Post a reply
Security Image:
 Last 10 Posts (In reverse order)
I agree with Thunderbolt...the 70s and 80s seemed like the peak as far as number of Shows I saw traveling and the size of their ride lists. I often think of that era not as the old days, rather the golden age. But then again, I've never been with it, so I will defer to those who were/are.

Even with the new rides and technology that have happened since then, give me a Show with a 70/80s lineup any day. In fact I just experienced a midway with no Wheel, Tilt, or definitely felt incomplete. It seemed like those were on all midways back in the day.
I've never been "with it", just been an interested observer of carnivals for more than 50 years.
Johnny's United Shows..."A Family Tradition" and "All for Fun, Fun for All".
The carnival of my youth, which had roots that originated in my hometown.
Yeah, I can remember those "showers" from the day, we had a Tempest which made a good place under the trailer to have a shower, put down a wooden pallet, run the hose and you had it made (LOL). We used to have the "tent cities" for the ride guys, lots of tents out back, did run power and have fans, TV's, and such. Hated those portable toilets, first day fine, but after a few days, and sitting in the hot sun, well you guys all know.

Yep, and after long tear downs having to fix trailer lights every week, or "sneaking" by the scales. This business has made a lot of improvements and lot of them I like, but yeah I do miss some of the old things.

Another show I forgot about that used to work the southeast was Doc Hardin, he had several shows from what I remember, would build one up, sell it off, and then start again. I think he really enjoyed building a route and show up and then starting over.

The last time I saw his show before he sold it at the Upper SC State Fair, he booked in with Deggeller. He had a Flying Bobs then, and just bought a Sky Wheel which came in there, but they never got it set up. He had a Trooper in there and on the first night one of the drive wheels started making a real racket and then the whole thing motor and all flew off and landed by the Scrambler. There were folks on it, no one hurt but it didn't run again all week of course. He had a nice Yo-Yo, Octopus, Wheel, R-Up, Dark Ride, Sidewinder, and other equipment.

We always had a cookhouse for each unit on Childress, after Nova went out of business some concessions came over from that show onto the Blue (main) unit. I wish I could remember their names but they had a nice operation, the cookhouse, a grab, and some games. Now they always cooked some of the best meals for the show, a meat and three, with some tomato/onions, bread and drink all priced good. We had a cookhouse on the second unit but didn't get meals like that until we joined back up with the Blue unit. They were nice folks too, always ready to help you if you needed it.
Originally Posted by: DutchWheel9 

I'm right there with Thunderbolt85! He said it so well.

Although I admit that had I been old enough to travel around and see the shows of the 1960's, I would DEFINITELY remember that time very fondly as well.

IT IS A SHAME the way things have changed!!

Perhaps, at some point, there could be an industry-wide effort to make things better.

I've been a 40 miler for 10 years or so, but I wouldn't trade now for the the old days for anything. Things are better now than ever. We were always booked in with an ape show and then an arcade so we had it good. I didn't have to dig the donniker hole until it got cool in the afternoon. Usually there was water to hook up to, but not always. Lights might take a while. I remember when there was no such thing as a bunk house. You found a truck cab or shade to sleep under until setup and a ride trailer was available. Showers? For ride guys that was a hose over your head. First in line had it lucky because the water would be hot from the sun. In the trailer, you would only turn on the cold water because it was so hot, then suddenly it would be cold.

And rolling stock. When is the last time anybody had a flat tire? I've gotten so slack sometimes I don't even have a spare. Trucks don't run hot anymore. Lights work when you plug them in. I've had to run a wire from the battery to the trailer just to get some tail lights working, but not for at least 15 years. Shoot, even my trailer brakes work.

One day I'll post a video of my grandfather and a piece of rubber missing from his solid tired medicine show truck as he went bouncing down the road. The good old days are a fantasy. Sorry, but it's the truth. Oh, and while I don't want to relive it, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

I'm right there with Thunderbolt85! He said it so well.

Although I admit that had I been old enough to travel around and see the shows of the 1960's, I would DEFINITELY remember that time very fondly as well.

IT IS A SHAME the way things have changed!!

Perhaps, at some point, there could be an industry-wide effort to make things better.
The old days to me were the 70's and 80's I should have said my good old days when i made the post sorry
Yeah, I agree that it depends on the person and age, but for me I really liked the midways of the late 70s and early 80s. Huss rides were really coming on the scene, but you still had a good number of the old classics.

One thing I really miss at least for around this area is that we would be visited by several shows each year for still dates. Shows like Childress, Larry's Amusements, Leland Johnson, McBride Brothers, and others would come to town for a week during the summer months. They didn't bring really big rides (except for when Reithoffer came to the mall in 85 with some big pieces), but nice small midways with a Wheel, Rock O Plane, Scrambler, just a good mix of majors and kiddies. Bright colored rolling stock, some small grind/side shows and games.

Now, I do remember in the late 70's one show came to Sky City parking lot and had a Sky Wheel in there, don't remember the name of the show, but was surprised back then to see a ride like that in a still date (at least back then).

Nobody worried about the lead lines or hoses, they just run all over the lot, that and those old wooden junction boxes, sometimes a search light as well.
Part of the old days to me was if you saw anybody with it broke down beside the road you stopped and did what you could to help, no matter who they were. If somebody blew in looking for a hole or ride work if there wasn't anything most real carnies would slip them a little something to help get them to the next lot.

There were always a few who would show up right after setup, draw every day, run a tab at the cookhouse, then blow on Saturday. That brings up another point, if you don't remember every show having a cookhouse, you're too young to remember the "real" old days.

Flamo brought up the Moon Rocket. The last one I saw was on Jerry Bohlander's show in 1979. Every week they wondered if this would be the spot it collapsed from internal rust. He had a ground mount chair swings too. It made me think of my dad talking about how they had to be staked and well balanced to keep them from walking down the midway, and how they ran fast enough that girls would pee in circles. Not to knock today's ride guys TOO much, but there used to be a lot more skill required to set up, operate, and tear down a ride. And for a lot less pay compared to today.

IF anybody remembers Val Ireland, I'll tell you a story my dad told me about his show. Oh, and at my last spot an independent had "Wolf's pork rinds". I asked if he was related to Benny Wolf, and he said, "who?" Bonus points if you remember his slogan.

The "old days" is a time period, whether you lived it or remember it, where one thinks things were so much better or worse, or at least different then today. Often it is a time period you want to go back to for some reason.

Many people when thinking about old days, think of them as the good old days. Sometimes they forget about the bad things that happen in that era and focus more on the good.

It is what you learn, after you know it all, that counts.
Yeah, it's subjective.

I agree with Jack Norman that drugs ruined the industry.

Ride the Zipper?
Flamo; The old days is relative to a person's age. I've heard kids around 20-25 talk about the 1980's as being the old days. Some of my old friends, used to speak of the 1920's and 30's as the old days.