1960 thru 1967, Eddie Carmel was the circus giant at Madison
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
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.