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leapinglizards
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I've done several searches, but thought I'd try a quick post and turn it over to all you carnies out there.

Is there a good archive of traditional, historic, side show banners?

Also, any books you suggest that discuss side show and carnie life and/or that might have pics of the old authentic banners?
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Harley Newman
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There are a couple of books on banners that come up regularly on that popular e selling site, that we're not allowed to mention here.

"Freaks, Geeks, and Strange Girls" and "Fred G. Johnson Sideshow Banners" are two of the best.

Periodically there are banners for sale there (not just ones that are 3' square and designed to hang over your sofa). You could drag and drop some of the images into your own e-collection.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Doug Higley
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Actually Harley...the Original 3ft Banners were designed to hang outside my little Grind Show! (These days sofas yes). But when I first came up with a tiny show idea I designed up some 3x5 and 2x3 ft. banners and had Frierson paint them for me. I could be wrong but I think these were (at least amongst) the first mini banners for actual use. I then made a bunch of my own (I think Vince Carmen still has some of those).

I do think it was Mark Frierson though who did the first ones (from my dopey idea and designs). His subsequent small banners were REALLY nice and the size became a sot of standard for the wannabees to paint up.

Just for the record.

These days the crap that is of that size is legion.

And Harley...you ARE allowed to mention eBay here just not post a link. (Auction Links go away or become useless but the Café is forever you see)
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Harley Newman
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Hmmm. Among other things for which I've had posts removed, mentioning that place was one.

Are the little banners there yours, Mark's? They don't look like Mark's work to me, but then, what do I know?
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Doug Higley
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I speak from direct input from STEVE BROOKS. Mentioning eBay is fine. It is the direct link to the item that is frowned on. Some posts may have been removed by mistaken instructions from the BIG MAN.

What little banners are you reffering to?
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Harley Newman
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If one searches with "circus" and "sideshow" as keywords, there's usually a whole line of banners, little vinyl things, and matching pillows, and sometimes even handbags. Not practical for work, but fine, I guess, for hobby collectors, and people who want to appear artsy.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Doug Higley
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Nah...Friersons small banners were instantly copied...well maybe not instantly but the wannabees came out of the wood work.
His WERE show used and useful as were the ones I did.

Years ago he had a 'show' at a Gallery in LA and there were a bunch of them Really nice. I had a few but long since into the great mix in the sky when I got broke-ish. Smile

Mine were not nearlly as good as his...andf were mostly done for favors to customers.
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mota
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My recommendations from my small shelf:

The Last Sideshow by Hanspeter Schneider.

Inside the Live Reptile Tent by Brouws and Caron.

Freak: Sideshow Banner Art by Hammer and Bosker.

Any and all of the Shocked and Amazed issues you can get.

Step Right Up by Daniel Mannix.

Nightmare Alley by Gresham (book, adult comic, or movie are all good).

Secrets of the Sideshows by Joe Nickell.
mota
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One other book...I forgot about it as I had loaned it out and through a Festivus miracle I got it back.

WITH IT by Barbara Bamberger Scott is a book about a couple with a taco stand they ran for colleges and other events (they didn't even know it is called a grab joint). They go to a fair and do well so decide to hit the road in 1976.

Overall a very good read and an accurate description of life as a carny on the road.
T-RAY
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Has everyone forgot http://www.sideshowworld.com ? Check there for tons of pictures and info on sideshow banners.
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