This And That
by Slim Price
So Many Things I Failed to
God, sometimes the memories flow. Fortunately, I suppose, my
mind is a little less rusty than my body. There are so many
things that I failed to appreciate then, but that live in my mind.
I realize now that I only saw the forest then and not the trees.
Finding trees on a lot simply meant you had something to lean back
against and do nothing for a while...in the shade.
As I look back now though I see so
much. Like stepping onto a lot for the very first time.
Returning to a lot from a date. Finding a place to do much needed
laundry. Running into a friend. Taking a bath. Being as strong
as an ox and not knowing it.
Cherishing a little rain, ‘‘cause it
meant a day off, but at the same time hating it, ‘‘cause I loved
the crowds. Going out on the bally, and seeing marks that thought
you were something special, their eyes looking up, studying you as
a curiosity. Hearing the intake of collective breaths when you did
something they thought was dangerous. Doing dangerous things and
getting no response at all, when the marks thought it was
ordinary. Talking a 100% blow-off, or finding a new line that
worked during the grind. Putting in a new trick, and having it
work. Loving applause, working, romancing a microphone. Smelling
new hay or sawdust. And being “Widdit.”
A Little Love Story
As we grow older, a lot of memories get dropped but a few
stick around to get rolled out on nights when sleep won’t come.
It was at Coney Island at the front
end of the fifties, and I was sixteen, maybe seventeen. I
remember it was cool, so it must have been somewhere near the end
of the season. On our inside stage, someone I had never seen made
an entrance. Performers just walked on stage and left from stage
In a moment I was breathless! The most
beautiful woman I had ever seen was there, and she began to sing.
Usually, we never had an inside talker. The acts just walked on
did their pieces and walked off. This time was a little different.
Justin, one of the talkers came on and just said, “Lady
She was dark skinned, her voice was
husky, and I was in love. I have no memory of the song she sang.
All I remember now was that I was entranced! She finished what I
suppose was an audition and exited to real applause, typical for
I had to say something to her! I was
working the bally, and did the call, and was there when she came
out. I jumped off the box and said the most stupid thing in my
life! I said, “Lady Harlequin, you are the best singer I ever
heard, even though you’re color-” Slap! She left my cheek hot, my
head ringing, and I think, my heart broken, at least until now. I
never saw her again. It’s clear she didn’t get a job, an agent’s
mistake. I never had a chance to say this until now, but Lady
Harlequin, I am very sorry. I meant it as a true compliment.
The Blade Box
The blade box is a nice ding that can
be used in a top or show to garner a few extra bucks from the tip.
It sits on a platform just a little above eye level so you need to
“Donate” something to see the secret and hopefully other stuff!
The box is just large enough to hold a
girl who is wearing a robe. By the way, it’s always her only
source of income. (Sure!) The top of the box is shown to be
divided with many slots for wide blades, like those used in the
sawing a woman in half illusion
The woman gets in the box, and then
pushes her robe and other bits of costume out through the top. The
operator then inserts the blades, apparently dividing the woman in
several sections. When this is finished, the tip is allowed to
ascend a staircase, make a donation, and see the woman. She is of
course covered (still in costume) and just fit around the blades,
mostly lying on her side. The tip is passed by very quickly, not
given enough time to realize what they have seen.
Night of the “Buffalo Wing”
I got my start with the carnivals as
“The Funny Old Magician” working in the sideshows at the ripe old
age of 17!! In my mature years, the mid-70’s, I was lucky enough
to be a regular at Forks Hotel “Magic Castle of the East” for
Eddie Fector and his protégé, Lou Gallo. They used to meet at 6 AM
to work with magic, especially cards. It made for a long day, but
also for unusual mastery of the art.
So many of the greats were there, and
other pros passing through made it an exciting place to be at. By
the way, the Founder’s Ring (IBM 12) met there, led by Gene
Gordon. Just for geography’s sake, Fork’s Hotel is just outside
Buffalo, New York in Cheektowaga.
The night Buffalo Wings were created
Forks was very busy. They used all of the normal stock of
victuals except for chicken wings, which were not even part of the
menu, and were usually discarded. The food ran out and the place
was busy. In desperation, Fector put a bunch of the wings in the
oven, just to have something to serve. He created some sauces on
the spot, peanut butter, sour cream, anything that was handy, and
it became a sensation!
All stories are the property of
Sideshow World & their respective authors. Any republication in
part or in whole is strictly prohibited. For more information
contact us here.
The Slim Price Collection
Back to Main