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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Side-show banner history (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Arkadia
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Sweden, Sundsvall
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We are making side-show banners for our 19th century variety carnival show. When researching the aesthetics of historical banners I can’t but notice the “Alive”-thing going. Is there anybody out there who knows why almost every banner has this statement on them? There must be a good story hidden here.


Best,

Ark

ps. if you're interested, here's some clips from our project. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-BJFJEgiXQ
Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic: www.metalwriting.com
Harley Newman
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It was to show that the exhibit was, in fact, alive.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Dick Oslund
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HEY RUBE!

The "ALIVE" bullet on the banners "evolved" when people tired of seeing "manufactured" freaks of nature, which were exhibited in prop coffins, or "pickled" in glass jars.

"FREAKS--Sideshow Banner Art" published by CHRONICLE BOOKS - 275 Fifth Street San Francisco, CA 94103

copyright 1996 by Carl Hammer & Gideon Bosker

ISBN o - 8118 - o7o7 - X

It's a paperback book loaded with color pictures of all kinds of banners. Well written article with material on Meah, Johnson, Wyatt, et al

Dick Oslund
Sneaky, underhanded, devious, and surreptitious itinerant mountebanc

P.S. I broke in in the mid '40s in a ten in one--magic, fire eating, and lecturing on the big snake!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Arkadia
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Sweden, Sundsvall
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Thanks for the information. The book is on its way.
Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic: www.metalwriting.com
Todd Robbins
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That show of yours looks great.
Arkadia
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Thanks Todd Robbins!

I will post pictures of the banners when they're done. The illustrator is working day and night.
Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic: www.metalwriting.com
Quentin
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One of the best pieces of "Advertising Flash" that I've come across was mentioned by Doc Shiels who saw it in Blackpool in the 50's.

I believe it was for the spider with the girl's head.

The banner line sparked thoughts of intrigue, deviant sexual practices and illicit goings on. It certainly generated curiosity and a line of people with money in their hand, awaiting to see this freak of nature.

The banner simply read, "It was her father's fault."
Dick Oslund
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Yup! Sex "sells"!

If I remember correctly, that was the way that PICKLED PUNKS were "sold". Most of the pickled punk shows that I saw were "ding" shows. --But. to ding those marks, ya had to get 'em t0 walk thru.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Todd Robbins
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"Nature knows no right. Nature knows no wrong. What you will see when you walk into that tent might shock your sensibilities, but it is something everyone should see. The sins of the father laid upon this poor, helpless child. Ladies, if you are in the family way, you must see this show. This could be YOUR child. Go now!"
Tom Jorgenson
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I've always understood that "ALIVE" and "FREE" were the two strongest words on a banner or sign.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
Dick Oslund
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Those old bsnner artists KNEW how to design and paint those canvas "salesmen"~!

Back in the mid '80s, I managed Tim Deremer's Ape Show most of a season. We had a real "rag" bannerline and the show was first class in every way. On some lot that season, we were next to a "Jungle Rat" Show. The rats were exhibited in a semi trailer. It was a walk thru show. The midway side of the trailer was "decorated" with a jungle scene, and many rats. The show "title" was spelled out in block capital letters.

I was jackpotting with the show's owner. He said that the previous season he had had the lettering done in a Chinese style. But he went to plain block letters after a townie kid walked up to his ticket box and asked him what was "in the show". The show owner pointed to the big letters (in Oriental "script"). The kid said, "Hell, I can't read Chinese!"
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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