Like Everything in History Sideshows have Evolved


Like everything else in history sideshows have evolved. Remember that P T Barnum first presented his oddity attractions (Joice Heth) and then Signor Vivaldi (Juggler) and later Eng and Chang (Siamese twins) and Tom Thumb.  In hotel "parlor rooms" and music halls, which were the saloons of the day. So, bar shows with sideshow attractions are not new, just re-invented.


I think it's great.


They reach a segment of the vast American population, who usually would not encounter a ten in one (performing) sideshow at a fair. Sixty five to seventy years ago there were about I04 ten in one sideshows in the U S. Every circus and carnival (except carnival picnic units owned a sideshow of their own, while the largest carnivals could attract about twenty independently owned sideshows.


There were "sideshows" ie; a tented show with a line of ten or more banners presenting human freaks and novelty acts.


At that time on large carnivals the industry could count about twenty (all but 2) owned by the carnivals big musical revues with live orchestra, a line of chorus girls, comics singers, novelty acts. The large shows would have 30 to 40 performers all white people. They were not referred to as sideshows. They were "Girl Shows" the same big carnivals would also have a carnival owned similar show with all black people. Most had a larger cast than the white shows. These revues were financially subsidized by the carnival companies the black show was referred to as "Jig Shows" not a sideshow.


In that same time era there were over 400 dancing girl "cooch" shows. Then there were "trained Monkey shows" and "monkey speedways' and monkey motordromes" all shows that took from 50 to 25 foot for their spread.


There were so many shows "Wild West, Hawaiian, South American Rhumba, Illusion 10 in ones, magic shows, Water shows with synchronized girl swimmers and high divers etc;


There were altogether about five hundred assorted shows presented on carnivals. Plus over 1000 Single-O shows (a single attraction such as fat girl or a freak animal or human alive) AND THEN THERE WERE THE GRIND SHOWS, OF WHICH THERE ARE STILL ABOUT 50 AROUND.


Only the ten in one show with freaks and working acts were and are SIDE SHOWS.


The people who talked in front of Single-O or Grind Shows are "GRINDERS".


The bally shows had Talkers.


At the same era there were about 40 tented circuses in America big and small, all of who had a sideshow which on the circus may be referred to as KID SHOW, because the main circus performance was the BIG show.


Anyone interested in the rise and decline of carnival shows should read


"A Pictorial History Of The American Carnival" by Joe Mc Kennon.


And the several history books on individual carnivals by Bob Golsack, Greenhills Books, Randolph Center Vermont.


 In conclusion Hall and Christ don't operate a true "Sideshow" It is a combination of ten in one illusion show, sideshow, and oddity museum.


To every one: Stay well and remember the magic words: Make money.


Ward Hall


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