Did You Pay??

by Pete Kolozsy


I met Grady Stiles once when I was about nine (roughly a hundred years ago;. My folks had their show set up on the same midway as Stiles and being a kid I had to check out everything on the midway. 

The ticket seller waved me in when I said "I'm with the show".

Mr. Stiles was seated in a wheelchair as I recall and he and I were the only two in the tent. He appeared to be sober. After a short silence we talked and I told him my dad owned one of the shows on the midway. He asked who my dad was. I told him and he seemed to know who I meant.  That was it. I left with the impression that he was no better or worse than a hundred different old carny's I'd met in my life so far.  I still have that impression today.

The one person who made the biggest impression on me in that same time period was Johann Petursson.  The Icelandic Giant. I entered his show tent for the first time the same way ( "I'm with the show").

Once again he and I were the only two in the tent. Mr. Petursson and my father were good friends and he recognized me.  I was unaware of this. He asked me "Did you pay?" I mumbled something about being with the show.  

He evidently could not make out what I was saying because he repeated a little louder "Did you pay?!" At this point I was starting to tremble ( I was 9 years old ) because I had the impression that he was angry because I had not paid.


Finally, he stood up (the man was nearly nine feet tall!) and literally bellowed " DID YOU PAY!!!?"

I squeaked out a "No!" as loud as I could without peeing myself.

"Good! Come here." he said and sat down.

When I came up to him he took a gold ring off his finger and gave it to me. I could have worn it for a bracelet! "Come back again," He commanded."  and never pay!"

Over the years I did just that.  Many times.---

Photograph of Grady Stiles submitted by Ratt's Freakshow


Back to Grindshows         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.

 sideshowworld.com   sideshowworld.org   sideshowworld.net  sideshowworld.biz   sideshowworld.info

is the sole property of John Robinson All rights reserved.

E-Mail Sideshow World     E-Mail The Webmaster