Meanwhile at the sideshow

This particular sample was observed at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, far away from the “serious” exhibits:

Headless Woman exhibit, Amusement Area, New York World's Fair 1939

The pitch, of course, was pure hokum: after some tragic accident, the remains of this poor woman were parked in a chair, to be kept alive by those mysterious fluids that flow in and out of her neck. Invariably, the victim proves to be either fidgety or playful, possibly both, adding credence to the still-alive premise; at some point, she will cross her legs, and maybe engage in a little foot-bounce.

In 1941’s Maisie Was a Lady, the amazing Ann Sothern appears briefly in a sideshow setup like this; wealthy ne’er-do-well Lew Ayres discovers that those legs of hers are just slightly ticklish, ruining the act (and getting her fired from the carnival) in a matter of seconds.


  1. McGehee »

    23 June 2019 · 12:34 am

    Wow. How dey do dat?

  2. CGHill »

    23 June 2019 · 12:48 pm

    It’s all done with mirrors.

  3. nightfly »

    25 June 2019 · 2:23 pm

    Meanwhile, the rest of her is starring in The Brain that Wouldn’t Die.

RSS feed for comments on this post