I Have Many Happy Memories!

 

I have many happy memories of the Ringling Show since I have been involved with all but one of the sideshows presented with that circus since 1959. Among the many fine people I worked with there, including Mimi and Mitzie, two delightful midget ladies, Felix Sila, a very handsome midget man who left the show when it reached Los Angeles and since has appeared in many motion pictures, and Jean Carrol the Tattooed Lady.
 
Carl Norwood was a little black man referred to as "The Frog Man", shared a show for many years with Dick Hilburn. When Dick passed away, his widow Nora brought Carl to our company for a unit managed by Jerry Ross.
 
Hazel Morris and her daughter Jackie had a similar affliction to Dolly's. They were never employed by me, however, in 1958 I was given the exclusive privilege to exhibit human oddities on a carnival and I was able to book Hazel and Jackie into one of our fairs as they exhibited themselves in their own show.
 
In the early sixties, we played a lot of Ohio fairs. At Burton, we met a family from nearby Middlefield, of a mother and sister of average height, but the father and all four brothers were dwarfs. The older brothers, Bill and Glenn, joined the show. During the years when we had a giant, I had a limousine, since a tall man would be too cramped in a smaller vehicle. Glenn was an excellent driver and mechanic. To fix motors of trucks or cars, we would lift him up to set on the engine. I put special equipment on one of the two Cadillac limos I had, so he could drive it. Bill had difficulty walking but was most articulate. He became our outside talker. They liked to go places and do things. We attended race tracks, took trips into Mexico when showing in Texas.
 
We closed one season at Arizona State Fair, Phoenix. It had been a long and successful season. The boys wanted to see the Grand Canyon so we viewed it on our way to Las Vegas. I gave them a few days vacation in Vegas. On our last day there, they wanted to take me to a show of my choice. That night donning their tuxes, with the limo polished, Glenn drove us to the "Folies Bergere". Turning the car to the parking valet, they preceded me to open the doors. All heads in the long line of showgoers waiting to be seated turned our way. A casino official approached inquiring if we were going to the showroom. Bill gave him our reservation information as he led us past the line to the maitre d', who assigned us to the best table. Our check was compliments of the hotel. What a favorable impression a used limo and dressed up dwarfs can impose.
 
A couple years later Bill got married and is raising his family in Cleveland, where he is an accountant at a large hospital.
 
The next spring prior to our opening, Glenn asked if I would be angry if he didn't go with us. I told him it surely wouldn't make me happy since we were featuring him in his own single-o show. He explained he had signed a contract with Grady Stiles, "The Lobster Man", to work a show for him at a price more than double what I was paying him.
 
I told him my opinion, that Grady would not gross enough with the show to afford the contracted fee, but he should not turn it down. I also gave him my route with instructions to call me if it didn't work out. During our first fair at Brockton, Massachusetts, he called asking if we were traversing interstate ninety to Milwaukee. I agreed to meet him at a certain truck stop on the way. Glenn was there ready to come back with us. He was not alone, he absconded with Grady s Teresa, who was a welcome addition to our company.

Later Grady acquired Carl Davis' ex-wife, Barbara. They later divorced and Teresa and Grady remarried, and Carl spent some time with us swallowing swords and performing "The Human Pincushion"

 

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