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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Considering a Sideshow (26 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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0wen
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Hello,

I've relatively recently added some 'bizarre magic' routines - only in the past year, but enjoying the presentation of such. As a result, considering adding some elements of an old style sideshow (girl in a fishbowl, half lady, girl to gorilla/werewolf, etc). Just wondering (and sure there is) if anyone if performing this as a pop-up/traveling show as opposed to a stationary set? I have a local prop builder putting some stuff together for a seance/mentalism/psychic act (a pretty innovative PK-ish table imo; I'll post info on it once it's complete). Original concept was for a spook style show - some mentalism/spook magic themed around a sideshow atmosphere - gypsies and such for card reading... you get the idea.

I'm adding some Higley 'Zibits' soon, not for this show initially, but they may become part of it(?); but currently perform a medicine show and flea circus which partially helped shape the idea of the new show. Maybe campy - envisioning a 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' sort of offering - possibly/probably only around Halloween season with the potential to expand outward.

Anyway... after all that rambling, I guess I'm just looking for thoughts/feedback/experiences with these 'illusions.' Like anything, just a tool to hang your story on I imagine. I guess I'm hoping to hear positive results from others before I dump the $$$ into fabrication and such...

Thanks
Al Desmond
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Secret Mountain Lair in Conifer, Co
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Owen

You might consider posting your comment on the "Believe it or not ... " forum.

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......23&33837

This forum deals with carnival/sideshow topics and there are a lot of experts on that forum what have been involved in sideshows for many years.
weepinwil
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USA
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Quote:
On Feb 12, 2020, Al Desmond wrote:
Owen

You might consider posting your comment on the "Believe it or not ... " forum.

https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......23&33837

This forum deals with carnival/sideshow topics and there are a lot of experts on that forum what have been involved in sideshows for many years.


Thanks Al.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
weepinwil
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Quote:
On Feb 11, 2020, 0wen wrote:
Hello,

I've relatively recently added some 'bizarre magic' routines - only in the past year, but enjoying the presentation of such. As a result, considering adding some elements of an old style sideshow (girl in a fishbowl, half lady, girl to gorilla/werewolf, etc). Just wondering (and sure there is) if anyone if performing this as a pop-up/traveling show as opposed to a stationary set? I have a local prop builder putting some stuff together for a seance/mentalism/psychic act (a pretty innovative PK-ish table imo; I'll post info on it once it's complete). Original concept was for a spook style show - some mentalism/spook magic themed around a sideshow atmosphere - gypsies and such for card reading... you get the idea.

I'm adding some Higley 'Zibits' soon, not for this show initially, but they may become part of it(?); but currently perform a medicine show and flea circus which partially helped shape the idea of the new show. Maybe campy - envisioning a 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' sort of offering - possibly/probably only around Halloween season with the potential to expand outward.

Anyway... after all that rambling, I guess I'm just looking for thoughts/feedback/experiences with these 'illusions.' Like anything, just a tool to hang your story on I imagine. I guess I'm hoping to hear positive results from others before I dump the $$$ into fabrication and such...

Thanks


I did the grind show once and used a darken tent with a light. Played very well and spooky.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
WitchDocChris
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York, PA
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Also look into Freddie Valentine.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Boffo eBook: https://tinyurl.com/387sxkcd
0wen
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Thanks, will look into all of the above and check out the other forum.

I have a pocket zibit in the mail and a full size in the works; will read up in the other areas and see what I come up with...
belotte
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I know where you can get a hand of glory for your show: http://monkeyfish.design

:-)
Mazerate
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Innisfil Canada
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Hello Owen. Unfortunately my timing reading your post is very poor. I am located in Barrie Ontario (just north of Toronto) and I used to get my regular magic routines at Morresy, and Browsers den. I have moved on from regular magic and like you have a flea circus with flea and insect museum https://www.facebook.com/fleacircus.canada.

I am also expanding my séance show to run from 25 minute to three 45 minute shows.... so one could return 3 time without seeing the same routine.

The reason I say my reading your post was poorly timed is Morresey magic in Toronto has closed. I had a contact there that had introduced me to a book on the turn of the century sideshows. In it were the original plans, and also modern concepts and more portable versions. I remember thinking to get a copy for reference material only, but alas can not remember the name of the publication. He was a collector of all things sideshow.

I would suggest trying some google searches for the publication. It is at least 12 years old, but does exist. I clearly remember the book, as during our meeting that day, I bought a photograph of Jack Dempsey as a ticket seller and talker "Ballyhooing" a crowd and selling tickets. Again I have a strange affliction for the side show, and what it has offered to so many.
Gerald Blankenship
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Lake O The Pines Texas
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I too have an affliction for the side show I had some great gaffs and still have some. You also speak of illusions probably on the bizarre side of routines. I am sure you would prefer something with a good impact that is easy to move from site to site. The old style French arm Chopper comes to mind I am sure you have heard of it. I have an old one in my collection made in the 70's by UF Grant. They are still being produced and not real expensive I think you can get one for around $200.00. Also knife through arm is very good, The very best one ever made is by Amazing Jonathan although he is retired you can get one from him also around $200.00 these are not cheap made items the blade is stainless steel and the gaff works smoothly and is adjustable. The blood gaff works real easy and can be modified to fit your hand. He supplies a video tutorial for best results. Also Large Guillotine for head chop is very good. Electric Chair is an old great side show attraction. I could go on and on but I have already rambled too much. I wish you luck on this venture you are partaking and I am sure many more folks here know more about this than I do.
I don't understand all I know about this
Todd Robbins
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What’s a sideshow?
weepinwil
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I once did a grind show with a Higley Mer and it was a great money maker and lots of fun to do as a one off show.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
61magic
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Sacramento California
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Post is a more than a year old but if anyone else is looking at doing the same thing. Plans for a lot of the old sideshow exhibits can be found by searching for Plans by Brill, Abbott's had put all their sideshow plans into a single book, and Osborne has a book on his collection of sideshow illusions.
All great resources and most till offer a thrill to the audience.
Professor J. P. Fawkes
Philemon Vanderbeck
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As the pandemic slowly becomes under control to the point where live entertainment can carefully resume, a walk-through sideshow is definitely one thing that would work. You could control the flow of guests and keep everything properly socially distanced. In fact, the excuse of social distance would keep the punters the right distance away to have a more difficult time seeing how the gaffes work.

That being said, I would love to see illusions that border in the liminal space between the real and the unbelievable. For example, I don't know how many folks would believe in a living head supported by swords but put that head on top of a nearly skeletal body, and I think you might have folks questioning their sanity. Body horror is prevalent in horror movies (or at least it used to be). In fact, I could see a modern sideshow heavily influenced by the Saw movie franchise aesthetic, with rusty mechanisms and devices that look like something a psychopath constructed in their home garage.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
reese
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of Hell
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Quote:
On May 8, 2021, Todd Robbins wrote:
What’s a sideshow?

On the new Criterion release of the movie Nightmare Alley there's a wonderful supplement on the history of the sideshow that will answer your question. That guy really knows what he's talking about.
Todd Robbins
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Quote:
On May 25, 2021, reese wrote:
Quote:
On May 8, 2021, Todd Robbins wrote:
What’s a sideshow?

On the new Criterion release of the movie Nightmare Alley there's a wonderful supplement on the history of the sideshow that will answer your question. That guy really knows what he's talking about.


I’ll have to look at that thing.
13
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My favorite was "Girl to Gorilla."

CALL HER "ZAMBORA"
She will slowly and VISIBLY change.
A beautiful girl turns into a 500-pound savage beast!

Plans can be found here: http://goodmagic.com/websales/brill_girl_gorilla/index.htm
13
Dr. O
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Thanks for the interesting link 13!
pulpscrypt
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I can remember seeing the girl to gorilla at a traveling circus that used to show up near my home every summer for a week near where I grew up.

My first knowledge of it was when a huge crowd burst out of the tent screaming! LOL

I went back numerous times that week.

Began a lifetime love of Pepper's Ghost effect that continues to this day.

Years later saw Todd Robbins do it as the blow off for his Carnival Knowledge" show and that same awe and wonder was re-inspired

Recommend Stienmeyer's book on the subject.
magic259
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You can see the Girl to Gorilla effect in the James Bond movie - Diamonds Are Forever......the scene is about 48 minutes into the film.
weepinwil
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Quote:
On May 27, 2021, magic259 wrote:
You can see the Girl to Gorilla effect in the James Bond movie - Diamonds Are Forever......the scene is about 48 minutes into the film.


I saw the girl to gorilla the morning after a drinking spell a couple times.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
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