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C -


To short-con or shortchange a customer, usually at the ticket booth. The money made on ticket boxes.


Originally this was a dance performed by American Negroes-a prize of a cake was awarded to the most accomplished performer. In the fairground, it is an amusement device comprising oscillating bridges.


A carnival or a carnival worker.

Carnie Chicken


Carnie's Christmas

Labour Day at a big fair.


A collective amusement organization consisting of shows, riding devices, catering, and gaming concessions. A circus may be just one of the shows of a carnival midway.

Carnival Divorce

The clothing of the female half of a couple is thrown from the Pullman car. But this is not "legal" unless it is seen by the car porter.


Originally an equestrian sport practised in Arabia and Turkey during the twelfth century, this later became an elaborate spectacle involving tournaments, finally a Merry-Go-Round or Roundabout.

Carry the Banner

A carnie with no money who has to sleep in a park or to stay up all night because of not having a bed is carrying the banner. A game where balls are thrown into buckets or baskets. Care must be taken to avoid flying balls.


In a show that travels by railroad, these are the show's sleeping cars.


A caterpillar or any other track type of tractor.


Rebel-yelling, troublesome southern hillbillies.


A Comic Book Idiot, a generally stupid person.

Centre Joint

A game with space for people to play on all four sides.


All people not connected with the shows.


A group of numbers printed or painted on a board, used in FLAT SWRES to show the prize for each 202 colour or number. Red numbers are always won by the operator.


To be on the make.

Cheaters or Googs

Eyeglasses, spectacles.

Check the Lines, To

To count the cash.

Cheese Wheel

A mouse game in which cheese is sometimes used to lure the mice into winning or non-winning holes; also known as Cradle Wheel.

Chill Him

When STICKS surround the MARK, keeping him away from his friends and family.

Chive Rack

The Knife Game - hoops are thrown over knives.

Chump Educator

A slang term for Billhoard, the weekly publication now called Amusement Business.

Chump Heister

The Ferris Wheel.

Chump or Sucker

Any person who isn' t shifting, drifting and lifting for a living.


A compliment. Carnival barkers would say "give the man a big cigar," meaning a prize for winning at a game.

Circus Sideshow

Carnival freak-show owners called their attractions circus sideshows.


A circus man or circus worker.


A small-town resident or a rustic; one who can be hoaxed easily; especially to carnival people, the members of the local community in which the carnival is playing temporarily. Also, a fight between carnival or circus employees and local townspeople.

Clip, To

Trimming a sucker, or taking advantage of someone.

Clothes Pin

The peek joint or strip show.

Coat-tail Puller

Someone who tries to pull a prospect away from a game.


Someone who says he can get a show anything it needs, but never does any getting.


Short for confidence, as in "He had my con."

Concession Agent

Operator of a sales or gaming concession.


Merchandise, food, or gaming booths.


A talk, conversation, or conference.


Any lascivious dance such as the hootchy-kootchy.

Cooch Dancing

Boudoir calisthenics performed by female dancers.


A "dancing girl" show where the girls do the COOCH.


A show's dining facilities, usually an enclosure where show people eat their meals on the show grounds. Most carnival cookhouses also serve the general public.

Cop a Feel, To

A quick grab at portions of passing female anatomy. This is a popular midway sport enjoyed mostly by concession agents.

Cop and Blow, To

To win and leave.

Cop a Royal, To

To make no sales.


Small prizes or BALLYS placed in boxes of candy or Cracker-Jack.

Corn Game

The Bingo concession.

Country Store

A concession displaying inexpensive merchandise usually designed on a rotating wheel.


Old-time circus GAFF JOINT.

Crime Show

An exhibit where they display guns supposedly used in stick-ups or murders using pictures or wax figures of assorted criminals, posters of the ten most wanted men, handcuffs, etc.


A doctor.


A railroad crossing where the show train is loaded or unloaded .


A circus bee; a derogatory term used by carnies to describe circus workers.

Cup of Mud

A cup of coffee.


The bigger the lies, the better.


An American 25-cent piece, a quarter of a dollar.


The fee the electrician collects for connecting electrical service.

Cut of Flats

A section of flat cars spotted in for loading or unloading.

Cut-up Jackpots

A discussion of past events (often distorted) by showmen.


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