Sideshow – The Art Form
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was in 1986 or so I think, my early days of the circus sideshow. I was young and just out of school. I spent my summer touring with the show as their house magician. If you have never seen a sideshow, I urge you to go and check it out. If you can still find a sideshow touring that is.
Sideshows and the like are an art that is on the verge of death. They used to be a dime a dozen but not any more. You are very lucky if you are able to find one left on the midway today.
I was able to work on the show with a fire eater, a sword swallower, a twist-o-girl, that is a girl who is able to bend her body in strange ways. Also on the show was a block head, an act that got its start with Melvin Berkhart. The block head was able to put nails, screwdrivers and the like into his face. These went into his face through his nose. this act is done to this day by my good friend Mr. Todd Robbins who was asked to scatter Melvin’s ashes near Coney Island by Melvin’s family after he died. Todd spent may years running the sideshow at Coney Island in it’s hey-day. Todd now has moved on and has many other shows that are wonderful. If you get the chance to see Todd, please do so. My thanks goes out to Todd, he has done so much to keep this art form alive in today’s world.
Also inside our sideshow we had a pain poof man, an iron tongue, a magician, the blade box and no middle myrtle who was a girl who had no middle. I won’t give it all away here folks, you will have to step inside to see the big show.
These acts are not working so much today as they were in the years of the past. I want to let everyone know these acts do still work however if you can find them. You must search them out a bit but you can still find them and they are one of the most entertaining forms of entertainment in the world today.
There are a few sites on the internet that are helping to educate and keep the art form of the sideshow alive.