Over the next months (not consecutive) or even years, I will attempted to present the life and times of the King of the Sideshows Mr. Ward Hall.  He has spent over fifty years in the industry and is one of  just a few Showmen to still grace a midway with his traditional 10 in 1 sideshow.  Ward has a life time of experiences and sharing them in a series of interviews will help us to get to know this Wonderful Showman.

 

 

Q. What is the first time you or your family has any remembrances of you being interested in the Sideshow?

                                                                                                                                                                                   

A. I donít know if I told you this little story or not?  I included in my biography but itís been along time since

I have read it.

 

When I was about three or four years old, I was born and lived in Nebraska it was very very cold there in the winter.

 

My mother said that one cold winter day we were in the kitchen.  I had two kitchen chairs, I put them back to back maybe two feet apart.  I took a blanket and put over the backs of the chairs, I was underneath this blanket and my mother ask me, what are you doing their Ward?  Iím playing in my circus tent and to my familyís knowledge the word circus had never been used it the house in my presence.  There were no newspapers this was during the heart of the depression so we didnít get news papers or television there were no magazines.  There was no movie theater in town and that age I probably wouldnít have seen one anyway, we never had a radio until I was seven.  So no body could figure out where I had ever heard the word circus or would know that I was playing in a circus tent. 

 

I can only guess that I was per-ordained to be in this business.

 

Q. When do you remember seeing your first circus?

 

 A. By the time I saw my first circus I was eight, I saw another one when I was nine and then again when I was twelve. 

 

Then my father and I moved to Denver. 

 

Q. So you were very young when you saw your first circus.  How old were you the first time you worked on the circus?

                                                                                                                                   

A. When I was fourteen, I worked as a prop boy for Cole Brothers Circus for a very few days. 

The next spring I was still fourteen I worked on a show by the name of Sun Brockís Super Colossal Wild West Show and Hollywood Thrill Circus Combined it was an indoor show that was playing in the stock show coliseum, I worked as a clown there is a picture of me in my biography as a clown.  It is certainly a blessing that I didnít follow that line of business because, I had to be the worlds worth clown ever.  The show only lasted maybe ten day to two weeks, the man got arrested on several charges like fails advertising and parading without a license so the show closed. 

 

Q. Sun Brockís Super Colossal Wild West Show and Hollywood Thrill Circus Combined closed what did you do?

 

A. I spent the rest of that summer in Lakeside Park in Denver as a bingo caller.  I had turned fifteen by that time, it was right after that my father let me discover or should I say he showed me my first Billboard Magazine/newspaper which always had the circus new in it.  They had the circus routes listed, I noticed  the Daily Brothers Circus had been routed into Boulder which was about thirty miles away.  I caught the bus went up there and spent the day getting acquainted with some of the people in the sideshow. 

 

That next spring I wrote a letter to that show, Milt Robbins had an ad in for a fire eater and a magician.  I answered the ad because I had learned to do a few magic tricks out of a book that I got from the library.  

I also learned to eat a little fire by pain and error so Milt gave me the job.  I remember he sent me a telegram salary OK show opens April 1st join anytime winter quarterís Gonzalez, Texas. 

 

I had been working on the Colorado and Southern railroad which had a camp in Denver.  I was a waiter for this Gandy Dancerís camp in their diner.  I had enough money so I bought my ticket to Gonzalez Texas, the ticket cost me $51.50.  When I landed in Gonzalez I had two dollars to my name.  I went out to winter quarters met Milt Robbins.  Milt became one of my very best friends for the rest of his life.  I worked for him on that circus for four years and in later years I worked for him when I was a motion picture publicist.  Then the last seven years of Miltís working life he worked for us. 

 

That was my start in the business.

 

Q. When you went to Boulder you said you got acquainted with some of the people in the sideshow do you remember who some of them were?

 

A. I donít remember many of them really, I remember Wait Cercis was the inside lecturer and outside talker. John B. Williams was the leader of the band which on the bigger circuses and even on the smaller ones they use to have a band of black people they would do about a ten minute act that usually started the sideshow performance.   The band also played for the bally on the Daily Brother Circus if they had a full crew on the band it would be five chorus girls, two comedians, and Johnny was the MC and led the band.  I think that was a total of seven plus six musicians. I got to meet all of them, I met Millie Curtis and her husband, her husband Dave was doing magic in the show that year.  I really canít remember who else worked the show.

 

Q. You said you got your start when you answer an ad in the Billboard and went down to Texas, did you do any of the acts or were you just working the circus?

 

A. Milt hired me to do fire eating and magic in the sideshow.  I need to tell you at this point that I never wanted to be in the sideshow.  My goal was to become a circus performer, I was not a big kid and I had no athletic ability. I didnít know how to do anything, but a little wire walking in the back yard.  The sideshow was to be my stepping stone to becoming a circus performer.  I actually did become a circus performer but my foot got caught on the stepping stone and I never left the sideshow.   

 

Q. Your goal in life was to work in the circus and you used the sideshow as your stepping stone.  Why did you decide to stay working in the sideshow business?

 

A. When I was about eight or nine years old we lived in Kankakee Illinois. 

 

WH. Are you familiar with the term store show?  

 

JR. Yes,

 

WH. In the winter time during the depression times especially, sideshow operators would often take their show go into a town and rent an empty store building.  The rule of thumb was the closer you could get to a Woolworth Five and Dime store the better the location.  They would stay for a week in the smaller town, In the larger town six week to two months as long as business would hold up. 

 

This particular time they had a promotion with Medal Gold Dairy, after school on one particular day you could go down town to the show and it would cost you a nickel.  For the nickel you your would get a little tube of ice cream and get to see the show.  One of the things I remember about that show was an Indian with a full feathered headdress.  I also remember they had a strongman and this guy the did Popeye the Sailor.  There was a tattooed lady, a pin head and most of all I remembered seeing the magician. 

 

The magician did his act and when he had finish all of his tricks, he would put them all into a paper bag and sold them for a quarter. 

 

You knew if I would of had a quarter at that time, I would have for sure bought that bag of tricks, but I didnít. 

 

This was like I said I was eight or nine years old. 

 

Q. From there where did you go?

 

A. We went back to Nebraska I think I was twelve years old then, we were still in Trenton.  My father had a job as time keeper at the Air Force Base which was being built in McCook Nebraska which was twenty miles away.

 

My father invited me to come down and stay with him for a week in McCook.  It just so happened that Johnny Howardís store show was in McCook that week.  It was a dime admission so of course I went every day to see the sideshow. 

 

There was a ventriloquist his name was, well it slips me right at this moment.  He did the Vent act, he also

did the magic and sold the tricks.  By hanging around  for several hours every day, I would see that the fat girl was cutting out the little paper dolls to make the dancing girl and the little black dwarf was folding the papers to make the coin vanisher and so on, of course I bought one of the packages. 

 

Once I got the job on, Daily Brotherís we had been living in an old broken up a hotel in down town Denver.  This would have been 1945 the war was still on.  There were a lot of hotels in down town Denver at that time.  All the hotels had a writing desk in the lobby so once a week I would make my rounds and go to all the hotels.   I would promote their writing paper and envelopes out of the writing desks.  Then I would go back to the hotel where I would cut out my two trick and paste them together.  By the time I was ready to leave for Texas my truck was almost two thirds of the way full of these magic packages.  I didnít have much of a wardrobe at that time, when I arrived there it was opening day, I remember this so well I can say in verbatim.  I ask Milt, ďI said Mr. Robbins would it be alright when I do my act if I sold some novelties?Ē He said what are you talking about we have a novelty stand out on the Midway.  He ask me what kind of novelties, I said ďI have some magic tricksĒ he said Oh! you want to pitch; I had never heard that word before.  I told him yes I would, he said the package doesnít cost you more the nickel does it?  I said no, what are you going to ask for it he said a quarter? I said yes, he was telling me the answers I was just wondering about how to answer him.  He said OK and I get a third, I said thatís fine.  So the very first day I was in a sideshow I started selling something, I didnít know what I was doing and I know I wasnít doing it correctly.  It took me a couple of years before I started doing better stuff.  Milt and his wife were so good to me they took me under their wing and treated me like there own son.  I was only fifteen years old then; I ended up make five pitches every time that show went round.  I was doing five things on that show and I was making a pitch on each one.  That was remarkable because as an operator, Iím reluctant to let anyone have even one pitch. 

 

 

Circa 1940s Dailey Bros. Circus Museum

 

Left to Right

Milt Robbins, Martha Ali, Rex "Americo" Carson, Ward Hall age 15

 

For one person to have more than one that would be impossible with me.   I think that should be the rule of thumb. 

 

Well anyway

 

I started making some really good money; I was getting thirty dollars a week salary the first year and was raised to thirty five dollars a week the second year.  By the third year I found out what the star of the circus was making.  I realized because I was selling all this crap in the sideshow, I was making more that the star of the circus.  That was one thing about Daily Brotherís Circus it was one of the reasons I loved it and when I first saw it I thought this would be a good place for me to break in.  If you had the ambition and wanted to learn something or do something they gave you that opportunity.  If you wanted to make money you had the opportunity to do so. After about two week of selling in the sideshow Millie Curtis who was still the inside lecturer, she saw me handing some money to Milt, she called me over and ask me ďWard are you giving Milt some money from your pitch?Ē 

 

I told her yes,

 

She ask me how much was I giving him?  I told her it was a third; she said your doing to much work around here to be giving him anything so from now on you didn't give him anything.  She was trying to take care of me by looking after me money. 

 

I never gave Milt any more money and he never asks me again for any. 

 

Q. Millie Curtis said you did too much work around the show. When did you normally start your day?

 

A. We were on a railroad show and I would sleep on the train, each morning my call was either five oíclock or when the train got into town which ever came first.  You know I use to pray for the late arrivals, they got me up at five oíclock in the morning, I would go with the sideshow boss canvas men, the lot  superintendent, the big top boss canvas men, and the menagerie superintendent. We would be taken by the twenty four hour man, he would meet us at the train in his station wagon with the bundles of layout pins and we would be taken out to the circus grounds and the lot superintendent would look it over and he would say put the bid top there, sideshow there and so we would start measure things and putting the pins where the stakes and the poles should go.  Then I had to help put the sideshow up, once it was up. I would go get cleaned up and work in the show and that night I would have to tear the show back down again. 

 

I had a pretty heavy job for a kid, but I loved every day of it for many reasons. 

 

First of all I was where I wanted to be, I wanted so very bad to be with the circus.  The people at the circus were very kind to me the help me to become friends with everyone of them. That was probably the most important thing, the other was I escaped from my father. 

 

I loved the circus but because of the money and what kind of income I had, I didnít become a circus performer for awhile.  Even after I was a circus performer and even after I was an executive with the circus, I still worked in the sideshow and sold the magic packages. 

 

It actually took me until 1961 to really find the way to proper sell the magic packages. 

 

Q. Who taught you the right way to sell the magic packages?

 

A. I learned that from Bobby Reynolds and Stuart Miller, they both had learn from the man I had seen in 1938 who was Walter Delanco he was the king of the magic pitchmen on Coney Island.  Once I learn and could put together the right stuff then I started to get the more serious money.   Thatís why I stayed in the sideshow, also once I got into the Sideshow I not only became friend with the people but I became fascinated with them. 

 

The Half and Half, half man and half women Frankie Duran.  Frankie later worked for me and I taught him how to swallow swords, he did that until he died. 

 

Q. How does the circus sideshow differ from the carnival sideshow? 

                                                                                                                                                                                    A. How do circus sideshow differs from carnival sideshow, circus sideshow didnít get into freaks.

 

They were more interested in the working acts and the novelty acts. On the circus the differences on the front was that the circus always used double decker banners.

 

Daily Brotherís Circus their bannerline was a hundred and sixty feet long and twenty feet or a little more than that high.  The banner was ten feet high and sixteen feet long on all of them. Each one depicted two different things.  The carnival show used a long narrow tent, with the circus they used a smaller version of the circus big top.  With the carnival most all of the show were either pit shows where the performers were on a low platform and they had a pit rail that went around them.  The carnival would have a single deck bannerline as a rule. 

 

The front of the carnival show would be wide open.  The circus front would be closed.  On the circus shows you had individual stages for each act. In 1948 when we join the show in Idaho that time they had a fighting lion act.  It was one of the features on the sideshow. 

 

ďThe untamable lion that has already killed four trainers and today you will see the man go into that cage without any gun without any whip and with his bare hands he will fight the lion you will see the man fight the lion and the lion fight the man, he is ready to go into the cage now get your ticket and hurry alongĒ

 

In 1949 we had this girl working for us and she was out of Atlanta. The lion/lioness actually was trained to attack the legs of a kitchen chair Ann Westley got careless she had put her hand to far down on one of the legs and the lion clawed her.  It got infected and she had to leave the show and went home. 

 

There was nobody to work the lion act, I was only nineteen years old and thought this has to be a lot of fun to go in there with the lion.  When I went in, I know the lion had been trained to attack the legs of that chair and not the man.

 

The minute you set the chair down the lion would go over and lay down. I could set down beside her and, pet and play with her. 

 

I went to Mr. Robbins and I said, I would like to have a raise and Milt said ya why, Iím doing the lion act and I would like to get paid for it.  He said yes and nobody told you to do the lion act.  You shouldnít be doing it, you donít know what the hell your doing and if you keep doing it you are going to get hurt.

 

You are doing five other acts on the sideshow and I donít want you doing the lion.  I said well Milt the point is I am doing it and I would like to get paid for it. 

 

He ask me how much raise do I think he should give me.  Ann was getting fifty five dollars a week all she was doing was the lion act, I want a twenty dollar a week raise so I will also be getting fifty five dollars a week but I will also be doing all the other stuff too.  That year I was doing a marionette act, a vent act eating fire, I think I was working the electric chair with some body and the lion act would have been the fifth thing I guess.

 

I will go see Ben Davenport he owned the circus.  I can remember verbatim what Ben supposedly said. 

 

Iím not going to give the snotty nose punk no twenty dollars a week extra to work that cat . I will get Joe Harwood to double out of the big act, out of the big top and he will do it for ten dollars.  To his dying day Joe Harwood said he never did it for ten dollar a week but I still say he did. 

 

I always say my careers as a lion tamer was fortunately very short lived. 

 

So that was some of the differences, we had things like the fight lion act which would not be a carnival act.

 

We always had the jig band in the minstrel show band on the carnival thatís a separate show.  We had musical acts and the magic.  Harry did the punch and Judy and the knife throwing.  There was also a Hawaiian act with several people that played Hawaiian music. 

 

On a carnival we did the same working acts because we did the acts, but you need to get the freaks in there also, I hired other people to help with the set up and take down.

                                                                                                                                                                       

Q. What was some of the thing you wanted to do in the circus?

 

A. The first year I was on the circus I decide I wanted to become a ventriloquist.  I order my first figure from a wood carver in Los Angles by the name of Turner.  It cost me a entire weeks salary of thirty five dollars.  I Actually it cost me more than a week salary, anyway it cost me thirty five dollars. 

 

Between the time I order the figure and the time it arrived a guy by the name of Jean Merser joined the show he was a ventriloquist and doing the vent act.  So when the figure arrived I took over to show to Jean, he said that is a beautiful  vent figure how much did you pay for it?  I told him thirty five dollars, he said Iíll give you thirty five dollars for it right now.  I said I donít want to sell it I want to use it, he ask me do you know how to do the act?  I havenít got the slightest idea, he said I will tell you what Iím going to do.  If you will sell me that figure for thirty five dollars I will give you my figure, which was actually a better figure and I will teach you how to do the ventriloquist act.  I said OK fine, about two weeks later Jean came to me and said Ward Iím going to leave the show.  I donít expect to ever do vent again, so if you want to buy the figure back you can have it back for thirty five dollars.  So now I had for a thirty five dollar investment, two figures plus I had learned to do the act which I did for forty years.  The next year Floyd Arnold the musical rude, played music on whiskey bottles like a xylophone he also played the musical saw.  He taught me how to do that.

 

The next winter I was with a tent show, we played three days stints that means we had to play a different show each night.  One night I would do the ventriloquist act, another night I would do the musical act and then one night I would eat fire.

 

This was the first year I worked with ďAmerico the anatomical wonder, the man who could collapse his stomach to such an extent that you see the front side of his back bone through the skin the normally covers his abdomenĒ.

 

He was kind of a crotchety old man, he was very old.  It was a very big circus that year it was on twenty cars, twenty rail road cars.  One reason that they would have such a big show on so few cars because nobody except for the department head got a birth by themselves on the train. Usually they didnít have a birth by themselves because most of them were married.  They double everybody else up, My birth mate for about the first half of the season was Americo the old anatomical wonder and then he left the show.  

 

After he left the show that's when Jean Mercer the ventriloquist, the musical rube and the man who became my partner Harry Leonard, who did knife throwing and Punch and Judy joined the show.

 

Q. What season was this?

 

A. It all happened during the 1946 season.  It all happened that one season. I was on the same show all of the 1947 season also.

 

The winter of 1947 and 48 I was with that little tent show I mentioned.  In the spring of 1948 we were not getting paid so we left the tent show and joined Rogerís Brotherís Circus.

 

I was seventeen years old, the owner of that show was Cy Rubens and the manager of the sideshow was a really nice fellow and his name was Carl Stone and his wife swallowed swords they had two small children.  But Carl was an alcoholic, every few days he would get drunk and couldnít work. On the days he got drunk, I took it upon myself and went out and made they opening on the bally.  Cy Rubens came to me and told me the next time Carl gets drunk Iím going to have to run him off, I just canít put up with this any longer.   I want you to be the manager of the sideshow.  I said give him a chance he has two little kids, he did give him the chance but it was the second time he got drunk, thatís when I became the sideshow manager and I was only seventeen years old.

 

Then we had an opportunity in June of that year to go out to Kansas and join a carnival called Frears United Shows.

 

They had a cook house which they had built into a carnival, my Dad had known them.  They built a brand new sideshow, I mean everything was brand new except the iron stakes to hold up the tent.  They wanted a sideshow manager, in those days you didnít telephone anyone you telegraphed back and fourth.  We made a deal and Harry and I went out and joined them in Leavenworth Kansas. 

 

We spent that season with them and not knowing what to do on a carnival.  All I knew was when the circus came to town they put up a lot of posters and the people came to see the circus.  I found out quickly in the carnival business that isnít necessarily the case.  If I was having a ten dollar night with the sideshow that was pretty good and a twenty five dollar night was excellent.  Fortunately we had saved up some money from the circus, we made a living but didnít make any money.

 

The end of that show came in September.

 

JR. What was the name of that show?

 

WH. It was Frears United Shows, it was owned by Roy and Ma Frears, Ma and Pa Frears, F-R-E-A-R-S.

 

Q. That sideshow was on a carnival?

 

A. Yes it was on a carnival, we closed with that show in Pratt Kansas. 

 

Q. After that show closed where did you go?

 

A. We stored our house trailer and car, took the train and went to Twin Falls Idaho were we joined the Daily Brotherís Circus again we spent the rest of the year with them and all of 1949, that year was a very good year for the circus and a very very good year for sideshow performers the sold things. 

We made two coast to coast tours of Canada, we start from Sharnea Ontario which was right across from Fort Huron Michigan and went all the way west to Vancouver and then went on barges up to Vancouver Island and then back all the way east past Halifax to Sydney Mines, then back again to almost where we started which was Windsor Ontario where we across over into Detroit. 

 

Then in 1950, well in the mean time Iím getting a little ahead in my story. 

 

Starting about the winter of 1948 we started doing a night club act. 

 

Again Iím getting ahead of myself. 

 

During the season of 1948 there was a press agent on the Daily Show what they call the press agent, he was the press agent that stayed with the show.  When the newspaper people would come he would see that they had reserved seats for the show. 

 

His name was Mel Miller a real fine guy, he was older than me.  Mel wanted to learn how to juggle and so did I.  I donít remember if anyone with that show showed us how to juggle but we would practice every day between shows.  I learned to juggle a little bit, Harry and I, He did the knife throwing and I did some juggling.  We both did an act so we did night clubs in the winter. 

 

In 48 we wintered in San Antonio Texas.  Spend 49 in New Orleans we went to work a theater show that we put together.  It was a musical show called Frisco Follies.  That show was the first time I had ever been to Florida in fact we came to Tampa.  The man who was to do the comedy and MC did a black face act.  He was a Canadian by the name of Deacon Slim Williams, he became ill so they needed somebody to MC the show and do some comedy so I step into that roll in the show. But actually it was called a tab show a musical show cut down to fifty minutes.  The reason for the fifty minute was if a touring stage show ran an hour then you had to carry four stage hands, They had to be Union stage hands with the show.  But if it was less than an hour if it was fifty nine minutes you didnít have to have union stage hands. 

 

In that fifty minutes I was one stage thirty five of the fifty minutes did six wardrobe changes.  I sang a little, I danced a little, did comedy and MC the show, I loved every minute of it. 

 

In New Orleans we did five show a day and six on Saturday.  Thatís how we spent that winter.  Toward spring we booked with an agent to do grand stand shows at fairs, I think we had three or four fairs booked.  Then we went up to Cincinnati where we worked club and then to Detroit. 

 

By the middle of May the club work had dried up. Our first fair wasnít until August, we knew we couldnít hold out.  We are going to have to get a job so lets find a circus.  We went down town and bought a Billboard opened it up and what do we see?, Was an ad the says sideshow manager with acts wanted for Seals Brotherís Circus, Ward Hall and Harry Leonard please answer.  We exchanged telegrams and were on our way to Williston North Dakota where we joined Seal Brotherís Circus.  

 

We went the high road up into Montana going into Miles City Montana the owner loved his horses he always drove the horse truck himself.  The brakes felled on the horse truck and he went over the side of the mountain and was killed.   The show lump along for about another three weeks maybe in that period of time we had one long jump into Oregon.  There was another circus that was playing Mountain Home Idaho it was right on that jump, right on that route.  Because of the long jump we only had one show schedule so we stopped and visited with that show it was the Stevenís Brother Circus in the afternoon.  Bob Steven said I need a sideshow manager you know that show is going to close why donít you just stay here.  I said no we have a commitment with those people so we are going to stay, I know it is going to close but we are going to stay with them until it does then we will come over.

 

Q. So when did the Seals Brotherís Circus close?

 

A. It closed on July the third in Wasco Oregon they came around and told us after the matinee that it was going to close that night so the next morning we jumped over to Mountain Home Idaho and joined the other circus.   We spent the rest of the season there. 

                                                                                                                                                           

Q. While you were on the Stevenís Brother Circus what did you do on that show?

 

A. On that circus somebody had left and they were short an act.  I went to Bob Steven and said Bob I will do the act for you I will also do the juggling act. 

 

You donít have to pay me but I want a privilege, he said what is it?  I said I want to put a two headed baby as a second blowoff in the sideshow. 

 

I will give you twenty five percent.  He said OK fine. 

 

That was good I had the blowoff booked but the problem was I didnít have a two headed baby so I went down town and found a dime store and bought two rubber dolls, I cut the head off of one and glued it on  the other one put a piece of tape over the whistle in the back, it said momma when you squeezed it and painted it brown.  I found a Tomís peanut jar in a restaurant.  I said how about selling me the peanut jar?  I think they sold it to me for about ten dollars.  When we put the baby in it we just turned it so that Tomís lettering was on the opposite side filled it full of water and put some tea in so it wouldn't be to clear. 

 

We stuck the thing in there, I made an opening about this little two headed baby. 

 

We took denotations.  It worked very well.

 

I also was performing at the big show.  The next year the man that owned Seal Brotherís Circus his son Norman Anderson was going to cut the show down I think we got it down to eight or nine truck from fourteen or fifteen. He wanted us to come over and run the sideshow.  We went to Venice California thatís where the winter quarterís were.  We went out there and helped him re-frame the show.  The day the show opened the same thing happened, there was a family who was to come out and perform. One of them was juggling, one of them was doing something else and the other was going to be the announcer. 

 

So here comes another opportunity, I said Norman I have a deal for you.  I will announce the show, l do the juggling and balancing act on the ladder and in exchange you donít have to pay me anything, I just want to have the blowoff with the two headed baby in the sideshow.

 

Over the course of the winter I had found a wax studio, they made me a real good looking two headed baby.  I put it in a good medical jar.  The year before when I had that phony one Bob Stevens thought it was just great.  Anytime a visiting showmen would come around he would tell them you got to see this. This is the best three dollar and seventy cent investment that has ever been done in the sideshow or  circus business.  He would take then in and show them that thing in the jar.  When I put the good baby in the good jar Norman never did fill the same way about it. 

 

We were up in mining country, we opened in Elsinore California on April 1st we went down throw Arizona while all the shows back east were fighting rain and mud we were getting money every day.  Then up into Nevada and on into Utah.

 

Again I was making the opening on the thing and I was doing it for donations. 

 

Back it those days there were still a lot of silver dollars in use especially in the mining towns.  I would often get silver dollar donations.  One day I was doing the juggling act my partner came in and just happened to be setting in the seats.  Mr. Anderson came in and set down beside him.  You know Harry thatís the most expansive act I have in this whole dam circus.  Harry said what do you mean your not paying the kid anything.  He said I know but heís getting all that baby money. (Laugh!) 

 

It ended up that I didnít stay the whole season thatís the biggest mistake I have ever made in my entire life. We were getting serious money, it was a beautiful little show and very nice to be around. About a week later someone came on and I was able to get out of the balancing act.  I was working like hell, I made the opening on the front of the sideshow then I would jump in the number two ticket box and sell tickets. I would go inside and do the magic, the vent and ate fire, I think I also it stood for the knife throwing act.  Then made the opening on the baby show. 

 

I dump the people out of the sideshow, I would run out to the trailer change putting on a top hat and tails run over to the big top and announce the opening of the circus. Then I would go back and change for the juggling act. When the circus ended I would go out the back door and run as fast as I could and change  again go up on the bally platform before the people would come out of the big top.

 

 

Gem City Show Bainbrigde GA,

Hall and Leonard Show 54


Left to Right
Ward Hall, Jan Del Rio, Diane, Frank Donnell, Pooba, Harry Leonard

 

I was twenty one years old when I did that, I sure wouldnít be able to do that now. As I said it was a terrible mistake when I left that show the problem was I wanted to own something of my own so bad I could taste it. 

 


Photograph used in header courtesy of Sam Durocher  ©2006 All rights reserved.

You can see more photographs of the 2006 World of Wonders Sideshow through the lens of Sam Durocher by Clicking Here


Photographs courtesy of Ward Hall

1-Ward Hall age 3,

2-Ward Hall age 12

3-Ward Hall age 14 as the Un-funny Little Clown

4-Ward Hall age 13

5-Dailey Bros. Circus Museum

6-Ward Hall age 24 Blade Ladder-Juggling

8-Ward and Harry's Truck

©2006 Ward Hall All rights reserved

Ward Hall's Autobiography Struggles & Triumphs of a Modern Day Showman


Photographs courtesy Mary Miller

7-Ward Hall & Harry Leonard

9-Hall & Leonard's Show 54 (family of Harry Leonard)

Mary Miller ©2006 All rights reserved


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