Harry Leonard

 

Harry Leonard was not an oddity, or even unusual, but I must include him in these memories, since he was an important part of my life, and spent most of his life performing in sideshows. Prom his home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, he became a medicine show performer at age twenty. When he was twenty-two, he became a performer with a circus from his hometown. He played in the band, performed on the trapeze, but it was his skill at knife throwing that became his mainstay. On that circus he married and incorporated his wife into the impalement act as the target.
 
During the mid nineteen thirties depression years, many circuses failed. At that time they joined the Johnny Bejano sideshow on a carnival, where they worked for ten years.
 
During that time Harry became widowed, when Johnny Bejano died, Harry joined the circus I was with. We formed a partnership lasting nearly nineteen years, until his death. For sixteen of those years we operated sideshows and were friends with many of these unusual people written of in this book. Harry continued doing the knife throwing act his entire life. Often I was human target in the knife throwing act. In this type of act, there are occasional mishaps. On our opening night with the All American Circus in Oxford, Alabama, I miscalculated a move and received a small cut on the face. My aunt read of it in a trade journal and suggested that I should cease such dangerous endeavor. I didn't quit working in the act, but anytime there was a mishap Harry would eliminate that particular stunt from the act. Over the years the act got shorter and shorter.

 

Ward Hall

 


 

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