1938 - 10 Jan 2008
January 2008, the world lost a hell of a
showman. I lost a father.
My earliest memory of Dad was of a visit
when I was in 3rd grade. I knew Dad was
a knife thrower in the Sideshow so I had
spent hours with an old rusty hunting
knife learning to throw it at a stump in
the yard. On the day Dad visited, I
hollered "Dad Look" and somehow on the
first try stuck that knife in the stump.
You could have heard a pin drop. Mom
looked at him and said, "Damn you Eddie
Miller" and all Dad did was look at her
and shrug his shoulders. It came as no
shock to them when I was 22 and joined
the carnival life for myself.
Dad through it all didn't try to pave
the way, but made me do things the old
fashioned way, he made me earn it. The
abilities I learned while I was on the
road I'll treasure always, and have to
daily for all he did, and didn't do for
me in my life.
Dad, one day I'll see you in that big
top in the sky.
Until then, keep a place on that big
bally open for me.
Miller was a old style showman. Although
he had been out of the business for many
years, he still talked of his years on
the shows with Pride, and it was mainly
because of him that I spent 14 glorious
years on the carnival circuit carrying
on the family legacy.
I learned from Dad, he worked for Ward
Hall, Whitey Sutton and a few other
names in the Sideshow business. A few
years ago, I was on a midway in Mineral
Wells, WV, when Whitey's niece walked up
to me and recognized the voice. She
asked me who I was, and it was a matter
of pride that I could say my father was
a knife thrower and my mama was his
She recognized immediately who I was
from just that description and we spent
my entire lunch break talking about Dad
and Mom and the old days. Neither one is
with us any more, but through his
stories, his legacy lives on. Please
include Dad on your tribute page, as I'm
sure some of your readers will remember
an old ballyman, sword swallower and
knife thrower. ED MILLER JR.