Woodside Amusement Park
by Walt Hudson
The sideshow at
Woodside Park was
housed in a building that once had been a walkthrough
The mirrors that distorted one's image
still lined the wall on one side of the
building. Our stage extended across one end of the room
and there was a
large backstage area. The "marks" stood
in front of the
platform and watched each act perform.
The ten-in-one was a "drop in" or
temporary spot for many of the acts who planned to join
a traveling carnival sideshow but were waiting
for the fair season to begin and had a few weeks
to fill. It was
like playing a still date to them. They joined
our show with the
understanding it was for a limited time only.
The manager did not care about the
large turnover in personnel because many people returned
to the park several times
during the summer
and new attractions meant repeat business.
The show was office owned and belonged to the park. The
manager was hired and he, in turn, hired the acts and
ran the show. We
were paid by the park each Friday and were paid
for the entire week even when it rained and attendance
was poor. This was better than working a carnival where
our pay was pro-rated.
If we worked we got
paid; if it rained
or we were traveling
between shows we did not get paid.
We opened Memorial Day
Susie - The Elephant Skinned Girl, Virginia
Dakota - The Lady
Who Smoked Cigarettes Through Her
Eyes, Yvonne - The
Midget Stripper, The Animal Hypnotizer (Me), A
on the Oriental Wax Man (again by me),
and Billy Ryan
with large magic and illusions. The fire eater did not
show up and
the manager wanted me to do the fire eating but I told
him I didn't know how. I did, but I was already
doing enough in the
show with my two acts,
in addition to
emceeing a part of the
show. There was a
blade box "ding" that Billy's assistant worked.
We were permitted to pitch items but
we had to pay the manager a "kick back" for the
All of us went home each night after
the show except Yvonne the midget,
who lived with her husband Hans in their trailer which
was parked out in back
of our show. Susie
also stayed on the park grounds in her trailer.
The spiel I used for my Animal Hypnotizer act went
something like this: "For years, scientists have been
baffled by the fact that some of the larger snakes have
the ability to hypnotize their prey before killing them.
(This was a complete lie!)
"The boa constrictor merely stares at
the bird or small
animal, who freezes in its tracks and then the boa
defenseless little creature. The men of science
have no explanation for this strange phenomenon.
"Humans have been hypnotizing one
another for as long as we have recorded
is full of lurid tales of how hypnotism was used
for evil purposes.
"Today we read about hypnotism being
used to cure certain ills and its positive
effect on the human
personality. Although the medical profession calls
hypnotists fakes and fraudulent, they cannot deny
that hypnosis does aid some people. I predict that in
the near future the
hypnotist will be looked upon as a respectable
practitioner and not just as an entertainer. (My
prediction came true in 1958 when the American
accepted hypnotism as an alternative method of
"So, while some animals may hypnotize
others, and humans may hypnotize each other, I have been
gifted with the ability to hypnotize animals! I know of
no other human who has this ability. It is rather
amazing when we consider that complete concentration is
required of the subject being placed in the trance. Do
animals have the power of concentration? You will have
to decide for yourselves as
you watch me perform
this afternoon. First, I shall attempt to hypnotize a
I reached into the cage housing a dove and the bird
hopped up on my extended finger. I brought out the
fluttering bird and walked forward to the edge of the
"Now, watch!" I stared into the dove's
eyes and picked the dove off my finger with my other
hand. I smoothed out the bird's wings and as I turned it
over and placed it back down on my open
hand the bird
became stiff. Its head flopped back over the edge
of my palm. Its legs stuck up in the air and it appeared
"Now I will let you all see the bird close up. But,
please do not touch it. As you can see, the dove is in a
trance and will
remain that way as long as I desire. It is
completely in my control."
The "marks" looked at the bird and at
each other. They were convinced I had
bird. After all had a chance to see the bird
close up I snapped my fingers and turned the bird over.
It came to life and started flapping its
wings. The "marks"
applauded as I returned the bird to its cage.
"Thank you. And now I will hypnotize
this rabbit and pass down among you
so you can see the
rabbit is also in a trance."
I took the rabbit out of its cage and
I turned the bunny over on its back and placed it on a
small tray. After a few
hypnotic passes the
bunny also became
as a board. Its legs
stuck up in the air. I picked up the tray and
went down to the front of the stage and sat
down with my legs
hanging over the
edge. I held the
tray on my lap and invited the "marks" to step up
close to view the sleeping rabbit. They could
see there was
nothing attached to the
rabbit to hold it
down. I invited them
to yell, clap their
hands, whistle and to make as much noise as they
wanted but they would not be able to wake the
bunny before I gave
it a command to awaken. After a minute or two I
counted to Three and
the rabbit awoke. They were amazed and they
applauded. After I
had returned the rabbit to its cage, I continued
on with my next act.
"And now, if you will all step down to
this end of the
stage, I will show you one of the most bizarre
things you have ever seen. I'll remove this cloth and
you will be shocked! Please move down a little closer.
That's it. I want everyone close up to see this strange
The group moved closer and I pulled
off the sheet covering the wax figure
of an oriental man. I had purchased
the figure the summer before at
from the owner of a wax museum. It was just an old
figure which had been
lying around for
years. It had a hole in its back so I was able to
buy it cheap. The only unusual thing about it was that
it was an entire
figure and not just a body form with a wax head and
hands, as are most figures found in wax museums.
This was the figure of a nude
man and complete in
every detail, including genitalia.
The manager of the show made me cover the man with a
loin cloth since this was
a family show and he
didn't want any wise remarks from the teenagers or
complaints from the adults. So I covered
the figure. But, I
must admit I often loosened the loin cloth a bit so it
did not fit too tightly.
There was nothing really unusual about
the wax figure other than it was so
detailed in every way. It had eye lashes,
hair implanted on the fingers and legs. The hair
on the head was
implanted so that it looked like it was growing
out of the scalp. It was how I made the presentation
that made the whole act rather strange.
"This wax figure is an exact duplicate
or reproduction of the Japanese artist who created it.
His name was Aiko
Yamesheta and he used photographs
of his body parts
and modeled himself in front of mirrors to
create this figure.
"Then, when the figure was completed
he removed all his own hair, one strand
at a time, and
implanted the hair, on the sculpture body. The
eye brows, the eye lashes, the hair on and under his
arms ... even the pubic hair has all been taken from his
I paused for a moment for that statement to sink in and
then I continued the spiel.
"He removed his own fingernails and toenails and placed
them on this figure
which he created in his own image.
All this took about
forty-nine years to complete. Yes, you may step
up closer to get a
good look at this wax man. We want you to tell
your friends about this attraction. It will be here all
summer but when we close our show in September, we shall
return it to the .Museum of
Natural History in
Those of you who wish a photo of this strange phenomenon
may purchase one for ten cents."
My spiel was completed and our manager stepped up and
took over the stage and introduced the next act.
All stories are the
property of Sideshow World & their respective authors.
Any republication in part or in whole is strictly
prohibited. For more information please
Back to On the Road with Walt Hudson
Back to Main