The World Renowned Strates Shows,
with a Mile of Midway Mirth,
have America’s Finest Midway.
A poster for the James E. Strates Carnival.
Listen to sounds of the 1941 James E. Strates Carnival. (It’s a short ride, less than 5 minutes long.) Sideshow talkers exhort you to see the two-headed baby, a fortune teller reads your life, a human cannonball and then a "moto-maniac" motorcycle rider catalog past injuries, a man wants to guess your weight, and a barker entices you to see the "…red-hot, spicy, saucy, sizzling, burlesque entertainment."
The Cavalcade of Thrills
"Moto-maniacs, upside-down riders, crazy riders, crazy drivers on the walls of death. Passing and re-passing, crossing and re-crossing. Where they race, where they ride, where they race, ride, and drive. High-powered motorcycles on a straight-up-and-down perpendicular wall."
Listen to sounds of the Strates Carnival at NPR’s Morning Edition>>
- The recording was found at the Library of Congress and had excerpts plucked out and created into a montage by David Isay from Sound Portraits Productions.
- Read a complete transcript>>
- Their carnival is still alive – James E Strates Shows (Warning, automatic music)>>
- Carnival motorcycle photo is from The Selvedge Yard>>