Tidbits From Along the Way; and Other Stuff I Just Plain Forgot!
I remember traveling around one winter in the 50's with Charlie Cox. We went and rented an old, run- down adobe building in Mexicalli, Mexico. It only had half a roof! Inside we set up stages, outside in front we had a bally platform. We had a fat- lady act, a torture man, and I worked magic and fire. Charlie worked the front with a big old Boa Constrictor! This was practically right in the center of town. Charlie stayed in a hotel in Calexico (the town on the U.S. side of the border), I roomed with a family whose house was next door to the building we rented. We hired one of the girls from this family to be our ticket seller. We didn't do much business- hung on for two or three weeks, then headed for El Paso.......In El Paso, Charlie rented a regular store front on El Paso Street, right downtown. We had a mechanical man in the window to draw attention. (A "mechanical man" is a live person who does a mime act, with heavy makeup and mechanical movements and gestures .) We featured Tony Marino, swallowing swords, and doing his specialty, swallowing lighted neon tubes. We also had the fat lady again, and I did all my acts, magic; fire, and pitched the blade box. (We had the blade box at Mexicalli, also.) We did good business in this spot, and stayed several weeks...........I have received a lot of e-mail from people wanting to know if I ever had any bad experiences while on the road. Here's one: When on Clyde Beatty's Circus for the first time, playing a two- day run in Santa Monica, CA., I shared a hotel room on the Santa Monica Pier with the fire- eater. I woke up in the morning to find both the fire- eater and my wallet, with a couple hundred dollars of my pitch money, gone. I've never run into either since!
Tales of an Outdoor Showman
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