R.I.P. Ward Hall, King of the Side Show

Word is exploding among the sideshow community today that its most revered member, impresario Ward Hall has passed away at age 89. I never had the pleasure (or the honor) of meeting the man, but he was a mentor to so many contemporary sideshow performers, above all the great Todd Robbins, who appears to have gratefully milked him for every atom of knowledge in his prodigious brain-box. Having started in the circus and sideshow business in the mid 1940s, Hall actually knew, worked with, and employed many of the folks we have written about in the sideshow section of this blog. To research this art form and the characters who practice it is to encounter Ward Hall’s name again and again. He literally was a last link between sideshow’s original heyday and the revival that has been under way since the 1980s. James Taylor published a great interview with him in Shocked and Amazed back in 1995. That can be found here. And last year Tim O’Brien wrote his biography Ward Hall: King of the Sideshow, available here. Another Great One has gone off to that Big Blow-off in the Sky!

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