World of Wonders Ohio State Fair 1979 - Emmett left top in box


Emmett Blackwelder


Emmett Blackwelder has a normal size body, but only short stubs of arms and legs. We advertised him as "The Turtle Man". His act included juggling , but off stage he was even more remarkable. He fixed microphones and other electronics, holding the screwdriver or other tools in his teeth. He never cared to see the towns we played. He enjoyed the scenery when he and Chris traveled over the road together. Chris always enjoyed Emmett's company. Emmett had living quarters at the back of the show and never ventured onto the midway. In Memphis, on the night before the fair opened to the public, everything had to be illumined for inspection.
Emmett and I had been off the fairgrounds shopping, when we returned, he requested I drive the car in front of the show so he could see what it looked like. That was the first tune I realized, hi the eight years he had performed in that show, he had never before seen the front of it, although he lived less than one hundred feet away.
While showing at Milwaukee Summerfest on the shore of Lake Michigan, we had a tornado warning. Chris told Emmett to get in the
cab of the tractor trailer rig, used to transport the side show equipment, and start the motor. Chris would make sure of everyone else's safety, then jump in the truck and drive it to safety under the nearby elevated highway. When the wind reached a high velocity, the warning sirens wailed, and the truck started moving. Undaunted, Emmett somehow drove that rig to safe cover, even though he had never operated a truck tractor previously. I don't know yet how he managed to operate it, but he did.
Emmett retired to his home in North Carolina where he has rental properties. He married a lovely lady who is a great cook. We later played Charlotte and Emmett and his wife entertained all the folks with our show at his home, for a most enjoyable evening.
I believe Emmett is the most remarkable man I have known. We certainly miss him on
the show.

Suzie (Charlotte Vogel) was from Germany,
Ward Hall


Images of the WOW at the Ohio State Fair courtesy of Ward Hall

Images of Emmett courtesy Elizabeth Anderson


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