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20 Years a Fakir

$4.00
| £2.47 | €3.01 | Ca$4.58 | Au$4.44
by S. James Weldon
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20 Years a Fakir by S. James Weldon

Weldon traveled this country during the last 20 years of the 19th century, learning and perfecting tricks of the street peddler. Many of these ploys are still used today in one form or another. He helped pioneer the many subleties of "street selling" and "percentage moves." His self-taught mastery of man's basic needs enabled him to manipulate people into buying things, sometimes using their own greed as his tool. Must reading for those interested in studying a true American phenomenon - "The pitch man."

1st edition, 1899, Gate City Book and Novelty Co., Omaha; reprint, 1980, Gamblers Book Club, Las Vegas; 166 pages.

Table of Contents

pagepage
  1. Introduction
  2. CHAPTER I.
    BECOMING AMBITIOUS - LEAVING HOME - HOTEL PORTER - CARD BUSINESS - LIGHTNING ROD AGENT - THE ACCIDENT - TWELVE GLASSES OF WATER.
  3. CHAPTER II.
    BUSTED - SOAP SIGNS - WALKING - THE TWO ACTORS - FREE THEATRES - JUMPING BILLS - THE OTHER FAKIR - PEN SCHEME - STREET TALK - THE FRIENDLY HAYSTACK
  4. CHAPTER III.
    MEETING PROF. CARTER - THE MUSIC SCHEME - FLOWERS AND NOVELTIES - THE LADIES - THE SOAP RACKET - STREET GAGS AND JOKES - THE SINKING VESSEL
  5. CHAPTER IV.
    THE CONTEMPTIBLE PIANO TUNER - THE BIOGRAPHICAL WRITE-UP FAKE - THE FLATTERED BLACKSMITH
  6. CHAPTER V.
    FAKIR MAXIMS - A HAPPY MEETING - AUCTION BUSINESS - TALK AND AUCTION GAGS - THE BOY AUCTIONEER - PARTING WITH PROF. CARTER
  7. CHAPTER VI.
    GETTING A KNOWLEDGE OF SCHEME GOODS - FRIGHTENING THE LADIES - TRICK AT CHURCH FAIR - STREET WORK - THE CATCHY LITTLE LOOKBACKS - GIVING THEM AWAY - THE HORSE AND LOAF OF BREAD TRICK–HANDLING MICROSCOPES.
  8. CHAPTER VII.
    THE MUSEUM SCHEME AND THE SIX WINDOWS - TRAVELING WITHOUT PAYING RAILROAD FARE - LIVING ON FREE LUNCHES - AT A LOW EBB - THE ANIMATED CHOCOLATE DROP - OLD AUNTIE FROM SMOKY ROW - THE CORN DOCTOR - THE EXCITED MOB - NOT ONLY BROKE, BUT DEAD BROKE - THE LETTER FROM HOME - GETTING OUT OF TOWN
  9. CHAPTER VIII.
    THE NEW DOCTOR AND PROFESSIONAL GRAFTER - MEDICINE FAKE - THE ELECTRIC BATTERY AND MONEY - FUN WITH CROWD ON THE STREET - SELLING PIPES AND GIVING WATCHES AWAY - FOOLING THE FARMERS - THE CIRCUS, TURNIPS AND THE ELEPHANT - WORKING THE HOTEL LANDLORDS.
  10. CHAPTER IX.
    SIDE LINES AND SCHEMES OF VARIOUS KINDS - THE GLASS PEN - PIE SCHEME CHOKED OFF - SELLING NOTIONS FROM WAGON - FIGHTING THE RAILROAD BONDS - FORCED TO LEAVE TOWN - LEGISLATED OUT OF BUSINESS - A WARNING AND THE ESCAPE - THE ACCIDENT - TIME PENNY RAFFLING SCHEME
  11. CHAPTER X.
    CATCHING SUCKERS - BITING MYSELF - THE HOSPITAL NURSE AND MAIL ORDER SCHEME - WORKING SALOON MEN ON BIBLE RACKET
 
  1. CHAPTER XI.
    THE PORTRAIT BUSINESS - TRICKS OF THE TRADE - THE BAND AND HALL PLAN - EXCITEMENT AND JOKE AT VOTING CONTEST - THE FRAME SCHEME.
  2. CHAPTER XII.
    TRICKS IN DELIVERING AND COLLECTING - THE STINGY LANDLORD AND THE PRUNES - DAY BOARD $3.00 PER WEEK - DRUMMERS $2.00 PER DAY - THE ELOPEMENT.
  3. CHAPTER XIII.
    WORKING THE SALOON KEEPER FOR AN EXTRA FIVE - ALONE AGAIN - ARRESTED - FIGHTING THE LICENSE - SICK - THE INSURANCE SCHEME - THE WHEEL AND CIGAR DODGE - THE STAGE HOLDUP - THE HORSE DOCTOR AND CHOLERA - CIGARS TWO FOR A NICKEL - MAKING A PREACHER SWEAT.
  4. CHAPTER XIV.
    TEMPERANCE TOWN AND COLD TEA RACKET - BUSTED AGAIN–MONEY MAKING SCHEMES - THE SHOEMAKER COULDN'T SLEEP - GOING BACK TO STREET WORK - THE FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLAR MONEY DECEPTION - JEWELRY PACKAGES TO BE USED ANY OLD WAY - SOME MORE STREET JOKES - A WATCH AND CHAIN FOR TWENTY-FIVE CENTS.
  5. CHAPTER XV.
    SELLING MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - TRICKERY AND DECEPTION - LOOKING FOR SOMETHING NEW - SELLING THE ROASTER - THE CANVASS
  6. CHAPTER XVI.
    SELLING BIBLES - SELLING BOOKS - WHAT WAS SAID - WORKING THE CUSTOMERS - CURIOSITY - PUBLIC MEETINGS AND LIBRARY CLUBS
  7. CHAPTER XVII.
    ADDING TO BANK ACCOUNT - LOOKED BETTER, FELT BETTER AND WAS BETTER - SELLING ENCYCLOPEDIAS - COMPLETE CANVASS - TRICKY AND PERSISTENT - ADVERTISING SCHEMES - TRICKS OF THE PRESENT DAY - DISGUISES - HOW DIFFERENT BUSINESS MEN WERE WORKED - STRATEGY
  8. CHAPTER XVIII.
    REBUFFS AND INSULTS - THE LAWYER, THE DOCTOR AND THE COON - AVOIDING A LICENSE - WORKING THE CITY MARSHALL - JOKES WITH THE MILLINER - BANKING TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS
  9. CHAPTER XIX.
    THE REAL ESTATE FAKE - BOOMING A TOWN - MAKING A FORTUNE - TRICKS OF OTHER PEOPLE - ALL THIS WORLD IS A FAKE AND EVERY PERSON IN IT A FAKIR - THE POLITICIAN AND THE WIDOW - A DIAMOND RING FOR TWO CENTS.
  10. CHAPTER XX.
    MARRIED AND SETTLED DOWN - RETIRED AND HAPPY - A DIP IN THE LAKE - THE WORLD IS ROUND AND WIDE - FAREWELL.

word count: 62014 which is equivalent to 248 standard pages of text

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Reviewed by Paul Budd
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars! [3 of 5 Stars!]   Date Added: Monday 14 January, 2013

A clever little book, by all accounts. Personally, though, I found it to be a bit more of a biography than a usable "How To" (in the modern sense, at least). The cost is reasonable and it's a pleasant little read. Can't exactly say I'll take many of his "tips" out onto the street tomorrow as a pitch man, but I've just always loved reading about how low-brow entertainers manage to scrape by (mostly on their wits!) The language is quaint and antiquated, but it manages to get its point across, even for a 21st century reader. Recommended......so long as you clearly understand what you're buying.

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