Panel Trucks, Elephants & Balloons
by Charles Keeler
remember in the spring of 1959 I was with Lloyd Surface Penn
Premier Shows. I had just started recently with my own joint and
we were playing day and date with Christiani Brothers Circus in
I had an old Ford panel truck with
a 28 foot trailer in tow. It was a 1948 Palace and it was very
heavy. We had a very long jump and got there at about four
o'clock in the morning. With everybody being so tired my wife,
kids and I went in and went directly to bed. About daylight a
loud knocking on the door woke me up. It was Mr. Christiani. It
seamed as though I had parked the panel truck and trailer right in
the middle of where he wanted to set up the big top. LOL. He was
very nice about it though. When I went out to move the truck and
trailer, low and behold the truck wouldn't start. Mr. Christiani
told me not to worry about it though. A few minutes later he
returned with an elephant and chain. They hooked the elephant up
to the truck and trailer and without any trouble at all he pulled
me clear out of the way. The elephant didn't even have to strain.
There was another time when I had a
balloon dart game with a low counter so smaller kids could stand
and throw the darts. The only trouble was it was a temptation to
sit on it.
Now in the old days on first class
shows it was an unwritten law that you didn't sit on the counter.
You or anybody else. Occasionally an elderly or disabled person
may need to set for awhile.
the late 60's I was playing with Amusements of America on a
drizzly Thursday night at the Liberty Bell Race Track in
Philadelphia, PA. I was at the cookhouse and someone came and
told me that Cassius Clay was playing my games.
I had two different games at that
time on the Midway. I went over and he had played a dollar at my
basket game that was at 50 cents a game. He moved on to my balloon
game and laid down a dollar. He had this big entourage following
him and he was doing his thing, you know posing and playing to the
My wife was working and she was twenty years older then me and not
a bit bashful. Cassius threw a dart and turned to the crowd and
posed for them then sat right down on the counter. Well that was
a big mistake. My wife ,who always works with a handful of darts
reached over and stuck him in the keister with that handful full
of darts. Not to hard mind you but noticeable and she said "don't
sit on the counter". He jumped up and said "oh, I'm sorry lady"
and he was very nice about it.
All stories are the property of
Sideshow World & their respective authors. Any republication in
part or in whole is strictly prohibited. For more information
contact us here.
Back to the Good Old Days
Back to Main