August 11, 2008

The History of The Side Shows

When I first saw the movie "Freaks" (1932) about 20 years ago, I was mesmerized. always wanted to get the DVD once it came out. It was so long ago that I've seen it, that watching it again was like watching it for the first time.

A detailed information about the movie from B Movie Central:

B Movie Central "Freaks"

After watching it, I was both amazed and dismayed. I was amazed to see them as they were. I'm not old enough to see "freaks sideshow" as they were called. So to see them on the screen, was almost like a peek into their world. It was a way to see who they really were. They were incredible and had amazing feats that were unique to each of them.

My dismay was due to the fact, that I felt that the director was taking advantage of them, and humiliating them by displaying them as "freaks", rather than as humans who just happen to be different. I felt that the director was biased. It was sad to see that they were seen as "human oddities". It's sad that they lacked the medical needs that we have today.

So, as I was saying, I'm not old enough to have seen those "freaks shows" booths). A friend of mine told me that she remember these sideshows in Coney Island during the late 50's, I believe. It's just incredible that this went on for so long. The the truth is that it's still happening. It's just a "modern" version. As a matter of fact, you can find their websites on the internet. I've seen a few myself.

I do recommend that you watch the movie,. It will make you think. After watching the movie, I was looking for info about the actors.I wanted to know who they really were. How they felt. What they thought of it. How they were dealing with their life and their daily tasks.

The site below answers some of my question. For example, Olga Roderick ("The Bearded Lady" as she was called) said that she would never act again upon finding out how insulting the movie was "everywhere".

Missing Links Freaks of Nature

The University of Sheffield has information about the history of Freaks Shows. Check it out:

University if Sheffield Freak Shows History

A great official site for the incredible Johnny Eck ("The Half Boy") who was in the movie.

Johnny Eck Museum

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