Carnie King - Dundurn

Carnie King

The Story of Patty Conklin and Conklin Shows

Available Jul 2nd 2024

Description

The story of the audacious showman who built the greatest carnival dynasty in North America.

Enter the realm of the carnie king, Patty Conklin, the flamboyant founder of what would become the world’s largest carnival company. Patty started on the mean streets of New York selling peanuts before becoming a a small-time operator. Willing to try anything to promote his show, he established himself as a carnie celebrity. Winning the midway contract for the Canadian National Exhibition in 1937, he made it his personal world’s fair. It became the foundation for his son and grandson to expand Conklin Shows until they were playing the biggest fairs and exhibitions throughout North America.

Carnie King begins with the birth of Joseph Renker to German immigrant parents, tells of his personal transformation into Patty Conklin, and follows his incredible life through to his death in 1970. It covers his company's history after Jim Conklin took over, expanded it beyond recognition, then handed it on to his own son.

Not only a history of Conklin Shows, Carnie King explores how midways work and their commercial and popular presence in North America The story it tells is based on dozens of interviews with carnies and access to the Conklin archives. It includes anecdotes about a range of characters and insights about life on the midway. Carnie King is at once a revealing look at a unique part of twentieth-century culture and a vivid account of three generations of showmen and their dominance of midways across the continent.

Reviews

Contributors

John Thurston

John Thurston is a one-time carnie who went on to become a writer and editor. With Carnie King, he brings together personal experience with his interest in popular culture. He lives in Ottawa.

Book Details

Hardcover
July 2024
6x9 in
512 pp
9781459749924
PDF
July 2024
-
512 pp
9781459749931
ePub
July 2024
-
512 pp
9781459749948