By Gerry Cottle, Helen Batten
Gerry Cottle, a stockbroker's son, ran away to hitch the circus while he was once simply 15 and shortly married into Britain's oldest circus dynasty. In time he used to be the landlord of the largest circus on this planet until eventually his growing to be cocaine dependancy resulted in his arrest and financial disaster. He recovered, and, ever the showman, went directly to make thousands with the 1st ever non-animal circus, the Moscow and chinese language nation circuses, and the Circus of Horrors.
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Extra info for Confessions of a Showman: My Life in the Circus
I went off in search of a job in the pantomime to earn the money to keep us all. Aladdin starred Tommy Trinder. He was a real household name in his day and a real pain for us young budding performers to work with. He was very precious and superior. I was playing the part of a Chinese policeman with blue comedian Chubby Oates. There was a real tradition of playing practical jokes on the ‘serious’ talent. Well, we did our utmost to make Tommy’s life a misery. We kept him talking so he missed his entrance, and shouted, ‘Oh Tommy, you’re on,’ so he’d go rushing on stage at completely the wrong place and look a right prat.
Our caravan rocked with weeping. About to have her first baby. ’ Her brother tried to punch me. I ducked and he put a hole in the wardrobe instead. The last few weeks were miserable but I wasn’t going to give up. I had a very strong feeling that if I didn’t make my move now, I never would. I certainly would never own the biggest circus in Britain. I stuck to my guns despite intense pressure from all around. The day dawned for us to go. Until then the family didn’t really believe we were going to leave, but when they saw our caravan all packed up ready to go an almighty row broke out.
We stopped in a lay-by to do some hard talking in the back of the van. Betty wanted to go back to James Brothers. ‘What’s wrong with you, Gerry, why won’t you? You know they’ll have us back straight away. With the baby coming it’s not the time to start anything new. We haven’t got any money anyway. ’ 45 Cottle Book 3rds 28/7/06 11:39 am Page 46 Confessions of a Showman In my mind was a picture of Jimmy Fossett laughing. Hell would have to freeze over. I would have to be diplomatic with Betty, though.