"The Happy Giant"

 

From 1960 thru 1967, Eddie Carmel was the circus giant at Madison Square Gardens.
 
Eddie was a native New Yorker, and since his family did not reside in Manhattan, he also stayed at the Belvedere Hotel. When I first knew Eddie in 1960, he was physically fit to the extent that he had done a little professional wrestling. Since I only saw Eddie when we played the Garden, it was very obvious to see his health decline year by year. By 1965, he had to use two canes to aid his walking. By the next year he could no longer make it to the basement of the Garden, where the sideshow exhibited, on his own power. The management granted him special permission to have a taxi cab drive down the ramp, and bring him to his platform. It was so difficult for him to get on and off the stage, he would bring a bag of fruit. He would remain on stage until after the evening's final performance.
 
The last time I saw Eddie was the 1967 show.  He died soon after.
 
Eddie was not primarily a sideshow attraction. With his deep voice he often did voice overs. He worked in a few movies and made a record "The Happy Giant" backed with The Good Monster and wrote poetry.
 
He started bring a bag fruit onto the stage and would eat it during the performance, tossing the peels over his shoulder The stages were placed back to back, separated by a curtain Frequently a patron viewing the act behind Eddie would be struck by a banana peel or apple core.

 


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