Grim & Mild Presents

Grim & Mild Presents

An ongoing exploration of history’s most unusual and the macabre themes. Each 13-episode season unpacks a new topic in fresh format and style. Presented and executive produced by Aaron Mahnke. Season 1: "Sideshow", is all about the history behind one of America's most bizarre institutions, the traveling sideshow.

Episodes

May 13, 2022 24 min

When he was born, they called Frank Lentini a monster… but what did that even mean? We’ll follow his story as we learn folklore, magic, medicine, and one man’s quest for the American Dream. 

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From the Bronx to the silver screen, Schlitzie charmed all who knew him. And for those who loved him, they’d stop at nothing to keep him safe. 

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April 15, 2022 26 min

Humans are animals. But at some point throughout the course of evolution, our species got the upperhand.

Today, a short history of our co-existence with the animal kingdom… and what happened when we decided that these animals would join us on stage.

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April 1, 2022 28 min

Circus trains: they were cities on wheels, integral to the sideshow circuit and home to all performers. Today, they’re a relic of a bygone time…but there’s one train that has solidified its place in the history books due to unthinkable tragedy. 

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March 18, 2022 29 min

As humans, we are drawn to beauty. We decorate ourselves. We primp, we preen, and sometimes...we poke. 

Join us as we dive into the colorful world of tattooing—and the mark it left on the sideshow.

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March 4, 2022 27 min

Among the bearded ladies of the Sideshow, Julia Pastrana’s story is the longest: it spans her short life and long death, revealing the lengths some will go to make a buck.

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February 18, 2022 27 min

Lavinia Warren was able to travel the world and charm audiences wherever she went. But what set Lavinia apart from many of her peers were the choices she was able to make along the way. 


Be sure to check out the Bridgeport Public Library’s Barnum collection, if you’re in the neighborhood – if not, take a look at the incredible digitization holdings here.

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February 4, 2022 27 min

Joice Heth never wanted to be in show business. It wasn’t the world that she came from. But when she met P.T. Barnum, the course of her life took a turn she never saw coming.

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January 21, 2022 28 min

The story of Saartjie Baartman is not an easy one to hear, but it certainly gives us an intimate look into how the early traveling sideshow once operated, and how some human bodies were treated in the process.

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January 7, 2022 28 min

Every story has a beginning, and the tale of the American sideshow—in many ways—begins in the aftermath of one man’s personal tragedy. Learn how it all began, and what the early days were like, on the inaugural episode of Grim & Mild Presents: Sideshow.

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December 17, 2021 1 min

Welcome to Grim & Mild Presents. Each 13-episode season (published every other week, ongoing, for a non-stop, ongoing experience) will dive into the strange, the unusual, and the fascinating. History has never been this intriguing.

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