“Burlesque Paraphernalia” reproduces Catalog No. 439 from DeMoulin Bros. & Co., filled with gadgets guaranteed for knee-slapping good fun, like the Bucking Goat, trick chairs that do everything from merely collapsing to zapping with an electrical charge, phony guillotines, fake branding irons, and several variations of the fabled “electric carpet” to simulate perilous desert crossings for certain fraternal degrees. Today, DeMoulin Bros. & Co. is one of the largest suppliers of costumes for marching bands in the United States. But in 1930 the company produced an amazing array of props and devices created specifically to be used in minor “hazing” of candidates in the side degrees of various fraternal organizations. At this point in history there was no Internet, no television, and no radio. The middle class was on the rise and, by and large, the American man found that at the end of each day and week he had some leisure time. Seeking out the companionship of other males as well as cheap, and sometimes free, life insurance for their families, these men flocked to lodges. Even the smallest villages in the country usually had at least two to four different lodges that a man could join. The Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Improved Order of Red Men were just a few of the dozens of national fraternal organizations that existed. To make meetings more fun and further increase membership, elaborate rituals were developed. The great 1930 DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Catalog No. 439 is truly a holy grail for the prankster, armchair sadist and those interested in some of the zanier historic arcana lurking behind that neighborhood Odd-Fellows lodge. This is one very strange book! Published at $22.99, our price only $16.95!
BURLESQUE PARAPHERNALIA: And Side Degree Specialties and Costumes: Catalog No. 439. Introduction by Charles Schneider, Appreciation by David Copperfield. 256 pages. 6x9 Paperback. Heavily Illustrated.