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Coney Island USA Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Video

Sideshow Oddities – Dwarfs, Midgets and others….

Sideshow Oddities – Dwarfs, Midgets and others….

Matt Fraser who has performed at Coney Island USA was featured on the American Horror Story TV Series.

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Sideshow performer en:The Enigma (Paul Lawrence), taken at my home in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada prior to his performance June 6, 2005

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Singer’s Midgets

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“Midgets of America”

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Admiral Dot – Thirteen years old; Twenty-five inches high. 15 lbs.

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With P.T. Barnum’s Traveling World’s Fair

Admiral Dot – Sixteen years old; Twenty-five inches high. 19lbs.

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Mignon the Penguin Girl

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Jumbo was once the biggest elephant in captivity. He lived from December 25, 1860 – September 15, 1885. He was actually the first African elephant that reached modern Europe alive. In 1962, he was captured by hunters and then later sold to dealers. He was eventually traded to the London Zoological Gardens for a rhinoceros and had lived in the London Zoo for approximately 16 years.

In 1882, Jumbo was purchased for $10,000 by Phineas Taylor Barnum (the founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus).  Jumbo was then shipped to the United States. This purchase was profitable for Barnum because it not only was a great addition to his circus, but it also started a new trend. People were wanting all things to be Jumbo. They would even have Jumbo jewelry and neckties.

Jumbo had toured with Barnum’s circus for three years. Unfortunately, his life ended in September of 1885. He died from a railway accident in Ontario, Canada and had left the world in tears. However, even though he was dead, he wasn’t all the way gone. This is because his bones were preserved. They were displayed at both Barnum’s circus and later at museums. For many years, they were displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. However, the skeleton was eventually put away because over time, people forgot who this huge elephant was.

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Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 8.48.37 PMThe Hilton Sisters

Appearing in Todd Browning‘s film ‘Freaks‘ and then in their own “Chained for Life“, The Hilton Sisters had a very diverse career. Recently a feature documentary “Bound by Flesh” was made about their life by Leslie Zemekis.

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Categories
American Circus Circus Clown Comedy Dance Exhibit Juggling Magic Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Tent Show Variety Arts

SHOWHISTORY.COM – A Unique Image Archive

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This is the mast head for SHOWHISTORY.COM website. A very unique place for those interested in odd, unique and offbeat memorabilia.

Here is a comment by the website manager:

“Membership is $25 a year and allows you access to all of the materials, photos, letterheads, etc.– including multi-page items, such as the largest collection of sideshow pitchbooks ever gathered together– currently 65 scanned and online, and more than 60 more to be added.  Currently we have about 1200 images online and plan on adding about 2000 more items per year until the growing collection has been fully digitized.”
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“The origin of this undertaking emerged in casual conversation outside The Sarasota Showman’s Club one February evening sometime in 2001. The Showhistory.com website first debuted on February 11, 2002.  The plan then, as now, was to engage in the enormous task of listing every novelty, variety, sideshow and freakshow performer who ever crossed the lot, creaked the boards of dime museum or bally, saw sun glint in the eyes of an audience in some small town, waiting for the sound of nickels and dimes clacking into a metal box.”
 
“Finally expanding to more than a thousand pages of material and hundreds of images, the site was unfortunately mainly inactive after 2006.”
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“In October 2014 the site was redesigned and relaunched in a slightly different form– as an online image archive available on a subscription basis.  While now you must pay to access the full contents of the site, including our expanding archive of online images (over 1000 at launch), we plan on preserving and re-introducing all of the earlier material, and presenting a large quantity of free-access material.”
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ShowHistory.com plans on eventually making available online for members all of the 11,000-plus item archive of photos, pitchcards, handbills and ephemera in the area of sideshow, novelty and variety, vaudeville, burlesque, dime museums, carnivals, and outdoor show business in general.  The earliest item in the collection dates from 1609, and the archive continues to expand to include items from present-day performers and exhibits.”
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Showhistory.com wishes to chronicle the lost, fading and future scene on the fringes of the American amusement business– in biography, history, photographs, and whatever else we can find.  Collect the stories before they disappear, push and pull together the conflicting sources in books and memoribilia so that they can coexist in one place.”
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In the next post I have ready to go up I have ‘borrowed’ some text from Showhistory.com to help illustrate the life of Clarence Dale.
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Hope you have the inclination to JOIN…it is certainly worth the fee and it helps support the work they are doing on the site.
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