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Todd Robbins
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V.I.P.
New York
2902 Posts

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Here I go again. I would like to start up a list of working acts and attractions of the sideshow. The reason for this is that so many performers are doing the same handful of acts. There are many traditional acts that have been over looked. This list might give performers ideas for expanding their repertoire. Here are some. Please feel free to add to them:

Punch & Judy
Knife Throwing
Tattooing
Glass Blowing
Musical Glasses
Whip Cracking
Rag Pictures
Smoke Pictures
Sand Pictures
Lightning Calculations
Writing Upside Down & Backwards
Two Person Code Mindreading
Fighting Lion Act
Strong Man Act
Wire Walking
Hawaiian Music Act
Contortion Act (including the rarely seen Front Bending)
Escapology
Human Ostrich
Doug Higley
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V.I.P.
Here and There
7168 Posts

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The Man with Two Faces (just make a few ugly faces)
Spidora
Decapitated Princess
Blade Box
Sword Stairs
Headless Woman
Strange Exhibit
X-Ray Eyes
Dancing Chicken
Trained Dog
Higley's Doug's Museum
drwilson
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Inner circle
Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

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Flea Circus
Glass Walking (not really overlooked)
Learned Pig, Mind Reading Dog, etc.
Crucifixion (variant of suspension) - see Ricky Jay's Journal of Anomalies
Walking on the Ceiling - see Ricky Jay's Journal of Anomalies
Doug Higley
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V.I.P.
Here and There
7168 Posts

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Baby Chick Circus
Dancing Mice Circus
1/2 'n 1/2 (There's a lot of those around!)
Bow & Arrow act
Cross Bow act
Shooting Act
Plate Spinner
TRAINED World's Smallest Horse (does tricks)
Higley's Doug's Museum
drwilson
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Inner circle
Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

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Piano Playing Chicken

I saw this in a tourist trap in central PA in the mid-1980s. The chicken is in a glass-fronted cage with a toy piano and a nice painted backdrop like a Victorian parlor. You put two quarters in the slot in the front, then a light flashes and a bell rings, then the chicken plays the piano. It's a Skinner box and the chicken has learned that pecking at the keys gives a grain reward after a few minutes.

So, with the price of performers these days...

Yours,

Paul
Doug Higley
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V.I.P.
Here and There
7168 Posts

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But DON'T EAT THE TALENT!
Higley's Doug's Museum
Todd Robbins
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V.I.P.
New York
2902 Posts

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I saw a piano playing chicken. It had only one leg...'cause a chicken that special you don't eat all at once.

I should also ad to the list the pick out/educated horse or dog or pig. That's a great act that is rarely seen.
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

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The Six Foot Man Eating Chicken

Steve

Cigarette Fiend

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Harley Newman
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Inner circle
5105 Posts

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Magic
mind-reading
fortune-telling
seances
charicatures
lightbulb and razorblade eating
snake-swallowing
snake-charming
lightening-fast sculptures
sword-balancing
strongman acts
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Daniel Santos
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Special user
562 Posts

Profile of Daniel Santos
Quote:
On 2005-03-13 18:40, Dr_Stephen_Midnight wrote:
The Six Foot Man Eating Chicken

Steve


I remember hearing about that when I was much younger...it was a school field trip to the Barnum Museum. I think that's one of the best! Smile I used to like seeing the 'Fiji Mermaid' on display there too...haven't been there forever.
If it is to be, it is up to me.
Slim Price
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Inner circle
1935 - 2006
1326 Posts

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Giant Kentucky bat. Hehee
Boiling alive.
Molten metal acts
Bare hand fish and egg cooking
Buried alive
bare hand fire-eating, sans torch
Slim
sanscan@tds.net



"I will never bitter be, as long as I can laugh at me!"



"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
Doug Higley
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V.I.P.
Here and There
7168 Posts

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The Dark Museum







:)
Higley's Doug's Museum
Slim Price
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Inner circle
1935 - 2006
1326 Posts

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Human pincushion
Human ashtray
Human dartboard
stapling
Crucifiction
stigmata
sanscan@tds.net



"I will never bitter be, as long as I can laugh at me!"



"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
The Village Idiots
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Elite user
Orlando
464 Posts

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The man that was raised by a man who was raised by a pack of wolves...
Some are born idiots.

Some are made idiots.

Some have idiocy thrust upon them.
Doug Higley
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V.I.P.
Here and There
7168 Posts

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Harley: "lightening-fast sculptures"

What was that one about??? And how presented?

Doug
Higley's Doug's Museum
Harley Newman
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Inner circle
5105 Posts

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I've only seen it once, on a corner in Las Vegas, but I've heard it was done in some old shows. It's quick-study miniature busts of people, in clay, which are, of course, for sale. Lots of fun to watch.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Doug Higley
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V.I.P.
Here and There
7168 Posts

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Cool...I've had that idea bouncing around for awhile....with a twist. Smile
Send me a photo and I'll make YOU (or anyone) as a Shrunken Head!
Todd's photo would be perfect. I think I'll experiment a bit..hehehe.

Thanks.
Doug
Higley's Doug's Museum
Todd Robbins
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V.I.P.
New York
2902 Posts

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The lightning sculpture act was also done in Vaudeville. There's a film from the 1930s that has a short segment of the act. It was done in the sideshow by a performer that was a native American or appeared that way. I can't remember the name.

On a related note, Milt Larsen has a room in his office that has shelves floor to ceiling filled with film cans that has footage of old Vaudevillians doing there acts. There is a TON of great material in those films just waiting to be rediscovered. Bill Irwin did it and has made a nice career out of resurrecting old material. Any one else willing to work hard could do it to.

Todd Robbins
The Laziest Man in Show Business.

PS: That should answer why I haven't taken my own advice.
tim_mantis
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Regular user
UK
117 Posts

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Girl in the goldfish bowl
Pepper's ghost e.g. man to Frankenstein's monster/werewolf
Girl entombed in water/living mermaid
Living half-lady
Electra
Flower girl (Spidora)

And to see a presentation of an original british 1950s fairground girl in the goldfish bowl, come and see us at this year's Visual Delights weekend at the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield! http://www.shef.ac.uk/nfa/news/vd3booking.htm

cheers

Tim
Slim Price
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Inner circle
1935 - 2006
1326 Posts

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The Indian worked at the same time I did with Wanous. He had a ball of modeling clay about as big as two fists and would mold it into several figures, animals and such. I don't remember him having any patter at all.I don't recall his name. either, but I did see a reference to him somewhere... Probably Ward knows.
Slim
sanscan@tds.net



"I will never bitter be, as long as I can laugh at me!"



"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
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