Saturday, November 29, 2008

circus life

Top: Harold with his pet tiger,
Harold now, and his step-dad
Clyde Beatty.


Time is a circus,

always packing up

and moving away.

Ben Hecht


I promised this for a few people quite
awhile ago, so, here 'tis.

I met Harold about 3 yrs ago.
I spent about 10 hours talking with
him before he let me turn the recorder on.
He is such a fascinating person and had a
very colorful life. One story that did not
make it on the recording, was this one:
When he got out of the military and moved
to Los Angeles, Ca, he had a job at a shoe store.
Since times were tight back then and money was
hard to come by and keep once you had it, he
sometimes hitchhiked. On one such trip he
got in a car and on the whole ride was not able
to get one word in edge wise. Of course, he asked
me if I knew who this man was that picked him
up, and of course, I would not venture to guess.
Mickey Rooney, and he only was able to say
Thanks once he got to his destination.

The beginning is a bit choppy,
as I cut it too close, but you get
a good idea of what life was like
for Harold in the small circus town of
Peru, Indiana back then.

Total recording was 1 1/2 hrs,
and this is 20 or so minutes.


tony said...

I Love The Chimes In The BackGround!
Thank You For Bringing Harold's Life- To -Life.A Fascinating Speaker & Man.

Megan said...

That was wonderfully wonderful. And so forth.

Coffee Messiah said...

tony: Thanks for taking a little listen. People that experienced the circus at it's hey day are disappearing fast ; (

Oh, the chimes etc: he wanted me to record in his backyard as summer was still in full bloom at the time.

megan: Thanks, and so forth ; )

R.L. Bourges said...

oh, this was great, cm! I just love it; the nine year old taking care of the baby tigers because the zebras were 'too temperatmental' - how cool is that?

The 'best sidewalk in town' for roller skating

the visit to the grocery store with Roger

the accident with Nero (and guess what? From the sound of it, the doctor who treated Clyde had a French name: Malouf, is it?

Hope you don't mind but I lifted the collage to print up and add to my private collection of circus stuff.

Thanks lots for this post.


R.L. Bourges said...

(sorry for the typos, btw - bit rushed over here)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks for sharing harold with us! I have difficulty with the div share (certainly my computer) but the blurb you have makes him sound like a fascinating man with a fascinating life...hope I can listen when I'm at another computer!

Kurt said...

Very nice.

Squirrel said...

I heard the same thing about Rooney --it seems Dana Carvey did a sitcom pilot with him a long time ago and described Rooney as very manic (but Carvey was nice about it-- it was probably worse than he described)

Squirrel said...

I always wanted to be raised by circus people. Harold was lucky.

Coffee Messiah said...

rlb: Glad you had a chance to listen and no problem.....

kimy: Divshar used to be terrible but works much better now. Hope you can listen.....Harold is very upbeat.

kurt; )

squirrel: Those were the early years of his career and LA was a hopping city.

Sad thing about Harold, maybe, is awhile into his moms marriage to Clyde, Clyde met a woman lion tamer in his circus and ended up marrying her somewhere down the line.

Not sure how his marriage to anyone would have lasted, he traveled all over hades, made movies, radio shows etc, etc.

I have two short radio shows of his. What a time piece.

lettuce said...

thats amazing, just fascinating.
and the pictures are wonderful. How did he keep smiling with those big cats breathing so close behind him?

Squirrel said...

Ben Hecht lived in Nyack for many years ( the algonquin round table days) later he commuted back & forth to his Nyack house from his Calif. house.

Georg said...

Bonjour Coffee,

Right now there is nothing to listen to. Just a white rectangle.

Could you reactivate it??


Coffee Messiah said...

lettuce: From what he said a good many of these animals were raised from young-uns, and the only reason for the pop gun or whip was to keep them away if they got a little frisky.

squirrel: I know he wrote for many productions and I still have one of his books: A Book of Miracles, great stories.

georg: The site must have been down when you looked, appears OK for now. Will leave up awhile long so you get a chance to hear it ; )

Reya Mellicker said...

Did you see this?

Thought of you, of course.

Coffee Messiah said...

reya: No, until you pointed me there and thanks, I like it ; )

enigma4ever said...

wow what a great project.....and so nice to meet Harold and learn of his life...we need a return of circus people ;-)

and you know I wish more people would tape the elderly and their stories...I would much rather hear them then about Britney Spears "exciting" life !!!!

thank you for perserving Our History.....

Coffee Messiah said...

e4e: Hi ya and Thanks for taking a listen ; )