Bally To The Blowoff
by Slim Price
Coney Island Sideshow, my God! I just
spent some time remembering our whole show in the 50’s and today
it sounds like a fantasy. Sadly, only a couple of us are still
alive, but if there is a sideshow heaven, that’s where I want to
To the best of my memory, these people
were all on our show at the same time.
On the Bally there was Kokomo The Mule
Faced Boy, an African drummer whose name I never knew, but from
the sound he made (orally) we all called him “Geezadeetch.” Then
there was Margie White, a Spanish Dancer who used to stop traffic
on Surf Avenue when she danced. There was me, with a very bad
fire-eating routine and then Eddie Flowers, a dancer who was our
stick. We also had two talkers. One was named Justin Wagner, a
skinny man who never looked down at the tip, and Milton Levine,
with a gravel voice. He used to get drunk and make passes at
Edith. Edith was the ticket taker and the epitome of a Brooklyn
Inside there was Shumpert Eko, with
swords and neon. Dewise Purdon, the Armless Wonder. Joanna The
Bear Girl and Alzoria The Turtle Girl, and their handler, a woman
named Carrie who sang as Aunt Jemima. Bobby Reynolds was the
magician, who also worked the Dynamo Act, usually with an audience
kid. Reynolds also pitched punch whistles, and worked the blade
box. There was Bob Melvin The Two Faced Man, and to wrap the whole
thing up, Frank Lentini The Man With Three Legs.
In the blow-off either Pearl The
Mystery Girl, (no arms or legs) or Albert-Alberta The Half and
Half. Once in a while I was the “Snake Handler.” Also for the
bally, we had an occasional “Mechanical Man” The one I remember
was Art Dorn, well known in movies for being a “Frankenstein
Monster” whose make-up weighed a little more than ten pounds.
It’s hard today to realize the whole
show cost just two bits.
There was also Princess Margie.
Frances Schmieser, her handler, was very protective, and except
during Margie’s appearances kept her hidden, even from us.
Margie’s bally was that she was 26 inches, weighed 26 pounds, and
was 26 years old. Part of the bally was that the talker would show
one of her shoes, very tiny of course, that “Had to be specially
made and cost more than three hundred dollars!” On the bally there
was a papier-mâchè figurine, supposedly of her, in an elegant
gown. Usually this had to be sloughed before Margie left the show,
often in an elegant fur coat. For some reason, I remember this was
a bitter cold late-season night. At any rate, on this night
someone failed to hide the figure, and Margie uttered the only
words I ever heard her say, “THAT'S NOT ME!” at the top of her
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The Slim Price Collection
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