Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Every adult has indelible memories of the circus. You too have probably seen a lion run a course, an elephant stand on its hind legs and held your breath watching acrobats flying around without fences. Now these animals are no longer allowed to perform tricks, but otherwise the modern circus hasn’t really changed much.
Probably because of the melancholy that the circus will evoke in many casino players, developers have chosen this as the theme for their slots. Thus, well-known developers such as Play’n GO, and Microgaming have been able to draw inspiration from it for some nice slots. Play’n GO in particular seem to be fans and have several circus-themed casino games up their sleeve.
But there are more connections of the casino world to that of the circus. Get totally in the mood below with our circus facts!
Circus: here’s what to see
A traditional circus contains a number of fixed recognizable components. First, there are the clowns, whose job is to make the children laugh but also often provide the adults with a dose of entertainment. Then there are the acrobats, with a serious but certainly no less entertaining act full of intense moments. There are also often acts with impressive juggling, dance and other talents and tricks. As for circus animals, the selection has thinned out a bit. Well-known circuses that are still active today are Circus Renz and Cirque du Soleil.
When you think of the circus, you naturally think of clowns. However, not everyone is cheered by clowns… In fact, so many people are genuinely afraid of clowns that there are special therapies for them. Coulrophobia is the official term for clown-fear, and it is a serious condition. Both children can suffer from it, as well as people who have long since outgrown it. Whether you are a fan of clowns or not, they are a fixture on the program of every circus. But also in horror movies, such as the ultimate classic IT. That, of course, adds extra fuel to the fire for the coulrophobes.
Clowns in slots
In the online slot world we also regularly see the clown, some in a slightly friendlier version than others. For example, the lead role in Play’n GO’s slot 3 Clown Monty is reserved for three runaway clowns who do not come across as very friendly.
In addition to clowns, you will of course encounter acrobats in every circus. The level is extremely high these days and as a spectator you are bound to be on the edge of your seat. The top acrobats often come from China, where this art/sport has been part of the culture for many centuries.
Animals in the circus
Until recently it was quite normal for a circus to enter your town with a complete caravan of wild animals. In winters you could see an elephant standing outside, a lion jumping through burning hoops and bears doing all sorts of tricks. Completely unnatural, of course. We used to think this was perfectly normal, but more and more people protested against it, and our governments listened to this. Therefore, it is no longer allowed to use animals in the circus in certain countries. The underlying reason: the performance, transportation and housing of circus animals do not contribute to their welfare. Incidentally, the new laws and regulations only apply to mammals. Most mammals at least. Several animals are excluded from these rules and are still allowed to perform their tricks in the circus. These are mainly rodents, but you might also encounter goats, pigs, camels, birds, amphibians and dogs in the ring.
If you find the use of animals in the circus absurd, your hair will stand on end when you look at how things used to be… In those days, certain people were regularly used in so-called freak shows. Women with beards were able to get on and let people marvel at them. For extreme contrast, “dwarfs” and “giants” were put side by side or did a trick together. Siamese twins were also often found on the staff list. For example, in the early years of the 19th century, there were Chinese twins who got their start in America in the traveling freak show. Chang and Eng were attached to each other by their chests, and that gave them very few chances to keep themselves alive in those days.
So you saw a lot of people in those shows who were otherwise doomed to be quite dependent on others. Joining such a circus made them less of a pariah. The public was often fascinated by their appearance and people came up with all kinds of speculations about the cause. They often looked for it in the mystical corner. In this respect, the nineteenth century was the golden age for freak shows and cabinets of curiosities. At some point, however, science developed in such a way that the mystery quickly wore off. Nowadays, of course, we have the Internet and other media channels. That means that by now everyone has seen just about everything.
The Royal Hanneford Circus is considered the oldest circus. Considering it was founded in the 1690s, we are not surprised!
The most famous circus, nicknamed “The Greatest Show On Earth”, was the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which had been founded in 1919 by an amalgamation of the Ringling Bros. Circus and Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth. The circus ceased operations in 2017. Since then, Cirque du Soleil has been considered the biggest circus show, and perhaps the most famous (who doesn’t know the name?).
The first modern clown, make-up and all, was Joseph Grimaldi, who first appeared in England in 1805. The modern clown can of course trace his or her origins to the court jester, a Joker-like figure who was allowed to misbehave in the royal court in the Middle Ages against the nobles without negative consequences. The role of a fool/Joker/Jester/ court jester itself traces its history back to the ancient Egyptian empire.
In many places, the use of animals is frowned upon, or even banned. In the US, in eight states and around 150 other places (cities, towns, villages, etc.), it is illegal to have exotic animals perform in a circus. In Europe, many countries also have bans on animals in circuses. Worldwide, however, there are still many countries outside the two aforementioned continents where exotic animals are used in circuses and other shows.
Famous games with the circus theme are 3 Clown Monty, Big Top (and its many variants), and Buster Hammer. Games in this theme are added regularly, and we’ll keep you posted!