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Freaks of sideshow and film

Author: Mary Brett; Stevan Gould
Publisher: Atglen, PA : Schiffer Publishing Ltd., [2015]
Edition/Format:   Print book : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Explore the lives of over 150 of the top sideshow performers of by-gone days, as well as the history of the circus & sideshow. Take a look behind the scenes at the banner artists, gaff artists, photographers and showmen who made the freak show as American as apple pie. The performers were born different, very different, yet they managed to create a life for themselves, find gainful employment, travel the world,
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Genre/Form: Biographies
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Mary Brett; Stevan Gould
ISBN: 9780764348457 0764348450
OCLC Number: 898088171
Description: 224 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 23 x 29 cm
Contents: The history of the American circus --
P.T. Barnum, "the father of the freak show" --
The freak show is born --
Samuel W. Gumpertz & Coney Island --
Created freaks & sideshow eroticism : tattooed people, fat ladies and men, human skeletons, strongmen, and Circassian beauties --
The fake & the not so fake : bearded ladies, half and halfs, and wild men and women --
The real freaks : giants, midgets, and dwarfs, body deformities, living half ladies, conjoined twins, parasitic twins, facial deformities, and albinos --
Movie freaks : freaks who appeared in movies and documentaries --
Photographers of the freaks : Charles Eisenmann, Frank W. Wendt, and Matthew Brady --
Sideshow banner art & the artists : David C. "Snap" Wyatt & Fred G. Johnson --
Gaffs : Homer Tate, "king of the gaffs" --
Today's freak shows : Ward Hall's World of Wonders, Coney Island, Venice Beach, and cyberspace.
Responsibility: Mary Brett & Stevan Gould.

Abstract:

"Explore the lives of over 150 of the top sideshow performers of by-gone days, as well as the history of the circus & sideshow. Take a look behind the scenes at the banner artists, gaff artists, photographers and showmen who made the freak show as American as apple pie. The performers were born different, very different, yet they managed to create a life for themselves, find gainful employment, travel the world, marry, and have children. Some even managed to find true happiness. You will meet some very unique souls in extraordinary bodies. However, we will look beyond their physical differences and delve into their interesting stories. See for yourself why being born different is not so bad, with the right attitude and a little luck!"--

"This book is written to applaud the people whose lives are portrayed within these pages. Many endured harsh existences but most managed to overcome the limitations of birth and become comfortable in their own skins. Some became both rich and famous. A few even managed to find true happiness, a rarity in anyone's life. Before the advent of "politically correct" social behavior, people born "different" were often openly stared at, made fun of, shunned, cruelly ridiculed, or hidden from view by being locked away in attics, sheds, basements, or inadequate and vile institutions. In severe cases, they were killed. Many families believed that the birth of a "monster," a title bestowed upon the innocent babe by both the medical profession and polite society of the day, gave proof of God's wrath brought down upon that family for past sins. Traveling carnivals with the sideshow gave many of these social outcasts a chance to escape into a different world, a world that held the possibility of employment, excitement, travel, fame, and the chance to both be with and be accepted by people just like themselves. Presented within these pages are the true biographies of the most amazing people that have ever lived. Their lives should be an inspiration to all of us, but please, no pity. An anonymous reporter summed it up well in a 1914 newspaper article when he wrote: Freaks do not desire our pity, only our interest and the partial contents of our purses. The facts presented in this book are, to the best of our knowledge, true. However, the times and quintessential showmen, such as PT Barnum, did not always let truth stand in the way of a good story, especially if the story sold tickets to shows or offered free advertisement captured in sensationalized newspaper stories. Whenever possible, we have talked to family members or obtained official birth, death, and marriage records. We have visited numerous graveyards to examine and record the engraved headstones, and we have pored over thousands of old newspaper clippings and advertisements to separate fact from fiction. Herein are the fascinating biographies of incredible people who lived amazing lives. Celebrate the success of these amazing individuals who were born with every card in the deck stacked against them but were able to succeed against all odds, proving indeed, being born different is not so bad with the right attitude and a litte luck! Editor's note: Readers will note that this book includes language that is no longer generally used to describe individuals, as it can be considered offensive. This language is used only in its historical context"--

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