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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Ward Hall article (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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reese
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There's an article on Ward Hall & co. in today's (11/13) New York Times. If you read it on-line, click on the video too.
T-RAY
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Thanks Reese!!! That was great! here's a link to the article
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/13/us/13a......f=slogin
gsidhe
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I need to say that I hate these type of articles. They make the whole thing sound sound so depressing. Like there is nothing left of it, and it is all just a sad reminder waiting to die.
Sylver and I saw Ward Hall this last summer, saw Poobah and Cris Christ. We saw Ward pulling the people in, and no one that went into the tent complined one bit. The article goes on about how worn down Poobah is...Fer the love of monkeys... He's almost 80! Instead of wandering off to a retirement home like so many Americans do, he's out there making people smile. My kids thought he was the coolest!
And the show inside...Ok...The gaffs were a little worn down, but the show itself was a lot of fun. The audience liked it, following around the tent from scene to scene. Nobody complained, almost everyone payed the extra buck to look inside the blade box, and a few of us even went to see the bouncers. They had a great fire eater, their blockhead was entertaining and their illusions were funny (Requiring a slight suspension of disbelief) but really neat to look at. I loved it. Yes, it was cheesy at times, yes, some of the performers are old, yes there are gaffs a thousand times better out there.
But it was history, and it was fun.
And it was Live before my eyes.
It was good to watch the video just to see Ward, Cris and Poobah, to see their banners, to have a flash of what their show was like when I saw it.
What kills me, is that "articles" on Wards show really really want to paint the picture that the sideshow arts are dead, and after he is gone, it will all just blow away. The try to work this angle so (Explitive deleted) hard just to make a compelling story.
I find that personally offensive.
Gwyd
reese
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Gshide,

Yeah, I had a like-wise reaction (maybe not quite so strong) in reading the article.
But on the assumption that "no publicity is bad publicity", getting your picture in the Times ain't bad.

The video is fun to watch.

But I hear ya... The writers tried hard to write the "seedy & worn-out" angle. That offended me too. And...it's great to read anything about Ward Hall and especially see/hear him.
Sylver Fyre
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I couldn't agree with you more Gwyd.
Their show should be celebrated as living American history and not be mourned. Save that for when they end the show or pass on.
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gsidhe
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Yes...It is great that he got noticed by the times. Just wish they had done his show and his history more justice.

I mean...the guy took time out from his bally to KNEEL at the edge of his stage to have his picture taken with Sylver.
He is getting up there, doesn't move terribly well, and for him to take the time and real effort to get down to his knees on a 100 degree plus day to give someone a memory.
He is a gentleman.
I was glad to be able to shake his hand.
Gwyd
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Woah...that hurts.
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T-RAY
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Yea...the article sucks (even though it's funny that Ward has been saying it's the last year forever!!!). The video is cool to see. That was funny about the Wizard of Oz!!! We always need to work the media instead of letting them define the picture. Ward messed up mentioning he's the last Sideshow AND telling the guy things are fake. This guy obviously already had a negative view of the Sideshow....but he can't kill it. My question Youngbloods is......Can we keep it ALIVE????!!!!! FREAKS UNITE!!!!!!!!!
Doug Higley
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Some of us who get no publicity are more able to arrange little surprises for the general public to come upon with a dollar in hand. Let 'em blather about the death of sideshow. It used to bother me but not anymore. Why? The more dead it's percieved the more Retro we are percieved when they find us and retro means 'hard to find, hurry before it disappears!' and $$ in the pocket.

Ward is no dummy.
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Addy
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Hell Yeah Doug!
The reporter in the video (also the guy who wrote the article) came off as pompus, grilling Ward and Pete about the validity of Pete's film credits. It wasn't a nice piece, but there was a great shot of Red swallowing that sword, oh yes!
thegreatnippulini
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I have no idea what any of you are talking about.
Maybe you should read a REALLY bad article on sideshows (circa late 70's early 80's when political correctness reared its ugly head) before you pass judgement. This is an excellently written and VERY honest article. The video almost brought a tear to my eye. I have worked on and off with WOW since 2002, and let em tell you something... this was the nicest "seedy" article they've ever had. It's also 100% true (I know that sounds like a bally pitch), the part about Petey is funny. Petey has been saying those things about being in Wizard of Oz for so many years, it's like a knee-jerk reaction whenever anyone asks him. Ward is a true showman and breaks it down for you like it is. He truly IS the king of sideshow.

Nothing wrong here.... just the plain truth.
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
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Doug Higley
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You beat me to it Nips. I finally read the article and it was a good one. I didn't pick up any negativity from the writer any more than any other head up their butt reporter type and this guy could write. Nips, you hit it on the head about Petey and the tall tales. I was thinking as I read it that the eye's open attitude was something I'd like to read more of but alas it was short. Didn't see the video. Where is that?
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gsidhe
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Front page, lower left hand side is the video.
I suppose I am just too sensative. There are certainly worse articles.
I just hate when they are trying to pound nails into a coffin that has not been filled yet.
Gwyd
reese
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Well, it was the line "... the trailer smelled like old man smell and ashes" that made me think the writer was a little sh*t. I guess it's because I'm an old man that I took a little offense. Now, I'm not saying that wasn't a true observation. But.... when the guy writes about movie stars, does he mention how their farts smell?
thegreatnippulini
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Yes, sometimes they do. Brad Pitt has had more writers call him Mr. Armpitt than he'd like to admit!! By the way, it was DEFINITELY an accurate description, trust me... I've spent more than enough time in that trailer. They are all old men and Chris chain smokes like he's an old railroad locomotive train. The Petey bit is also an old joke. Either you don't get it or you're not with it.
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
reese
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Just my own opinions and reactions. Like when the writer said that Pete was incomprehensible when he talked, just a gargle. Well, I understood him in the video. So ( my opinion ) is that he's not incomprehensible... I'm not "with it" but I get what I get. And... I liked the article and the video. I just thought the writer was a little sh*t, that's all. That doesn't detract from my enjoyment of reading it.
CJRichard
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I thought this bit about how all of America is freaky was particularly good.

"You want to see a fat man, Mr. Hall says, try the Cracker Barrel, you’ll see a dozen at once. Same with the tattooed lady. Ditto with pierced women. Nothing special."
"You know some of you are laughin', but there's people here tryin' to learn. . ." -Pop Haydn

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Ezekiel the Green
T-RAY
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I think everybody is right on this thread.....the ones who think the writer of the article sucks AND the ones who are saying this is how it really is. My only problem is that I don't want to keep hearing that the Sideshow is dead, so my serious advice to everyone is to remember that WE RUN THINGS....THINGS DON'T RUN US. That means that if you want a great article.....manipulated the heck out of the writer (seriously) like you're trying to sell him a ticket. Don't just be happy that they want to do an article. Make sure you know what you want to talk about and stick to it. I have done a ton of articles where I made sure that it came out positive just by staying in touch with the writer and asking for a copy of the final article before it goes to press. You would be surprised at how many writers will allow you to "suggest" changes. Everyone should be talking about the Revitalization of the Sideshow that is going on. Remember PT BARNUM master of the MEdia. That's our roots..........
Harley Newman
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Oh, c'mon! Sideshows as they were in their prime, are gone. Ward and Chris are holdovers from another time, and deserve far more credit than they get. And money. They deserve more of that, too!

The article is on-target, partial picture though it may be.

But this material has been effective for thousands of years so far, and will be effective for thousands to come. Sideshows have only been one incarnation.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Todd Robbins
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Regardless whether or not the article is accurate, it shows a real bias on the part of the times. It's only a story because they think it's a story and they think it's a story because the last of the American carnival sideshow is a seedy affair in their eyes. The Time has NEVER approved of the sideshow and this article is another example of their point of view. I hate the Times. They have never done anything for me and EVERYTHING they have written on the American sideshow has been snotty. I hate the Times. It is not the paper of record for me.
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