Monday, February 28, 2011

Girlie Shows

"Step right up!  See beautiful, exotic women..."
When researching this fascinating subject, I found reference to girlie shows at the Pembina County Fairs of the past, as well as an ad for one at the Kittson County Fair (see image below...)

In the early to mid 20th century - long before the advent of television and the Internet - freak shows and girlie shows were escape for residents of isolated rural areas.  It may have even provided a release valve for lonely souls as they struggled to make human connections.  Whatever they may have been - and whatever the public at large may have thought of them - they were a colorful and complex part of our area's entertainment past...
Recently the Minnesota Federation of Fairs passed a resolution urging member fairs to bar midway strip and girlie shows. Sparked by objections of some youth leaders who objected to a few shows which worked strong, the resolution is certain to serve as a brake on such shows. However, midway revues of objectionable nature will continue to play Minnesota annuals.
From:  Billboard Feb 5, 1949
Established fairs were beginning to dispense with girlie shows, concentrating on rides and games…at smaller fairs and vagabond carnivals in remote areas, however, dancers could get away with more provocative displays, and cooch shows continued with unabated vigor. Into the 1950’s, a few state fairs still offered shows that at least appeared to have lascivious themes.
From:  The American State Fair by By Derek Nelson
"Girl" and "Grind" shows advertised for Kittson County Fair
From:  Billboard, February 2, 1957 [Click to enlarge...]