like the sword swallowers, fire eaters, etc., choose to make
themselves into human oddities. The finest tattooing
on anyone who worked for us was an Ann "Artoria" Gibbons. She
has been tattooed by her husband, "Red" Gibbons hi 1920-21. Red
was an oil prospector by trade and tattooist as a hobby. The
years spent on our show, she was a widow. Red had gone blind and
she cared for him for many years. She joined the Ringling Show
in the early twenties, where she told me Clyde Ingalls, the
manager, tried to take liberties with her. She left the show.
In 1979, at Muskegon, Michigan, the ladies on our show organized
a surprise 76th birthday party for her. She was very pleased and
told us it was the first birthday party she had had. Always on
time and always a perfect lady, she has respect from public and
She suffered with arthritis, but never complained. When working
with Dean Potter's show, she fell, breaking an arm, but refused
to go to a hospital for treatment until she finished the last
performance of the day several hours later. She loved being with
the show and was very disappointed when we retired her. I felt
it was not in her best interest to be climbing stairs, getting
on and off the platform. At her age, a fall would have been
disastrous. Fortunately, she was not dependent on any income
from show business. Mr. Gibbons had left her some producing oil
properties in Oklahoma.
When we cast her in the film "Being Different", the director
wanted her to say she allowed Red to tattoo her because she
loved him, but she refused for she said "That's not the way it
Sally and Sandy Sandy were a tattooed couple. Sandy had been
tattooed when a young seaman, and was a tattoo artist. In middle
age he met Sally and she allowed him to tattoo her because she
loved him. They were with me several years through thick and
thin. I felt obligated to book fairs where he could pursue the
tattooing. Because the Michigan State Fair would not permit it.
I canceled it going to Fayetteville, Tennessee instead.
That week they left because business there was bad.
It was about the same time, in that an attractive lady
approached me for a job. I was surprised to learn her body.
legs, and arms were covered two hundred and eighty seven
tattooed copies of famous works of art. On the bally, showing
her find figure as well as
her tattoos, wearing a bikini and dancing, Lorette attracted a
lot of customers.
The bikini has given way to a more conventional costume, but
Lorette will celebrate her seventy-fifth birthday while on our
show this year.
We both enjoy Chinese cuisine and beautiful scenery, and have
taken short trips to enjoy them on our days off. Lorette spends
many hours on stage, but her hands are never idle. She crochets
with the speed of lightning and sews exquisite quilts. The good
Lord willing, we will continue our association.
My last tattoo artist was in 1960 with William T. Collins
Carnival. Joe Queen was a competent and conscientious tattooer.
At Okmulgee, Oklahoma, he put a two dollar name on a nineteen
year old man who had a large tattoo on each forearm. He had just
been discharged from the military. Two days later Joe was
arrested for tattooing a minor, I was sued for allowing a minor
to be tattooed in my show by the man's mother. The Oklahoma law
stated a person had to be twenty-one to get a tattoo. The
sheriff released Joe and told the man's mother to sue the Army
since that was where he was when he got the first two tattoos.
The case never went to court.
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©1991-2007 Ward Hall,
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