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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Ward Hall (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Harley Newman
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Ward Hall, the undisputed King of American Sideshow, died yesterday morning. It was the time of day when a show moves from one place to the next. RIP.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Dick Oslund
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So, Ward has made the big jump to the big lot, where the sun always shines, the lot is always level, and the midway is jammed with townies with full wallets.

I knew Ward, but never worked for him, although friends of mine did. He started with Ben Davenport's Dailey Bros Circus, as a "generally useful" teenager in the '40s, and, eventually became the "King of the Sideshow". When I joined the Showmen's League, I was asked to say a few words about myself. I said that I had been baptized by a tiger in an open cage wagon on the parade route of the Parker & Watts Circus, in 1938. A few years later I joined on, and started on a very low rung of the show business ladder, I was one of Lou Dufour's pickled punks in a ding show. Eventually, I did magic, fire eating, and, lectured on the huge rock python. After many seasons, I managed Tim Deremer's Girl to Gorilla show. Now, I'll never get a chance to do a season for Ward Hall. I can see him, though, on the bally in front of a hundred foot rag banner line, up on the big lot, making an opening. I know it will be a "red one", Ward! Grab 'em, nail 'em, and, turn 'em!
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ringmaster
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Memphis, Down in Dixie
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SEE YA DOWN THE ROAD.
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Borrow three wide brimmed felt hats from the audience.
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Al Desmond
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***,

I knew Ward.

I use to sit out behind his show (freak show) at the State Fair of Texas, and shoot the bull. We traded illusions from his European Magic Show attraction. I traded for a zigzag once, darn thing didn't break down, one heavy mother, basically all in one piece, but you could drop it off the back of a truck and it wouldn't bust.

One year, he gave me a lot of advice about attending the OABA convention in Las Vegas, I was trying to book an magician for some up front gigs.

I got to know a lot of his performers, nicest bunch of folk you could ever ask for (including Pete Terhune)

One of the last of the traditional showmen.
dave_matkin
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of the WI having made 5 tier cakes with
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Quote:
On Sep 1, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:
So, Ward has made the big jump to the big lot, where the sun always shines, the lot is always level, and the midway is jammed with townies with full wallets.


Not for much longer now that Ward is there! (and by that I mean ... Mr Hall will have been busy and their wallets' emptied)

A name I have heard many many times - a true legend.

RIP Mr Ward Hall
Dave “SPARKY” Matkin

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Dick Oslund
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Dick Johnson, and, I were heading to Gibtown to pick up Chris Christ, and Roy Huston, so we could go to a ring swap meet, in Tampa. I went for the fun, The other three had boxes of props to peddle. Chris managed to be first to sell what he had. When his box was empty, he handed the mike to Dick Johnson, who soon had a fistful of the green, too, Dick handed the mike to Roy, who followed their example! When he had finished, it was "tap city". The marks (ring members) had "torn their underwear, getting out their wallets!"

That evening, was the last time that I saw Pete Terhune, and Ward Hall. No doubt that Ward has already "cleaned up" and, is in the wagon, counting the green stuff!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
rossmacrae
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Top of the script for next BALLYCAST:

[CLIP – COME IN] A sad announcement you probably already know. A giant in the outdoor entertainment world, a true original, Ward Hall, King of the Sideshow, died August 31st at age 88 after a prolonged illness. He never went to school beyond 4th grade. At age 16 he ran away with the circus, and by the time he was 20, he owned his own show. [CLIP – GIRL SHOW] What he didn't know, he learned - he learned fast and he learned well, to the extent that if he doesn't do it it probably shouldn't be done. [CLIP – BALLY STAGE BEST PRACTICES] As he was heard to say, “You could have the world's greatest attraction, The Lord's Last Supper, with the original cast, but if you don't know how to sell it nobody's gonna show up!" [CLIP – TWO HEADED BABY] Where many in the business guard their secrets closely, this grand old man of the sideshow was generous with his know-how. He had spent more than 72 years in show business, most as the public face of the business, until he was the expected spokesman in every news story and documentary. [CLIP – EXPLOITER] The private face was business partner and life partner Chris Christ. The sideshow Ward Hall started more than fifty years ago, World of Wonders, opened on time that Friday evening at the Cumberland County Fair in North Carolina. After all, "the show must go on". He would have been proud of that. In fact, he would have expected it.. Maybe it was no coincidence that the weekend he died was the Labor Day weekend so the summer season was over.
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