This circus song was supposed to be a badass military marching theme
Czech-born composer Julius Fucik was known for his love of military marches. So much so, he was the “Bohemian Sousa.”
The classically-trained music producer trained under such legendary composers as Antonín Dvo?ák and served in the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army with the “Austrian March King” Josef Wagner.
Fucik so loved to compose marches, he pretty much served in the Austrian military just to do that. By 1897 he had joined the Army twice in order to play music.
It was that same year, while in the 86th Infantry Regiment in Sarajevo that he composed “Einzug der Gladiatoren” — “Entrance of the Gladiators.”
What happened was his work was rearranged for a smaller band by Canadian Louis-Philippe Laurendeau in 1910, who called his version “Thunder and Blazes.”
Though no one knows just how and when the song first became inextricably linked with the circus or even which circus used it first, the fact is that the two are now culturally linked.
Both Laurendeau and Fucik died in 1916, never knowing their work become synonymous with the circus…instead of being battle anthems.