Circus Show

All about the shows, music, and performers at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA
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Santa Cruisin
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Circus Show

Post by Santa Cruisin » Thu Jul 28, 2005 11:55 am

MGA Santa Clara had five major theaters:

Grand Music Hall (AMC)
Theatre Royale
Wilderness Theater
Grand Stand Pavilion
IMAX Pictorium

I was familiar with all of these except the Grand Stand Pavilion. Wasn't there a circus in this out-door theater? I remember seeing ads for Circus Fantastic! and Colonel Cornfield's Centennial Circus.

Anyone attend or work one of these shows? If so, what was it like? Was it a full blown circus with both animals and human stunts (trapeze, etc.)?

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Tanya
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Post by Tanya » Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:37 pm

I'm pretty sure there was a trapeze set up. I'm thinking I recall seeing some sort of animals while riding behind it on the train. That was so long ago I just can't be sure.

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steven
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Post by steven » Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:44 pm

It was a complete circus with all of the usual circus acts, including animals, trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, and more.

I have to admit, though, that I never attended a performance. There were always too many other things to try to fit into the day. I'd like to have the chance to see it now, though!

Steven

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ewilson
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Circus

Post by ewilson » Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:47 pm

Behind the Pavillion there was no real facilites for holding animals. Unless it was only small animals. There were 2 train cars converted into dressing rooms for the performers. The floor of the performace area of the Pavillion was concrete wich is not so desiralbe for animal acts.

I remember ths show was called "Circus Fantastic" as I still have a crew shirt from it. I remember something also about Colonel Cornfield which I think was the name that was on the side of the train cars (dressing rooms) that the guests could read as they passed by on the train.

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Joe
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Country Music Time

Post by Joe » Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:00 pm

In the Gurnee Park, we didn't have a circus, but for one year (1980), we had a large, outdoor circus tent structure with grandstand seating where we performed "Country Music Time". The show was very successful (as I remember), but it was so HOT that on some days we had to cut numbers and mark choreography due to the heat.

All of our shows were performed during daylight hours, so we never saw (or even knew we had) any lighting until the last show on overcast days. Talented cast including Alison LaPlaca (most recently, on "Friends"), Debbie Sandlund (amazing soprano) and others. Really amazing live musicians, too including a female fiddler (Chrissy).

That show lasted one season and the tent is now the queue line for the Eagle roller coaster, which they built during the summer we were performing.

We also had trailers as dressing rooms and I do seem to remember a train that went by... (so many years ago, now!)


Very fond memories!
Gurnee casts of "Country Music Time!" and "Music! Music! Music!"

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redfishpaw
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Post by redfishpaw » Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:18 pm

Circus / willderness theater animals in the park
Image
Image

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Demondude102110
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Post by Demondude102110 » Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:13 pm

Nice pics Redfishpaw! Where did you find them?
Demon rules!

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RLAiello
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Gurnee Circus Show

Post by RLAiello » Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:20 pm

I distinctly remember sitting in the grandstand and watching some type of circus show in Gurnee when I was a kid. I don't remember any specifics, however, because I was probably all of 6 or 7 years old at the time. But I do remember the structure and that there were seats. I always thought the tent that is currently over the structure was there at the time, but in looking at old pictures of the park when I worked there, it appears that the tent wasn't erected until AFTER the show closed and the queue line was built for the Eagle.

My MOST vivid memory of that show was drinking some fruit-flavored drink out of a plastic fruit-shaped thingy. Honest.

Rick Aiello
SFGAm Employee 1988-1999

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steven
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Post by steven » Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:23 am

The fruit drinks in the plastic fruit-shaped containers were called sippers. They were quite a theme park fad in those days. I never had one!

Steven

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redfishpaw
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Post by redfishpaw » Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:37 am

I remember the sippers, but never had one at MGA. Does anybody know how many different sippers there were? I think that there may have been at least 4.

javelina
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Circus Fantastic--Gurnee

Post by javelina » Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:41 pm

Gurnee did have a circus show from 1976-1978. In '78, at least, it was Circus Fantastic. It was a summer-only show (mid-June to mid-August), as most of the cast was from the Circus program at Univ of Florida.

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