It Looked like a Raid on Mafia Headquarters

 

It was July of '77, we were at the Cray's Lake, Illinois Fair with several shows. We had played it for several years. Included in our midway line was the freak baby show. All week it had attracted steady business.
 
On Friday afternoon while repairing an air conditioner, I activated a chronic back problem, so I was resting in the trailer Friday night and Chris was in charge of the operations. About 8 PM several police cars and a van pulled up to the baby show.  It looked like a raid on Mafia headquarters.  Chris was arrested   and the exhibit seized. Marge followed Chris to the police station and bailed him out, charged with possessing and transporting corpses without a license. We had the show booked to return to the Ohio State Fair, two weeks hence.   Not wanting to lose out on this, we had a representative waiting at the rubber factory on Monday to have duplicate exhibits manufactured.
 
Some of the seized exhibits were real, some artificial.  Chris could have pleaded guilty and paid a one hundred dollar fine. We were certain we were legal, and decided to fight,  because we had presented this display at the state fair and other locations throughout the state.  A state owned museum in Chicago had a similar display.


An attorney was retained and several thousands of dollars was spent in defense.  In a few months he would travel there for questioning.  What we thought would be only a local incident was picked up by the news wire services and received a lot of space in the press.  The sensational slant the media placed on this was unflattering.  Due to the unfavorable publicity, the fairs asked us not to bring the show, which certainly cut our income.

In October, while we were at the Texas State Fair, Chris returned to Illinois to stand trail.    He was, of course, acquitted, and vindicated, which went virtually unreported.  Innocence and legality was proven at great expense.  In the press we were guilty until proven innocent, but innocence was ignored.

 

The harm had been done.

 

 


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