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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Circus/Carny Lingo - mostly lost in translation (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

rossmacrae
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Inner circle
Arlington, Virginia
2442 Posts

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If you've heard the latest BALLYCAST PODCAST you know that my list of carny/circus/vaudeville slang is the foundation of my work in studying the carnival and sideshow.

And, as mentioned in this episode (link above) of the podcast, I was recently called by a researcher for the PBS documentary series CIRCUS - actually for the website supporting the series. She asked about circus slang and how it reflected the nature of the circus as an insular workaday world, and the hazards of the several professions involved.

I finally saw on the website what she had drawn from our conversation, and it's ... well, it's OK but I'd hate to have the quality of my research judged solely by your reading of the result. It's HERE.

There's interpolated material I wouldn't want attributed to me, but overall it's sorta OK. What do you think?
Todd Robbins
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V.I.P.
New York
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That's a fine intro to the subject. It is great that you are referred to as the authority on this.
rossmacrae
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Inner circle
Arlington, Virginia
2442 Posts

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Thank you, Todd.

But don't you think it (wrongly) conflates the worlds of the circus and the sideshow?

Can't say I'm comfortable seeing them cite things like "Fireball - A traveling circus that earns a reputation for swindling patrons or having overall dishonest policies..." Since when did acrobats and lion tamers swindle anyone?

True, the candy pitch inside the tent may have been spurious, but for the most part any really bad rep came from low standards out on the midway.
Todd Robbins
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V.I.P.
New York
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When Ward was on the Dailey Bros. show the two staterooms on the circus train were for the guy who ran the nut mob and the guy who ran the broad mob. The grift is what often kept the show out on the road.

This documentary follows the Big Apple Circus, the most Sunday school of all the Sunday school shows.

I wouldn't worry about a few references to the darker side of the industry.
Roslyn
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Inner circle
UK
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I think a few refs to the darker side get the lay public's attention. There's not all that much about that stuff though, so I wouldn't worry. It reads well. I don't dislike it Smile
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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Circus/Carny Lingo - mostly lost in translation (0 Likes)
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