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Other tips of the hat to Barnum
.T. Barnum’s life and in this two-night miniseries
career have been por- (A&E, Sept. 12-13, 1999) that
trayed in many previous focused as much on Bar-
stage and screen depictions: num’s family, including three
of his four daughters, as on
Barnum’s pre-circus career.
Oscar-winner Wallace Beery BROADWAY
(“The Champ,” 1931) por- BARNUM (1980-82) Jim Dale
trayed the great showman in won the Tony Award for his
this fanciful biography. While starring role in the hit musical,
it was Barnum’s first wife, which took 10 nominations


Charity, with him when he and won three. Glenn Close
established his first museum initiated the role of Charity
of curiosities, the film con- “Chairy” Barnum. It played 854
flates her with second wife performances and 26 previews
Nancy (Janet Beecher). Bar- at the St. James Theatre.
num’s circus partner, James A.
Bailey, here becomes his AS FICTIONAL
museum partner, Bailey Michael Crawford brought CHARACTER
Walsh (Adolphe Menjou). “Barnum” to Britain.
There’s also a made-up niece. A LADY’S MORALS (1930)
But all the greatest hits are Broadway musical’s U.K. tour, Before starring in “The
here, including singer Jenny starring Michael Crawford. Mighty Barnum,” Wallace
Lind (Virginia Bruce), Gen- P.T. BARNUM (1999) Beau Beery first played P.T. in this
eral Tom Thumb (George Bridges played the showman fictionalized, song-filled
Brasno), “George Washing- drama about Jenny Lind.
ton’s 160-year-old nanny” JULES VERNE’S ROCKET TO
Joice Heth (Lucille La Verne) THE MOON (1967) aka THOSE
and Jumbo, the elephant. FANTASTIC FLYING FOOLS and
BARNUM (1986) Truer to life, BLAST-OFF. Folk singer Burl
this CBS TV movie (Nov. 30, Ives portrays Barnum in this



1986) starred Burt Lancaster British science-fiction comedy.

as Barnum and the celebrated LEGENDS OF TOMORROW
German actress Hanna (The CW, Oct. 17, 2017) In the
Schygulla as “Swedish “Freakshow” episode, Billy
Nightingale” Lind. Not to be Zane plays Barnum when
confused with the BBC’s 1986 DC Comics’ time-traveling
telefilm “Barnum” (erro- Rip Hunter and team go to
neously given as “Barnum!” in Billy Zane was Barnum on the circus — in 1870.
some sources), a taping of the DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow.” — FRANK LOVECE

The impresario in Port Jefferson

onnecticut native P.T. simply one of a multitude of steamboat company founded by Jefferson apartment building
Barnum spent most of his investment properties — virtu- his friend Capt. Charles Tooker The Barnum House, built in
life in Bridgeport, but he’s ally all of which he sold off before and Tooker’s brother-in-law, 2001, is simply a nod to the
also associated with another port his 1891 death, except for this one. Edward Davis, in 1883. Barnum town’s favorite not-quite-son.
— Port Jefferson. Here, a Barnum When his estate did auction it in was elected the concern’s first However, Barnum Island, a


Avenue exists and a company he 1895, there were improprieties, president, though Tooker and hamlet within the Town of Hemp-
helped found, The Bridgeport & according to contemporaneous Davis retained controlling inter- stead, was named after the un-
Port Jefferson Steamboat Co., newspaper accounts. One buyer, est. In Barnum’s memory, the related Mrs. P.C. Barnum — wife
continues to operate today, in- John E. Overton, alleged that 1,000-passenger, 12-vehicle ferry of one Peter Crosby Barnum. She
cluding with a namesake ship. several parcels were not sold to PT Barnum was commissioned in was an East Meadow philan-
In 1873, Barnum purchased a the highest bidder, and a court and 1998 and remains in service. thropist who bought what was
41-acre site known as Brick Hill, one of Barnum’s granddaughters, Other remnants of Barnum in then known as Hog Island and
along with three adjacent parcels, Helen B. Rennell, invalidated those Port Jefferson include Christ established an almshouse to
according to Port Jefferson’s particular purchases. A buyer later Church Episcopal, built in 1888 provide homes to indigent peo-
official website — which debunks paid $5,800 for those lots, $4,000 on a lot he owned and sold to the ple. Similarly, The Barnum

P.T. Barnum in 1882, the lore that Barnum had planned more than they had gone for. church for $150, far less than the Woods School in East Meadow
nine years after buying to winter his circus animals in Before this, Barnum was one of going price of $400, according to was built on the site of that Bar-
land in Port Jefferson. that town. Brick Hill was, instead, 27 founding stockholders in the the Port Jefferson site. The Port num family’s ranch. — FRANK LOVECE

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