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BostonBlackie
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Chicago, IL
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Since we started this off topic on another post, I thought I would start a new thread to tell the stories of the people we’ve met or know of in the carny world.

I’ll start with a story that was told to me by Marshall Brodien. For those of you who didn’t know besides becoming a millionaire on Svengali decks and being Wizzo on the Bozo show, Marsh worked the sideshow at Riverview Amusement Park in Chicago.

At 16, Marsh worked as a magician in the show and quickly moved to be the outside talker. He says he was the first to do the Blade Box to Riverview. He has some great stories in his biography. Here is one that didn’t make it:

Pyro Sam, the Human Ostrich performed a fire eating, glass eating and regurgitating act. At Riverview, he performed 20 shows a day, 7 days a week. One of his most memorable stunts was the eating of a beer glass. These were not the large pint glasses, but the small thin glasses. Think about it 20 glasses a day, 7 days a week, He “consumed” 140 glasses a week. At least, he consumed parts of those glasses. He supplied his act with glasses for the Riverview Beer Garden. During breaks from the show, he would slip out to the beer garden and pick up a handful of used glasses off the table before the waitress could clean up.

You just don’t lose that many glasses and the loss of 140 glasses a week drove the owner of the garden crazy. Until one day, his family was at the park and he took them to the sideshow. When he saw Pryo Sam’s act, he stopped the show with a profanity laced rant that would be legendary even in the world of Riverview.

Marshall didn’t know where Sam got his glasses after that.

Pyro Sam also had a great ending. Sam would hold a large piece of paper between his hands and ask for change, Quarters, Dimes, Nickels, and Pennies. He then folded the paper almost into a funnel and poured the coins into his mouth. With a glug, glug, glug and a chaser of water, he swallowed the currency down and had his mouth examined. With a slight choking sound one might associate with vomiting, he regurgitated the coins with a long tail of slime. He held up a coin and said, “Who gave me the quarter?” No one came forward.

In back, Sam had a bucket of clean water ready for the next load of coins.
It wasn't the brightest thing I've ever done in my life. Sadly though, it was far from the dumbest.
-- Zachary Nixon Johnson
Todd Robbins
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New York
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Waldo also worked that spare change angle in his regurgitation act. I have Marshall's blade box from Riverview.
The Curator of the Unusual
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Inner circle
Tampa FL
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Growin up in Chicago..I Religously watched Bozo..in fact my Moms pans were used to practice "The Grand Prize Game"...(like I would ever get on the Show, one would have to Register their Kid during conception to get Tickets)..Although My Friends Wife Tepa performed on the show as a little kid doing Perch-pole with her father...While they were working, her Father set the pole on the floor so she could slide down..However, they had waxed the Floor and the pole got away from him.. thus Tepa ended up braking her arm. While she was in the Dressing room waiting to go get her arm set...Fraizer Thomas, Bozo, and the entire cast showed up and GAVE her Every prize from the "Grand Prize Game"!!!,At least once a year, She reminds me of her windfall...and YES, I am jealous.....
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

contact: curatoroftheunusual@hotmail.com
BostonBlackie
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Chicago, IL
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I did get to be in the Bozo audience for the show once with my whole class for a field trip. Still a kid but too old by then to be into it. The fattest kid in the class did one of the games and went home with a giant box of Hot Dogs. The box started frozen and defrosted on the way home. That's the only thing I remember.

Marshall says he redesigned the configuration of the blades on his blade box and fooled Okito and Jack Gwynne with it. Todd, I don't know if your box is different than the standard. It may have been on a later box.
Marshall lives 10 minutes from my house now. I should see him more often.
It wasn't the brightest thing I've ever done in my life. Sadly though, it was far from the dumbest.
-- Zachary Nixon Johnson
Todd Robbins
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V.I.P.
New York
2906 Posts

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Jack Gwynne had a blade box built upon the same design as my Blade Box and he performed it as regular illusion instead of a ding. You can see him doing it with his wife Ann on Don Alan's Magic Ranch TV show (these videos are now available on DVD).

The box is a lot smaller than most and the gaff is a very simple thing. It allows you to put the box in the lobby of theater before that show will all the blades in and it can be examined by the audience. Also, unlike most Blade Boxes, it folds flat.
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