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On This Day in History, April 10: P.T. Takes Show on the Road



BROOKLYN — In Brooklyn, on April 10, 1871, quoting the media: “The wealthiest professional liar on earth has outdone himself again.”

Phineas T. Barnum, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Humbug,” opened the great Travelling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Hippodrome.

Barnum seemed unperturbed by the 1868 loss of his American Museum which he had purchased from Scudder in 1841. Fire killed dozens of exotic animals that took years of effort to acquire. Barnum merely turned his mind to getting more.

Attractions in the new show included Alaskan sea lions, an Italian goat on horseback and four Fiji cannibals,”saved from the mouth of a royal captor.” The media went on to say: “The show is a must, coming from the man who gave us the Fiji Mermaid, Siamese twins Chang and Eng, and Tom Thumb.”

Barnum himself said: “This is a trading world, and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods.”

April 10, 2012 - 10:05am


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