I am trying to locate anyone who may have known my father. He was in the circus and sideshow industry for nearly 40 years before he died in 1997.


I know he worked many jobs with carnies and circus which included but probably not limited to magician, talker canvas man, animal handler, At shows, etc. His real name was John Howard Stephen Bone. He went by Howard Bone. He may have used a stage show name of Kard-O at one time.


I was curious if you know him or may be able to direct me in the correct way to locate which circus's or carnivals he was with. He was originally from Evansville, IN and I assume went into the business shortly after his discharge from the Navy in 1944.


I know he met my mother Betty Acton who was also working as a Bally girl, and they had a "circus wedding", before they were legally wed in 1960. Betty it turned out grew tired of the business and went home to her parents who were residing in FL at the time. Betty and Howard were officially divorced in 1970. However in stating that I should mention.. I was born in Daytona Beach, Florida in July 1961 and my younger brother in Dothan, AL in Nov. 1963. I assume our parents were with some circus or carnival at that time, but by 1965 my brother and I were placed as wards of the court into the home of Howard's sister who resided in Indiana.


Betty returned home to her parents and gave birth to our younger sister Susan in Eustis, FL Mar 1966. At the time we came to stay with our Aunt. She had to drive to St Louis to pick Donald and I up and that was around Sept 1965 I believe.


I have very little information about his career. I do know that when he would come to visit us he always put on magic shows. He also was a master of Itto Ryu Jutsu, a form of martial arts.


If you knew him or if you know anyone who may have I would love to get in contact with you. I would also like to find out what circus's or carnivals he traveled with.


Coincidentally... He wrote a book titled "Side Show: My Life with Geeks, Freaks, and Vagabonds in the Carny Trade". He also wrote another book titled "Hurry, Hurry, Hurry" under the pen name Col. Don E. Kerr which was a book about side show magic.


He had a friend in the trade named Mike Anderson if that helps any. He was best known for his magic act "The Man Who Can't Be Hung" which was inducted into the American Museum of Magic. He was also a good friend of Teller of Penn & Teller in his later years in life. I really want to find more information about his circus life as I did not grow up with him.


Any help greatly appreciated.



Linda A (Bone) Grossman


P.S. The family was separated and all lived in different states and just this past year we all have come together. We are trying to timeline our parents lives. So this is extremely important to us. Thanks!


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