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The Kid of Coney IslandFred Thompson and the Rise of American Amusements$
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Woody Register

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195167320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167320.001.0001

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Life Is Only a Merry-Go-Round

Life Is Only a Merry-Go-Round

Luna Park, 1903–13

(p.85) Three Life Is Only a Merry-Go-Round
The Kid of Coney Island

Woody Register

Oxford University Press

Throughout his eleven seasons at Luna Park, the image of Fred Thompson as the fun-loving boy-capitalist on a spree was as much a feature of the park as its exaggerated “Oriental” architecture or the Shoot-the-Chutes. Thompson staged his performances to show that Luna Park was built by and for a new kind of man, one who would accept no less than all the fun to which he was entitled. Thompson, then, was largely indistinguishable from the Coney Island resort that he named for the continuously mutating moon: a radiant reflection of energy, never the same or in the same place from one moment to the next, the very representation of capricious and insatiable desire. Above all, he said, his park meant unceasing variety and change, “movement, movement, movement everywhere.” What was true of Luna Park would be true of Thompson; he was what he sold.

Keywords:   Fred Thompson, Luna Park, Coney Island, carnivals, fun

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