Barker (occupation)

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Barker at the Vermont State Fair, 1941

A barker also known as a carnival barker was a person who attempted to attract patrons to entertainment events, such as a circus or funfair, by exhorting passing public,[1] describing attractions of show and emphasizing variety, novelty, beauty, or some other feature believed to incite listeners to attend entertainment. A barker would often conduct a brief free show, introducing performers and describing acts to be given at the feature performance. Professional barkers strongly disliked the term and instead referred to themselves as "talkers".[citation needed]

Perhaps the most famous fictional barkers are Billy Bigelow, the protagonist of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic stage musical Carousel, and Tin Man, a supporting protagonist from the 1978 musical film The Wiz portrayed by Nipsey Russell. Bigelow, in turn was an Americanized version of Liliom, the protagonist of Hungarian author Ferenc Molnár's non-musical play Liliom, on which Carousel is based.

In popular culture[edit]

Also the film The Barker from 1928 stands for this profession.

See also[edit]