Money Makes The Monkey Dance


by Veteran Showman Lee Kolozsy


Note:  The story below is intended for a mature audience only.  The language as well as personal opinions of governments by the author may be offensive to some.  Because to the best of our knowledge it is completely factual we have made no attempt to censor this authors language or opinions in any way.  If you are easily offended by harsh language, opinions of governments or are under 18 years of age we recommend you do not continue.  You may leave this page now by clicking here.  


The immediate text below was originally to be placed at the end of the article.  It has been our decision to include it at the beginning of the article to highlight the factual experiences expressed herein before reading the article itself.


Every word of this story is true and historically accurate. I can provide documentation for most of it. There are many who are aware of bits and pieces of it, but it has never before been told in its entirety. It is my sincere hope that the telling of this story will inspire other obscure, aspiring, and struggling Showmen to work hard at perfecting their craft. To hold their heads up high with pride in what they do. And above all… never give up!


I was recently asked what my first job in show biz was. I had to think for a while, I mean half a century is a good long time, and I’ve done a lot of things in this racket over the years. Where did my career actually begin?  My Mother tells me that I was flying in a cradle-casting[1] act before I was born. Scary…


Officially, my first job was as a hostage. No shit! Really and truly. A great and powerful organization now known as the former Soviet Union held this little two year old circus kid hostage in order to make sure that his Mom and Dad wouldn’t defect to the land of milk and honey.


It took me a quite a while, but I finally brought the bastards down. I did it the way my Dad showed me. I worked real hard at my craft. And I did it here. Not there. I applied my talent industriously to make this a better place; I didn’t help them a bit.


Had they treated my family better, they wouldn’t have lost a good man. I would have contributed to society there, and the outcome might have been different.


Now I am not so vain and egotistical as to believe that I alone would have made a difference. However, the cumulative effect of strong-arm thugs wiping their worthless asses with good and talented people resulted in a massive drain of talent defecting to the West. This strengthened the U.S. and simultaneously weakened the Soviets. It left them only the timid. A weakened gene pool.  It all collapsed due to mass stupidity. The rest is history.


My Father was a Hungarian Patriot. He was a Freedom Fighter. As a teenager, he fought the Nazis when they occupied Hungary during the Second World War. They exterminated most of his loved ones. Later as a young man, he fought the invading communists with Molotov cocktails. They seized control anyway. His family lost their ancestral home, their lands, their factories, and peerage now meant nothing. Everyone was now equal, only some were more equal than others. All private wealth now belonged to the new government, and was at the disposal of the most equal. A bunch of sneaky thugs.


My Dad didn’t care; he was the younger son, and not in line for the title of Baron. He never really cared about money. He lived for only one thing. He loved the circus.[2]


It was a different world. Hollywood was a long way off. American films were foreign. No one there really got them. The epitome of glamour and fame was to be a feature in the Great National Circus. Budapest was the seat of art and culture. The Paris of the East. The Capitol City Great Circus was a permanent structure that operated year round. Season tickets were by subscription. The performance was changed every month. Like the opera or the ballet. Only higher class.


My Mom and Dad were STARS!  They were young, they were famous, and they were the best in the world at what they did. They were reckless and daring. They invented the flying free exchanges in cradle casting. These stunts are now textbook work in Eastern Europe and are routinely taught at the circus schools[3]. They are now performed only with lunge mechanics[4] due to the great danger. My Mom was damn near crippled in a fall in Poland. They flew free. Screw the risk. In you’re twenties, you are immortal.


When the Hungarian Revolution failed and the Russian tanks rolled into Budapest, the Soviet puppet government of Hungary was in desperate need of foreign currency, as the new money they printed wasn’t fit for asswipe and was essentially a waste of ink and paper. My Mom worked in the foreign trade office as a translator in several languages. She managed to arrange numerous lucrative bookings for their act, which was then a hot property, with foreign circuses.


The new government was reluctant to issue exit visas, since most sensible people, once out of the trap, were unwilling to return. However, there was the foreign money. The Communist Government wanted it. Badly. It was a bunch. What a dilemma. The poor commie bastards. Couldn’t figure out whether to shit or wind their watch.


Enter Yours Truly. The Party thugs simply took me hostage. The communists trapped my Mom and Dad, by refusing an exit visa for their infant son, and commandeered their pay, put them to work like a pimp sends out whores. They were earning like millionaire movie stars. They were living like peasant serfs. In the circus ring, they were gods. In the circus wagon, they ate black bread and lard. Their earnings went directly to the state.


For every slice of heaven, you pay with a dose of hell.


They didn’t count on my Dad. He was a born fighter. He was descended from fighters. He fought the Nazis, He fought the Communists, later here in America, he fought the circus producers and the carnival owners. These characters had no idea who they were screwing with.


At some point in history, during the Turkish invasion of Hungary in the middle ages, one of my ancestors and his villagers successfully defended a pass in the Carpasian Mountains near Montenegro and what is now known as Transylvania. They turned back the Turks and changed the course of history.


For this heroic act my ancestor was summoned to the Royal Court of the Magyar Kingdom and made a peer of the realm and given the title of Baron and granted lands and status for all his descendants by the first Christian King of Hungary.[5] He returned to his mountain village to continue herding goats and making babies.


These babies prospered and by the twentieth century a dynasty had been established. One of my ancestors studied under Edison and Tesla. This led to the industrialization of our family’s county[6]. No longer merely an agrarian community of farms and vineyards providing for the tables of the Nobility in Vienna and Budapest, The family now controlled the nation’s telephone system, and the factories that were at the leading edge of technology. My grandfather was a millionaire playboy whose decadent and degenerate revelry was legendary in Budapest.


In Copenhagen[7], my Dad was pissed. The bastards had his firstborn son. I was unaware of all this at the time as I was living with my maternal grandmother in the ancient city of Buda. I was busy learning not to piss my pants on market day. We would walk across the old chain bridge, over the beautiful blue Danube, to the modern city of Pest to haggle over the price of cheese and wine. Evidently, the pay scale for hostage caregiver was barely adequate to keep Gramma in groceries.


My Dad was also a magician. A damn good one. An illusionist. Deception was a practiced art with him. He was a tailor made operative for the CIA. Then known by some other initials I suppose. He cut a deal. They provided a forger and some expertise. He risked his life. All in a days work for a circus flyer. He also performed a service for them that he would never talk about. A secret he took to the grave with him. He was ever a man of his word.


With the help of God and the Americans, he flew back in behind the iron curtain and rescued me. They were machine gunning people in the streets for lesser things they labeled treason. Armed with forged documents, nerves of steel, and big brass balls, He risked it all with a leap into the unknown. We escaped to the West and never looked back.


Thanks Dad.


The Hulligan Kid's names are as follows, in order of age. Nikolas Laszlo, currently age twenty, Katerina Cassandra, age sixteen, Anastasia Victoria, age eleven, Roman Alec Sandor, age seven, and Violetta Selena, age three.  ("Hulligan" is circus lingo for foreign kinker).


Your grandkids are now the stars and the proprietors of their own American Circus[8]. Your eldest grandson won a gold medal at the age of twelve in the International Circus Festival Competitions for his high-speed juggling routine, which had legendary world-class jugglers on the edge of their seats and received a standing ovation at the finish. He creamed the East’s State schooled entries. He was voted best young performer of 1997. He and his four younger sibs have performed in front of hundreds of thousands in countless performances at prestigious special events across the U.S. His two younger sisters perform as balancing artists and hula hoop experts. Their younger brother is the world’s youngest escape artist. The very youngest of these kids, the third sister, was in costume and in the ring, stealing the show, at two years of age. They are all, without exception, fine acrobats and trampoline experts. They have appeared on national network television from coast to coast. The W.B. used them in a commercial to promote the new network. The National Geographic did a picture page about their travels and adventures with the circus. The Scripps-Howard news service sent a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and one of their best writers to do a feature article about them that appeared in hundreds of newspapers around the world.


These youngsters were responsible for the creative design, participated in the construction, and are indispensable to the movement and operation of one of the finest circuses to ever appear before the American public. They are the entire cast and crew of Circus Fun. They also put on the entire show. To enthusiastic rave reviews from public and press alike. These kids are professionals. Kind of a modern day Ringling brothers and sisters. They are entertainers, musicians, athletes, technicians, promoters, businessmen, and above all, young Showmen.


Without the heroic actions of their grandfather, and his determined refusal to be pushed around, none of this could have been possible.


These exceptional children were born and raised on the show lots of the last and only American railroad carnival[9] by parents who earned their livelihood by operating sideshows.


Dirt lot Carnies…Go figure...

[1]“ Cradle casting” A type of flying act. An extremely difficult and dangerous discipline seldom seen nowadays. The rigging consists of two aerial cradles high above and on either end of the circus ring with a high casting gymnastic trampoline centered in the ring below. No nets or safety devices were employed. The flyers relied entirely on their own skills and the teamwork of the catchers suspended from the cradles above. Routines consisted of free flying hand to foot exchanges performed simultaneously on the two cradles followed by casting to the trampoline and a rebound to the opposite catcher with the flyers passing one another in midair.

[2] His mother was a circus gypsy girl who left a life of ease and wealth with the Baron to return to the circus.

[3] My Dad trained, and later taught, at the Royal Hungarian Academy of the Arts and Sciences of the Circus.

[4] “Lunge mechanic” a complicated system of pulleys and ropes attached to a belt worn by the flyer. Similar to the rigs worn by rock climbers. These devices made the training practice of complex twisting somersaults very difficult. The rigging required an expert flyer to act as spotter and operate the safety device. This spotter actually had to anticipate and duplicate the flyer’s timing in order to make it work. As a teeterboard flyer I can testify to the fact that removing the lunge ropes certainly added to the danger, but the feeling of flying free was comparable to the way a bird must feel when set free. I can also state that crashing to the ground usually resulted in the following series of emotions. First came shock and surprise, followed by disbelief, then in rapid succession…pain, chagrin, and always regret and remorse.

[5] St. Istvan

[6] Mako, (the principality of), Koloszvar being the capital city.

[7] At the National Circus in Tivoli Gardens

[8] Circus Fun

[9] The James E. Strates Shows


Back to Show Talk With Lee Kolozsy        Back to Main


All photos are the property of their respective owners whether titled or marked anonymous.

"Sideshow WorldTM" is the sole property of John Robinson © All rights reserved.

is the sole property of John Robinson © All rights reserved.

E-Mail Sideshow World     E-Mail The Webmaster