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LAST COPIES: Daniel P. Mannix: MEMOIRS OF A SWORD SWALLOWER Autographed! 1997

(1 customer review)


The book begins, “I probably never would have become America’s leading fire-eater if Flamo the Great hadn’t happened to explode that night…” So begins this true story of life with a traveling carnival, peopled by amazing characters (the Human Ostrich, the Human Salamander, Jolly Daisy) who commit outrageous feats of wizardry. This is one of the only authentic narratives revealing the “tricks” (or more often the lack thereof) and skills involved in a sideshow, and is invaluable to those aspiring to this profession. Having cultivated the desire to create real magic since early childhood, Mannix rose to become a top act within a season; here is his inspiring tale. NEW: RARE PHOTOS! This is the first edition to include photos of the actual characters in the book, most of them taken by Mannix himself in the ’30s.

As a favor to RE/Search’s V. Vale, Daniel P. Mannix autographed 20 copies of this paperback just before his death in 1997.

6 in stock

Product Description

Many fire eaters, sword-swallowers & Americana lovers have been inspired by this classic, MEMOIRS OF A SWORD SWALLOWER…

1 review for LAST COPIES: Daniel P. Mannix: MEMOIRS OF A SWORD SWALLOWER Autographed! 1997

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    A grotesque gallery of portraits of amazing human beings and a fascinating behind-the-scenes revelation of carnival life.”
    —New York Times
    A sympathetic and funny account of life with a carnival by a young man who impulsively joined up with one, mastered the elements of fire-eating and sword-swallowing in record time, and then rose, Horatio Alger-like, into the rarefied company of neon-bulb swallowers . . . it’s engrossing.”
    —The New Yorker
    The beautiful world of outcasts and freaks banding together to form an alternate society is accurately and compassionately portrayed by an insider.”
    —Circus Arts
    Having trouped with a carnival for a year, I can vouch for the authentic background and color. I thought it was absolutely fascinating; I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.”
    —Gypsy Rose Lee

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“M’boy, in carny life you’ve got to have a real sympathetic understanding of the public,” said the Impossible with what seemed to be genuine sincerity. “When I got this wheel from the manufacturer, it was just an ordinary wheel. Of course, they included printed instructions showing how to install the control button with a warning that dishonest operators occasionally resorted to such devices and offering to sell the necessary parts for a small additional sum. Being a reputable company, they naturally couldn’t install the device themselves. Well, I picked up the parts myself from a hardware store during the rush hour when the clerks were busy elsewhere. But the thing didn’t bring in the marks. So I sat down and studied the situation out.”

“How?” I asked, fascinated.

“M’boy, there’s nothing the public likes better than to feel they’ve swindled somebody,” said the Impossible, spitting on his soldering iron to see how it was coming along. “When I was busy trying to collect a tip – that means a crowd – some mark would always start fooling with the wheel when he thought I wasn’t looking. I hitched another stop-wire to this bar so I could work the map while I was at the other end of the joint. With a little quiet help from me, the mark would learn how to spin the wheel just hard enough to stop the light on a certain state. Then he’d call me over and we’d start betting. Remember that to be a successful businessman you must have a tender spot in your heart for the foibles of humanity.”