Clicko: The Wild Dancing Bushman

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Clicko: The Wild Dancing Bushman

Format:  Hardcover,

254 pages

Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr

Publish Date: Dec 2010

ISBN-13: 9780226647418

ISBN-10: 0226647412

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The following content was provided by the publisher.

During the 1920s and '30s, Franz Taibosh--whose stage name was Clicko--performed in front of millions as one of the stars of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Prior to his fame in the United States, Taibosh toured the world as the "Wild Dancing Bushman," showing off his frenzied dance moves in freak shows, sideshows, and music halls from Australia to Cuba. When he died in 1940, the "New York Times" called him "the only African bushman ever exhibited in this country." In "Clicko," Neil Parsons unearths the untold story of Taibosh's journey from boyhood on a small farm in South Africa to top billing as one of the travelling World's Fair Freaks.
Through Taibosh's tale, Parsons brings to life the bizarre golden age of entertainment as well as the role that the dubious new science of race played in it. Beginning with Taibosh's early life, "Clicko" untangles the real story of his ancestry from the web of myths spun around him on his rise to international stardom. Parsons then chronicles the unhappy middle period of Taibosh's career, when he suffered under the heel of a vicious manager. Left to freeze and nearly starve in an unheated apartment, Taibosh was rescued by Frank Cook, Barnum & Bailey's lawyer. The Cooks adopted Taibosh as a member of their family of circus managers and performers, and his happy--if far from average--years with them make up the final chapter of this remarkable story.
Equal parts entertaining and disturbing, "Clicko" vividly evokes a forgotten era when vaudeville drew massive crowds and circus freaks were featured in "Billboard "and" Variety." Parsons introduces us to colorful characters such as George Auger the giant and the original Zip the Pinhead, but above all, he gives us an unforgettable portrait of Franz Taibosh, rescued at last from the racists and the romantics and revealed here as an ordinary man with an extraordinary life.

Specifications

Author:
Foreword by:
Foreword by:
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Publish Date: Dec 2010
ISBN-13: 9780226647418
ISBN-10: 0226647412
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 254
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.7
Walmart No.: 9780226647418

About the author

Biography of McCall Smith, Alexander

Alexander McCall Smith was born on August 24, 1948 in Zimbabwe. He was a professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh, but he left in 2005 to focus on his writing. He has written over 60 books, including specialist academic titles including Forensic Aspects of Sleep and The Criminal Law of Botswana, short story collections including Portuguese Irregular Verbs, and children's books including The Perfect Hamburger. He is best known for the No.

1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and the Sunday Philosophy Club series. He is also the author of the Isabel Dalhousie and The 44 Scotland Street Series. He has received numerous awards, including The Crime Writers' Association Dagger in the Library Award and the 2004 United Kingdom's Author of the Year Award. His book, The Full Cupboard of Life, received the Saga Award for Wit in the United Kingdom. In 2007, he received a CBE for his services in literature.

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2011-02-01)

Parsons (formerly history, Univ. of Botswana; King Khama, Emperor Joe, and the Great White Queen: Victorian Britain Through African Eyes) chronicles the life of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus exhibit Franz Taibosh (d. 1940), the South African Bushman who performed as Clicko. The author's amalgam of details, gleaned from painstaking research in various official records, is confusingly presented and casts more light on the Anglo profiteers and familiars of Taibosh than on the man himself.

Thus, this narrative manages only to dehumanize him in memory as he was in life, with insufficient explication provided until the book's end, by which time the cohesive representation of Taibosh's internal life as well as work and relationships comes across as too little, too late.

Verdict: Despite impressive scholarship, Parsons fails to capture either attention or imagination in this account. The commentary on the inherently paternalistic and overtly racist nature of Taibosh's circumstances seems an afterthought when it should have been a clearly defined foundation of the discussion. Not recommended.

-Jewell Anderson, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ. Lib., Savannah

(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

During the 1920s and ’30s, Franz Taibosh—whose stage name was Clicko—performed in front of millions as one of the stars of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Prior to his fame in the United States, Taibosh toured the world as the “Wild Dancing Bushman,” showing off his frenzied dance moves in freak shows, sideshows, and music halls from Australia to Cuba. When he died in 1940, the New York Times called him “the only African bushman ever exhibited in this country.” In Clicko, Neil Parsons unearths the untold story of Taibosh’s journey from boyhood on a small farm in South Africa to top billing as one of the travelling World’s Fair Freaks.

Through Taibosh’s tale, Parsons brings to life the bizarre golden age of entertainment as well as the role that the dubious new science of race played in it. Beginning with Taibosh’s early life, Clicko untangles the real story of his ancestry from the web of myths spun around him on his rise to international stardom. Parsons then chronicles the unhappy middle period of Taibosh’s career, when he suffered under the heel of a vicious manager. Left to freeze and nearly starve in an unheated apartment, Taibosh was rescued by Frank Cook, Barnum & Bailey’s lawyer. The Cooks adopted Taibosh as a member of their family of circus managers and performers, and his happy—if far from average—years with them make up the final chapter of this remarkable story.

Equal parts entertaining and disturbing, Clicko vividly evokes a forgotten era when vaudeville drew massive crowds and circus freaks were featured in Billboard and Variety. Parsons introduces us to colorful characters such as George Auger the giant and the original Zip the Pinhead, but above all, he gives us an unforgettable portrait of Franz Taibosh, rescued at last from the racists and the romantics and revealed here as an ordinary man with an extraordinary life.

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