In a few short weeks, Water for Elephants will begin filming. You may hear strange phrases thrown around during filming – like “Kinkers”, and “Redlighted”.
If you’ve read the book or even just the movie script, you may already know what these terms mean. But some of you (ahem – NOT me) are getting tired of going into a movie on opening night with the ability to recite every actor’s lines like an understudy on speed. Have you refused to read the book or the script? Wanna be surprised? Or maybe you read the book a while back and need a refresher. This post is for YOU!
After the break, learn the definitions of many of the circus terms used in Water for Elephants..
Here are definitions/explanations of some of the terms used throughout Water for Elephants. Use it as a study guide. Preparation without spoilers.
- First of May – rookie
- Roustabout – a laborer typically performing temporary, unskilled work
- Rubes – townspeople
- Redlighted – thrown from a moving circus train during the night
- Liberty Horse – a show horse that performs movements to verbal commands
- Monday Man – a man who would steal from the townspeople (usually from their clotheslines)
- Foundering – in horses, when the bone in the foot becomes detached from the hoof. This is caused by overfeeding or riding the horses for long periods on hard surfaces.
- Hay Burners – horses are often called hay burners because they eat so much
- Bull Hook – an elephant herding tool with a sharp tip
- Prosze – “please” in Polish (pronounced prosheh)
- Jake – drank as an alcohol substitute during Prohibition, a patent medicine product known as Jamaica Ginger — a ginger extract
- Kinkers – a performer in a circus
- Jamaica Ginger Paralysis aka “Jake Leg” – A large number of Jake users in the 1930’s began to lose the use of their hands and feet due to contaminated Jake
- Hippodrome – U-shaped track for the animals and performers