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
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©1991-2008 Ward Hall,
all rights reserved. The stories and images are
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