Sunday, December 24, 2006

End of an Era

I find it ironic that my Carny life should end just as the curtain lowers on the Carny Culture of today, it's last dying exhale.

The hard living, road happy people of yesterday are few and far between now, replaced with clean cut, drug free, South Africans or others the shows can import for cheap. Most of the big shows are owned by corporations now, not families anymore.

I met a guy this past summer who came over from South Africa to be a foreman on a big ride, he's some kind of engineer, he'd never even worked it before, now he's the foreman. Gone are the days when you worked your way up, season after season, sweating in the sun, setting up, tearing down, learning every inch of the ride until you got to the point you could "feel" when something was wrong. When you had "proved" yourself, you became the foreman.

All the Independents have been kicked off the show up in Canada so far, so the corporation can get all that action too, it's only the beginning, real carnies are becoming a people of the past.

I suppose it was the same at the turn of the century, when the industrial age came along and mechanical rides replaced the sideshow tents and girlie shows, fortune tellers, tattoo artists, and soon dominated the Midway. I'm sure the Carnies of that era felt much the same way.

Mark my words, the Carny world as it over; I've seen it and felt it, watched my "family" of friends disappear over the last few years, replaced with clean cut people that "fit in" to the corporate mold.

We Carnies were what made the show fun for the public. As fucked up and neurotic as we were, we were unique, we were the heart and soul of the show. Now it's bland and tasteless, the public are bored with Carnivals, that's why.

I'm surprised no one has noticed, I guess you had to be there.


Tabitha said...

I love your blogs.You are sadly like my Father and Mother who have been with the carnival since he was 18 or so part of the few true carnys left.Next season will be my second season since I was 7.But it's nice to hear stories and oppinions from a(and I don't mean this offensively)old timer.Most people out there now days are geen help that don't last a season if that.But I'll say this for my boss he'll let the green help know who's boos if you've been there less than 2 years he ain't afraid to knock you sideways but that's Mario for you cuddly like a teddy bare but 10 times as deadly if you mess with him or his money.And you are right most lot lizards are just girls that got a tough break I know my old man's x was like that ,poor thing couldn't get with a guy that treated her right for more than a week.It's nice to see that theirs still good carnys out there.I hope to become a great carnie,my Dad Paul Knighton says I have a natural act for getting marks money the call my the lets make a deal kid.
I don't know only time will tell but I know the 650 i made last time wasn't a bad sign.

anyway this is longer than I ment for it to be
anyway without asking to much do you know any good spots in the US to play i herd West Palm was good
and I thought I'd ask if you knew my Dad or his old lady Crystal or Billy, Kat,Jeremy or any of the Linn famiy
reason being is I've lost contact with them and I'm trying to find out if any carnys know them or where they might be.
anyway if you want you can email me or im me at

tank said...

You were young once and everything was fresh and new. The kids today are young and seeing things on the Midway for the first time. I'm sure when this batch of "newbies" grow older and revisit the Midway again, they will say the same thing as you. You have old eyes looking at someone's fresh experiences. Although your experience will never be the same be the same as theirs but at the end of the day you both can relate and talk the same language.

daniel rowley said...

I see the biss and I want to join I plan to start in 2013 or2014. A lot of carney so don't do it. My goal is to own my own show.

daniel rowley said...

I love the the biz I plan to join in 2013 or 2014 a lot of carnies say don't do it but I want to try plan is to own my own show.