Posted By thecircusblog on September 14, 2011
Ed Clark, what a sweetheart he was. Ed’s personality was like opening a bottle of soda. He was constantly effervescent and always in a good mood. Francis, his wife, can barely be seen here behind her bear…. Excuse the pun. I have another photo of them where Francis is seen better in the blog.
I first worked with them in 1952 at a small fair in northern California, at the Colusa Grape Festival. Dad knew both of the Clarks and was good friends with them…… What I saw and heard I will never forget as long as I live. I’ll set the stage for you.
On this particular night, the last show was over around 8 p.m., which is early. It’s enevitable that all the performers will get together to spend the rest of the evening with a potluck and cutting up jackpots. We had all been advised that there was a mosquito problem during this time of year and that the county had men that would be spraying a poison to kill off the mosquitoes. HOW EVER…we were not informed of when or where.
We were all sitting around having a fine time, not too far from the Clark’s old school bus they called home for themselves and the bears. Francis loved her animal dearly and collected other little creatures, like two deer fawns, a bear cub a goat and others. All of her pets were tied out along side of the bus where she could keep a mothering eye out.
Then it happened. From out of nowhere came this jeep with a fogging machine on the back, spewing out white clouds of mosquito poison, billowing everywhere so much so that it became almost impossible to see. We all took off in different direction to our trailers.
As I looked around, I could see Francis literally throwing her pets into the bus with Ed’s help and at the time yelling out at the top of her voice…. STOP! STOP! You are killing my animals, YOU G #:;%3/! What kind of a Dumb #9573hoqtnjtnpvty8n are you!? I want to tell you this little women cussed him out so badly you could see him wilt with fear. Then she headed toward the jeep…and him.
The man did not have a chance. He was a snowball in hell. She nailed him with more punches than I could count. This little lady could put a pro boxer to shame. Thanks to Ed, who pulled her off the guy and, I guess, made some kind of apology, the jeep and the fellow drove off and disappeared, never to be seen again. There was no heat over the mishap. I don’t think the man wanted to tell anyone how he got the tar beat out of him by a 5 foot 2 inch woman.
The fog cleared and all became peaceful again. We finished the festival and went on to the next shows.
Oh yes…the poison was non lethal to humans or animals, just MOSQUITOES.