Wednesday, August 08, 2018

LEBS #10


Roger Smith said...

One day in June of '66, Parley Baer walked up to Mabel Stark's tiger cages, at Jungleland, with his wife Ernestine, and daughters Kim and Dale. Mabel introduced us, beginning a friendship that came to include Kim and I taking care of him, folloiwng his 1st stroke, in their Tarzana home, for his last 14 months. I was present for his passing of a 2nd stroke, at age 88, in Motion Picture Hospital. The date was November 22, 2002.

Chic Silber said...

I believe Parley was involved

with the Miller Johnson Show

prior to Cliff taking it over

I met him when I visited that

show playing an outdoor date

early 70s when Herta Klauser

was also performing there

I can't recall how I had that

opportunity or where it was

Roger Smith said...

Right you are. Parley had a hand in Charlie Germaine's and Charley Allen's Miller-Johnson. I took the Jungleland Fighting Lions over there 3 times. My 1st time was 1967, and Germaine was not long out of San Quentin. I never knew exactly why he went up, but it was something to do with rather small-time financial fraud, like check kiting. In his cell, an agreement was reached that whichever con got out first, he'd name whatever he did after the ones remaining--Germaine got his release, and his cellmates left behind were Miller and Johnson. Germaine's biggest problem was thinking of himself as the next John Ringling. Among the acts I saw quit him due to his arrogance were show drummer Irene Vermillion Dart, The Bakers, and Del Graham and his Flying Viennas, the all-girl flying act. Charley Allen was just the opposite, a great friend, true showfolks, and the man who soothed other irate performers to hold the show together.

Parley was not a financial partner, but 2nd to his acting, he was a crack publicist. With his endless West Coast connections, he could promote any attraction to success. He was Director of Publicity for the Los Angeles County Fair, in Pomona. He segued easily from Miller-Johnson right into Cliff's Circus Vargas.