Casa Flamingo

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Book Cover

Ward Hall – King of the Sideshow

Ward Hall – King of the Sideshow is an exciting and revealing biography of the most colorful showman to ever live.

Ward Hall – King of the Sideshow is a book unlike any other. It is full of amazing stories and sideshow and circus history, and is lavishly illustrated with more than 100 photos and illustrations, most of which have never been published before.  The story is about Ward and his two long-time partners, Harry Leonard and C.M. Christ, as well as the amazing acts they worked with through the years.

Tim O’Brien’s newest book is about an amazing man who is widely referred to as the King of the Sideshow. Ward Hall literally ran away and joined the circus in 1944 when he was a “kid” living in Colorado. He was 14 years old, a 10th grade dropout, and had only enough money saved for the bus ticket to the Big Top of the Dailey Bros. Circus.  By 16 he was performing in a sideshow and by age 21, he owned a sideshow!

“Ward Hall has often been called a modern-day P.T. Barnum and the last-of-his-kind sideshow promoter. He’s a national treasure who is loved and revered by showfolk, sideshow historians and fans the world over.” – Kathleen Maher, Executive Director, The Barnum Museum

Today, 69 years later and countless circus and side show, vaudeville and burlesque house performances under his belt, Ward Hall is still in the business. He plans to retire when he reaches 100 so he can “see the world.” Now 83, he is the undisputed King of the Sideshow.

With a show still on the road, Ward Hall celebrates his 70th Year on the Midway in 2014!

Ward Hall – King of the Sideshow has worked with a monkey girl, a half-lady/half man, numerous fat men, countless sword swallowers, fire eaters, several giants, big snakes, big rats and little horses.  He has mastered juggling, ventriloquism, and the art of enticing thousands of curious onlookers to part with their money to go inside the tent of his world-famous sideshows.

“Ward Hall is The Silver Throated King of the Carnival Talkers.” – Sally Rand in the TV Show Carny.

For the past 50 years, Ward and his partner C.M. (Chris) Chris Christ have owned and operated sideshows, animal shows, magic shows, and illusion shows with such fashionable names as Magic on Parade; Wondercade: Aquarama water circus; Gladiators vs. Mankillers wild animal show; World Attractions; Sky High Circus; the Wonder Circus; the Pygmy Village; and the World of Wonders. He has exhibited the World’s smallest woman, the World’s tallest giant, and employed Pete Terhune, the mighty sword swallowing and fire-eating dwarf for more than 50 years.

In addition to owning or co-owning sideshows and circuses during his career, he has written four books, four musical stage productions, been in more than 100 films and TV specials, performed at Madison Square Garden and the Lincoln Center in New York City and has sung at Carnegie Hall. He is in the Hall of Fame of both the Outdoor Amusement Business Assoc. and the International Independent Showmen’s Assoc.

He has operated the sideshow for many big time circuses, including: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Toby Tyler Circus, the Al G. Miller Circus, Circus Vargas (where he was part owner of the circus for several years), Beatty Cole, and the E.K. Fernandez Circus.

In the colossal world of thousands of showmen, none have proven themselves over the long term to be more successful, long-lasting or more popular than Ward Hall. He is the undisputed grand old man of all showmen.