Aging circus daredevil Gambini the Great has a hypnotic effect on the children of Walnut Grove, especially Albert and Willie. A tragedy during one of Gambini's stunts will provide a chilling lesson in hero worship.



(developed for television by), (based upon the series of books "Little House" by) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video



Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Carrie Ingalls (as Lindsay Sidney Greenbush)
Harriet Oleson (as Katherine MacGregor)
Melissa Francis ...
Cassandra Cooper Ingalls (as Missy Francis)
Brenda Turnbaugh ...
Wendi Turnbaugh ...


Daredevil Rudolpho Gambini is the headlining act for a traveling circus; his signature act is the "burning box," wherein bound and chained, he attempts to escape a burning coffin before being overcome by smoke and flames. However, the aging Gambini (aka Gambini the Great) no longer has the skills to escape the box as he once did; circus workers are forced to rescue Gambini. At the hospital, Gambini angrily rejects his family's plea to retire; when eldest son Stefano announces his intention to seek an education (rather than carry on the generations-old circus show), the elder Gambini tells him to get out. Younger son Marco keeps silent, but confides in Stefano that he too has no desire to be a circus performer. Weeks later, a fully recovered Gambini and his entourage arrive in Walnut Grove for a series of performances; Mrs. Olesen is the promoter and gleefully welcomes the show to town. After school, the children watch the Gambinis rehearse their act and the children are awestruck at ... Written by Brian Rathjen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

9 November 1981 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Albert the Great?
7 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Gambani is not a circus act. He's a dare devil that does dangerous stunts. And when he does one that almost takes his life, he tries to hand his legacy to his oldest son, but his son refuses and leaves. Now it's all up to his youngest, but he has some growing up to do. Meanwhile, Gambani will continue his shows, but without the coffin act...or will he?

When he enters Walnut Grove, many of the children are suddenly turned on by what appears to be raw adventure. But for Albert, he decides he wants to be the next Gambani. He's amazed to watch them riding on the trapeze and imagines him up there doing just that - without a net! Albert gets so affected, in fact, that he starts trying the stunts. Of course, Willie does also because it only lands him into a mess of trouble.

Unfortunately, Albert's head in the clouds gets him into serious trouble with his father, who is very, very, very unhappy with him. Charles lets it go until Albert risks his life for a stunt, then he forbids him to have anything to do with the show. But something happens that may just change everybody's mind!

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Caroline & Albert.. jkrc717-49-909095
Can someone tell me how the cast got along? Especially Karen Grassle.. jkrc717-49-909095
The Aftermath? trowbridge_nancy
Brown and Serve Rolls... lcook-4
The Stranger adestabeth
Doctor LeDoux hhanse57
Discuss Gambini the Great (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page