When it comes to digging through the archives of the forgotten newsreels of the 1940s, Coney Island has some of the best gems. On our sister site, we marveled at the “Lady Lifeguards of Manhattan Beach,” undergoing a series of military-like drills to keep the waters of Southern Brooklyn safe. We then found footage of Coney Island’s Modern Venus Beauty Contest of 1939, wondering how the guy measuring the busts of the contestants landed his job.
Our newest blast from the past, uploaded by ChiTownView on YouTube, features the remarkable wonders of the venerable Coney Island Freak Show peddlers. For the price of a “small thin dime,” you were promised a look at fat ladies, thin ladies and Zip and Pip the (insensitively named) “pinheaded people.” I was also fascinated by the sight of posters featuring Madam Zenda, the fortune teller, Professor Frank Graf, a tattoo artist in swim trunks, and Marian the “Headless Girl.”
Great stuff. If you have links to any other archival footage like this, please direct it our way – we love it.