West Coast Shows In The 1960’s

America’s Biggest Truck Show A California Carnival This is actually an International CO but it looks a lot like the White 3000. It’s under a generator and I was head electrician on this unit that year so I probably drove it at least once. In fact, it may be the very same truck that I […]

Carnival Trucks of Yesteryear

Old Show Trucks Moved The Big Shows  Before Automatic Transmissions and Air Conditioners The difference between west coast trucks and eastern or midwestern show trucks is that many west coast rigs may be outfitted with several more important gauges that inform the driver of what his truck is doing. Remember that the western states have enormous […]

Best Hamburger Ever

Grab A Burger At The Sit Down Grab Joint Long before McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s dotted the American landscape, the county fair was the “go to” place to get a nice, big,juicy hamburger. Unlike the big Indiana style Cookhouses that offered a wider menu of full course meals, these little ‘Sit Down Grab Joints’ […]

Mighty Thomas Carnival

 Mighty Thomas Carnival Film footage of the old shows is rare. Here’s a great short piece of film showing some of the folks on the Art B.Thomas Shows back in the late 40’s or early 50’s. This show would become the Mighty Thomas Carnival and the show carries on the traditions of of it’s roots […]

Visit The Sideshow Exhibit

Percilla – The Monkey Girl

The Monkey Girl During her long life Percilla Lauther was known by many names. Originally she was descriptively dubbed ‘the hairy little girl’ and later as ‘the monkey girl’, but she will forever be remembered by those dear to her as Percilla Bejano – loving wife of Emmitt the Alligator-Skinned Man. Percilla Roman was born […]

Tracing The Roots Of The Carousel

History of The Carousel Back in the 1100’s, Arabian and Turkish horsemen played a game on horseback. They took it very seriously… so seriously that Italian and Spanish crusaders who watched, described the contest as a “little war” or garosello and carosella respectively.   This 15th century Turkish drawing shows part of the carousel’s use […]

Philadelphia Toboggan Company

The Philadelphia Toboggan Company, which is known for it’s magnificent, beautifully decorated carousels, only made eight of it’s carousels for traveling carnivals out of the ninety four it built in it’s lifetime. They kept great, detailed records of who bought each one and the disposition of them over the years, right up to the company’s […]

Outdoor Show Business

Carnival Business History Perhaps one of the reason that outdoor show business history has so many broken links is due to the fact that so many of the people who played an integral part of shaping the carnival business history were unknown by their given names. In the fifty odd years that I have been […]

Carousel Manufacturers Lingo

Types of horses (also called ponies): Carousel animals can be carved with the head up or down and many of the trappings (saddle, bridle, decorations) may have special details that are meaningful to the carver or designer. No two hand-carved horses are exactly the same though they might be very similar. Lead (“King”) Horse: Usually […]