I saw a classic sideshow with Caleb over the weekend. Illusions, knife throwing, electric chair stunts, nail through the head, bed of nails, things like that. Here’s some photos and video.
What made me turn twice was the banners hung up outside the main tent— beautiful hand-painted signs.
The entrance banner is signed, “Gilli”, which looks like it could be Dennis Gilli, who is reffed on a couple of sideshow blogs and websites.
But the main riff of the banners is to advertise what one will see when they pay to go inside the tent. (Although I didn’t see any of these animals in this particular show).
All of these banners were created by Johnny Meah of Meah Studios, Safety Harbor, Florida. The Czar of Bizarre. Pure genius.
I looked around the Internet and found that the bulk of the banners were painted by
This was one of the acts in the sideshow– a guillotine with the head plopped into a box and moved around stage. Note that the beheaded body is wearing but a pair of underwear.
The brand of the car is “Bummer”. This was one of the acts in the show. The assistant sat on the performer, however– no Bummer involved.
I didn’t see any walking on knives or glass, but there were at least 4 talented women in this side show. Two worked the front stage, pulling people in. One was the electrocuted / beheaded assistant and one served as a side-barker for the interior Human Blockhead show and also performed in the knives portion of the show. “Dancing with the Scars” is a nice touch.
This one is actually signed, “Dallas 2010″, with the “Dallas”, in script, backwards. To my knowledge, there was no gorilla at the show.
This person was, in fact, at this show. The nurse’s hand is certainly well-placed, and her clipboard says, “Sci-Fi Ward”
Two of these women were in the show.
My assumption is that this is the performer name “Red”. The belt buckle is a nice custom touch– “Wow”, for “World of Wonder”
It’s hard to look at this 50-lb weight being suspended from a hook in the dude’s tongue. I did not see this IRL.
Spidora was in this show. All for 2 freaking dollars.
Seemed like everyone associated with this show was a talented sword swallower.
John (Red) Stuart went ahead and put a nail in his head via his nose. He was also the one who did a smaller, extra charge show, putting a nail through his cheek and a pin through his neck. Note at the bottom indicates, “Woodpecker not showing today”
Did not see this particular act. The belt buckle is obscured by the rope, but it has a heart with “…anesville” Janseville? Ryan?
It truly was an amazement show.
Here’s a short video I put together. It contains all of these images, as well as some video snips and stills from inside the show. I tried to be respectful of the performers, and not sit there and video the entire thing. I did get the whole Bed of Nails bit. Well-played.
World of Wonders Sideshow from Daniel X. O’Neil on Vimeo.
This was an amazing show by some very talented performers who came a long way to entertain us with some classic American sideshow work. For this I am grateful.