by Walt Hudson

The Spider about Spidora. Usually I didn't care if custom­ers stayed to see the show a couple of times, but these punks just stood and stared. After they had seen the show about five times, I asked them to leave. They refused. They said they were waiting for Spidora to come down off her web. They wanted to see her crawl on the ground.

I had booked my Spidora grind show on a small carnival in Randallstown, Maryland. The show was doing very good business, and Friday night was no exception. Three of us worked the show: my talker, Mike, handled the outside spiel and sold tickets; I did the inside lecture and made sure the marks didn't get too close to the il­lusion; and an attractive girl posed as Spidora.
The marks enjoyed the show. We had a beautiful set-up. The spider's body was stuffed, with large, hairy legs that were rigged so that they could move.

Unfortunately, on this particular night the crowd included a group of high school boys who were high on either dope or alcohol. They didn't leave the tent after I had given the lecture I explained that this was the way she was always exhibited and that she never left her web until we placed her in a large footlocker and took her home at the end of the evening.

The punks still refused to go. They grew boisterous and started annoying the other customers. I could see that the girl working the illusion was scared, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to hold the punks back if they decided to climb over the wooden fence that we had placed in front of the exhibit platform.

I finally told the punks that they would have to go. One of them picked up some stones and threw them at Spidora. The girl inside the costume started to panic. There was no way she could get out of the set-up without help, and I was afraid that the punks would hit her in the face with a stone or break the mirror.

I called Mike, and he came in with Ram­bling Red, who ran a game concession next to our show. The three of us picked up some tent stakes and walked toward the punks. They scurried out of the tent and ran off down the midway. The rest of the evening proceeded without trouble, but I had a feeling that the punks would be back.

Rambling Red said that he would keep an eye on our show for us. He slept on the carnival lot. I went home that night since the spot was only a few miles from my house.

The next day, Saturday, the carnival open­ed at noon for a children's matinee. I arrived at 11:30 in order to open at 12. When I entered the tent, my heart sank. There in front of me, strewn over the ground, was the Spidora illusion, smashed to pieces. The spider's body was gone, and the mirror was shattered. I couldn't open the show. I cleaned up the mess and made plans to work on the illusion the next day, hoping we could open at our next stand on Monday night.

In the meantime, I wracked my brain trying to think of an attraction that I could put into the tent for the evening show. Saturday night was always the biggest of the week, and I didn't want to lose the money. Also, I knew that the punks who had wrecked my show would be back. I wanted to have an attraction when they arrived and pretend that nothing had happened.

As I stood looking up at our bannerline, an idea hit me. We would open with a spider girl, but it would be one that nobody had ever seen before! I spoke to Mike and the girl about it, and they agreed to go along with my idea if I could arrange the details.
I remembered that a friend of mine in Baltimore had a hobby of collecting unusual pets. Among his collection were two large South American tarantulas. I remembered how shocked I was when he took them out of their glass box and played with them. He let them crawl all over his arms. I had always thought that taran­tulas were deadly, but they're not. Their bite is no worse than a bee sting, and they rarely bite.
My plan was to dress my Spidora girl in a scanty costume, as brief as the law would allow, and have her he down on the platform. She would then remove the hideous, hairy spiders from their container and let them crawl all over her almost-nude body. Of course, I would give the bit a big build-up in my lecture.

I called my friend, and he agreed to lend me his spiders. He even came along to watch over them.

That night, Mike climbed onto the bally platform and began his spiel. The girl stood be­side him, smiling. She was wearing a bathrobe and held a glass aquarium in her arms. Inside the aquarium were our two deadly-looking spiders.

Mike's spiel went something like this:

"Tonight, folks, on the inside you are going to see something that you will remember 'til your dying day! This beautiful girl, Spidora, will remove her robe, and then, before your very eyes, she will take these two giant, hairy, deadly, poisonous spiders and let them crawl all over her body! These two giant tarantulas each fifteen inches in length will explore every crevice of her body with their spiny, deadly legs! She takes her life in her hands every time she plays with her unusual pets! One bite means sudden death! A $50 reward if this attraction is not alive, on stage, in person!"

I watched the crowd from the entrance of the tent. They were hooked! In a minute, they'd be buying tickets. I also noticed that the punks from the night before were back. They looked surprised and annoyed that we were still in business. But, like the rest of the marks, they were eager to buy tickets and see the spider girl.

We did fantastic business that night. Many folks who had seen our Spidora illusion returned to see the new show. It was interesting to watch the expressions on the marks' faces when the spider girl took off her robe. As the robe dropped, all the men and boys would lean forward to get a good look. Then, when the girl dumped the tarantulas onto her bare stomach, everybody would jump back! Watching the big, hairy spiders creep slowly over the girl's body was a scary experience.

When the evening was over, the spiders went back home with their owner.

We had a busy Sunday ahead of us, rebuilding the Spidora illusion for its Monday night opening.


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