Biography (1987– )
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P.T. Barnum: America's Greatest Showman 

P.T. Barnum helps create the modern circus.


Andrea Black


Russ Firestone


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Episode credited cast:
Jack Earle Jack Earle ... Himself (archive footage)
Karl Malden ... P.T. Barnum (voice)
Jack Perkins Jack Perkins ... Himself - Host
Cliff Robertson ... Narrator
Anna Swan Anna Swan ... Herself (archive footage)


P.T. Barnum helps create the modern circus.

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Release Date:

16 January 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

P. T. Barnum - världens största showman See more »

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User Reviews

A Very good & informative documentary on Phineus Barnum
13 May 2004 | by zpzjonesSee all my reviews

This is an excellent 3-part documentary on the life and career of P.T. Barnum. America's first great businessman as the third episode tells us. Originally this premiered in three 1 hour segments on the Discovery Channel. This series attempts to tear down some myths about Barnum such as him not saying the phrase he's often credited with, "There's a sucker born every minute". We cover the highpoints in Barnum's career: starting a Dime Museum in Boston, securing Jenny Lind famous opera star, Tom Thumb (1 foot tall), Eng & Cheng(Siamese Twins) & Jumbo the Elephant. For me the part on Jumbo was quite sad as he was struck and killed by an out-of-control train in 1885 and later his carcass was put on display in Tufts University until 1975 when it was destroyed in a fire. This is a very well orchestrated documentary putting Barnum's life in some perspective. We see what a logistical nightmare Barnum faced in moving a very large circus from city to city and also across the ocean to Europe. This at a time when there were no automobiles or tractor trailers. Later he joins forces with James Bailey and later the Ringling Bros. formulating the well known circus we still go to today: Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. Cliff Robertson narrates in a first class, homesy manner and the excellent soundtrack utilizing a lot of circus type organ themed music is quite appropriate. This series should be out on video but I have never seen it nor have I checked back at the Discovery Channel for availability. But I think it's the best thing on Barnum as far as documentaries go. This series should be a staple of classrooms & libraries and is great for the whole family to sit down and watch on a Sunday or rainy afternoon.

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