CHAPTER THREE
 

Pt 5

 

JEFF MURRAY

 

Jeff Murray entered the Grind Show business after several years in the mortuary trade. Having always been enthralled by the carnival he purchased his first show for $3,200 from a Miss Lilly Sneider. Sneider, a German immigrant, had been married to a carny who was an excellent builder and welder. He was unfortunately decapitated by a giant fun-house barrel which broke loose while he was working under it and the widowed Sneider began to divest herself of the couple's Midway equipment.

 

Murray bought the show sight unseen and drove to Federal Way, Washington, to tow it back to his California home. It was called the Arabian Giantess and featured a very phoney-looking 9  1/2 feet tall mummy. Jeff played the show on weekends, terming himself a "weekend carny" and a year later, when the King Tut exhibit toured America, he re-framed the show as the Egyptian Giantess and played it some more!

 

Jack Constantene

 

 

Headless Woman Illusion Show

 

He met his wife Sue in a bar and grill he owned and the two went into a partnership to buy Dean Potter's Ten In One show. The couple drove to Chesterfield, Virginia to pick up the show and started booking it on their way back home. They had only one performer, old Curly Frisbee, a road-weary Side Show marvel who could, and would, do just about anything.


Curly taught Jeff and Sue how to perform the Blade Box (contortionist act), and the Electric Girl, and he handled the Fire Eater, Pin Cushion, Blockhead, and Sword Swallower himself. Curly Frisbee even attempted a poorly rendered ventriloquist's act, although as Murray remembers, "His mouth moved about twice as fast as the dummy's!"


As the years went on, Murray began to specialize in Grind Shows like his Mystery Museum, Baby Show, Veronica the Snake Girl (a girl in a pit of live snakes), and Lionella the Lion-Faced Girl (a gaffed show utilizing a partial mask that was laboriously glued onto the poor girl's face everyday with spirit gum adhesive). While Jeff Murray has always veered away from live animal shows he did frame up a Mickey Mouse Circus similar to Larry Lundwall's. Unfortunately Jeffs mice spent most of their showtime asleep!

 

All stories are copyrighted Fred Olen Ray and posted here with his express permission,

 

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