Prepping for the 1932 State Fair of Texas Midway
by Paula Bosse
“Backstage” at the SFOT… (click for larger image)
by Paula Bosse
We usually see photos of the State Fair of Texas as the fair is underway, with everything already built, assembled, painted, and manned. But what happens before the gates open each year? Here’s a great photo (from pack rat George Gimarc, of Dallas dj fame) showing what things looked like in 1932 as workers prepped midway attractions for the fair’s opening. Let’s zoom in and look at a few details (all images are larger when clicked).
“ALIVE. Jungle Killers from the Wilds of Sumatra.” And someone — or some creature — named “Big Ben.”
Above, in the background at the right you can see a partial sign for Beckman & Gerety, providers of midway entertainment for fairs and carnivals around the country. (I don’t know who these two men are, but they do not appear to be Fred Beckman and Barney Gerety, who can be seen here.)
When George Gimarc sent me this photo, he also sent me images of the State Fair of Texas envelope he found it in (see the envelope here). Below are details from the front and back.
“Alice Joy in ‘Dream Girl Follies’ with Henry Santrey’s Band in the Auditorium.” Alice Joy was fresh from two years as NBC’s “radio dream girl” and was the namesake-headliner of this spectacular three-and-a-half-hour revue at the Music Hall which featured a bevy of chorus girls, acts-a-plenty, and “hot jazz novelties.” 4,000 people witnessed the show’s opening night. Probably gave those jungle killers from the wilds of the Sumatra a run for their money.
There was a lot going on at the 1932 State Fair of Texas. Check out this (comprehensive) ad from the opening weekend (click it!). Cars! Football! Alligator wrestling! Hoot Gibson’s Rodeo (“famous outlaw broncs”)! An aviation show! Everything!
Oct. 9, 1932 (click to see large image)
Sources & Notes
Photo and color images from the collection of George Gimarc, used with permission (thank you, George!).
Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.
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