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Circus, The 4x60

This four-hour mini-series tells the story of one of the most popular and influential forms of entertainment in history. Drawing upon a vast and rich visual archive, The Circus follows the rise and fall of the gigantic, traveling tented railroad circus, recounting the era when Circus Day could shut down a town, and circus stars were among the most famous people in the world. For many, the circus embodied the improbable and the impossible, the exotic and the spectacular. Through the intertwined stories of several of the most innovative and influential impresarios of the late nineteenth century, this series reveals the circus was a uniquely American entertainment created by a rapidly expanding and industrializing nation; that it embraced and was made possible by Western imperialism; that its history was shaped by a tension between its unconventional entertainments and prevailing standards of respectability; and that its promise for ordinary people was the possibility for personal reinvention.