Monday, August 27, 2012

Marx Super Circus - Pt 2

"Hurry, Hurry, Step Right Up Ladies and Gentlemen"...and so begins the carnival barker's banter inviting the 'rubes' to the sideshow or freak show.  Here from Wikipedia is a capsulized definition of just one of the different types of sideshows that were offered:

"The "Ten-in-One" offers a program of ten sequential acts under one tent for a single admission price. The ten-in-one might be partly a freak show exhibiting "human oddities" (including "born freaks" such as midgets, giants or persons with other deformities, or "made freaks" like tattooed people, fat people or "human skeletons"- extremely thin men often "married" to the fat lady, like Isaac W. Sprague). However, for variety's sake, the acts in a ten-in-one would also include "working acts" who would perform magic tricks or daredevil stunts. In addition, the freak show performers might also perform acts or stunts, and would often sell souvenirs like "giant's rings" or "pitch cards" with their photos and life stories. The ten-in-one would often end in a "blowoff" or "ding," an extra act not advertised on the outside, which could be viewed for an additional fee. The blowoff act would be described provocatively, often as something deemed too strong for women and children, such as pickled punks." (Wikipedia - Sideshow)

There was also the "Single-O", the "Museum Show", "Girl Show", or "Working Acts". Sideshows could be found in circuses as well as carnivals and were quite fascinating - and weird! It's been many years since I had seen a 'freak' show and simply remember it as a little disturbing - seeing a man with a large club foot (real? fake?) sitting there looking bored out of his skull, the obligatory bearded lady, and others. There are few sideshows anymore as television has made this traditional venue rather obsolete and really, when you think about it, the freaks splattered across the idiot tube today are far stranger than anything the old sideshows offered!
Marx inclued two tin-litho sideshow stages with their circus set. The graphics are gorgeous and spot-on for a typical sideshow including a Fat Lady, Strongman, a pair of Midgets, a clown and others. Not all 'freaks' but all entertaining for the kids of the time. Today we'll simply look at the tin which measures in at 9 1/2" (24.1 cm) W x 5 1/2" (14 cm) H x  1 1/2" (3.8 cm) D. In later installments we'll look at the figures and put everything together for your enjoyment. Enjoy!

The stage top and side graphics are the same on both pieces