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KN_Magic
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As some of you may know this year is the 60th anniversary of VE day.
(and yes that is when you Yanks came and helped us out with a spot of bother we'd got ourselves into- thought I'd get that in first).

Now I'm not sure if any of you have been around long enough to remember wartime sideshows, but what effect if any did the war have on the circus and the sideshow. I'm sure the effect would have been enormous on travelling shows in europe.

Also does anyone know what were the big attractions then and what 'games' etc were used to relieve the civilian of his cash when money was tight, or take money from the serviceman who was on leave, full of bravado and beer.

Kevin
My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - it gives a lovely light!
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Slim Price
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1935 - 2006
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Although it was more Victorian in flavor, the Chicago Exposition (1893) was the birth of the sideshows... In the 30s the shows were very much as they were up to the mid sixties. In The 40s, when I started with the shows, all of the parts of the shows were in place, primarily exhibiting freaks, and filling in the 10-in-1 pattern with working acts, fire swords, a magician, and other "self-made" exhibits. I do not have a sense that the war had much effect on American shows, and I can't speak for Europe.
The games have always been the same as you see today, but with less electronics. My Mother and Father both worked in the 30s He was in the US Navy during the war, until he was wounded.
Slim
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"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"
KN_Magic
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Thanks for the reply Slim, I'd hoped you'd post back.

It was my personal feeling that probably nothing substantial would have changed, just a bit of window dressing.
I saw reference to a pin-ball machine which had been given a new facade and renamed (a very politically incorrect) 'Slap the Jap'. I guess shooting galleries at fairs might have had more of a war theme too?

My guess is also that the Nazis would have been VERY against 'freaks' or 'human mutants', and this would have a had a strong impact on this side of the atlantic.

I think it's time to stick my hand in my pocket and buy some of the sideshow history books mentioned on this forum (rather than solely relying on the excellent living, evolving history we have here). This is what I like about the entire performing arts/sideshow/magic thing. It's being part of a continuing, evolving history that dates back centuries. In my own small way I'm helping keep it alive for future generations. This is very different from my current 'day job' which is high-tech, high-throughput, and disposable.

Thanks,
Kevin.
My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - it gives a lovely light!
Edna St. Vincent Millay
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