferson Twp, New Jersey, to keep some of the animals and build a huge 33 room mansion, complete with pipe organ and its own water turbines for electricity. The mansion, made of poured concrete and field stone, was sold in 1955 to become headquarters for the Spes Foundation, a worldwide order of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1918, Alfred also built a 5 bedroom winter home with a ballroom, in Sarasota, Florida, near where his brother John would eventually build the world famous Ringling Museum. This house has changed hands and has been modernized over the years, and can currently be rented as a vacation home.


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ISBN 978-1-937880-38-5

Audience = Junior 11-15
Non-Fiction Subject = Autobiography
(People and places)
DDC = 920 (History, geography, and biography / Biography, genealogy, insignia)
BISAC = JNF007060 (JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Performing Arts)

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