Skippy LaMore by Monk Watson

Final Curtain Skippy LaMore


August 1942, by Monk Watson: “”The show must go on” is a pet saying by a lot of people who, if they were ever put to the test, would fold up like an old umbrella, and high tail for a soft spot. Such, however, was not the case with the late Skippy LaMore.

In my last column I mentioned that Harry Blackstone, Mel Melson and myself had gone over to Vicksburg to help him out. Skippy was so bent on putting on his show, so that the others could go along without a layoff, that he overdid it. They placed his cot up on the stage and he would relax on it between his lines. He did this for two weeks, and every­one seemed to think he was getting better, but after his first show in Angola, Ind., he fell again. He was rushed to the hospital in Ann Arbor, where the best brain specialists could study his case. Skippy passed away last Wed­nesday morning, July 8. Sunday he was buried in the Lakeside cemetery here in Colon.

One of the fine things I have to remember was how he pulled his cot up in the entrance so that he could watch me do my act. He laughed so loud, and when I came off stage he told me that it was the best laugh he had had in years. That was better than all he could have ever paid me.

I believe in the saying “The show must go on,” but, when it is liable to cut your own life string just a little shorter, then I say, “Think well before going on.”

I was mighty glad to see J. Elder Blackledge walk in on my show in Traverse City the other night, and we had a nice chat after the show. We are going to trade a couple of tricks in the near future, and I’m sure that I’ll come out best. However, I have one for him that will fit his kind of work. I’d be very happy to see him in action, because I have heard noth­ing but good about J. Elder Blackledge.

I drove up to Allegan last Sunday to see Lewis Bros. Circus. Paul Lewis and I have been pals for years, and I thought it would be a good idea to see what he had to offer.

This will sound like a Ringling billing, and it was for a while, but Lewis is presenting Dorothy Herbert, the world’s greatest rider. I’ve watched this girl for a long time and have marveled at the way she takes the jumps, with head back on the horse and both hands free. She takes the horse over a six-foot jump with top pole burning. I understand that she had a buster one day and broke her leg. This didn’t stop her, as she finished the season with one leg in a cast and riding sidesaddle over the jumps. She took my daughter, Marnie, back to her dressing room and they had a long talk about circus life. Whitey Ford, “The Duke of Paducah”, is on the show, leaving it on Friday night to fly to Chicago for his broadcast. Whitey is a swell chap and does a fine act on the show. This is without a doubt the best little show on the road. They have five or six other acts that would be a credit on any circus.

I’ll never forget how I ran away from home, at the age of fifteen, to join up with a circus, and how I traveled all over Michigan, feeding the animals, and sleeping on the flat cars under the parade wagons. Spot Jerome was a clown from Jackson, and he was on the show, so he took me under his wing and before I left them I could turn almost any kind of a flip-flop, and had made a couple of dives in the high net. What a kick I get out of being able to recall some of my pals of those days, who are still headliners. Last year I saw “Blutch”, the Hippodrome clown. He looked at me and said, “I know you.” He should, too, because we were good friends back in the old days. I guess I’d better stop here or I’ll be out smell­ing some barn yard ere I go to bed tonight, just to get that old feeling again. Haw!

Mel and I are going over to do a show for the boys in Fort Custer tomorrow night. We’ll either give them some laughs or make them so mad they’ll want to go out and fight. Enough for now, I’ve got to write to Ed Little, and thank him for a nice letter, also Larry (Capt.) Niendorf. Bye Again, and Buy Again.”