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Topic: We lost one of our own...Matt Hely
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Apr 24, 2005 09:01AM)
I got word that my Friend and Sideshow performer Matt Hely passed away this week. No details yet and would sure appreciate some. A shocker. Matt was one of the good guys, top to bottom.
I just got a generic eMail from James Taylor with no specifics.

Thanks Doug

James' email:

"When you reach my age and you find yourself eating light bulbs for a living, you know you've made some bad career moves along the way." That's the way Matt Hely, who passed away this week, put it in his sideshow act. And a great line of patter it is, so good, in fact, that it showed up in "Newsweek" as a quote of the week some while back, when Hely worked Bobby Reynolds' City Museum show out in St. Louis, Matt's home town. What I remember him for, above and beyond his many calls in support of the show business (to give ideas and tips for SHOCKED AND AMAZED!, to get info he could spread on his own), is the World Famous Insanitarium, the show he managed with Bobby Reynolds in October of '02 here in Baltimore. An event sponsored by the Maryland Institute College of Art, it recreated for a last time in America a sideshow as it once would have been in the great tradition of the old-time 10-in-1s. During the course of the week that it played in front of the Mt.Royal Station, Hely performed, of course, and as stage manager wrangled magicians, swordswallowers, jugglers, other 10-in-1 artists, more swordswallowers, all in the midst of keeping an eye peeled for those who might want to spirit off museum attractions or otherwise screw up the show. All during the coldest and wettest October that Baltimore had seen in probably decades. To packed houses. And the man was a pro the whole way. As I noted to another friend of Hely's yesterday, the show motto is that "the show must go on." I suppose so, but, once in a while, a showman's passing makes you question how that's possible; Matt's passing is one of those times."


Subsequent eMail from James filled me in on the 'what' it was. Very sad.

More info and a celebration...


EMail from Matt's Sister tells of Matt...

"Dear Doug:

Thank you for your kind letter. Matt was one of my older brothers and he was a lot of fun. He was crazy about my daughters taking them on many remarkable adventures.

He always had a nice thing to say about everyone. He was never met a person he did not like. He was always generous with his friends. He would go out of his way to help anyone in need.

We will miss him, the world has lost a great sweet man.

Margaret Hely Watkins"