Interview with circus worker Doc Art Miller

Type:

Sound

Date:

11/13/1981

Item:

Audio recording

Series:

S1576

Item ID:

T81-120, T81-121, T81-122, T81-123 (C81-91, C81-92, C81-93, C81-94)

General Note/Comment

  • Four audio cassettes. (Copied onto cassettes C81-91 through C81-94.) Some material from the interview was used for the public radio program, Florida Home: Showtown USA. Copies of the radio programs can be found in S 1576, box 16, tapes C85-14. T81-120: Miller discusses different types of handbills, flyers, and posters and talks about the techniques required to post them. He also discusses performing his shows during the World War Two era and relates how communists and others gave him trouble; tells a story about Rough and Ready, a town in New York, and other stories; describes other acts and describes a card trick and a "pitch;" and talks about devising the tricks, overcoming stage fright, and government sanctions against gambling. T81-121: Miller discusses raising a tent; code words identifying an authentic show person; paying employees with tobacco and food during the Depression; playing a pirated silent film version of Uncle Tom's Cabin; being hassled for putting up his show posters; and playing money games like the shell game and "Innocents Trap." T81-122: Miller discusses finding sponsors and tent space for circuses and carnivals; tells stories about jobs he's held; talks about writing for the "Band Wagon;" and talks about living statue acts and "spectacle" acts circuses used to open their shows. T81-123: Miller discusses waterproofing circus tents; an accident in which a circus tent caught fire and caused the deaths of several, including a young girl; and the menagerie tent.

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