in a Different World
A flashback by Lee Kolozsy
I was only twelve,
but I was fully immersed in ShowBiz…
I had had the time of my life with
the coast guard.
We had played out West with the Big John Strong, the Rudy Bros.,
and the Tom Packs circuses. Now headed back East for an upcoming
engagement at Radio City, we were holed up in a campground in
Biloxi, waiting for the big New Orleans Shrine Circus to kick
off. A layover of a week or more was not unusual for top circus
acts in those days. The producers often brought in big acts to
punch up the show for major dates. We were hired guns and only
came in for the big ones. We hopscotched
from show to show.
I read books about
it, watched movies about it, listened to stories about it, lived
it and loved it…
night after dinner, my parents would dress to the nines, tell us
to behave, and left us to watch over the Airstream while they
went out. I’d crack a book, my brother would watch the tube,
and I’d be out by the time they came in. Invariably, they would
return quite late, and quite hammered.
They were going every night to a
nightclub where a friend of theirs was performing. I wasn’t
paying a lot of attention to all this, as I was deep in a book
about Johnny and Walter Yong,
with whom I had recently worked a full season on the Hubert
Castle Circus. I didn’t think it unusual that books were being
written about my friends. It seemed normal.
Showpeople are not
As the days went by, and the pattern
remained the same, I picked up some info from eavesdropping on
my parent’s conversations. It developed that their friend,
Jayne, was having trouble with her club act, which was something
new for her. She had asked my Mom and Dad to help her come up
with some business to flesh it out. My Dad was telling my Mom
that it wouldn’t take a whole lot to fix it. The audience seemed
to love Jayne. My Mom commented with some surprise that Jayne
could carry a tune quite well, and that some of her stuff was
Showpeople are always
Mom said she was glad Jayne was
getting her life together, what with all those kids. My parents
cared about Jayne and her kids. They were glad she and Mickey
were getting back together.
Showpeople seem to prefer the company of other Showpeople…
The program from Gus
Stevens' club at the time of JM's last public
appearance. This is front page showing Jerry Van Dyke.
had been a friend of my dad’s, both were expatriated Hungarians,
both were acrobats, they had trained at the same gym in Hungary.
Mickey had gone on to become Mr. Universe. My Dad was still
chasing the Circus. Mickey was on his way from California, he
and Jayne were getting back together.
ShowBiz isn’t always
One morning I woke to hysterical
screaming, my Mom was in tears, My Dad had the paper, He was as
white as a sheet. My Mom was saying, “We would have been in that
car, and gone to New Orleans with her, if it hadn’t been for
Sometimes it’s a
The headline screamed in huge block
type… “JAYNE MANSFIELD DECAPITATED IN CAR WRECK”
The Circus was a lot
less fun for a while after that…
The papers made the most of it, my
Mom would quietly cry, for no reason, in the dressing room
between acts, for quite a few years after this. It was years
later that I saw Jayne’s films, and realized that movie stars
are Showpeople too.
This program was signed by JM
To Laci (my dad Laszlo) Con
(With Affection) Jayne
It also gives her home address
"10100 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles 90024 California"
The last being part of an invitation to come stay
with her family in LA.
All stories are the property of
Sideshow World & their respective authors. Any
republication in part or in whole is strictly prohibited.
For more information please
contact us here.
Back to Show Talk With Lee Kolozsy Back