Inducted into the Ring of Fame: 1995
Circus Profession: Equestrian Bareback
The Cristiani circus family can trace its roots back to 1840 when Emilio Cristiani, a gymnast and bareback rider, joined a traveling circus in Pisa, Italy.
While performing in Brussels, Belgium in 1933, the troupe was “discovered” by Pat Valdo of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The family came to America in the spring of 1934, making an appearance in Madison Square Garden, however because of a dispute with the Loyal-Repenski riding act, the Cristianis were moved to the Ringling-owned Hagenbeck-Wallace circus for the remainder of the 1934 season, continuing with Hagenbeck-Wallace 4-Paw Sells in 1935.
In 1936 the family moved over to the Ringling-owned Al G. Barnes Circus where they introduced a teeterboard act to their repetoire. They remained with the newly named Al G. Barnes Sells-Floto circus through the 1937 season. The act moved to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in 1938, however the labor strike that cut the season short that year had the family finishing out the season with “Al G. Barnes and Sells-Floto Presenting Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Stupendous New Features” for the remainder of the season.
In 1939, when this poster was used, they were back with Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey where they continued to be a featured attraction through the 1942 season. The act appeared in Robert Ringling’s indoor circus at Madison Square Garden in 1943 prior to leaving the Ringling organization and becoming circus owners themselves