It is a truth universally acknowledged that people are drawn to fairground rides that spin them wildly in circles. Witness the Gravitron at today’s fairs and compare it to La Rue Joyeuse (The Joyful Wheel) pictured in this very funny French poster from the early 1900s. While the speed of the spin of today’s ride has accelerated beyond what would have been imaginable in 1900, the fun factor has not changed over time.
This engaging poster showing La Rue Joyeuse at the Champ de Foire (Fairground) advertises the ride as “Le Grand Succes du Jour,” and in fact we can see, from the wonderful expressions of the riders being tumbled as they whirl around, that it is a grand success. Their comments (in cartoon bubbles) are amusing and not that different from comments by riders at today’s fairs. The tagline at the bottom of the poster says (as loosely translated from the French): “Come see this. It’s amazing. You are not required to ride but you are required to laugh.” As it was then, so it is now.
And like today’s fairgoers who prefer to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground and watch others on the ride, the wide-eyed spectators watching La Rue Joyeuse are similarly spellbound.
If you are looking for a gem of a vintage poster that is just pure fun and reminds you of hilarious rides you’ve experienced at fairs and amusement parks, this poster is for you.