Every artist dreams of painting their masterpiece. This is Emmett's.
Not the funniest gag in the circus world, but inarguably the best known and the one that resonated the strongest with 20th century American circus audiences. This gag was bigger than big, huger than huge and elevated Emmett into a whole different level of celebrity, one that tracended mere "circus star" (such as Clyde Beatty, Gunther Gebel-Williams or the Flying Wallendas) and made him a bona-fide household name.
Credit goes out not only to Emmett for creating and performing the gag but also to John Ringling North and his production team for knowing how to showcase it so well.
This clip is from the 1967 film THE CLOWN AND THE KIDS, made at the tail end of Emmett's circus career, so it may not be performed here precisely as audiences might have seen it in the late 40s or early 50s but it does provide us a valuable document of this important gag.