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B -


The rides and shows of a fair.


As a verb: to attract a crowd to a sideshow by describing the show loudly and sensationally, usually by a barker on a platform in front of it.

As a noun: small gifts of merchandise placed in boxes of candy, Cracker-Jack, etc.

Bally Cloth

The material covering the front of a bally or concession counter.


A short, free exhibition or sample of a sideshow accompanied by a barker's spiel, given on a platform or BALLY STAND in front of the side- show tent in order to attract spectators and lure them inside as paying customers.


Specifically, girls who ballyhoo in front of shows to draw tips.

Bally Show

A carnival sideshow; particularly one having continuous or regularly scheduled performances.

Bally Stand

The platform in front of a sideshow tent on which a free exhibition or a sample of the show may be performed in order to lure spectators inside.


An informative notice, hung from rafters, sometimes stating the price of the ride, sometimes giving warnings about the ride. Advertising on a FERRIS WHEEL.

Banner Line

A line of banners in front of an attraction .


(Not used by outdoor show people.) A writer's word for talker, lecturer, spieler, etc. Some "FIRST OF MAY" showman might use the word because they know no better.


To bellow over a real or an imaginary wrong. COOKHOUSE beef isn' t meat.

Belly Irons

On a Roundabout, part of an alternative suspension on galloping horses. Instead of the horse iron passing through the body of the horse and into a groove in the platform or into a platform slide, the underside of the horse is held by these hinge irons fixed to the belly and to the platform itself.

Belly Stick

A person who works outside a game of chance to entice players for the game. He "bellys up" to the counter and pretends to play the game.


The original carnival trade paper. Today it is called Amusement Business.

Billboard Wedding

A midway rite wherein carnival couples are united in holy matrimony by both placing their hands on the Showmen's Bible and saying "I do."


A woman or girl employed in the carnival .


Literally a motion-picture projector- in the fairground it's a generic term for travelling booths for the display of motion pictures.


A percentage of monies due or expected. (Mostly expected.)

Black One

The opposite of a RED ONE, therefore a loser.


A storm that levels tents and portable equipment.


To lose, as in gambling "to blow one's money."

Blow Off

1. A show where a second admission is charged.

2. Closing hour.


A telephone or a concession featuring celluloid balls which must be picked out of an air stream.


The large photographs used on the fronts of tent theatre shows.

Blow Your Pipes

To lose your voice.

Blow Your Top

To go crazy or get mad.

Booze Can

Usually a tent or trailer set up by management to entertain the staff after closing.


Can be used as a noun or a verb meaning a bankroll or to bankroll.


Coin-sized pieces of brass on which the show's name was stamped, used by old-time carnivals in lieu of WHITE MONEY. The brass could be spent only at the carnival.

Break the Ice

To make the first sale of the day.


The large, loose and cool species of female that either joins or tails the show. Generally a woman of doubtful character.

Broad Mob

Three-Card Monte dealers.

Bucket Joint

Hidden person who operates the gaff on a bucket joint.

Bum Steer

1. To send on a wild goose chase.

2. The COOKHOUSE meat.

Burly Show

A burlesque attraction.


To give a performance on a street corner or vacant lot, later passing the hat for a collection of coins.


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