"The band started in on 'The March of the Gladiators'"

The Circus Procession (1888)
Public DomainThe Circus Procession (1888) - Credit: McLoughlin Bros, Inc.
Entrance of the Gladiators (1897) was composed by the Czech Julius Fucik.  Its popularity as a 'screamer march', designed to stir up a crowd and popular in circuses, grew from 1910, after Canadian Louis-Phillipe Laurendeau arranged it for a small band under the title Thunder and Blazes.  Today it is instantly reminiscent of the circus, particularly the entrance of clowns, and has been used and adapted for TV, film and variety shows.  Its simple core melody makes it a popular tune for instrumental teaching, particularly on piano, where it is often known simply as The Clowns' March.

The music has also been transcribed for fairground organ, although it is still occasionally performed in its original form at concerts of popular classical music.