PRINCESS ZAMBORA MEETS LEROY

by Lee Kolozsy

 

There was a deafening crash, the wail of a siren, the strident ringing of an alarm bell, the staccato popping of gunfire, and the crowd panicked.  Parents were trampling their young,  grown men were running like track stars, women screaming, children crying,  THE GORILLA WAS LOOSE!!.  Again.  Another day at the State Fair. 

 

Alice Cooper’s  School’s Out playin' on the Matter horn, the 70’s were alive. The canned pitch with the voice of Peter G. Hennen was whining away, "THE APE GIRL, THE APE GIRL, SHE’S ALIVE, SO MUCH ALIVE...THAT ONLY THE BRAVE ARE INVITED"

 

The tape would run while we did the show inside the dark green 40 by 60 Leaf push-pole top.  "THE APE GIRL WOULD BE LOCKED IN A SOLID STEEL CAGE FOR YOUR PROTECTION, AND UNDER BRIGHT LIGHTS YOU’LL  SEE THE CHANGE BEGIN, HER FOREHEAD WILL BEGIN TO RECEDE, HER EYEBROWS PROTRUDE, FANGS WILL BEGIN TO EMERGE, AND HER CLOTHES WILL APPEAR TO FALL AWAY FROM HER BODY...BUT I DON’T THINK YOU’LL BE NOTICING HER EMBARRASSMENT, WHAT YOU WILL BE NOTICING IS THE HAIR GROWING ON HER ENTIRE BODY...THE LONG STRAGGLY HAIR OF A GORILLA OR APE...THIS SHOW WILL SCARE  THE YELL RIGHT OUT OF YOU!!!"

 

Through the means of a clever illusion, an attractive (as possible) young lady,  costumed as a jungle goddess,  would appear to transform into a horrible, ugly, (as possible) GORILLA.  The fearsome primate would then charge the crowd, breaking free of the cage and scattering the terrified natives onto the midway where they would shuck and jive for a while and compare notes.  "You skayed ?" "I din be skayed!"  "You not skayed! Den whu-for you run lak de po-lease be chasin' you!" It appeared that our mission was to bring art and culture to the hinterland. 

 

The scare at the end of the performance not only cleared the tent, but also attracted a lot of attention and would start the tip for the next bally. It also led to some unforeseen complications. 

 

Enter Leroy. A picture postcard perfect weather day, blue skies, 80 degrees, and not yet noon. The Zyclon was running like a Motown assembly line, load after load of screamers. The ape show banners flapping gently, all was well with the world. I had just braced myself with a pleasant buzz, in the cage with the gorilla and his girlfriend, the ape girl, both of whom had equally low standards of morals and hygiene, and, enjoying the unfoul air, I was headed for the bally platform to engage in some deception on behalf of the syndicate. This is when things deviated from biz as usual.  "WATCH THE DOORWAY, HERE SHE COMES, WE'RE GOING TO BRING OUT THE APE GIRL. CHAIN HER UP GOOD, BOYS, AND DRAG HER OUT HERE. THE WILD APE GIRL FROM NAIROBI. WATCH…WATCH…WATCH" And as I’m building a tip an elderly black woman was tapping on my foot with an umbrella. (most certainly a pessimist, there was not a cloud in the sky, nor rain in the forecast) She was saying,  "My Leroy, dat go-rilla dun got my Leroy, go see bout my Leroy."  I remembered her from the previous bally, she was the hoodoo. She was the wrench in the gearbox. 

 

When I had had the crowd spellbound with my eloquent hyperbole, at the optimum moment, precisely at the fever pitch of excitement, I would turn the tip.   Jam 'em.  Two ticket sellers goin' flyin' elbows. All they could handle. But for the hoodoo.  She was in front of the box closest to the entrance, the strong one. S L O W L Y counting out pennies while arguing with four foot three Leroy dressed like Shaft.  "I ain't goin' in day, you kin go but I’z stayin heah." One legged Sally the walk-away-artist was desperately working around her, trying to keep the tip moving, she was reaching over and around the immovable hoodoo couple knowing full well that all was lost if the play slowed.  Neezix on the cheesump, duke’er, mizove the leezine! It was no good, she wasn’t moving, Sally glared at me like you’re tellin' me! 

 

Soon the hoodoo was back. Tapping on my foot with an umbrella. My buzz was disappearing fast. There was no getting around it, I was gonna blow the tip. This woman was impeding the smooth flow of the soft-con I was trying to lay down. She had to be dealt with. No outside man,  no patch,  looked like it was up to me. I sighed and put down the mike. "Lady, the gorilla didn’t get your Leroy. He probably got lost in the confusion and went down the midway, I suggest you go to the fair paging booth and have him paged." She got quite angry, virtually incoherent, and grumbled her way down the midway. I went back to the grind. No sooner had I built another tip and started to make my pitch, and here comes the hoodoo with two state cops. Here we go again.  Put down the microphone "sir, this lady claims her husband was attacked by your animal." One badge had her by the end of the bannerline, another was interrogating me at the bally platform.   "Officer the show ends with everyone being scared out of the tent by the guy in the gorilla suit, he took off down the midway, we scare the public, we don’t damage them." The cop looked skeptical and said,  "You don’t mind if we look around in the tent, do you?"  What could I say,  next thing you know I’m in the top with two uniforms poking around the empty dark interior of the tent with flashlights. No sign of Leroy, but I could hear his grieving widow wailing on the midway. "Dat go-rilla dun et mah Leroy, it dun grind up his bones, he be daid fo sure." 

 

My thoughts were centered on the smell of reefer coming from the cage. Man, here we go. My buzz had completely left, I was sure things were going downhill fast. That’s when I heard it. A voice.  A very deep voice.  Coming from nowhere.  Coming from everywhere. Now I knew the top was empty. This was spooky! A deep voice from nowhere saying…"Whey dat mother f*#%ing go-rilla at! Yoou got dat mother f*#%er locked up?" Downright baffling, I mean the top was empty, we had checked everywhere, even the state fuzz looked spooked, one had his hand on his holster. I felt a little lightheaded, so I backed up to the centerpole and leaned on it. That’s when I felt it move. I looked up. There in the shadows, at the top…was Leroy, clinging to the pole like a  monkey, his back against the canvas, at the very top of the peak.

 

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 to Main

 

All photos are the property of their respective owners whether titled or marked anonymous.

"Sideshow WorldTM" is the sole property of John Robinson © All rights reserved.

 sideshowworld.com   sideshowworld.org   sideshowworld.net  sideshowworld.biz   sideshowworld.info

is the sole property of John Robinson © All rights reserved.

E-Mail Sideshow World     E-Mail The Webmaster