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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Looking for old Freakshow gaffs (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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T-RAY
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2 headed animals.......chupacabra.......pickled things..........deformities.......
FacadeTheStiltBoy
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Well you most definatly came to the right place.

Ses Carney makes them, I forget the site name and so does Doug Higley.

Or are you looking for the really old ones? You might look on sideshowworld.com as well for those.
handa
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I've had great luck on eBay with a bunch of curiosities.

My main pieces are all Higleys. Do a search here at The Magic Café and read about his handiwork.

Chris
abigkahuna
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You can do no wrong with a Higley "creation."
handa
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Since T-Ray just scored a Jenny Haniver that has promise if the photos are half as good as the gaff off of eBay and somebody else asked me via PM:

We've adopted the "if it can be found, somebody is listing it on eBay" policy when looking for props and parts. Type in the name of the item you are looking for and you may be surprised. I also do some searches under more generic headings, such as feejee, side show, sideshow, side show gaff, shrunken head, taxidermy, pickled punk, etc.

Quite a few showmen list and/or buy via eBay regularly. Mark Frierson, James Taylor, Ward Hall, DeathCheez, Fiendish Curiosities, and a several others have popped up on my screen while doing an eBay search.

One last thought, and this works well too: try typing something with a .com, net, or org in your browser and see what happens. We've also found a few companies and individuals via this method. Example: woodenboxes.com was one random stab that helped me to identify a potential supplier for pirate chests and other items.

Chris

P.S.--T-Ray, congrats on winning the auction...Kaymarr
ssucahyo
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Yes Ray, you email Doug at LionPoint@nethere.com
I have his Dark MUseum set, all satisfied me and look real and eery.

Cheers,
CC
Creator of the "High Voltage Gimmick" and Shaman's spirit table
https://youtu.be/Rlgl4CzUa98

IG: @affordable_illusions_magic
T-RAY
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Thanks Chris! I was after that one big time.
handa
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Mark Frierson has some nice stuff up on eBay at present. He lists things at very reasonable opening bid/BIN prices. He's also selling some stuff [independently] from his private collection that is very interesting and likely "not sellable on eBay due to the nature and origin of the item(s)."

I also saw some vintage Homer Tate pieces from a couple of different folk. I believe that those are still listed as well.

Happy Hunting!

Chris
Doug Higley
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The Tate stuff I saw on ebay was WAY...I mean WAY out of line on price. Useful as collectables for your private collection only as they won't pass the eye of todays show goer.

I didn't see Mark's latest stuff...he's been unavailable lately to his buddies trying to contact him...so thanks for the tip that he didn't croak!
Keep in mind when buying stuff from eBay the showability factor. At least Frierson is not one of the legion of wannabees who are clueless as to how or what to show.

Also I have priced items based on their ability to garner an income for the buyer. Paying a lot for a wannabees piece that is no more than a shelf item in your living room should be considered carefully. If your a collector...go for it. If your a showman/woman or wish to be, use your head and go with those that know what it's all about.

Mark Frierson and I go back a long ways and after Tate left the scene...we were IT and paid our dues...then the internet came along and Mark's and My stuff became visible to the outside world for the 1st time and the copycats and wannabees came out of the woodwork. I don't mind if it's good stuff and the wannabees have a base in the outdoor showbiz or at least some respect for the history and legasy.

Mark has used eBay for a long time and on this he and I split opinions. I feel that those who buy my stuff deserve a semblance of uniqeness and secrecy and unseen by the public untill they pay you their admission. That after all, IS the business. Getting the admission for an unusual object they never saw before or didn't even know existed or could exist. eBay to me is a huge public free show, so I choose to lose the business rather than give away the reason people buy my stuff in the first place. Even though it is my sole means to a living, I prefer the exclusivity factor over the readily available. Just my opinion but it's done me in good stead so far. There may come a day when I'll change my mind and sell to those who recognise the name...merely an art piece for collectors and nostalgia buffs who remember when a 'Higley' meant the piece to have for Sideshow.

There are those to whom eBay is a great resource, especially for the Haunt biz...as Handa can attest...while my work is in many Haunts across the country...the Zibits are mainly created for the showman/woman to make an income...so that's why I'm not on eBay...and remain pretty much exclusive to the show community mostly through The Magic Café. In order to find The Phantom Of The Midway...one just needs to know where to look. Smile
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T-RAY
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Doug, I saw one of your pieces sold in an auction in Seattle last week. It went for much more than you charge for a new one!
Doug Higley
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Not surprised...wouldn't be the first time I don't think.
I know somebody bought one at auction that was said to be mine...but it wasn't. How about that...Fake gaffs...kind of an oxymoron...but I think it wasn't intentional, they just thought it was one of mine. Best way to tell is get me a picture. I can recognize my own quirks and misdirections that others don't notice.

As to price, more power to 'em I guess...my prices have been about the same for as long as I can remember, I think the early 1980's...they go up and down by about $50 sometimes but that's about it. I try to price so that a showman can make the cost back the first time out...some do and some don't and some triple it or even better.

I remember when I first got into it, a gaff was about $700 and WAY up to infinity. I could never afford the ones I saw for sale so I made one for my own use...almost immediately somebody bought the darn thing and we were off to the races. That was around $300 or so and I've kept it about the same price give or take.
The thing is, a Single-O at the time was thought to have to be a spectacular piece...not just a dopey Mermaid or little tiny Mummy...you needed a bunch of gaffs to frame a viable show. That's what I brought to the table and am most proud of...a way, a method, a plan to show a single smaller piece like a mermaid successfully as a Single-O and not have to go overboard with a 10 Headed Horse or a truckload of exhibits...also How-To take advantage of a new Midway...The Flea Markets which took a whole new way of doing things to make work. That original method blossomed over the years and is all detailed in the How-To these days and still works like a charm as is proven every weekend by somebody somewhere. It's my How-To that changed the business for a lot of people, reawakened a dying tradition and opened the door for many many folks to become showmen/women all over the world. Together We proved that a simple concept and a single small exhibit can bring in the $ and compete with much bigger shows IF done a certain way...breaking all the rules and using pure psychology on EXACTLY what you say on the banners. Few words, HUGE impact. (as long as they are the RIGHT words.) I identified many of the mistakes that were being made for years...the crowds and venues changed, the shows hadn't. There are MANY little secrets in the How-To that gives the edge to the showman/woman...that coupled with a low cost to get in the game and the grindshows began to blossom again and could be seen coast to coast and even in other countries where the concept still works like a charm.

Fun Fun Fun

Higley
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Utah Showmen
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Doug

On the 6th and the 21st the Pacific Auction Gallery had two of your pieces at auction. I don't know what the final price was but they had an Atomic Fish and
a Mer.

The items came from a retired showman and a collector.

I have pixs on Sideshow World in The Other Side of the Midway Section.
Under the Gallery.

John
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Doug Higley
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Thanks John. How exciting! What a great collection. I think the 'pygmy mud man' is a Frierson and dated rather incorrectly hahaha. Yes the mer and AF were my 'things'. The mermaid looks like a style I made in the 90's (tail up)...Fish looked cool! Smile
I don't remember either one specifically though and who they went to...would love to know! Also would be a kick to know what they went for! Who was the 'retired showman'??? I think I might know though...I'm stating to remember that Fish...if it's the guy I'm thinking of, he's not exactly 'retired' due to age. Is it the cook on the Fishing Boats who got into the outdoor show biz?

Higley

BTW: Your site SideShowWorld.com is such a treasure!!! Beautiful job. Proud to be on it!
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Doug Higley
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By the way...I found out the full story on the auction. Thanks for the tip!

Higley
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Utah Showmen
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Doug

Did you get the names of both the showmen that had items in the auction?

One of them hit the road last year for the first time and after the first spot returned home and sold his collection.

For most of us it's in the blood.

Thanks for the kind word about Sideshow World.

John
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Doug Higley
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Well I guess I don't have the full story then...this is all from memory...the guy who bought the stuff from me a number of years ago was the cook on the Alaskan fishing boats. He would have been better off doing what I advised him and sticking with the single-o concept I came up with for him to work the Flea Markets. But...he had bigger plans and I had heard he bought the Harry's Rareies show collection that had been out on the road for while. That might have been the 2nd showman...I'm not sure. Harry's Rareies (silly name) had the 2 headed calf etc. The cook guy was the one who was going to take out Ward's show right? I don't keep up with all the soap opera and road apples along the way.

Talked to Bobby R the other day...he's makin' plans to go out one last time. Talk about in the blood!!!!!!!!
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Yes, it was framed for him by Ward and Chris....


How's Bobby feeling?

Ya, one last time....It's in the Blood.

John
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Hi Doug,

Here's the rest of the story.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/lo......05m.html

I find this story to be very intersting since Gary spent a lot of time and money
to have Ward frame the big show for him last year.

John
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Doug Higley
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Well...they got one thing right...I got him started in 96...hahaha. But they (and he) couldn't be more wrong as to what IS viable today. The original concept I gave him and sold him is as sound today as it was then and in one area even MORE SO! Where he went wrong is getting the 'Curator mentality' and going from the SIMPLE concept of a Single-O as I envisioned it to wanting to be a Curator of a whole museum collection. I and the many folks who do the original concept have proven and continue to prove it works BIG TIME.

I warned Gary back then to stick with the concept...big museum collections on the road don't win the money...single-o's DO BUT for specific psychological reasons if done correctly as I teach it. I got a call last night from a showman who will be putting out multiple units and adding a 4th Zibit...why? Because times have changed and the public doesn't respond? HARDLY! What the 'sophisticated public doesn't respond to is the OLD ways and bogus presentation methods. I have OLD TIMERS calling me weekly who have Changed their tune and are doing well...very well. I wish I could say here but I can't for various reasons who and what is kicking butt in the sideshow GrindShow biz RIGHT NOW.

Gary failed for whatever reasons...maybe what he brought to the table but I doubt it...he's a sharp guy...but I think he had too much enthusiasm and wanted to be PT Barnum (who doesn't) when all he needed to be was Gary with the RIGHT single-o. They are out there right now pulling in the bucks and the crowds are also having FUN too...there are no complaints...no beefs...zero! I tell everyone who gets my Plan to STICK TO THE PLAN! ALL Those who have, have and are doing fine. He put a TON of money in Ward Hall's operation I understand...dreams of the big time...whatever happened there, I don't know but dreaming of the big time doesn't always work does it. I was talking with Bev Bergeron yesterday about Gary and Ward's show and trying to figure out what went wrong. I can say this with absolute assurance. IF Gary had stuck to my plan and not got big ideas he would have been alright and doing fine. I remember specifically discussing the negatives with him of buying the Harry's Rareies Show...that he would be entering a whole different arena with too many uncertainties and downsides and to stick with the original Plan. But I can only advise.

I got a call from none other than David Walker (!!!) last night who confirmed what one of the shows is doing and the plans for it (He's helping the showman get it in place in various spots). So the article in the paper is interesting but like most media reports today HIGHLY INNACURATE in what they (the reporter) surmises. There are numerous things there that I know to be not true. Another thing really tells me how far he went astray...when talking of my concept he say's in the article..."The entire pitch would exceed your alloted column inches". maybe as he did it...BUT the actuall entire pitch I teach is under a paragraph!!!! In fact...it is non existant! pitching th show requires NO pitch at all...it is all left up to the FEW key words on the sign age...and it works. If you pitch or not is left up to the showman but it is advised to say VERY LITTLE at all. The pitch, unlike other endeavors in the game, in this case, can turn away customers!!! But all the stuff is in my How-To and despite what the article said the sideshow is FAR from dying out...not where 'my' shows are concerned...quite the opposite.

I do LOVE that quote though where Gary tells how the State Game Commision guy saw the creature I made him and didn't have a clue. THAT'S what it's all about! It'as when you load up with a lot of other bogus crap that the whole thing comes unraveled....Man: "Doc...it hurts when I do this..." Doc: "So DON'T DO THAT!"

Thanks John

My plan is available on my site for $12.

But to put the article to bed and backup what I'm saying...here's a post from the Magic Café itself I think from last month (?)...well..January maybe...


"Mr Higleys "how to" definetely works. Take if from me. I used the "system" this summer and averaged good money everytime I had my zibit out. First time out was $1600.00 Last time out was nearly $2K...

I really can't say enough about Doug's manual. Very simple, easy and makes a lot of sense. This was the first year out for me as a Grind Show operator--for the past dozen years I have been selling slum at fairs big and small out here on the west coast. Doug's system works--its as simple as that....

abigkahuna (Jeff)"

Jeff STUCK TO THE PLAN. Yep...Simple as that. Jeff had a very successful year. Interesting in that this year he will be straying from the plan a bit...so we'll see how that turns out.

There is also a MAJOR show in the UK of my stuff that will be straying from the original concept somewhat...again, we'll see there but that one has a built in success path so it should do VERY VERY well.

Here is the problem gary had and some others..my original concept works almost TOO well..and they think "...well...if one thing works more things will work better."

NOT! Sure I could sell more Zibits if I said they did...but I tell everyone that they DON'T work any better and CAN work against you! (unless you can split into 2 seperate single-o shows.

Is it greed that drives then away from the plan? I don't really think so...just too much enthusiasm and that pesky 'Curator mentality' which I do address in the How-To...maybe I should put it in there 10 times and in HUGE print.

I hope Gary got something out of his experiences...obviously the sideshow life is not for everybody...but then again that's why I aim it at those who can work the occasional Flea Market and keep it FUN rather than a lifestyle. Gary started out having FUN...then the dreams began to pull on him I'm sure. Well, the best to him. Gary is a great guy...a really good person.
Higley
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Doug Higley
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Just a followup...my idea is NOT to do the big Fairs and Midways...that's where Ward Hall's and Bobby Reynolds shows will work fine...the point of my stuff is to downsize drastically and do the Flea Markets and Small Fairs...there are so many reasons why, I can't list them here. Main things are, you get in for VERY little cost, the folks RESPOND with their pocket change...not just the punks but the families as well and for me, the big thing was your not attached to any Tour or rigid schedule...you only do one when you FEEL like it and need some extra bread and it's local if that's what you want!

Anyhoo...


Higley
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