These Vintage Circus Posters Remind Us Of A Time When Entertainment Didn’t Require WiFi

Published March 1, 2015
Updated November 6, 2019

Way before diversion could be found at your fingertips, there was the classic circus. The pro to-TLC, it relied on shock and exploitation to draw its crowd.

classic circus procession poster

The traveling circus was once such a popular event that families would plan their vacation around it coming to town.

It might seem impossible now, but there was a time–indeed, there were centuries–when entertainment could be found outside of an LCD screen. Before “Angry Birds”, there was the circus, which in many ways was the proto-TLC, as circus execs relied heavily on shock and exploitation to provide people with an escape from the drudgeries of reality–and, of course, make some killer profits for themselves.

Today, the circus is largely anachronistic, evocative of a time in which diversion was not at your fingertips but at a fairground. As with today, though, marketing still mattered:

classic circus ringling bros
classic circus barnum bailey
classic circus forepaugh sells
classic circus french circus
These Vintage Circus Posters Remind Us Of A Time When Entertainment Didn’t Require WiFi
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Erin Kelly
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several published book covers in her career as a graphic artist.