Child labor laws seem not to have applied to carnival sideshow grinds during the 1930s as this photograph attests. The young dancer can not be much more than 16, but I guess it is hard to tell. She certainly doesn't quite match up to the painted silhouette on the barker's stand...for one thing her hands are hardly thrown up in joy. It is quite rare to see a photo of a dancing girl (literally) taken during the daytime at even the sleaziest carnival...but one "H. H." has done just that. Girl shows of this nature are as old as the carnival itself, but they frequently took place at night after most patrons (and the law, who was frequently paid off) went home. Hence the name "Midnight Ramble. In this case, they should have been checking ID around lunchtime. A young hoofer to be sure, but to me, a bit too young. Show business of any kind is hard despite the facade of glamour...this photo shows an underside not often (or easy) to see.
(Also posted on Vintage Sleaze the Blog)
Original Untitled Snapshot circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman