Chimps & Rockets

by Charles Keeler


I bought my first joint for 50 dollars in 1959 right after the Orlando Fair.  I bought it right off the top of this guys car where he had it tied down.


The next spot I booked was with The Mighty Page Shows in Titusville, Fl.  My location was the last one on the left.  It was right next to my friend Bobby Leonard.  He had this long range basketball game.


Two things come to mind which make this period memorable to me, even to this day.


First of all there was this lady, she was playing my build up coupon balloon dart game.  She had spent a couple dollars and needed some money.  So she turned to her husband who was standing there.  He had been drinking and the white in one of his eyes was all red and blood shoot.  When she asked him for money he just kept saying you can't win any of that junk, but he gave her the money anyway.


She was so mad at her husband that she was playing just to spite him.  She told me that at least she wasn't drunk enough to go fight with a gorilla.   I found out later that there was this show on the back end
that had this chimpanzee in a cage and if you would fight the chimp you could win fifty dollars.  Anyway, her husband had smarted off to the guy who controlled the chimp and he wouldn't let him out of the cage until the chimp had made him a believer.  LOL  He had a black eye, scratches and lumps all over. Her husband was very sober and very repentant because of what had happened by the time he was talking to her at my joint.


The second thing I remember about that day, (you need to remember that this is Titusville, FL) was I had my trailer behind my joint and it was right on the banks of the bay.  We could sit on the steps of my trailer
and fish in the bay.


One night we were standing in front of Bobby's basketball game and we saw a bright light going up in the air.  No one knew what it was. We watched it until it went out of sight.  The next day we saw an article in the newspaper that explained what it was.  It was one of the first rockets that they sent into space from Cape Canaveral.  We were set up right straight across the bay from Cape Canaveral.  I was 21 and back in those days I didn't keep up with the news and never read the newspapers or listened to the radio.


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