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1982

Circus

In the children's department, Sam is doing his rounds when Jeff excitedly asks him to watch his juggling act. Sam is busy, but he says he'll watch when Jeff explains he has been practicing all evening. Jeff tries to juggle but soon drops a ball, and Sam suggests he keep working on it. When Jeff gets up from picking up the ball he dropped, Sam is gone.

Next Jodie hurries in and invites Jeff to come with her downstairs to get some milk. He tries to juggle again but drops a ball again. Jodie can't wait until he finds it, and is soon gone, too.

"Everybody seems to be in a big hurry today," Jeff observes. Muffy dashes in next. "Hi!, Bye!" she says, rushing off in search of cheese. He invites her to watch his act and she tells him he must practice a lot if he intends to join a circus. Jeff reminds her that he can't join a circus, since his magic hat doesn't work outside the store.

"How could I forget that fact . . . So later on, I'll see your act!" and she dashes off leaving Jeff watching sadly after her.

"Friends are in a hurry, no time to play, not me, not me . . . " he sings, "I'm not complaining, my blessings I can add, but sometimes I'm a little sad." He sings about how much he would like to go outside like "someone real".

A few moments later Jeff is still practicing but having little success. Finally he gives up in frustration and leaves the children's department downhearted, passing Jodie, Sam and Muffy. Jodie wonders what's wrong with Jeff and Muffy explains she overheard him sing a song. "He's not very satisfied because he's missing things outside."

"Poor Jeff," Jodie says, "We have to remember that we're his friends and we're the only way he has of knowing about the outside world and if we ignore him he's all alone."

Sam suggests that they call him in and make a big fuss over his juggling to make him feel better. They call Jeff in saying they're ready to see his act, but he says it's too late, he's not going to juggle any more. The others encourage him to keep trying. Then, Sam has a great idea. They can put on their own circus and Jeff could be a juggler in their circus. Everyone loves the idea and Jodie suggests they give the circus a fancy name: "Circus Shangri-La". And they all sing about their new circus. Afterwards, Jodie asks if Jeff will join their circus.

"Will I?" Jeff says excitedly, "You bet!"

Next, "we all sit back to watch a show," as Oscar Peterson, his fingers flying, plays a quick jazz piece.

Later in the computer room, Muffy, dressed like a lion tamer and carrying a chair, looks for Penelope. She wants to be a lion tamer in the circus and do tricks with Penelope, but a meow from Penelope changes her mind. "Is that a cat that gave a roar? . . . I think I'll go back to my bed, and plan a magician's act instead. Lion tamers know no fear, but magicians, they can disappear!" and off she goes.

Jeff is still practicing his juggling, but he is practicing with only one ball to start with. Jodie comes in and asks if he'll do a clown act with her. Jeff says he's going to juggle, but Jodie says he can do both. Jeff is worried they can't make people laugh, but Jodie shows him a box of props and costumes to help them, and they laughingly try them out while they sing, "Circus clowns, that's what we are, in our show we'll be the stars!"

In the children's department, Sam is busily brushing off a very dusty red outfit. He asks TXL to guess what he's going to do in the circus, and she guesses he's going to be a costume brusher. But he explains that he's going to be the ringmaster, the boss of the whole circus. Even when he was a little boy, he always wanted to be a ringmaster. He can remember waiting for the circus to come to town when he was a boy.

Sam asks if we'd like to hear a story about kids waiting for the circus to come to town. Then Brenda Muskat tells us the story of Eric and Debbie, who lose their circus ticket money but then are recruited to help in a clown act and given good seats for the rest of the show.

After the story, Sam realizes he's late, so he punches up a quiz on TXL's screen and then he's off to the circus!

A drum roll plays as the circus is about to begin. A big red curtain is up in the children's department and behind it we can hear them all getting ready. Sam, his costume sparkling and dust-free, introduces the circus in a big, deep ringmaster's voice, but then he doesn't know what to do next. Jodie coaches him, and he introduces Jeff and Jodie's clown act.

To the tune of "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee", Jeff and Jodie clown around. Jeff pretends to be doing a flip with Jodie's help, but she keeps walking off at the last minute, to sneeze, to catch a fly, and to wave to the audience. Jeff steps on Jodie's foot, and Jodie kicks him from behind in a mock-fight. Finally Jeff carries Jodie off stage and the act is over.

Next is Muffy's magic act, which goes just fine until she accidentally makes herself disappear. Sam and Jodie search for her and find her in a bird cage backstage.

Next, it's Jeff's turn. They all hope he doesn't drop the balls again. Jeff shows up in a silky red shirt with puffed sleeves and three yellow balls which he juggles perfectly. Backstage we can see Jodie clapping her hands in excitement.

"I did it!" exults Jeff. "Oh, thank you! This was the best circus ever!" Now the four of them, Jodie still in her clown outfit sing about their circus again.

"It's the circus Shangri-La, so give a cheer we all can hear, ta-ra-boom-ta-ra!"


Quizzes:

  • Are these balls the same size? Which is the biggest? Which is the smallest? What shape are they?
  • Which pie is different? Why is it different?
  • What is that noise? Can you make a clapping sound?
  • Is there something strange in this picture? This elephant is missing something very important. (His trunk).

Nursery Rhyme:

  • Simple Simon

Notes:

  • "Circus Clowns", the song Jodie and Jeff sing, is the same melody used in "Trains" for their traveling song on their imaginary journey.
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