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Topic: Best freak show?
Message: Posted by: Doha Dealer (Oct 9, 2004 09:04AM)
What is the best ferak show that you have seen. I've only seen 2 - the Australian Freak show and Jim Rose Circus. I preferred Jim Rose - he is a great entertainer and really knows how to pump up the crowd.

The Aussies were good as well although in my view not in the same league. The crowd were pretty scary - it was at teh Edinburgh festival and a lot of them were wnat to be freaks or S&M fetishes. Not a good thing to take your girlfriend along to,

Is there anyone out there a show out there that tops Jim?
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Oct 9, 2004 02:36PM)
In spite of Rose's claims, and ignorant use of the word geek, his show has no relation to a real freak show. The freak shows were primarily made up of human anomalies, like the man with three legs(Lentini) and many others. What you see today is made up of what a real sideshow worker would call working acts. They were just fillers for the real show.
Message: Posted by: darkp0is3n (Oct 9, 2004 03:12PM)
Myself, I have never been a real big fan of Jim Rose, one of my friends showed me his recent DVD...not a really big fan at all. The best sideshow I have ever seen was kinda sorta part freakshow, The Bros. Grim Sideshow, I give them props, they know what they're doing, and they know how to sell it.
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Oct 9, 2004 06:30PM)
In my opinion, the best done sideshow today is probably Carnival Diablo. Based in Toronto, Scott has put together a very dark show with lots of flavor. He's worth a search. He is at least second generation, and holds the tradition well.
Message: Posted by: Barajista (Oct 10, 2004 09:20AM)
Well, I've only seen one. When I was in high school in NH, the local fall harvest fairs would have side shows. I had a chance to meet the Lobster man in his prime, before he went on to fame in The Big Book of Freaks, and his ultimate demise at the hand of his abused family members (if I remember correctly). Bizarre guy.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Oct 10, 2004 10:39AM)
The last real 10-in-one I saw was at the Hamilton County Fair in Cincinnati; part of a mini circus. Anomalies included a dwarf, the 'woman turning to stone,' and the 'penguin man.' The rest were working acts, though they did have a geriatric tattooed lady.

The law changed that year. There was a grind show (a fat man), and the 'exhibit' died of a heart attack.

After that incident, human oddity shows were outlawed (city, county or state, I'm not sure).

This has happened in several parts of the country, which means in some areas all you CAN see are working acts and 'self-made' freaks.

Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 10, 2004 01:36PM)
The old 'variety' Freak Shows at Coney in the 40's and 50's took all the cakes. Never been matched.

Bobby reynolds got his start there as a 'talker' among so many others that went on to other venues.

In ONE show I saw the Mule Faced Boy, The Turtle and Bear Girls (sisters), Francesco Lentini THE 3 Legged Man, The Alligator Man, The Armless Wonder, Magic, Illusions, A Midget Married Couple, Sword Swallower, Fire Eater, Dancing Girls and the blow off a genuine Half & Half...plus various hilarious pitches for all kinds of stuff. This was a SHOW!
Admission was .50 cents! Most got in for 1/2 price.
The Illustrated banner line was spectacular and stretched a city block...the Bally featured a Dwarf who would 'Fly' over the crowd (tip)...he never did though...the tip was turned at half price before he had to...:)

Todays stuff? Pathetic in comparison...though a couple of 'self-mades' do a decent turn.

Wish you were there. (But then you'ld be an old fart too...on the other hand you'ld really know what a Freak Show was all about.)
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Oct 10, 2004 03:11PM)
The show you saw was the first show I worked for. It was Cavalcade Variety Show,(Fred Sindell) and I worked with it for about five years. Bobby Reynolds did a little inside talking but primarily he was the magician. The banner, while beautiful was just the front of the building , with about 8 banners. If there was a levitating dwarf, I missed that somehow, and there was no place for rigging. Kokomo the mule faced Boy and Carl The Alligator Man were my best friends.
Slim Price
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 10, 2004 09:29PM)
The Levitating Dwarf was just a ruse that was used to cut the price... I saw many shows in that building...my Mother would wait outside all that time!
Later as I got old enough to go to Coney by myself I would visit the show.

Were you there when (Carl?) was across the street as a 10 cent single-O? Now that's a memory. There was a big Ant Eater in the window.
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Oct 10, 2004 11:54PM)
I know the dwarf bit. Most of the time we used the "Cross Escape" to hold the tip. Carl worked for Rosen.(up the street from us towards Nathan's.) For a while I went with one of Rosen's dancers, named Beth She also worked as cashier for Rosen's Single O Which was a Tapir for a while. You might not know this but ALL Tapirs are freak animals due to a genetic anomaly that effects their feet!
Ah, sideshows! <G> Rosen's star at that time was Betty Lou Williams. To the best of my memory(?) this was between 1949 and about 1954.
Message: Posted by: oscarquella (Oct 11, 2004 08:08AM)
I'm too young to have seen any sideshow. All I can do now is go to some Ripley's type place. I do remember as a little kid seeing the girl to gorilla and feeling totally ripped off. Over the summer I went (from my home in MN) to Coney Island, Johnny Fox's, and Dick Horne's place out east and they were all fantastic. Right now I'm building a still show myself, so ask me in a couple of years who I think is the best!
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Oct 11, 2004 02:50PM)
Seeing, or being part of the old shows was/is just an accident of chronology and in my personal case a bit of luck. There are things happening now that in 60 years or so that will seem awesome to many... Think about this, You were born in the last century and your life spanned a Millenium... You can tell that to YOUR Grandchildren! Remember, when you come to a fork in the road, take it <G> ( Y Berra)
Message: Posted by: Utah Showmen (Oct 11, 2004 06:48PM)
Hi All,

I have to agree with Slim and Doug, the old shows with there combination of performance and human Anomalies. With their Great Bannerlines and live Bally.

There are a few show on the road today that stand that test of time. Carnival Diablo and Ken Harck Bros. Grim. Are both a most see.

I was recently informed that part of Ward Hall and Chris Christ, World of Wonders sold, so you might want to pay close attention to see if a new show is being framed on the West Coast.

Wishing you the best,
Message: Posted by: darkp0is3n (Oct 11, 2004 09:06PM)
I saw the bros. grim sideshow, twice, I absolutely loved it both times. I just got done reading a book about Howard Bone and his amazing life through sideshows. It is titled "SIDE SHOW: My life with Geeks, Freaks, and Vagaonds in the Carny Trade" It was a very great book. Pretty soon, I should be getting Step Right Up in, I can't wait to stick my nose into that.
Message: Posted by: DamienT98 (Oct 17, 2004 12:16PM)
I once went to a place which had a tent and a sign saying "Inside, a 180lb man eatting Chicken" another sign saying, "If you don't see this inside you get your money back"

Inside was a 180 lb guy with a KFC bucket on his lap.

It was great.
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Oct 17, 2004 02:16PM)
Another favorite "Single O" is "THE GIANT KENTUCKY BAT!" an oversize Louisville(s?) slugger...
Message: Posted by: DamienT98 (Oct 17, 2004 02:31PM)
Hehe, that was the tent next door.. :)
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Oct 17, 2004 02:44PM)
In the UK
The fall of Greece (A lit candle).
The invisible man (An empty chair).
The Great Wall of China (A stack of cups in a row).

For "real" Mr & Mrs T Thumb.
The Scottish Giant.
Smallest Horse in the world.
Ruby the fat lady
Foot artist (Armless girl paints with her toes)etc etc.
No ten in ones but plenty of walkround singles.
Message: Posted by: Rotten (Sep 7, 2013 05:56PM)
As a nod to Slim I'm bumping this to the top. He was the first helpful friend in side show I made when I was a young man.
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Sep 9, 2013 12:47AM)
The Congress of the United States.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Sep 9, 2013 05:16AM)
They're called Sideshow and Clowns too much, which just goes to show the level of ignorance among the name-callers.

Most clowns are more compassionate, and sideshows are far more organized. They also do an honest show.
Message: Posted by: Jim Hand (Sep 9, 2013 08:28AM)
Not to insult my friends that are clowns or sideshow performers , I use BABOONS when talking about congressmen....

I hope PETA doesn't consider that animal abuse.....
Message: Posted by: Stephon (Sep 9, 2013 10:37AM)
Holy crap, this thread is almost 10 years old. The time goes so quickly.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Sep 9, 2013 12:13PM)
Just for you, Stephon!