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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Living on the road (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dick Oslund
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Well here it is folks! The translation I promised a couple of months ago. I had been in the hospital for 42 days and was recuperating at home. I was making a "visit" to the hospital for check ups OFTEN. Somehow, in all that "activity" I totally forgot. Darrell Yoder PM'd me and reminded me of my promise. How could I say no!

In the mid 40s I spent several summers "with it". ("with it" is the carnis "pass word". It's how you tell another carnie that you're with the show. Back then, when you "cracked with it" ("said, 'with it'") at the grab joint --carnie restaurant where you 'grabbed' your burger and coffee and sat on a bench or a stool, you got a discount.

I was working in a 'TEN IN ONE'. A ten in one is a side show that advertises ten acts "on the inside". I did magic and fire eating, and sometimes did the lecture on the "big snake" (a fifteen foot long python). Carnies like many "professional people" have their own argot. The first thing you learn is how to talk "ceissarnie" ( c eiss arneie). Just insert the extra syllables "e iss" and you're talking ceissarnie. It might be compared to "pig latin" we spoke in school back then.

A 'BLOW DOWN' happens when a big wind storm hits. Carson & Barnes Circus had a NEW big top one year. The C&B big top was big enough to cover a football field! A big wind storm hit and the entire tent was picked up and dropped in the "back yard" (where the performers trailers are parked)

A blow down on a carnival can create havoc! BECKMAN & GARRITY was a BIG carnival in the old days.

BIG ELI is the name for the ferris wheel. A ZIPPER is a high ride (as opposed to a flat ride) Old carnies sometimes called any high ride a 'simp heister'. A simp heister, "heisted a bunch of simps up in the air".

SLUM is CHEAP 'prizes' like comic pins , plastic charms, combs, paper leis, etc. Slum is bought by the pound or by the grosss!

PLUSH is the stuffed animals, which cost more and the joint agent makes sure that early in the evening, a few nice pieces are "won" so that the marks (customers) will carry them around the lot (walking advertising). In my day, plush wasn't "around" yet. Then, plaster of paris dollss were the big items. They were called 'plaster' or just 'garbage'.

Now a days, most 'joints' (any game of chance--or NO chance--is called a joint.)are trailer mounted. It saves set up time. A "stick joint' is a frame work of 'sticks' (2 x 4s) that support a canvas cover.

A 'mitt camp' is a Gypsy Fortune Telling joint--the Gypsy reads your palm (mitt).

A 'high striker' is the joint in which the mark, using a large mallet, strikes a a lever which causes a piece of metal to "travel' up a wire and strike a bell.

A 'single O' is a "one act side show" It may be a 'walk thru display of 'pickled punks' ("babies" in big jars of formaldehyde) or a cage of HUGE JUNGLE RATS, a snake den, or almost anything that the show owner can sell tickets to see!

'Milk bottle joint'. A mark pays for three baseballs and tries to knock some wooden milk bottles off a spare tire. Old timers say that "you couldn't knock 'em off with a baseball bat!

A 'yard' is a hundred bucks.

A "ding" show is a walk thru show that is FREE to enter. Inside you are "urged" to make a "donation" to "help cover the expense of the "exhibit".

Lou Dufour was a well known side show owner.

A 'possum belly' is a compartment which carries tent stakes or similar equipment. It is fastened under the floor of a truck. Often carnies would use them for sleeping quarters.

There! now you can consider yourself "duked in"! You shake hands with your "dukes". A dukie lunch is a sack lunch provided by the circus when it is making a long jump between distant towns and there wont be a cook house to feed the help enroute.

I'm still with it, and for it, and have never been up against it.

I'll see you on the next lot!

Dick
Sneaky, underhanded, devious, & surreptitious itinerant mountebanc
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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Dick, I just need to know, where can I get my donniker pass?
David Pitts
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Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
Dick Oslund
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On this little mud show, you don't need one! (Just go and "fly a pigeon"!!!) hee hee

On the OLD Jack Mills show, "it" was just a saw horse and a pit in an old umbrella top.

I'll bet that no one here has heard 'fly a pigeon' before!!!!!

Hey! Where's the G Top??? (On a circus, it's called the pie car.)

I gotta go and guy out........

Follow the arrows! --
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
D. Yoder
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Thank you, Dick. It was worth the wait! I hope you continue to recuperate.
KC Cameron
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In my youth I loved being on the road. Now, only on occasion, and not "roughing" as described here. To each his own.

I like my own bed, and the freedom not to have to scramble to make ends meet. Some, on occasion, but not a steady dose. I don't know if that would be viewed as lucky or not. I think I am. I'll stay in a cheap hotel on the occasion, and I certainly look for deals, but YOLO, and spending that time using cheap motels is not my description of a good time. If I am on the road for more than an overnight, I want don't to scrimp.

It seems to me that busking in maybe up to 3 spots a year would be most economical, and you get to meet the locals and relax. Chasing festivals seems exhausting. Doing a few is fun, but too much of anything generally isn't. I can take 2-3 weeks of festivals and my well runs dry. They are fun, but a lot of work.

If you have to scrimp, then the "freedom" you have isn't actually experienced much. It isn't romantic. I think fond memories tend to stand out and the bad ones fade away and are forgotten.

But, to each his own!
Zack
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Eric,

Why the Dodge Caravan in particular?



I take it you are suggesting a minivan over a full size because of fuel economy?

I would have guessed that an astro would be the way to go. Why the Caravan?

Zack
Dick Oslund
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K.C.Cameron>>>

I guess you would never have made it as a "Toby Tyler".

"Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit!!!" --That's not "carnie", that's Virgil!

Posted: Apr 9, 2014 01:33 am
Zack>>>

Some day, I'll write up the 'story' of Thousand Faces Foxy who bought a new Cadillac every year, and 'lived' in it! Hee hee!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Eric Evans
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Heya Zack,

I thought I already listed the important ones, but in addition I might add that Dodge invented the minivan (or so I've been told). For my money they represent the best value as I can't afford a Honda Odyssey anyway Smile

Besides, there's a ton of them out there; its easy to blend.
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