First of All!

Nobody Hangs a Bally Cloth Around the Top's Sides

 

First of all, nobody hangs a bally cloth around the top's sides. A bally cloth is what covers the supports and junk under the bally stage. It can also cover the inside stages. What hangs across the front of the show is a teaser curtain. It fills in the center horizontally, just enough so the marks on the midway can't see a free show in there, but they can see the heads of some of the performers, and all the legs and feet of the people in the show. Some operators hang their teaser a bit too high or too low, and ruin it for themselves when folks outside can stand there watching a good deal of the inside show.


Even a well-placed teaser can be hard-pressed to conceal something like a fire eating act, or a giant onstage. And yet, the tip does see enough that they want to come in for more...

 

A show with a teaser curtain isn't exactly closed-front, as parents outside should be able to keep tabs on their tykes' progress through the show, just watching below the curtain. But I've known frantic parents to lose track of their kids anyway and insist on coming in to look for them. I suspect that's more often than not a ploy to get a free look at the show themselves. I've had parents supposedly looking for kids, stop and ask questions about the displays or something onstage. I usually just reply that no, that isn't their kid. They generally get the message and go back to looking for the brat, using the red glow on their faces as a searchlight...

It's not too common to see a bally employing a sign language interpreter, despite the equal-access laws. However, my fertile imagination tells me that all you'd have to do would be to direct your bally to the kids. Talk to them on their level, without patronizing them. Tell them that if their parents really loved them, they'd buy them a sideshow ticket. Tell them they'll see inside all the stuff their parents filter out of their computers and video games, and if their parents won't let them come in, that's proof they really don't love them after all. Since it's obvious the parents are right there with the little bastards, the parents will get a laugh out of it, cause they think they see right through your tactic. They don't even consider that your message DID sink into those little thick skulls.

 

Try it sometime, and quit worrying about the bally cloths and teaser curtains.

-Meph
 


Photographs

1 - Lori, Jim and Josh on Bally Platform-notice red and white cloth around the platform.

2 - Teaser Curtain, allows people to see into the show but not the displays and performers.

 


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