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10 Bizarre Circus Sideshows


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Drunken Acrobatics
Being inebriated on the edge of a building probably isn't the best of ideas, but Ben Dova made it look easy and fun. ullstein bild/Getty Images
Being inebriated on the edge of a building probably isn't the best of ideas, but Ben Dova made it look easy and fun. ullstein bild/Getty Images

If you were to tell me that acting like a drunk fool was a lucrative sideshow act, you better believe that I could've made a mint in college. I rue the days I spent letting my performances go to waste on spectators who didn't pay me a dime. Of course, my routine wasn't quite as practiced as the ones sideshows made famous. One famous performer named Ben Dova (not his real name, extremely unsurprisingly) made being drunk look like a lot of fun, and scared the audience half to death with his acrobatic stunts that looked all the more terrifying if you were under the impression he was intoxicated.

And mostly, they were pretty harmless stuff: He'd climb up a swaying street lamp to light his cigarette and kind of tumble around with a bumbling affect while in the ring. But the sideshow inebriation act was kicked up a notch — or perhaps we should say "kicked up 56 stories" — when Dova did his act in 1933 from the top of New York City's Chanin Building, where his performance (without a net or safety device, mind you) was recorded on newsreel [source: YouTube]. Some argue it's actually a feat of camera work because the "top" of the building dropped only to a ledge a few feet below, but I don't think I personally care [source: Russell]. It's terrifying.