History of the REAL Pickled PUNKS!!
REAL Pickle Punks are very interesting.
Where did they come from?
How long have they been around?
How many in private hands?
How many still in Showmen's hands?
I know the history of these better than most. My family has more in private hands than anyone else in
all the world.
I just got my REAL Two Head Baby out of storage.
It is my most prized passion.
"BILLY" was resting quietly for over
19 months at a friends winter quarters.
I called my friend and said I was coming back for
my "BOYS". He said they haven't gone to far and were
EASY to take care of. I'm sure glad to see them when
I returned home.
The formaldehyde was cloudy after almost two
years in storage.
I have two gallons I bought this fall in Houston so
I am excited to redo the formaldehyde in the jar.
I showed the twins at my show for the first time in a f
ew years. They sure were glad to be back in the Show.
Said they would like to perform again IF I would let them.
These babies have been stars sense I first
I first saw them over 40 years ago in Calif. My Fathers Circus was working a fair in Bakersfield Ca.
I met Vanteen the famous Showman for the first time. Him and his wife Lee at the time had a 10 in 1
at that Fair.
I didn't see Mr. Vanteen for about 20 years when I ran into him at a fair in the Bay area.
He at that time had a 5 in 1 at the fair. I had the 10 in 1. He had a giant snake, live 5 legged
cow, 3 legged chicken in a jar and the Babies.
He was doing about 10 times the business of my 10 in 1. I asked him, could I buy the two headed baby?
He said NO way, they are the star of his Show.
Years later Mr. Jeff Murray came to the Big Fresno Fair and asked if I wanted to buy The Vanteen Babies?
How much Jeff? 2 grand. I had a 10 and 1 and a Head-Less Single-O. I was doing real well with my
Head-Less show at a buck. I handed 2 grand in single dollars to Jeff for the "PUNKS". I remember getting
a sign painter to paint me some quick signs for that weekend for the babies.
I opened another Single-O with the boys and PAID for them in two days.
5 years later I was with the Murphy Carnival in Houston Texas, it was a cold date at the end of the year,
It was a blank. Didn't have the money to get back to Ca. and home. So I put my 10 in 1 in storage and
took my pick-up with the babies, a 10 by 10 tent and some snakes.
I remember stopping in Tucson AZ. I was at a truck stop with 11 dollars to my name. I asked the waiter
if he knew of a swap meet in town? He said there was a good one at the next exit I went over there and
set up my 10 by 10 tent with the babies, shrunken head and the two snakes. I had them lined up in a hour.
It was going great that Sunday. An old man came up and was crying? He said John Strong you MAY
not remember me? I said I didn't. He said I am Vanteen and you Sir have my Babies "BILLY". I said
correction MY Babies. He said you are right. Vanteen said I should have NEVER sold them.
Vanteen now was selling Novelties at the swap meet. He offered me 10 grand to buy back the babies.
I told him not for a million would I ever sell them. He said he understood.
I sold 1800 tickets at a dollar that day. It felt like 18 thousand at the time. Made it home and months
later went back for the 10 in 1 stored in Houston Texas. TRUE STORY!!!
My Two Headed Baby was stolen out of the Hospital in Redlands Ca. in the 1950's by the "BARON" sword
swallower that worked for the Vanteen and Lee great combined Sideshow Shows.
I also know the history of the famous Lewis Defour Two Headed Babies. From the World's Fair in the 1930's.
Mr. Jimmy Dixon ended up with it. Now in the Hands of one of our most famous members.
More later.................John Strong III