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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » How do you ever get a guy to geek? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Marlin1894
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"You pick up a guy and he ain't a geek-he's a drunk. A bottle-a-day booze fool. So you tell him like this: ‘I got a little job for you. It's a temporary job. We got to get a new geek. So until we do you'll put on the geek outfit and fake it.' You tell him, ‘You don't have to do nothing. You'll have a razor blade in your hand and when you pick up the chicken you give it a nick with the blade and then make like you're drinking the blood. Same with rats. The marks don't know no different."'

"Well, he does this for a week and you see to it that he gets his bottle regular and a place to sleep it off in. He likes this fine. This is what he thinks is heaven. So after a week you say to him like this, you say, ‘Well, I got to get me a real geek. You're through.' He scares up at this because nothing scares a real rummy like the chance of a dry spell and getting the horrors. He says, ‘What's the matter? Ain't I doing okay?' So you say, ‘Like crap you're doing okay. You can't draw no crowd faking a geek. Turn in your outfit. You're through.' Then you walk away. He comes following you, begging for another chance and you say, ‘Okay. But after tonight out you go.' But you give him his bottle.

"That night you drag out the lecture and lay it on thick. All the while you're talking he's thinking about sobering up and getting the crawling shakes. You give him time to think it over, while you're talking. Then throw in the chicken.

He'll geek."

Name that book.
Dick Oslund
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"Midnight Alley"...William Lindsay Gresham

A movie came out later.....TYRONE POWER was the star.

Dick Oslund

Sneaky, underhanded, devious, and surreptitious itinerant mountebanc --old sideshow working act for Joe Lemke and later Mickey Mansion. Much later: contracting agent, bill poster, and clown for Wayne FRANZEN, cont.agent for CIRCUS GIRARD, and also bill poster for Gopher Davenport...
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Dick Oslund
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OH! I forgot to mention that I began on a low rung of the show business ladder. I was a PICKLED PUNK for Lou Dufour.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Marlin1894
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Quote:
On 2014-02-20 13:41, Dick Oslund wrote:

"Midnight Alley"...William Lindsay Gresham

A movie came out later.....TYRONE POWER was the star.



You know it, but you mispoke, it's actually "Nightmare Alley". Yep there was the movie too, which still pops up on TCM now and then. Tyrone Power used his star power to get the film made but the studio hated it.
Marlin1894
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Quote:
On 2014-02-20 13:43, Dick Oslund wrote:
OH! I forgot to mention that I began on a low rung of the show business ladder. I was a PICKLED PUNK for Lou Dufour.


It must have been cramped inside that jar.
Todd Robbins
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Dick,
I have Lou Dufour's lovely autobiography right here in front of me. Very good book, as is Nightmare Alley. The hotel where Gresham spent his final hours is right around the corner from me here.
Dick Oslund
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Todd,
Thanks for the info on the honorable Mr. Dufour!

I had not even heard of Nightmare Alley, until Jay put me on to it. Fascinating read!

I wish that I had had the opportunity to meet Gresham.

PS I didn't really work for Lou Dufour. When I joined the SHOWMEN'S LEAGUE in the early '70s, Jay told me to stand up at the meeting and "duke yourself in". So I did a brief pitch about how I started in a ten in one. To cap the story, I needed a funny line, and decided on the Pickled Punk bit. It got a "show stop laugh" from the "brothers"!!!

Ah! the good old days!!!
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Jim Hand
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The "Good old days" were pretty rough at times....but I'd go back to them in a second....We worked hard but we had more fun than anyone ...
Dick Oslund
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We sure did, Jim! --Oh! to be a First o' May once more!!!!!
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Harley Newman
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Yup! Sure miss that mud!
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Jim Hand
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Quote:
On Jun 22, 2014, Dick Oslund wrote:
We sure did, Jim! --Oh! to be a First o' May once more!!!!!



I would settle for being a JCL.....
Dick Oslund
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Me, too!

Just hearing those old expressions gets my adrenalin flowing!

Hey! I hear that MGR organ! Gotta make that first opening bally....
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abigkahuna/1
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Since we are talking about books here. I am trying to remember a book I read back in the 1960s. It was a detailed book about the circus/carnival listing all the jobs and descriptions...That was where I learned of the term donniker and donkey men/women (those that held the lowest job on the lot). Was the book simply titled Carnival or Circus,? I just don't remember, after all it was some 50 years ago... ha! One other detail. It seemed as though it described things back in the 30s or perhaps 40s IIRC. If anyone can help it would be appreciated. I would like to add it back to my collection
Dick Oslund
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Sorry~ I can't recall a title either! (Was that where I first heard the term, "Flying a pigeon"? Has anyone else heard of that?

I remember ('cuz I have several copies)Dan Mannix's "Step Right Up" (originally pub. as: "Memories of a Sword Swallower".) I used to haunt used book stores and thrift shops while on the road, searching for old circus and carny books. At one time, I had a suitcase full of Mannix's books!s. I believe he died about ten years ago, I didn't know he was still living, or I would have asked him to autograph one. It was a well written book about his two seasons, with it, in a ten in one.

There was an error or two, though. He mentions a "double row" of center poles in the top. (hell, that would have been a "flat roof" top!

The last time I was under canvas, was 1985 when I managed an APE show (girl to gorilla).
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Tom Jorgenson
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Dick- Who was Joe Lemke? My stepfather was a Lemke, and that is one scarce last name.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
Dick Oslund
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Tom>>>
I really don't know too much about him. Carnies, generally don't talk about themselves too much. I think that he had started out with a trained monkey show. He also had a chimpanzee. It was an 'old fashioned" show with a "rag" bannerline. It was a "pit" show.

When I was with it, Joe had expanded the show to a "five in one". He had a "snake den", a blade box, an "alligator skin" boy,fire eater,magic,and a "half 'n' half" in the blow-off.

I'm quite sure that Joe has passed away by now.
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Tom Jorgenson
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Thanks, Dick. I also had a relative, a Rhodes, running a carnival (or working one) in the Florida region in the '40's. Must run in the fambly.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
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