Sealo, "The Seal Boy"


A man with the strange physical feature was Sealo, "The Seal Boy". Stanley Berent was in sideshows for many years including several at Coney Island and with Pete Kortes show. Sealo toured Europe, as well as South America and all of North America. Sealo had a great sense of humor. He always stopped at the fairground gates to exchange greetings with the gate keepers. Then with a wink to companions who might be with him, he would make a gesture with one of his "Little Handles" while voicing a sarcastic remark for the benefit of his companions. An avid card player, he and Pete Kortes would spend hours on end playing rummy. He was proud of his Polish heritage and enjoyed drinking bollermakers, which he claimed to be a Polish drink. He was also proud of his sister who was a nun. The one full season Sealo spent with us was a year which Chris was presenting an act in the show with a young chimpanzee, Toby. Sealo was troubled with poor legs causing him difficulty on the stairs getting on and off the stage. Therefore he stayed on the stage most of the time while the other acts were working. When the chimp would come past him on the way off at the end of Toby's act, Sealo each time would give Toby a cookie. One day three drunks proceeded to give Sealo a hard time while Toby was performing. Toby broke from Chris, running to the end of the stage where Sealo was seated, intimidating the three men as a chimp can certainly do, they backed right up. As the rest of the audience, Chris and Sealo had a good laugh at their expense.
 
Toby proved his regard for Sealo and his appreciation of the cookies. During our run on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Sealo became ill and we sent him home.
 
Late he resided for a couple of years at the Showmen's Retirement Village at Gibsonton, Florida, until his final illness.


Ward Hall

 


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