"CLOSED - DUE TO circumstances
beyond our control." Mount Prospect village officials refused to
grant a business license to a carnival-
type exhibit which
housed a 1,100-pound man. the exhibit's promoters said his
weight resulted from compulsive eating caused by drug abuse.
'Drug Abuse' Display Closed
A carnival-type exhibit, billed
by its promoters as a drug abuse display, had a short, and less
than set run Friday in Mount Prospect.
The exhibit parked at the Mount Prospect Plaza Shopping Center
at Rand and Central roads, consisted of a mobile home trailer
which housed a 1,100-pound Michael Walker gained his excess
poundage because of a compulsive desire to eat brought on by
several years of drug abuse.
For a 50-cent admission charge, persons could view Walker
through a window and see for themselves "the horrors of drug
But when village officials viewed the exhibit, according to
Village Mgr. Robert Eppley, they decided: 1) "It was a sideshow
attraction;" 2) "It was in poor taste." and 3) It would not
operate in Mount Prospect because they would not grant a
business license for it.
EPPLEY, THE MAN responsible for the issuance of business
licenses in Mount Prospect, termed the exhibit "a sideshow
attraction under the guise of drug abuse. I really didn't feel
it was a true representation - that his obesity was due to drug
Times hadn't always been as rough for the exhibit as they were
Friday. It was brought to the Plaza with the permission of
shopping center officials (though) a few weeks ago Randhurst
Shopping Center officials had turned down a request to bring it
there). On the information that it was a drug abuse exhibit,
village officials were prepared to consider waiving the business
license fee for it. And earlier last week several Pump House
Telephone Hotline volunteers had agreed to endorse the exhibit.
In return, the promoters said they would donate half their
profits to the hotline.
But, said Eppley Friday, "The
exhibit wasn't represented to me properly. I was told only that
it was a drug abuse exhibit. there was no mention of a living
human being in there."
the hotline volunteers enthusiasm for the exhibit was not
matched by members of the Community Action Plan (CAP) executive
board, after several board members saw the exhibit Friday.
According to Trustee Ken Scholtan, who is also CAP director, the
board members backed Eppley's stand after they saw the exhibit.
Adele Jeschge a spokeswoman for the shopping center, said the
display was presented to her as a drug abuse exhibit: "We know
there was a man in there. So did the village - at least from
what I understand."
"OUR PERMISSION (for the exhibit to be set up at Mount Prospect
Plaza) was contingent on the village's permission," she said.
The display's promoters Lawrence Salber and Robert McAllister,
said the idea for the display was Walker's . "We were contacted
by him about a year ago. He had been on drugs for a number of
years and wanted to warn others about drug abuse." said
According to McAllister, Walker's desire to "contribute
something to society" led to the display.
Said McAllister: "Our interest is getting Walker back to normal,
to a productive capacity. If we can do this, we have the
makings of the kind of exhibit we are interested in."
McAllister and Salber are partners in what they called an
exhibit concern. Among the other exhibits they have built and
promoted are the "world's tallest woman" and "a house built
inside a redwood tree."
The two said their exhibit with Walker has been on a tour of
Canada and the United States. Many of the appearances have been
at county and state fairs.
The two said their exhibit with Walker was the result of drug
abuse. "But, Eppley said, "we were sold a bill of goods."
Article from the Chicago
Daily Herald Nov 1,1971
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