Bill Fitch: The Human Pin Cushion


When Bill first came to work for us he was a marvelous Human Pin Cushion. He was the only guy I ever knew who as a pin cushion could work 25 or 30 shows a day and still be able to perform again. I had many other people over the years working for me as pin cushions.  I remember this one guy with an Irish name, I can't think of it right now, but he came to me after about two days and said "my arms are getting too sore, do you mind if I skip a few shows."       

Bill was the only one that I ever knew that could do it so consistently.  No, I shouldn't say that Jack Donahue could do it also. 

But Bill also had a reputation of being a lush. He had been with us all season.  We were going to close that season in Savanna Georgia, we only had three day to go until the end of the season.  Bill was coming to work one evening, I would have to say it was about five or six o'clock.  He had a six pack of beer and what was obviously a bottle in a bag.  I said to him you only have three days to go until the season is over so you don't want to get into this.  Bill said "no, I bought it for the last day of the season.  I want you to get me a motel room and that night I'm going to get drunk."  I told him "OK!"

That same evening somebody knocked on my door they said you better come out here because the pin cushion is drunk and he is on the stage, we have two state patrolman on the cat walk.  I went out and looked in through the door and there he was on the stage, I said "Ya! he's on the stage and he's drunk."  Only there weren't two state patrolman on the cat walk, there was only one.  Bill had the other one on the stage and he was saying to him "if you don't stick this in you (he was pushing a pin at him) then your chicken s#*@!"  I could see this policeman was very irritated.

I made my way through the tip and got up to the front of the stage and I just looked up at him and said "Bill you just finish your act and come out to the office to get your money."  The policeman understood what it was I was telling Bill to do, so he seemed to be OK then.  When Bill finished his act he came out to the office and got his pay.  

I went back into the show and was up on the stage doing the magic when here comes Bill with his suit cases packed.  He was going through the tent from the back and was headed out the front.  When he got halfway through the tent he looked back, saw me, then gave me the bird!

The next year Bill came back to join the show.  He was with us for the next six or seven years and never took another drink as long as he was with our show!


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