CHUCK: (pointing to his computer screen)

I have over 10,000 of the world's most unusual people at my finger tips.

I have over 10,000 of the world's most unusual people at my finger tips. When I meet these people I put them in my computer. I have maybe a dozen signed clients but I'm privy to over 10,000! I use them as a producer. I collect them like someone would collect match books or toys, but I collect their names and numbers. So, if someone wanted, let's say, a one-armed juggler, I would type into my computer "one-armed," and then "juggler" and if there is one, or two, or whatever, it would come up.

STIM: You mean a juggler with one arm or someone who juggles using only.....

CHUCK: Yeah, a guy with one arm.

STIM: Does he use his mouth?

CHUCK: No, he is just very fast...(laughs). Actually this one has a stump.... (still laughing). Okay, say you wanted a one-armed black juggler for whatever reason. I have the database set up to cross-reference this. If such an act exists, I guarantee it is in my computer.

STIM: How did you hook up with so many people?
CHUCK: Well, after Christopher, the puppet guy, I found this guy who danced and sang as half Lionel Richie, half Diana Ross. Unfortunately he passed on from AIDS, but he was truly a great act... After those two coming back to back, everyone came out of the woodwork.

There is one kid that I still represent named Rick Maisel. We had him on the "Tonight" show, and Jay Leno just loved him. Rick gets into a washing machine with eight pairs of handcuffs on. His assistant, or in this case, Jay, puts the soap and water into the washing machine, turns it on and while it goes around and around, Rick picks the locks and escapes right in front of the audience. They see it and think "how the hell can he pick those locks while spinning like that." But he really does it!

Another act, that Jay also loved, is a kid named Stevie Starr. He's known as the Great Regurgitator. It sounds very sick, but it's not! Stevie can swallow ten coins numbered from 1 to 10 and bring up any number someone tells him to: number one, number eight, number six.
STIM: How does he do that?
CHUCK: If I knew how he did it, I would be doing his act! (laughs) ... Actually, Stevie claims to have four or five sections within his stomach that he can put objects into and manipulate.
STIM: So it goes all the way into his stomach?
CHUCK: All the way, you can hear the coins click in his stomach. Stevie can swallow a Rubik's cube that is not put together and bring it up put together. Another thing he does, he takes sugar and pours it into water to show you that obviously water dissolves sugar. He then drinks a glass of water, swallows a 1/2 cup of sugar and then drinks another glass of water. Then he throws up, you know, brings up the sugar still granulated... It is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. It is phenomenal!
It is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. It is phenomenal!
So anyway, I had him and Christopher and the washing machine guy, then I found the guy who dances in a large balloon. He gets into a balloon which is very small to start with, maybe a foot and a half in diameter. He blows it up to maybe 6 1/2 feet in diameter. Although the opening to the balloon is not more than 5 or 6 inches, he puts his head into the opening, his arms, his entire body. Then he turns around, pokes his head back out and does the funniest dance I have ever seen in my life! A very clever piece of business.

In fact, he was on stage on Broadway with Julie Andrews in "Victor, Victoria." I knew they needed an act in the play, so I pursued Blake Edwards with diligence. He wanted a cock-a-mamie dog act. I told him, "No, a dog is going to crap all over the stage. It isn't right for the show." It was such a thrill to put a non-legitimate act, what we call a specialty act, a wacky-doodle unusual piece of business, in a legitimate Broadway show with Julie Andrews. And in all deference to Julie, he literally stole the show...
STIM: You mentioned a one-armed guy who juggles. Do you work with a lot of people who are oddities like, say, circus freaks?
CHUCK: Well, for me, an act's gotta have a hook, some substance. You mentioned circus types. One of my favorite acts is a guy we call Crazy Todd. He bangs large nails up his nose...puts a cigarette or cigar out on his tongue. I mean literally puts it out. You see it go out. There is no trick to this. He eats light bulbs, and puts his hand into an animal trap and has it close on his hand, and he also can blow up a water bottle until it explodes.This is what you call a "geek" act. A geek act in the circus is someone who bites the heads off chickens. This is an act I would not put on TV on Sunday night, mind you. This is an act that appeals for some reason to certain marketplaces, such as Japan, South America, France...
STIM: It sounds sort of like something you might see from Jim Rose.
CHUCK: (laughs) Let me tell you about Jim Rose. That's the one that got away. I'm passing by Venice Beach on the boardwalk one day, I see this guy stomping on glass, so of course I go up and talk to him. He told me he knows of some other acts, names of the geekiest acts in the world. I say, "Well, I don't really do geek stuff...but you ought to put it together, call it a Circus...maybe we can do something." But he went to someone else. He wrote a book and put me in it. He wrote about me very nicely, actually said I gave him a lot of creative help. Jim calls me every week or so, to needle me that he is still out there.
STIM: Why don't you like to do geek stuff?
CHUCK: I will do it. I just don't represent these people. I know them, I can package them, book them, produce them, but it is not as legitimate.
STIM: What?!? Even in the world of the non-legitimate, you are biased?
CHUCK: (sheepishly) Well, it has no substance, there is no act. You put nipple clamps on your breasts, pick up weights with your penis, no great art. The guy who farts on cue is more legitimate, there is an art to it.
The guy who farts on cue is more legitimate, there is an art to it.
STIM: Farts on cue?

CHUCK: Yeah, the guy who farts. He's called Mr. Methane. He literally lays back, has his legs up, and farts along to a song. He gets the audience singing "How much is that doggie in the window," and then "Boom, Boom" he does it on key. It sounds funny, but it's not. What it is, is a yoga trick he has taught himself. He cleanses himself first, so there is no smell, not that I have even been that close, but that's what he tells me and everyone tells me, there is no smell. He just controls the ability to fart. This actually comes from a century-old yogic tradition. In India, this guy named La Petaman did this and people came from all over to see and hear him fart.

See, an act has to do something special. I have this new kid who can actually drink milk up his nose and make it come out his eye. What I am trying to get him to do is to spell out his name as the milk comes out. You know how little boys spell their name when they pee? So I want him to like move his head around, you know, like (Chuck moves his head alphabetically) Aaaa, Bbbbb. I'm trying to get him to do this to add another dimension to his act....

Here's another one. I'm putting him on a show I'm doing with ABC. He trains an ordinary house fly to juggle a ball the size of a pea. When I saw the juggling fly, I wanted to add another dimension, so we trained it to juggle a barbell.
When I saw the juggling fly, I wanted to add another dimension, so we trained it to juggle a barbell.
STIM: A barbell!?
CHUCK: Well, it was a very small barbell, but the point is I tried to give the trainer some ideas that would make the act bigger and better.
STIM: How do these people find you?
CHUCK: Just like you. They hear about me, know someone who has worked with me, word of mouth. We get over 100 tapes a week. I have this guy who won a contest to be on the Regis and Kathy Show. He dresses in a bodysuit and does the entire winter Olympics in 4 minutes: the luge, skiing, the whole thing. Regis told him to come to me. He said, "If you want the best, go to Chuck Harris."

I understand these acts.    </end>

For further info, aspiring freaks and/or those in need of some special talent can contact: Visual Arts Group 323 South Orange Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036 tel 213-933-9161/ or fax 213-933-7723
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