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Film Offers Glimpse of a Man Who Preserved Circus History

Repertoire Films

Of all the states, Wisconsin has perhaps the greatest connection to the history of the American circus movement.  

It was home to the Ringling Brothers, whose circus merged with those of P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey.  And since 1959 has been home to Circus World, now the Circus World Museum, on the grounds of the former winter home to the Ringling Brothers Circus.

A new film by Iowa native Gene Gamache tells the story of the early history of American circuses and of Charles “Chappie” Fox, the man who singlehandedly rescued hundreds of antique circus wagons and restored them at Circus World.

The film is called “A Circus Life,” and Gamache explains that he came to the story when he was in Wisconsin, working on another film.

The film will screen at the Oriental Theater in Milwaukee on Tuesday evening at 7.  Gamache will lead a Q&A after the showing.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.