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

DonDriver
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Just saw a promo for tonights Americian Pickers and the guys stop by and visit Wald Hall.
abigkahuna/1
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And they pick up a couple of Homer Tates for a $100 each... Wolfman and a Shrunken Head.
Dick Oslund
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TATES!!! Now, THAT brings back some memories!

It was early May, 1945.I was 13, and just breaking into the business! (magic) SKERBECK'S CARNIVAL wintered in my home town (ESCANABA MICHIGAN). WWII was "on" and there was an excellent machine shop in Escanaba. Old "dad" Skerbeck had owned a circus in Germany. He had brought it to the U.S., long before the war, and it "morphed" into a carnival. Spare parts for rides were virtually non existent. The machine shop kept the show on the road!

Dad Skerbeck always opened the season in Escanaba. I walked on the lot and this season, Dad had booked a little pit show. The MGR's ancient band organ (wooden horses! imported from Germany) cranked up and the season began.

I walked up to the ticket box. A "young" middle aged lady was in the box I asked for professional recognition. She looked down at me, smiled, and said, "Go right in."

It was a 40 foot round top. The banner line was about 50' and it was somewhat generic! Inside was a pit and a young fellow began the show. The pit was about 30' long and took up about a third of the top. The man reached into a crate and held up a 6 or 7' bull snake. He did the "standard" snake lecture. Next, he directed our attention to a little glass covered casket in which reposed a "dead" two headed infant. It was a pickled punk from TATE'S!!! --But, it wasn't pickled!

Next in this "museum" was a "shrunken head". (Yep, TATE's) Finally, he worked his way through a couple of magic props (an Abbott Square Circle and a Disecto. There were a few other items, but, I've long forgotten what they were.

I thanked the lady as I left. She said that her husband had the show "next door". The single banner advertised: "Caesarean Birth". I met Charlie Fretz, and I was welcomed as though I was a veteran carnie!

I visited the show every night (school was still in session) and we got better acquainted. He needed a better crate for the bull snake. I brought him a "nice" wooden box from my dad's warehouse. Charlie reciprocated! He gave me a set of P&L Rice Bowls, and an Abbott "production box".

I was in SHOW BUSINESS! As Bob Hope used to say: "Thanks for the memories!"
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
DonDriver
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Quote:
On 2013-06-04 02:39, abigkahuna/1 wrote:
And they pick up a couple of Homer Tates for a $100 each... Wolfman and a Shrunken Head.

I believe that was all a set up for the show and never REALLY happen.Just my two cents on it.

Great story Dick...thanks for shareing...
Marlin1894
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I was watching the show then I got distracted. Does anyone remember if they bought that Chicago set spindle joint, and what they paid for it?
Rotten
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Ward said to me that he mad some coin from the visit. BUT I don't know if that meant he got to keep his things or not, eIther way it was fun to watch.
Harley Newman
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Dick, do you know what ever happened to the old band organ?
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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thegreatnippulini
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Quote:
On 2013-06-04 14:29, DonDriver wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-06-04 02:39, abigkahuna/1 wrote:
And they pick up a couple of Homer Tates for a $100 each... Wolfman and a Shrunken Head.

I believe that was all a set up for the show and never REALLY happen.Just my two cents on it.


Don, you are very correct. I have been on a couple of these "reality" shows. Most of the drama is set up by the producers to make for a more entertaining presentation. For example, on "Oddities" they "sell" items and "buy" them. Usually they are already purchased. sometimes no money is ever transacted, just a little haggle of price. Eh, who REALLY cares? The coin Ward got was from the show, not the sales.
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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Todd Robbins
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Yup Ward made some money from the producers and nothing was really sold. That's reality TV for you. A number of the items on the show Oddities that were "bought" and "sold" came from my collection. And after a day of shooting, they came back to my collection.
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