Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘sideshow banner’

Fire Eater Sideshow Banner

Fire Eater Sideshow Banner © Marie Roberts. Photo by AmusingtheZillion.com

If you happen to be in Chelsea, stop by Blue Mountain Gallery to see this lovely fire eater sideshow banner by Marie Roberts, though you have to know where to look. Along with two smaller banners, the former advertisement for the Coney Island Circus Sideshow hangs on the back wall adjacent to the desk. It’s an extra added attraction to the main exhibition “Occupied and Unwelcome,” a collaboration by Deborah Stern (Tucson, Arizona) and Marie Roberts (Brooklyn, NY) that merges the landscapes of Zuccotti Park with the Sonoran Desert. The show is on view through October 27th.

Blue Mountain Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10001. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm. Phone 718-486-4730.

Share

Related posts on ATZ...

October 10, 2012: Up for Auction: Sideshow & Magic Banners by Fred Johnson

October 4, 2012: Art of the Day: Coney Island Hysterical Society

August 21, 2012: Art of the Day: Out of Disorder (Coney Island) by Takahiro Iwasaki

August 6, 2012: Art of the Day: Madame Twisto by Marie Roberts

Read Full Post »

Harold J Potter Magic Circus

Harold J Potter Comedy Magic Circus Banner by Fred Johnson. Mosby & Co Auction. November 10, 2012

Decades before JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books and the fictional Ministry of Magic, the original Harry Potter– a Michigan minister named Harold J Potter– performed magic for his congregation and with a sideshow. His repertoire included hypnotism, the bladebox and a premature burial illusion inspired by the tale by Edgar Allan Poe. These six banners painted for “Harold J Potter’s Comedy Magic Circus” in the late 1960s by master banner painter Fred Johnson will be up for bid in Mosby & Company’s November 10th Americana auction at their gallery in Frederick, Maryland. Bidding will also be available online beginning in late October.

Monster Museum by Fred Johnson

Monster Museum Banner by Fred Johnson. Mosby & Co Auction. November 10, 2012

Harold J Potter’s son says that his father was fascinated by Harry Houdini and Harry Blackstone as a boy and took up magic at an early age. The family consigned the Johnson banners, which are fresh to the market. In the banner shown below, a contortionist act is billed as Plasteena. The Bladebox is cleverly called “Six Section Sal” and there’s also a “Guillotine Gal.”

Fred Johnson sideshow banner

Plasteena Sideshow Banner by Fred Johnson. Mosby & Co Auction. November 10, 2012

After getting out of the Army in World War II, Potter started practicing magic again on the side in Detroit, according to his son. A minister by profession, he would perform some magic tricks during services. We’re hoping that some of his sermons will turn up! On weekends, Potter did the sideshow performances for which he commissioned the banners. In the summertime, he and his family toured Michigan doing tent shows.

Sideshow banner by Fred Johnson

Monster Sideshow Banner by Fred Johnson. Mosby & Co Auction. November 10, 2012

Banner artist Fred Johnson (1892-1990) was only 17 when he learned the secret of creating an eye-catching banner: color, not exaggeration. “We call it ‘flash.'” Johnson once said. During an illustrious 65-year career, the Chicagoan painted banners for all the big circuses, carnivals, and amusement parks, including the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.

Magic Banner by Fred Johnson

Master Magician Banner by Fred Johnson. Mosby & Co Auction. November 10, 2012

Fred Johnson worked for Driver Bros Tent Co. from 1921 until 1930, and in 1934 he came to the O. Henry Tent & Awning Co, where he remained for 40 years. He imbued his Houdini-esque escape artists, Amazon snake charmers and master magicians with a quirky and mysterious quality that drew customers into the sideshows and continues to make his work prized by collectors.

Hypnotist Banner by Fred Johnson

Hypnotist Banner by Fred Johnson. Mosby & Co Auction. November 10, 2012

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

June 5, 2013: Up for Auction: Conklin Shows Banner by Fred Johnson

August 6, 2012: Art of the Day: Madame Twisto by Marie Roberts

November 4, 20122: Up for Auction: Ringling Bros Circus Side Show Poster

November 16, 2009: Rare & Vintage: Coney Island Sideshow Banner by Dan Casola

Read Full Post »

Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde Crime Show Banner. Photo via RR Auction, Amherst, NH

Among the popular attractions on carnival and park midways in the 20th century were crime shows featuring life-size figures of 1930’s gangsters like Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. A vintage sideshow banner used to advertise one of these shows will be sold at RR Auction’s Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen Sale on September 30. The painted banner, which is said to date back to the early 1930s, is the work of a Kansas City painter named Gene and has a pre-sale estimate of $10,000 – 12,000. The banner’s lurid headlines enticed customers inside and at the same time instructed that crime does not pay: “Crime Wave… Boy & Girl Gangsters… See Inside… The Wages Of Crime Is Death.”

Why aren’t Bonnie and Clyde mentioned on the 12 by 9 foot banner? According to the auction catalogue:

It is believed that this banner being offered here is one of the first ever Bonnie and Clyde roadshow banners. Interestingly enough, Bonnie and Clyde were still alive when this banner was in use. This is why their names are not printed at all upon the poster as the roadshow profiteers were not stupid, because if their names were on it, that might have led to a visit from the gangsters, and the outcome of that visit could have been less than pleasant.

After Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed on May 23, 1934, their bullet-riddled death car–as well as some imitations– went on to become a lucrative sideshow attraction on carnival midways and at Coney Island Cincinnati. The car is currently on display at a Nevada casino. Crime may not pay but it sells tickets and artifacts associated with dead celebrity outlaws have become marquee investments.

Among the more than 100 items in the sale are Bonnie Parker’s Colt Detective Special .38 revolver, which was found taped to her thigh at the time of her death (Est. $150,000 – 200,000), and her cosmetic case (Est. $5,000 – 10,000). “In those days the items were allowed to be kept by the posse members as part of their service in tracking down these outlaws,” says auction house owner Bobby Livingston. Online bidding for the Gangsters Auction opens on September 24.

Share

Related posts on ATZ…

March 23, 2012: Up for Auction: Coney Island Parachutist Shooting Gallery Target

November 4, 2012: Up for Auction: Ringling Bros Circus Side Show Poster

December 19, 2010: Rare & Vintage: Original Coney Island Motordrome Bike

November 16, 2009: Rare & Vintage: Coney Island Sideshow Banner by Dan Casola

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: