Carnival Noir

Brother Cleve
Submitted by Brother Cleve November 18th, 2011
Certifikitsch WinnerClassique d Camembert

Here’s a little subgenre that I’ve collected over the years. I’ve always loved the world of carnivals, freaks and geeks, and I love noir and crime fiction, so these novels put them together nicely. “Nightmare Alley” is one of the grimmest books and movies I’ve ever read/seen, and when it got re-released after being locked in a vault for 50 years I remembered I had found the book years earlier. I decided to find everything in the same genre…this is a fairly complete set, to the best of my knowledge (I have  a different printing of “Carny Kill”; that’s the original cover that I pulled off the web)

7 Responses to “Carnival Noir”

  1. Allee Willis

    Allee Willis

    ECEPTIONAL collection!!

    Do you know my friend Carl Crew, who owns CIA (California Institute of Abnormalities), a club in Burbank dedicated to carnivals and freak shows?

    I’m SURE you’ve seen it but in case not: “The Incrediblyy Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?”, 1964. Carnival shenanigans on the level of this pulp.

    • Brother Cleve

      Brother Cleve

      I do not know Carl, but I think that the next time I’m in LA I must meet him!

      a friend of mine has an amazing collection of sideshow banners

      I played at a number of State Fairs while touring in the 80’s…some had freak shows. I will never forget the Illinois State Fair, where I got propositioned by the World’s Smallest Woman (she asked “Do you have any whiskey? You come back later, I’ll leave a light on for you”. Wow!) after she found out I was in the band that was playing.

      And yes, I have seen TISCWSLABMUZ…one of my all time faves!

  2. Douglas Wood

    Douglas Wood

    These are fantastic! I’ve never seen Nightmare Alley because I could never find it anywhere– is it now available? (I’ll have to check Netflix.)

    Brother Cleve– I actually have a great still from it and it sounds like something you need to own. If so, send me your address and I’ll mail it to you. My website’s down at the moment, but if you click on my name at AWMoK, then click on my website, you’ll still be able to contact me via e-mail.

    • Brother Cleve

      Brother Cleve

      yes, Nightmare Alley was released on DVD by Fox a few years ago, and the book has been recently reissued as well (with an intro by Nick Tosches). Both are extraordinary; both are quite complimentary to each other, since many things in the book were unfilmable due to the Production Code at the time; but there are elements in the film that are better than the book.

      Toastmaster George Jessell produced the film but took it out of circulation in the ’60’s and barred the it from being shown. There was only one known copy at UCLA. After he dies efforts were made to resurrect it.

      thanks, Douglas, I will be in touch!

      • Douglas Wood

        Douglas Wood

        Brother Cleve– watched NIGHTMARE ALLEY last night– what a great film! You’re right– it’s very grim– I only wish they could’ve shot the original ending instead of the more optimistic Hollywood one. Can you tell me in a few sentences what the book’s original ending was? (With a *SPOILER ALERT* for those who don’t want to know.) The acting was really strong too– not as over-the-top, melodramatic as some films from that era– I wasn’t tempted to laugh once, and Tyrone Power was pretty impressive (as was Joan Blondell). Now that I’ve seen this, I realize that the still I sent you probably doesn’t even appear in the actual film. I looked at all the background players but couldn’t spot the tall, weird man in the photo. In any case, thanks for the recommendation!

        • Brother Cleve

          Brother Cleve

          OK….*SPOILER ALERT*

          The big difference, and what was unfilmable, is where he’s setting up the old man to be re-united with his dead wife, which in reality is Stan’s wife – in the book, the old man actually has intercourse with her. This is where the spiral downward starts to truly happen. At the very end, Stan takes the job as the geek.

          The tall weird man in the photo appears to be Zeena’s alcoholic husband in costume. It’s evidently an outtake from the film…it’s a fabulous picture, however!

          I highly recommend the book as well as the film. It’s back in print after a long absence.