Bob Dylan discussed his early musical life – and a spell where he worked for a carnival – in an interview conducted when he was 20 that PBS has since animated as part of its Blank on Blank series. The interview originally aired on New York City’s WBAI in February 1962 as part of its Folksingers Choice radio show.
Midway through the interview, the singer-songwriter said that he had worked with a carnival off and on for six years, and he talked about a song he’d written about that time in his life.
“They had a freak show in it, all the midgets and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “There’s one lady in there, really bad shape. Like, her skin had been all burned and she was a little baby, didn’t grow right, so she was like a freak. All these people would pay money to see. That really sort of got me. … [Those performers] want to make you have two thoughts. They want to make you think that they don’t feel bad about themselves and also, they want to make you feel sorry for them. I always liked that, and I wrote a song for her. It was called, ‘Won’t you Buy a Postcard.’ Can’t remember that one, though.” He never recorded the song.
Elsewhere, the interview covered songs that would appear on Dylan’s eponymous debut, how he keeps his harmonica on his face and early gigs where he got paid “a dollar plus a cheeseburger.”
He also gave a humorous answer when asked if he’d still will his then-trademark hat when he become rich and famous. “Oh, I’m never going to become rich and famous,” he said.