In 1973

 

In 1973, we bought the Pete Kortes show in Nov. at St Petersburg, FL Scotty McNiel was the manager (Dolly Regans husband, and she continued to manage that show for us in 1974. In 75 Scotty, Dolly and the other freaks were included in Chris show and some in Dick Johnson's unit, when we turned the Kortes show into an illusion show which was managed by Jon Friday. Henry Valentine started with Chris show in 73. His son Mike was I think 16 and a daughter was 14 and they were on the show. Mike swallows swords (Prince Michael) and his sister was blade box girl. Henry was working a town job in Waterloo, Iowa.

 

The first week of August playing the fair at Cincinnati, I had a severe kidney stone attack and underwent severe surgery in a hospital there. I was hospitalized for 29 days. The show closed in Cincinnati on Sunday night and was scheduled to open at Cleveland on Monday. We had a professional truck driver come in to drive the semi rig that Chris usually drove, so he could take the car and house trailer that I usually drove. Eighty miles north of Cincinnati at 3 am a commercial semi fully loaded driven by a guy who fell asleep, smashed into the rear of our trailer doing 80 miles an hour. The trailer literally exploded and pushed up onto the car.. Doc Hankins was riding with Chris and miraculously neither were seriously injured. Our dog was killed and we lost nearly the entire contents of the trailer, all our personal belongings including some very nice jewelry we had. About the only thing salvaged at the scene was the payroll for the previous week which had been made up for payday on Tuesday.....The demolished car was a 1973 Cadillac and the trailer was a 1973 Yellowstone.

 

When Chris and Doc didn't show up on the lot, not aware of what had happened, YMeph, Cliff King, Milt Robbins and everyone else went ahead put the show up and it opened on schedule. Chris was able to rent a motor home. He and Doc finally got there. Chris had called the carnival (Goodings Million Dollar Midway) to let everyone know what had happened. Mike called his father, Henry, who immediately quit his job, which he had for several years, and came on the show and was with us for many years. I am telling this story to point out that Henry couldn't have had the Kortes show for us that fall as we had

not yet purchased it. Dick Johnson's unit was in the Carolinas at that time, The Circus Vargas show was in the far west, plus I don't think we ever had a bannerline painted just red. Sometimes red for about six feet up from bottom, then white, which were wood. I don't remember ever painting any metal poles, except perhaps steel and that would have been aluminum color paint.

 

Henry Valentine first managed the Kortes equipment when it was an illusion show in 1976. I think it was in 1977 Chris built the big Oddities Museum show "That's Incredible" on a forty five foot semi with a big fold out room in back and the front was sixty foot, 24ft high plus the flags. The entire background of that front was bright red. Henry managed that show starting in 77 through 1986.

 

We sold it to him in 1988, and he had it on the "Bill Hames Shows" for several years. His wife Shirley was office manager for Hames and several of there children, then grown, worked at various jobs on Hames. When Henry finally sold the show he became purchasing agent for Hames, and was still there through 2007. We probably booked the wax museum, and/or shark show or ? into Baton Rouge coming out of Dallas, but I doubt we had a ten in one there at that time.

 

If someone can shed light on that time and place I would like to know for my own curiosity...

 

Ward Hall

 


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