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Before it was the family circle....

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Learn something new every day. I'm reading about the history of New York theaters, and in a book called "Gotham, a History of New York Life to 1898" I learned the following fascinating (to me) fact:

In the 19th century, theater owners gave free tickets to prostitutes and they hung out in the "third tier," where men with an interest could find them out and enjoy them during the show. Society frowned on the third tier, and "respectable women" would not attend the theater because of it. The Park Theatre (where Fanny Elssler danced) was the first to clean up the third tier, changing its name to the Family Circle. Others reluctantly followed, eventually.

But the person who once and for all made theater squeaky clean was....P.T. Barnum, who deliberately pitched his events to women and families.

So when you buy a ticket to the Family Circle, do take a minute to think of what it was like in The Good Old Days. (I wonder what the Fourth Ring Society was like? :) )

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