When I was a kid, I reveled in the Circus Side-Shows, which by the way, were beginning to disappear by then, probably due to political correctness. There is just something about seeing people outside of the common norms, either in appearance or by something they do. I actually only saw one or two of these side-shows when the circus was in town. This was enough to whet my appetite so I did what I could to access stories and movies about the original side-shows which featured legitimate “oddities of nature” as well as fake side-show acts. There was usually a bearded-lady, maybe a very thin woman with a small head billed as the chicken lady, I believe it was. Others were sword-swallowers, strong men, the very tall or very short. There were little rooms with showcases of two-headed snakes or other animal anomalies; There were shrunken-heads, and small babies or animals in large liquid filled bottles. All of this displayed in a somewhat hush-hush, behind closed door manner. There was usually an underlying air of sexual titillation. And more overtly there was every young-boys fantasy, The Peepshow. The side-shows were usually situated in small tents just outside of the main circus tent.
In 1932 there was the underground classic FREAKS by Todd Browning.
Freaks is a 1932 American Pre-Code horror film about sideshow performers, directed and produced by Tod Browning and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with a cast mostly composed of actual carnival (funfair) performers. The film was based on Tod Robbins’ 1923 short story “Spurs”. Director Browning took the exceptional step of casting real people with deformities as the eponymous sideshow “freaks,” rather than using costumes and makeup read more…
Now we have Todd Ray. Todd Ray (aka T-Ray) is an American music producer and stars in the AMC reality show “Freakshow.” He owns and operates the Venice Beach Freakshow in Venice Beach, CA.
Freakshow is the real-deal – with George Bell, the tallest American, and the Mistress of Mayhem, Brianna Belladonna “Hanging from hooks – that’s normal to us,” “Creature” creates a body that is original and strays away from the normal pattern; Meet Morgue, one of the performers who swallows stuff – looking every bit the rock star, and Find out what makes Murrugun The Mystic tick. Amazing Ali: Be amazed by LA’s Littlest Lady. Inside Freakshow you’ll see doubled headed animals, alive and in jars, the bearded lady. And you’ll see Ray’s gorgeous daughter, Asia Ray who’s learning to do stuff. Many stars will emerge from this show.
Freakshow is Calice Cooper, Dufus Osbourne and the rest of the Hollywood spook-rockers all rolled into to one group of real “special” folk.