Feb. 12th….Live from the
Cool weather for the
fair’s opening. Things warmed up
today and the crowds of fun-seekers
filled the midway.
Thursday the first
day of the fair, Mr. Ward Hall made
the opening bally on Gary Syers’s
brand new “World
of Wonder/ Palace of
Jimmy Zajieck is
running two ticket boxes in front of
hissideshow. Taped Jimmy’s bally
today. Hope to record Mr.Hall’s
James Taylor and
Kathleen Kotcher (Shocked and
Amazed) stopped by yesterday…
…wireless on my
laptop, battery is low, more
later…the undercover sideshow
reporter posting live from the fair…
…Live from the FSF MIDWAY…
Dateline…Saturday night…long day,
long lines, long count.
Laptop…hacking wireless signal near
the fair office. May be detected at
any minute and cut off…
The Prof., Lee Koloszy, stopped by
and verbally threatened me...“Rick,
I’ll be back tomorrow and can visit
all day.” Not to be outdone I barked
back, “See ya tomorrow.”
I awoke a little confused this
morning, the Gatorman who was asleep
next to me was calling my dog, “Here
Houston.” The dog is back in
Texas…guess he misses her.
We are sleeping under Jimmy Z’s Mack
truck, gawd, it brings back
childhood memories. The Gatorman
looks like Hansen’s frozen creature
and is mumbling something, in a
language neither of us know.
I was going to make the trip alone
but my lovely wife, Abby, told me
to take my pet with me. I have to
keep an eye on the Gatorman,
these “First of Mays” can jump ship
at any moment. (Gatorman has only
been with me 17 years)
Jimmy brings out the Mystery Man. He
is dressed in black cover-alls And
is wearing a sinister looking black
leather mask that has zippers at the
mouth and eye openings…
“Many of you people have been
wondering about the gentleman to my
left. Unfortunately by order
of the State Fair Authority I am not
allowed to describe this man or his
act out on the carnival midway. All
I’m allowed to tell you is this…When
he goes back into the big sideshow
tent and removes this hood and
performs his act…..the old ladies
faint, young girls will scream, and
all the guys will holler..…Oh, my
Oh, my Gawd!
It’s show time!”
at the FSF!!!
Dateline…Sunday Feb. 13th…sunny
skies, big crowds of
fun-seekers.…live on the midway…
John Strong called to relay the news
that he will be bringing his new
bride, the Cat Woman, to the Florida
State Fair. The perfect honeymoon
for a showman. eh!
Gary S., proud owner of WORLD
of WONDERS…PALACE of ILLUSIONS,
talked the front Sunday. He’ll
be an old hand at “turning the tip”
before this spot ends.
Across from WOW is one of the many
rides with a live DJ…..Oh my gawd,
it’s the “Battle of the Sound
Systems”! (Sound levels
approaching the red pain area on the
As I was making one of my numerous
LONG treks between the sideshows and
my secret reporting area behind the
shrubbery near the office, I fell
through a worm hole into the 1970’s.
There, right in front of me was a
food stand where everything was one
dollar. No shit, everything’s
a buck…hotdogs, hamburgers, fries,
drinks, everything…Please remember
I am at the FSF, not a cheap place
to eat. Well, I did not have to see
a menu before telling the good man,
“Give me one of everything”.
Gatorman is manning a ticket box for
Jimmy Z. Both ticket boxes running
……”See Iggy and Ziggy the two-headed
piggy, see Myrtle and Eartle
the two-headed turtle, Alive, Alive,
Alive! See Little Biscuit the
miniature horse, a horse so-o-o
small he can stand on the
palm of your hand.
(It’s going to hurt when he stands
on your hand, ha!)
During ballys, WOW large tip closes
down the entire midway in front of
their stage. Mr. Hall’s voice is the
music of the Pied Piper, although
it is showing the effect of the long
weekend. The weekdays will give
everyone a little break…at least
during the daytime hours.
…time to head for the cookhouse and
get some breakfast…the underground
sideshow reporter, live from the FSF…
…LIVE FROM THE FSF…
Dateline…Sunday February 13th…
Mr. Hall's voice is holding strong.
It's MAGIC to watch him talk the
real artist and gentleman!
cousin, Wayne Pies, has six grind
shows set up. Steady flow of
Sunny and warm...a great Monkey Day.
John, best of luck with SIDESHOW
....reporting from behind the bushes
in front of the FSF offices... "the
undercover sideshow reporter"...Rick
Bunny and Bambi Love
strut their Stuff!!!!…..FSF
Dateline…FSF, Monday February
14th…live on the midway…
Jimmy Z, Ward H., Chris C. and I
spent an hour or so jackpotting in
the cookhouse this morning. I told
Ward I thought Gary did a pretty
good job on the bally. He informed
me that yesterday was Gary’s first
time talking the front.
He said, “Gary has a lot of natural
Some of the acts at WOW have other
engagements and will not be staying
for both weekends but Ward is
bringing in the SHOW GIRLS!
Bunny and Bambi Love will be
strutting their stuff out on the WOW
bally stage this coming weekend.
WOW’s guillotine is busted and out
of commission. Jimmy Z. hauls
his welder down and repairs the
guillotine…applause all around.
…Monday crowds smaller…partly cloudy
but no rain…everyone gets a little
In the evening, down at WOW, I meet
Ses Carny…he has to “go dance on
stage”, so I stay and watch his act.
…”KIDS DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME…WAIT
UNTIL YOU GET TO SCHOOL, THEY HAVE A
Ses is a pro…I love his sarcastic
Jim Hand, the circus painter,
stopped by. He wanted Jimmy to get
his van into the fair. Jim H.
painted some admission signs and a
bally clock for WOW. I knew he was
coming down so I had him do a little
work for me. I had him paint up
three old wooden reserved seating
chairs from the Clyde Beatty-Cole
…1969 season. He painted that
information across the back of the
chairs. (They’ll look great in my
I wrap up the evening over in the
cookhouse, cutting up a few with
Ward Hall, Chris C., and Jimmy Z.
…my stomach hurts from
…live from the Florida State Fair
Midway…the undercover sideshow
reporter…reporting the news from
behind the “pig pen”….Rick
Dateline…home lot, Nacogdoches
Tuesday night about 12:00 AM, I was
heading off to bed when I spied Gary
S. sitting alone at a picnic
table in front of WOW.
I wondered what he was thinking as
he sat staring at his 100 foot front
on the dark, deserted midway.
Maybe, he was admiring his big show.
Maybe, he was thinking of changes he
would like to make.
Maybe, he was thinking about the
days remaining at the FSF.
Or just maybe, he was thinking,
“what have I gotten myself into!”
“Hi Gary”, I said, as I sat down
across from him.
We talked for about an hour before
we both realized we needed sleep. “I
wish you the best”, I said.
As I headed off he told me to be
careful on the drive home.
In the morning, I loaded up my stuff
and headed for Texas…1035 miles… the
Gatorman and my bottled punk,
“Little Bobby” were all aboard.
At the first rest area I “pitched”
the truckers my little cleft pallet,
…”LITTLE BOBBY CAME FROM A CLOSE
FAMILY …HIS FATHER WAS HIS MOM’S
BROTHER!…HE’S QUITE A DANCER, FANCY
FOOT WORK…HE HAS FOUR FEET BY GAWD!
CREATED BY GOD, NOT BY THE HAND OF
only one dollar a look…Gatorman
collected the cash while I lifted
the towel to expose Little Bobby to
the paying curiosity-seekers.
We tried the pitch again at Waffle
World but the management came
storming out. They kicked us off
parking lot for causing a
disturbance! Too bad, I had already
gathered a large tip.
Twenty-five hours after leaving
Tampa we rolled into the home lot
where we were welcomed by “Zulanna,
Star of the East, my heart and soul,
my Love Goddess,my most
(“…Rick, it’s not going in the
After a sleep deprived week and a
thousand mile drive this aging
showmen needs a little rest…but
must get the film to the developer….
It’s the “Must Get to Bed Early