And finally today, over-the-top characters both onstage and behind the scenes, hair-raising acts, lots and lots of animals. What else could we be talking about but the circus - or at least the circus known as the greatest show on earth, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. That show, once a must-see part of just about every American childhood, came to an abrupt end in May 2017, when the owners made the decision to shut it down, a consequence of changing tastes and values. But that end belies just how big a part of American entertainment and, in fact, life the circus once was, a history Les Standiford recounts in his entertaining and at times shocking new book, "Battle For The Big Top: P.T. Barnum, James Bailey, John Ringling, And The Death-Defying Saga Of The American Circus." Standiford says before national sports, TV and movies came to dominate pop culture, the circus was a quintessential American pastime.