The sounds of a 1941 carnival

The sounds of a 1941 carnivalThe 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 sounds of a 1941 carnivalThe 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>>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>