Saturday, November 08, 2014
A while ago I posted some vintage images of Ringling Bros. Circus, circa 1951. Today I have a few additional photos, this time featuring some of the side shows.
I associate side shows with things like bearded ladies, strong men, other exotic oddities. So it surprises me that a group of "Cuban Troubadors" could be found there; although I bet it was those pretty ladies in their daring (for 1951) costumes that attracted so much attention. Throw in some shimmying and singing and you've got solid gold! (Puffy shirt alert).
Here's Señorita Carmen, "Trainer of Serpents". These days you might see some weirdo with his 7-foot boa constrictor (or whatever), but I'm sure that large snakes like this were quite the sensation in middle America 60-some years ago. Carmen looks pretty chill. Don't you love the hand-painted signs behind her?
Here's a better look at the row of amazing folk art signs. "Singalee - Fire Proof Man", "Betty Broadbent - Tatooed Venus", "Gilbert Reichert - World's Tallest Man", "Hawaiian Dancing Girls". Awesome! Be sure to buy a pennant, parasol, or some other doodad/trifle at the souvenir stand.
Nelson Sanches Ruiz was a "Champion top spinner". Centrifugal force is his life! I used to know a spinning top enthusiast, and he could do some amazing things. Whip it behind his back, up in the air, and onto his outstretched palm. Balance a top on a string. Judging by the sign behind Nelson, he could pretty much place a top anywhere you could think of. I'll bet you could buy your own spinning top near by!