America's State Fair Impresario

The Life and Time of Mike Barnes


Book Description

Born in poverty in 19th century New York City, Mike Barnes rose to become America’s premiere 20th century American show fair impresario, who embodied the Irving Berlin lyric, “There’s no business like show business.” For four decades, he presented dramatic spectacles worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, musical and dancing revues that rivaled anything by Busby Berkeley, animal acts, daredevil wing walkers, human cannonballs, flagpole sitters and auto demolitions. He assembled and directed these acts, entertaining millions across the United States, even during times of depression and world war. His influence on outdoor lighting and sound system presentation is still felt today in 21st century outdoor performances. Besides a snapshot of midcentury America, America’s State Fair Impresario:The Life & Times of Mike Barnes is the story of a modest man who was a brilliant showman, shrewd businessman, philanthropist, and exemplary family man. In short, a legendary American.

About Franklin, Cory M.

Doctor Cory Franklin was Director of Medical Intensive Care at Cook County (Illinois) Hospital for 25 years. Before retiring, he wrote over 80 medical articles in books and professional journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and the Hastings Center Report. He worked as a technical advisor to actor, Harrison Ford and was a role model for the physician character Ford played in the 1993 film, The Fugitive. His work has been published in The New York Times, The New York Post, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Jerusalem Post, and The Chicago Sun Times as well as being excerpted in The New York Review of Books.

His books include
Chicago Flashbulbs: A Quarter Century of News, Politics, Sports, and Show Business (2013), Cook County ICU: 30 Years of Unforgettable Patients and Odd Cases (2015), and The Doctor Will See You Now (2018). He lives in Wilmette, Illinois.