BOB'S CIRCUS: The Worst Circus Ever by Matt LaChae for Legends of the Midwest Magazine
HoMoCo Strikes Again: Here comes yet another report of a unwise investment by Hot Mont's company: They became the primary stockholder in what could have very well been the world's worst circus. HoMoCo held 51% of the worthless stock in Bob's Circus when it finally folded in 1978. Read below about just how unwise an investment this actually was.
The sideshow acts on the way into the “big top” were equally bad. “The Bearded Man” was an absolute waste of twenty-five cents. To make matters worse, it wasn’t even a real beard! And, speaking of the “big top”, the tent was in disrepair; water would pour in onto the bleachers, soaking the fans during the all too common summer thunderstorms.
How Bob’s Circus ever existed for over ten years is a mystery to all who experienced the show. During the last couple of years of Bob’s existence, another even worse “mini” version was added to expand the reach of the circus into really small towns where the full Bob’s Circus was unaffordable. This was called “Bob’s Circus Lite”, and featured only a small photo gallery of the different acts and sideshows. No actually moving parts required. Admission to Bob’s Circus Lite was just seventy-five cents.
This “light” version, for obvious reasons, never caught on and was discontinued even before the main circus collapsed. Rumor has it that the “big top” tent finally disintegrated from the years of weathering, and that was just enough to mercifully bring the legendary “Bob’s Circus” to a well- deserved end.
Bob went on to build an equally bad amusement park near Ridgeway, Pa called “ Bob’s Amusement Park” This was nothing more than a glorified children’s playground. People refused to pay a dollar to ride a “teeter-totter” called “The Gravity-Free Flyer”, and would not stand in line for such rides as “ The Hellhole Spinner” (a self-propelled merry-go-round not unlike the ones at kid’s playgrounds).
We welcome emails about Bob’s Circus; if we get some good ones, they’ll be published in next month’s “Legends of the Midwest”. email@example.com
2003 Matt LaChae
Update 5/5/03: Here are a couple of the emails about Bob's Circus that have been coming in:
Tom Slavin of Ohio writes about Bob’s Circus:
"Speaking of Bob’s Circus, I remember as a young boy going to the circus in my hometown of Bolivar, Ohio several times. My dad would round up all the neighborhood kids and off we’d go in the old Dodge station wagon. Bob’s Circus now seems pretty cheesy, but at the time, to a bunch of small town kids it was as exciting as a Ringling Brothers show".
Belle Glade of Punta Rassa, Fl writes:
"One of my favorite parts was the feline trainer. This was a young girl who would go into a cage with what looked to be two overfed, sleepy house cats. They would pretty much ignore her. We all thought it was a great act. Another crowd pleaser was the stripeless zebra, which was actually a pony the first time I went to Bob’s Circus, the next year the stripeless zebra had magically turned into a large shaggy dog. I guess budgetary constraints existed even in the sixties."
The horrible, gut-wrenching,
REAL TRUTH behind Bob's
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