Jeff and the Prince

 

Midget; Prince Arthur actually worked for me in 1988 while I was partnered with Jon Friday.  We played a New England route mostly with Dean & Flynn Fiesta Shows and Capt. Don Leslie was our main performer. The Prince, Capt. Don and I all bunked together in the back of my straight job truck in a small living quarters area.

 

It was always late by the time we hit our beds, usually after 1:am or so, and we were all very tired after long days of working a continuous show.  The Prince could not sleep without his transistor radio playing, and I could not sleep while it was going.  After a few sleepless nights, I formulated a plan in which I would wait until I thought he was sleeping, and then sneak over and turn the radio off so I could get some shut-eye. This worked for the first few nights, but eventually he caught me and would actually sleep with his head on the radio after that preventing me from having access to it.

 

The Prince also talked in his sleep almost every night. It's funny, because there was a reoccurring theme of him having a fight of some kind.  In these dreams, he would loudly threaten to beat people up and kill them. He'd say things like; "I'll kick your ass" and "Don't f--k with me or I'll kill you"!. He would also fall out of bed on occasion after dreaming he was wrestling around with someone. Since he was only about three and a half feet tall, it was scary when this would happen.  He also once fell from our main inside stage after taking to much Vicks Formula 44 for a cold he had and got high from the stuff.  It required about five stitches in his forehead.

 

Another interesting thing was the fact that he would go home with strangers at times.  These would be other black people he would meet during the show hours. They would invite him to their homes for dinner and to spend the night, and surprisingly, he would go.  We were always afraid he wouldn't be back for Showtime the following day, but when call came around, he'd be there.  He had also given up smoking big expensive cigars when he was with me, but would take a cigarette if offered.

 

Prince Arthur considered himself special as a perfectly formed miniature black man.  He voiced a great dislike of dwarfs, especially those in the sideshow business. He considered them as being freakish with big heads, short arms and legs, and unsightly when compared to his perfect miniature stature.  I always thought it was weird, a black midget being prejudice against dwarfs.

 

He spent the season with us, and returned to his home in Florida after our last spot.  I understand that he passed away a few years later.  He was quite well know in the business, and once was a featured attraction on the Royal American Shows when partnered with a fat lady named LaLa.  They did a dance routine which was a big hit with the midway patrons. I have good memories of both Prince Arthur and Capt. Don Leslie. 

 

Article and Image below are courtesy of Jeff Murray  ©copyright Jeff Murray - Harmar Shows All rights reserved

 


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