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24-hour Man Employee who travels the route 24 hours before the rest of the circ us, putting up roadside

arrows to direct travel and making sure the lot is ready . Aba-daba Any dessert served in the cookhouse.

Advance Teams of employees traveled ahead of the circus route to put up posters and arrange for advertising, usually arriving in each town four weeks, two weeks and one week before the show. They often traveled on dedicated "advance cars" o r "bill cars," rail cars carried on freight trains, and had just one day to carr y out their assignments. The team and its ad campaign were simply called "the ad vance." "Bill Posters" pasted multi-sheet posters on the outsides of buildings a nd fences with buckets of flour-and-water paste, long-handled paste brushes, and ladders. "Lithographers" bartered with local merchants, trading passes for the right to place one-sheets, half-sheets, and panels in store windows. Any of them might hire local youths to distribute heralds door-to-door. Advise The official schedule, posted on the outside of the backdoor and elsewher e, listing the current revision of the time and sequence of the acts. AGVA The American Guild of Variety Artists, a (currently) 5,000-member union rep resenting performers in the variety entertainment field, including circuses, Las Vegas showrooms and cabarets, musical variety shows, comedy showcases, dance re vues, magic shows and amusement park shows, arena and auditorium productions on tour. Referred to in the musical "A Chorus Line" as 'the nightclub union.' Organ ized by Sophie Tucker and others as The American Federation of Actors, absorbed into the AFL-CIO in 1939. Awards the "Georgie Award" (after George Jessel) for v ariety performer of the year. Opinions vary on the AGVA, generally concluding th at it is at least as honest as the Teamsters and at least as useful to the perfo rmers as PATCO was to Reagan-era air-traffic controllers. Does not, at this writ ing (February 2006), even maintain a minimal web page. Alfalfa Paper money.

All Out and Over, All Out, All Over The entire performance is concluded, the aud ience has vacated the top and workers can begin re-setting or tearing down. Annie Oakley A complimentary ticket or free pass, also 'ducat.' The hole customa rily punched in such a free pass recalled the bullet holes that Oakley, a wild-w est-show sharpshooter, fired into small cards in her performances. Arena The large cage in which big-cat acts are performed.

Arrow A paper sign, consisting simply of a large (usually red) printed arrow, us ed to mark the route between towns. Taped to the posts of road signs by the 24-h our man the day before the show moves. Can be placed in any orientation: straigh t-up arrows every few miles to let you know you're on the right road, a single t ilted arrow to warn of an upcoming turn, and two or three tilted arrows in a gro up to indicate where to turn. Artist Preferred term for a circus performer. Performers' entrance to the big top.

Back Door

Back Yard The area behind the big top where props, animals, and performers are r eadied for a circus performance, and where housing trailers are parked away from public view. Backyard Name of a circus trade publication.

Amusement Business. who in 1886 claimed to have survived a jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. Big Top The main tent used for the performance. Basket Animal A costume made with a basket in the middle. Boss Canvasman The man in charge of making sure the canvas goes up properly and doesn't come down short of a major blow down.Baggage Stock ing stock. Blowdown Blow Off The end of the show when the concessionaires come out. and the rings are raised up the poles by ropes using blocks-and-tackle. the visual "punchline" of a clown gag. Bibles Souvenir programs. Bongo Board Same as a Rola Bola. the trade mag azine. was sometimes also called "the Bible. Also. .the poles are p laced in the rings as the canvas lies on the ground. Bugs Chameleons or green anole lizards sold as novelties by butchers. but the system is open to many abuses. Phoneroom System of selling advance tickets using teams of telephon e salesmen cold-calling people. Brodie An accidental fall (but one which has an element of stupidity or clumsine ss. Boss Hostler The man who traveled ahead of the mud shows to mark the way for the caravan. Also decides on the placement of t ents on the lot. rather than disaster). and sometimes functions as lot manager for the sideshow as well .) Bill An advertising poster. usually painted blue (in enginee ring. sometimes used to denote the one in charge of all horses in a show. and each hole is fitted with a sturdy metal ring . Barn Winter quarters. boards placed under the reserved seat chairs. so "the big top" would be the largest tent on the lot. the canvas is perforated by holes where the support p oles will be." Big Bertha or The Big One Big Cats Ringling Bros. When the tents are blown down by a storm. Performing lions and tigers. Also. "stringers" are long supporting members) Boiler Room.) Banjo Light A large round pan-shaped metal reflector containing a gasoline or ke rosene flame. as opposed to performing horses called "r Bale Ring In a large tent. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. so -called because they fold closed like a bible. looking as if the perf ormer were riding a horse or other animal. Ballyhoo A spotlight cue meaning to sweep the light across the spectators in a f igure-8 pattern (used in a different sense in carnivals and sideshows. used to light tent interiors before electricity." Horses used for hauling. (A tent is a top plus some walls . Suspenders hold the costume around th e performer's waist. Blues or Stringers The general admission seats. From the name of Steve Brodie. These advance sales are indispensable to smaller shows.

A circus clown would be much more likely to say something like "go @#$%& yourself." Calliope A musical instrument consisting of a series of steam whistles played li ke an organ. tigers. it's cutesie-poo amateur clown club jargon. etc. Used by amateurs (and Ringling publi city) to refer to clowns who specialize in hospital visits ("Awwwwww ").then the wet went in. it doesn't hur t them what kind of idiot would stand practically under a very expensive multi-t on animal and hurt it?) Bullhand or Bull Handler Bulls ows. also called (probably through an uneducated attempt to read this unfamiliar word) 'shivaree. (From 'Calliope." the meaning of which is often stretched to incl ude all sorts of labor at all hours.' Charley (v. "The food items were sent into the big top in an order. Character Clown A clown who dresses in a character costume. Charivari A noisy whirlwind entrance of clowns.' the Greek muse of music. Cherry Pie Extra jobs done by circus personnel for extra pay. It is about 60 feet high and holds the peak of the tent. leopards. Catcher The member of a trapeze act who catches the flyer after he has released himself from the bar in a flying return act. in addition to the job they signed on for. fireman. but s ometimes a policeman. Cats Lions. Cattle Guard A set of low seats placed in front of the general admission seats t o accommodate overflow audiences. often a tramp. Candy apples didn't go in until the last couple of acts. Al Stencell said. rather like actors' "break a leg. Center Pole or King Pole The first pole of the tent to be raised. Reason . to mak e themselves "generally useful. panthers. Bull Tub "Bump a Nose" Some people cite this as the "good luck" phrase clowns use to each other before a performance. on the Circus Historical Society forum in 2006.) Caring Clown Not a traditional circus term.) To ditch a poster or group of posters or handbills instead of posti ng or distributing them as assigned. (No. until employees often feel that they are be . Elephants (whether male or female). Circus contr acts often call for employees. Chinese Extra jobs done by circus personnel without additional pay. Once people were ready to almost kill y ou for a drink .Bullhook or Ankus The dull hook on a stick used by elephant trainers to "get the elephant's attention" and guide the animals to their tasks." Bunce Profits. Carpet Clown A clown who works either among the audience or on arena floor. Butcher Strolling vendor selling refreshments or souvenirs." In reality.it takes too long to eat an apple." Employee working with the elephants. That is dry first. Also (mostly with affection) "rubber c Heavy round metal pedestal upon which an elephant sits or stands.

Clown Alley Clown Stop The clowns' dressing and prop area. Circus Headache A real ailment. That guest clown (who doesn't look lik e a Halloweener and will take directions) can add some visual beef to tired rout ines. Circus Report Circus Tape ment. I believe. in part. sneak in the back door. butchers are selling their wares. paying a fee for t he use of the big top and for ticket sales. Some cl owns specialized and only performed during come in." Publishes "The White Tops" members' maga zine. feeling entitled to ente r the performers' private areas uninvited or meddle with the animals entirely un appreciative of the danger. often featuring a f amous cowboy movie star. Circus owners understand both sides: a post to the Fans' website recently read. A fight. used in an aerial act. However. Circus Pole Very early mass-produced candy hawked by candy butchers inside the t ent. performed in the big top. The concert was ofte n produced by a separate company independently of the circus. A short clown gag (as opposed to a lengthy routine). brown. that they don't expect freebies for their helpful efforts). Their mottoes: "We fight anything that fights the ci rcus" and "We pay as we go" (meaning. with prize premiums as an incentive to bu y. really just a "u" of rope. Adhesive cloth tape used to wrap trapeze bars and other circus equip Circus counterpart to the word "carny. Most performers using the cloud swing never used safety features. Cirky Clem Name of a weekly circus trade magazine. but the concert came to be almost always a wild west show. with a hard. let their kids run all over the place. Elephant and camel rides are offered for a fee during come in. "That smiling neighbor tearing tickets mig ht be the contact for next years booking. Its loc al clubs are called "tents" and "tops. after the conclusion of the main performance. The freeloaders show up with a car full of uncontrollable kids . named because prolonged exposure to the ammonia fumes generated by animal waste can cause splitting headaches. Circus Fans Association of America Fan organization established in 1926. Concert or Aftershow An extra act.ing abused by management as badly as Chinese laborers were while building the ra ilroads. Stick candy. then after the show head back to the car to have lunch they brought from home and complain about our soda prices. and clowns are on the floor. brittle outer layer and a soft coconut cen ter." Here's their website. The loyalty of the Fans is sincerely appreciated by circus performers and is seen as indispensable to the survival of small shows. they can at times (l ike fans in any field) be both obsessive and intrusive. for an additional a dmission fee. . Circus Candy Very cheap confections with deceptively impressive packaging. Often sold in a special intermission pitch." Another member also wrote "I put my foot down and separated the fans from the freeloaders. Early shows offered musical concerts . sit in the best sits. Many a mud-show perform er has gotten a ride to the laundromat from a Fan. Cloud Swing A bar-less swing." a circus employee. Come In The period an hour before showtime when the public is entering the arena before the circus begins.

Dukie (or Dukey) Tickets Company scrip or vouchers distributed by management to staff and performers to use like money at the pie car and cook house. Sometimes also used to refer to mo ney. a weekly publication for the outdoo r entertainment industry. and their anim al acts might amount to as little as a trained dog and pony. functions and whistle were later adopted by ringmasters when they became ch ief announcers instead of livestock-handlers. Dog and Pony Show A dismissive term for a very small circus. They were often too small to support large animals. etc. Dukie (or Dukey) Run Any circus run longer than an overnight haul. When read by uneducated people it came out "Dukie" and the name stuck. Ducat (somestimes 'ducket') Free ticket to the show. His cost ume.) who decided and signaled the pacing of the acts. Equestrian Director The "stage manager" of the show. A large traveling c ircus might have 20 people working. Ringling still uses dukie tickets. also knows as an 'Annie Oak ley' (or 'comp. red jacket. Dressing the House To sell reserved-seat tickets in a pattern so that all sectio ns appear at least moderately filled with no obviously empty areas. Downtown Wagon A circus wagon featuring a simple exhibit. Ducat Grabber Door tender or ticket collector. Exotic Animal Act An animal act involving mixed species. Giving the se coupons instead of cash ensured that the workers ate and had personal things despite the temptation to blow it all on alcohol. bareback rider jumps from the ground or teeterboard onto the back of a running horse. not open to the public. parked prominently on a downtown street as advertising on circus day. When two circuses are in the same town simultaneously. this is a metaphor for an event with big ballyhoo but little substance. Call meaning the house is open to the public. Dressage An act by horses trained in dancelike stylized movements. in formal riding wear (top hat. . a small "mud show" might be a family and a h elper or two. an elaborate but empty display: "Congressman Blowhard demanded a hearing on the dangers of c arnival rides.' a term shared with theater).Cookhouse. standing with the feet together." Donkey Kick Doors The bareback rider's flip from a standing position to the hands. In common use. You could buy food but not bee r with the dukey tickets." after an elegant Parisian hotel across the street from the Louvre . Sometimes a ticket wagon would b e located downtown to increase sales. Feet Jump-In In equestrian acts. Cook Shack Day and Date The place where personnel eat. Bag lunch provided for workers on the jump. Dukie (or Dukey) Bag Dukie (or Dukey) Lunch The first circus cookhouse was jocularly nicknamed "The H otel du Quai. (the) Educator Slang for Amusement Business. so we had to testify in his dog and pony show. the animals' paces are guided by subtle movements of the rider's body.

generally under a tent. Flyers Aerialists in flying return acts. Most of the time it would be a man. putting the rider high above the ground. Geronimo A "death dive" act. an outsider or towner. Gaucho Someone not born into circus life who takes a circus job. Gilly Anyone not connected with the circus. or Flag's Up The cookhouse is open. Small circus. usually on the rural circuit. Fly Bar Aerialists' swing with a bar instead of a flat seat. to give extra stability and spread to canvas tent. Rope walker. Flukum Refreshment butchers' term for no-brand grape or orange drink to be sold in the stands (usually from cheap powdered flavorings). Garbage Joint The souvenir or novelty stand. consisting of backless bleachers in the old days. . meaning a non-Gypsy.' Flying Squadron The first trucks to reach the lot.Fink Anything broken. Gallery General seating area (the cheap seats). and you'll always find new help hired on the first of May who have never worked shows before. which involve jumping from swings inste ad of walking or dancing on tightropes. The flyer's partner is the 'catcher. Possibly a corr uption of the gypsy word "gadjo" (sometimes "gadje"). Circus manager.' First of May A novice performer or worker in his first season. Gilly Outfit Gilly Wagon Giraffe A unicycle with seat and pedals atop a long pole. where staff drink or gamble.) Forty Milers Funambulist ) Small circuses that play spot dates and never travel far from home. from the Latin: "funis" (rope) and "ambulare" (to walk. G-Top Gaffer Gag A private club. Flip-Flaps Backward handsprings done on the ground. Shows usually pla y the season's opening spot on the first of May. Also 'larry. Funny Ropes Extra ropes added to regular ones. A short clown trick that is over too quickly to be an act of its own. Flag. (After the title of a novel a bout the War of 1812. Flare A kerosene torch placed along the route from the railroad loading spur to the circus lot. jumping from a great height onto a big air bag (as movie stunt men do today) or as "sponge plunge" into an impossibly small amount of water. he would climb to the top of the b uilding out on to the beams yell "Geronimo" and dive off hitting a big air bag o n the floor and for dramatic effect a big bang would go off. to light the way during a night haul. Small utility wagon or cart. usually at angles.

flank ed by the less favorable viewing area called the "stalls. more likely to be 'It's a clem!' or just 'fight!'. sometimes pasted down but usually handed out. Guy Wires Stabilizing ropes that give horizontal support to rigging. More o f an act was possible by this method than by the "iron jaw" method. Hey Rube! Traditional battle cry of circus people in fights with townspeople. Horse Feed Horse Opry . alternately sliding down them. Also refers to a horse being ridden. or on a lunge line. Heat Merchant Heralds Circus advertisements of black-and-white type. cloud swing. high wire. Th ese days.Graft A piece of work. in whi ch all the artists enter. Hits Good places to paste posters. Poor returns from poor business. Home Run The trip from Home Sweet Home back to winter quarters. Grandstand The seating area facing the center ring of a three-ring circus. Hammock Act Slang for the "Spanish Web" act. because you can hang longer by your hair than by your teeth. Hair Hang An aerial act in which the performer was suspended by her hair. approximately 9 x 20 inch es. Similar to the "strap act. like the walls of grain elevators. Any circus (jokingly). in which an aerialist is suspended by being entwined in one or two long cloths. High School Horse A horse who has been taught fancy steps in special riding acad emies (see Dressage)." Grease Joint Guy Out The hot-dog or grill concession trailer. Grafters Grand Entry The opening parade. Applies particularly when the re is no rope or loop hidden in the length of the cloths. or fences. An unscrupulous advance-sale phoneroom ticket sale agent. cradle. Horse One thousand dollars. Home Sweet Home The last stand of the season. swin ging from them. Gamblers who often trail a show. bui ldings." Harmonica Haul Route Considered a bad-luck instrument. Hippodrome Track The oval area between the rings and audience. whether easy or hard. do uble traps. and wrapping them around the body. pretty much anything with a crane bar uses them. also called the "spec" (for "spectacle"). Directions through the city from the rail yard to the lot or arena. To check and tension the guy wires. single traps. barns. Most things in the air use guy wires: flying acts. when bill posters sometimes pasted one pack of posters upside down.

storm warning. Kick Out A date or ticket-selling campaign that falls through. Jumbo The popular use of the word "jumbo" to mean anything large comes from the name of a famous large elephant first exhibited in London. Jackpots Jill Tall tales about one's exploits on the circus ('war stories'. someone would say "John Robinson" to call for an abbreviated performance.House Theatre term for the audience seating area. Joey A clown (derived from Joseph Grimaldi. Kid Show A sideshow. Elephan t and camel rides would be sold for an extra fee during "come in. a famous clown in 18th-century Engla nd. . Most of the time used a s an opening number someone dressed as a butterfly was raised to the top of the arena. John Robinson A signal to cut or shorten an act. and so was thrown overboard to be swallowed by a whale.' Kid Pusher Employee. or to give a very short show al together." Iron-Jaw Trick An aerial stunt using a metal bit and apparatus which fits into t he performer's mouth.T. Bar num in 1882.' Howdah From the Indian term. Jumbo is still the official Tufts mascot. and from which he hangs suspended. London zookeepers named the elephant.) A girl. assigned to the job of recruiting an d directing local youths in setting up the tops in return for free passes. A mother watching her child perform in the ring is almost certain to b e a Jonah. Jump Stand An additional ticket booth near the front door used to sell extra tic kets during a rush by spectators. The elephant's popularity drove the wo rd "jumbo" into general use. Although the remains of Jumbo were destroyed in a fire. or jail. Barnum stuffed him and continu ed to exhibit him. Rarely used. who brought storms down upon the ship he was traveling on. a seat on the back of an elephant or camel. or sometimes just a very long haul to the n ext lot. probably drawing on "jambo. then sold to P. Also 'on the sawdust Kicking Sawdust trail. Kiester A wardrobe trunk. Jonah A person who brings bad luck to everyone in his vicinity (from the Biblica l story of Jonah. Jonah's Luck Unusually bad weather or mud. or in the middle of an act if the ringma ster made the announcement "Would John Robinson please come to the rear entrance .) This term was never exclusively a circus term. After Jumbo's death. Jump The distance between performances in different towns." the performer should go right into his last trick. but was in much wider general use in the past. but valuable in case of emergency.) Some sources say it only refers to an auguste-type clown. As in 'a full house. waved a round a bit then was lowered. Such as "he had a beef with the fuzz and landed in the kiester. then donated him to Tufts University. others say it is an amateur term not used on the lot." the traditional Swahili word of greeting. Following the circus or being a part of it. or a pitchman's display case. If you were headed out to the ring. Or anyone's rear end.". usually on a mud show. hav ing disobeyed God.

The street parade. A spot where the lot was a long way from the railroad loading spu Long Mount When several elephants stand in line. Q up ropes. Little People Long Haul Town r. barebac k riders. a crude rack in an 18-wheeler. L. placing his front legs on the back of the elephant in front of him. Living Quarters whether it is a show-owned bunk house. The small entrance tent on most tented circuses. perch acts." Might describe damaged merchandise. Quarter poles were between the m the king pole as the queen poles. The lot superintendent who decides the location of the vario Liberty horses are trained horses performing without riders or tethe Lift The natural bounce with which a bareback rider jumps from the ground to the back of a running horse. A king pole sticks out through a hole s pulled up around it with ropes. two or four in the canvas and the canvas i tents were rather fragile and eight queen poles around it."He's just a larry. Called a 'lu nge' when the rope is fixed to the center of the ring and keeps the performer fr om falling outward. but were around the walls at the same distance fro Any circus performer (originally specific to acrobats). Main Guy The March Marquee Guy rope to hold up the center pole in the Big Top. or even a person who's a loser (however affa ble) ." Layout Man. Lunge Line A long tether allowing horses to run and do stunts around the periphe ry of the ring while the trainer stands in the center holding the line.Q. Kinker tent. Lot Lice Local townspeople who arrive early to watch the unloading of the circus and stay late. Larry "Something's wrong with it. each on hind legs. Maybe they leave money behind. trampoline. or someth ing worn out beyond any usefulness. and tumblers. . Very old canvas had one king pole in the center with four or even ueen poles also passed through holes and had pull edges of the tent. Liberty Act rs. Midgets or dwarfs. Mechanic Safety harness used in practice sessions by flyers. or a private trailer. high wire.King Pole The main support pole or mast for the in number. sometimes one. The practicing performer wears a harness attached to a rope that hangs above the middle of the ring. Lot The show grounds. a railroad sleeping car. Comedy act involving physical humor and exaggerated mock violence Knockabout Act . but they sure get in the way. Lacing The system of eyelets and rope loops that holds together the panels of a tent's walls. Lot Man us tents.

or handbills distrib uted door-to-door. the midway will probably be a combination of the carniva l and the 'independent midway. "off the books. not the circus. Pad Room Room near the animals for pads. Now. and tore down or covered up the bills fo r their competition by night. On the Show Describes performers and all others connected to the circus. Mud Show Mule Metal fitting that helps slide center poles up when raising the big top A smaller tent circus playing rural areas. Performer's Trick Something the performer does with great pride but which only o ther performers would appreciate. Often done when the pre ss is in attendance. (Also used in the theater. though most of the animal people hang there and might put their spec wardrobe there.' amusements booked in separately by the fair comm ittee itself. rides and show s are located in a circus. harness and tack for elephants and hors es. Performance Director The person in charge of the overall look of the show and al l artists. Since local charities often 'sponsor' the circus or carnival. This practice was often ignored in towns where there was no Billposters' local or where there was not a strong pro-union sentiment. an d with flier distribution often called "littering. but in a circus the midway is situated "midway" between the 'front door' to the circus lot and the 'big top' where the circus performers do their acts. the area where all the concessions. who posted paper for their emp loyers in a gentlemanly fashion by day. Billposters and Distributors. a carnival is basically nothing but a midw ay without a circus. there was a union for bill crews: the Intern ational Alliance of Billers. and the paper w ould be rubber-stamped with a small "union bug" (union logo) indicating that the posters were put up by union members. Paid Off in the Dark When salary is paid in cash. handbills or advertisements for a carnival. like a magician who learns sleights so skillfu . A rubber-tired tractor used to move wagons." Paper Posters. Not really a dressing room. to give the impression that the public is anxious to see your show. At a fair. very much like a theatrical director. union-member crews were required. posters put up by the charity are often officially overlooked by law e nforcement.Midway In its broadest sense." paper mostly consists of cou pons distributed in stores. The ter m "with it" is specific to the carnival world. Opposition Paper Advertising posters put up by competing circuses. Beginning in the 1950s. When a show played to wns with a Billposters' local. with laws against posting on the public right-of-way.) Pedestal The platform that fliers perch on while waiting to catch the swing (the "fly bar"). Paper used to be most ly in the form of posters of various sizes pasted on walls. Mud Shoe . Papering the House Giving away free tickets to fill up the audience. Perch Act A balancing act involving use of apparatus upon which one person perfo rms while being balanced by another. Night Riders Bill posters for competing circuses. Of course.

a nd more might be pitched. sodas. toys.l they awe other magicians but seem to the public no different than what their U ncle Bill can do. souvenirs. sandwiches but not full meals. never elegant to begin with. ofte n on the city streets. peanuts. tube steak (a hot dog) and that's ab out it. Picture Gallery A tattooed man. What movie companies call "craft services" and roc k concerts call "catering. make sure you take that right out to our toy store and get yo ur free prize. ill-kept and barely presentable from day to day. "While we are setting up for the next act. cigarettes. Possum Belly Storage box attached underneath a work wagon to carry cable. Stick & Rag Show A small circus. but likely over t he loudspeaker during a break in the show. Planges Aerialist's body swing-overs in which one hand and wrist hold a padded r ope loop. Rag Tag. For efficient unloading. Balloons. . A quarter pole does not pass through the ca nvas but usually has a mushroom shaped cap with two small holes. On the modern Ringling show. and stuff like socks. Pole Direction The direction the wagons face on the railroad cars. Ponger An acrobat. rigging. When you f ind that gold dot." Pitchmen Generally. It was probably the first convenience store you could buy beer. coffee. cards. This will be the only time that this offer will be good! On the bottom of some of the balloons you will find a gold dot. razors. a trailer or wagon that provides meals on the back lot of the arena. Pie Car Jr. for the nex t two minutes Bob our balloon man will be selling balloons right down here in ce nter ring for only a dollar. a person making a pitch (sales talk) to sell something. At times a place for a quick nap by a worker. After the shows stopped traveling by rail. (to) Rag Out To tighten the tent ropes. Rag Bag. stakes . and at times the t emporary home of an unauthorized "traveling girlfriend" (a "possum belly queen") . they all need to be positioned uniformly. Privilege midway. some one opened a pie car on every show. Prop Hand . because the better the pitch th e more you sold. Ropes are sewn to the canvas each side of a leather pad and they pass throgh the holes to pull up the pole and secure it. chi ps. or in a carnival show or on the midway. Pie-Car The railroad dining car. Quarter Poles Poles which help support the weight of the canvas and take up the slack between center and side poles. Punk Pusher The fee paid to the circus for the right to place a concession on the Crew member responsible for setting and placing props for the next act Supervisor of the work crew. So hurry down and see Bob. you have only one minute left!" The pe ople who sold the stuff would tip the pitch man. it opened after the cookhouse closed. etc. If it wa s a little show you would get soda.

Razorbacks Advance posters or handbills with negative claims about the oppositio The men who load and unload railroad cars. roofed regulation-sized circus ring for rehearsal at wint er quarters. A rider standing with one foot on the back of each of two horses. Called "Icarian Games" by European circuses. the act is called "foot juggling. Originally.Rat Sheets n. Ringmaster The show's Master of Ceremonies and main announcer. A performer stands on the board and balances while performing various feats. Center ring was about 42 fee t. Roll-Ups Tame American aerial planges. Ring Stock Animals which perform in the show. or tells you to meet the circus somewhere. When the manipula tors support props instead of people. Red Lighted A method of getting rid of you: the owner departs without paying whi le you're not looking (all you see when trying to pick up your check is red ligh ts disappearing down the road). Risley Act Acrobatic act in which one or more performers support another perform er on their feet." the moment when there's just you and the oily stains where the bus used to be. Ring Doors The canvas panels artists push aside as they enter the performance ar ea of the big top. . he st ood in the center of the ring and paced the horses for the riding acts. it was also bigger and heavier made because that is where most of the animal acts worked. Worker specializing in assembling and managing the rigging. Rosinback Horse used for bareback riding." Rola Bola A board placed flat on top of a cylindrical roller. Red Wagon Rigger Rigging The main office wagon. Roman Riding Roper Rosin A cowboy. Ring The circle in which circus acts are presented. The apparatus used in high wire or aerial acts. Behind the ring doors is a small vestibule artists can stand in inside the "back door" but out of sight of the audience. Ring Banks or Curbs The wooden curbing around the ring. keeping the horses running smoothly while performers did their tricks on the horses' bac ks. trained to maintain timing despite distractions. Powdered dried plant gum used to prevent slipping. Also "Oil Spotted. The sid e or end rings were about 36 feet and not made as heavy. Ring Horse A horse which performs in the center ring. It was made strong enough that the horses could walk on it. but t he circus goes somewhere else. Horses' backs were sprinkled with rosi n to prevent the rider from slipping. Ring Barn A permanent. some sources even use this word to mean that an u npopular person is thrown from the back of a moving vehicle.

. Many of them remained unidentified because they were known only by their "handles. the schedule of towns to be played. the route book contains notes abo ut each stand: where. Screamers Standard circus march tunes. laborer. (to) See the Elephant The circus origin of this phrase is obvious. Shanty or Chandelier Showman's Rest Two sites share this name. is the final resting place of many proud circus and carnival veter ans. to sidewall is to s neak in without paying by crawling under the sidewall. Rubbermen Strolling balloon vendors." Even Tolkien's Lo rd of the Rings makes a sly reference to it. listing the se ason's stands by date." Showmen's League of America Founded in 1913 by a group of outdoor showmen meetin g at the Saratoga Hotel in Chicago. Safety Loop The loop part of a web rope into which a performer places her wrist in aerial ballet numbers. A section of Mt. Circus route cards are valuable information for performer s and valuable souvenirs for collectors.Roustabout Route A circus workman. Route Card A bare-bones schedule published for wide distribution. the League promotes the image of the circus and carnival and performs charitable work. Sidewall The canvas wall that hangs below a canvas 'top. Route Book Like the "captain's log" of a ship. Buffalo Bill Cody was the club's firs t president. The annual itinerary. Balloons were blown up with air and attache d to sticks. There is a similar section of the Woodlawn Cemetery in Chicago. overseen by the Showmen's League of America. Runs Ramps to load and unload wagons at the railroad cars." and shortly thereafter it took on the added meaning "to lose your innocence and learn a humbling or embarrassing lesson. conditions. Here's a link to their website." Seventeen Wagon The wagon where paychecks are distributed. created when 86 performers and workers of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus were killed in a 1918 train wreck. anything noteworthy about th e performance or anything else that happened. out in the wide worl d among amazing things.' Used as a verb. Olivet Cemetery in Hu go. since helium-filled balloons are expensive and unsold ones don't la st long. Sixteen Wagon The show office wagon.' What most outside the business would call a 'tent' is the canvas top with its sidewal ls attached. when. as Sam Gamgee." Among the military it has come to mean "to experience combat for the first time. It passed int o general popular usage about 1835 meaning "to have seen everything there is to see in the world. Oklahoma. The man who works the lights. 56 of the victims ar e buried there.' as in 'big top. School Show A show promoted for classroom field trips to the circus. remarks on finally having seen an "oliphaunt. so called because they are usually played with great vigor. attendance. Compare British term 'lacings. Side Poles Short poles at the outer edge of the top canvas.

and slide down the cable. Spool Truck. An acrobat named Herbie Webber would do s uch a slide standing on the cable. adding a fake fa ll during his wire act. hook a hand loop or a foot loop to a cable connected to the top beam an d the floor. Stalls The medium cost seats in the auditorium. in recent years Spec Short for 'spectacle. Sometimes called "the Production Number. as well as having the straps pulled partway up and let down during the act. even sliding down backwards. named because the St. Compare British usage. directing public attention away from the emergency. now presented just before intermissio n. around the bottom edge of wagons used in parades. to keep costumes clean while walking to and from the big top." long st raps hanging from the top of the tent. or for the audience to be evacuated. More expensive seats (usually indicated by painted stars on the seat "Stars and Stripes Forever" The band reserved this Sousa march as a signal that an emergency had come up. sometimes detachable. Worn by performers over their performing footwear." Spec Girls Showgirls who appear in the spec.' A colorful pageant which is a featured part of the s how. etc. formerly used as the opening numbers. calling for the clowns to come running out. used to slow a wag on coming down the runs (ramps) to the ground. . long rope or sturdy cloth suspended vertically from far above. who would climb to the top of the b uilding. The act involves suspending oneself by wrapping the cl and maneuvering in various poses. Sledge Gang Slide For Life Usually performed by a woman. Spanish Web A hich an acrobat oth around you. as in 'one-night stand. Splash Boards Decorated boards. A less-favorable viewing positio n to the left and the right of the grandstand. later. Crew of men who pounded in tent stakes. taking a fake fall became known as "Taking a Herb ie. reaching almost to the floor. or swinging.on w performs.' Didn't know you were using show talk whilst discussing last night's date. Snubber A pulley and cable on the side of a railroad flatcar. easy to slip on and off hands-free. St. did you? Star Backs backs). Strap Act A variation of the "Spanish Web" popularized in Cirque du Soleil. around the tops of wagon s used in parades.Sky Boards The decorative boards. Spool Wagon Truck which carries the tent canvas. Soft Lot A wet or muddy lot." Slop Shoes Wooden clogs with leather uppers. Slanger Trainer of cats. Louis Doubles or seconds of food. Stand Any town where the circus plays. sometimes detachable. Popularized by Cirque do Soleil. Louis engagement was played in two sections. The act oft en includes dance moves on the floor away from the straps. the strap act features acrobatics performed with the use of "aerial straps.

used to co ver the greater circus arena ground. Turnaway Twenty-four-hour Man An advance man who travels one day ahead of circus. Any act in the show. dressing tops are where the performers dress for sh ow.Straw House A sold-out house. regardless of the name of t he actual owner of the show. Train Master or at rest.and Barnum & Bailey Show. there are no more Ringlings. Title The name under which a circus presents itself. Wait Brothers Show Ringling Bros. the sidewalls being a separate item. Trunk Up Turn Command to an elephant to raise his trunk in a salute. Also used in vaudeville (and in theatre in general) to mean a veteran p erformer. Often played for laughs.) Teeterboard A board like a playground teeter-totter. more durable and manageable than sawdust. Stringers or Blues The general-admission seats. A sold-out show. vaulting him into the air. and who se response to the demands of life and work on the road are those of a seasoned veteran. the n sways and rocks the pole giddily from side to side. Employee responsible for every aspect of the train. i t is very dangerous to perform. whether moving Trouper A person who has spent at least one full season with the circus. you do your turn. Tack Spitter Tail Up Ornamental parade wagons on which colorfully-dressed performers r Banner man or bill poster. Straw was spread on ground for spectators to sit o n in front of the general admission seats. Tanbark Shredded tree bark. Toby News Circus-lot gossip. from the european/gypsy "tober. For instance. Taps List of the businesses that have bought groups of tickets previously (perha ps you can 'tap' them again this year. Top Tent (technically refers only to the overhead canopy. Suitcase Act A performer who has no costumes or equipment of his own (and so sho ws up with just a suitcase). Swag Midway game prizes.) For example. Usually puts up "arrows" to guide trucks on the jump. usually about six feet long . used in an acrobatic act. Sway Pole An act in which the performer perches atop an extremely tall pole. The performer stands on the lowered end of the board and his partners jump onto the upper end. or souvenirs and toys bought from vendors. Tableau Wagons ide. So called because the . Command to an elephant to follow in line." meaning campsite. Barnums or Baileys in Kenneth Feld's operation.

Bad weather. abandoning the benefit of already-placed advance advertising an d possibly conflicting with the usual territories played by competing shows. Weather Web . .' Walkaround A clown feature in which they stroll through the crowd and perform co mic bits interacting with audience members. watering the animals." Ground man who holds or controls the web for aerialists. Winter Quarters Location where a show stays during its off season. "Wait for the Big Show. Windjammer A member of a circus band. and hosing down the elephants." Walls Canvas side walls of a tent. filling the drinking-water barrels p laced around the lot (they had blocks of ice in them and a tin cup on a chain). Maj or droughts or layoffs might mean that nobody would have the price of a ticket. Windy Van Hooten's Name of the mythical "perfect circus" imagined by performers and crew. respect and working conditions they deserve. Dangling canvas-covered rope suspended from swivels from the top of the tent Female who performs on the "Spanish Web. spraying the ground to keep the dust down. Water Wagon The water wagon circulated around the lot dispensing water for numer ous uses: filling water buckets for performers to wash in. where everything is wonderful and everyone gets the money.posters read. Zanies or Zanni Clowns. Wood Phony ticket sales slips submitted by boiler-room agents to inflate their c ommissions just before they leave. plus some. Web Girl Web Sitter (to) Wildcat To change the announced route on short notice due to problems on th e planned route. or a veterinary epidemic might make it inadvisable to take valuable livestock in to an area. as distinguished from the roof or 'top.