The Greatest Show on Earth
— episode #27
Jason & his partner Enos were on their way to their
next survey job when they came across the P. T.
Barnum Circus. What a grand circus it was and so
much going on. They had everything imaginable, from
exotic animals, clowns,
tiny men, a fat lady and all kinds of games and
prizes. They even had a strong man buy the name of
Young Samson. The barker for the circus was offering
fifty dollars to any man who can stay three minutes
in the ring with the current champion. "Any of you
fellows gonna stand up for the west?" "Right
here!" Shouted Enos.
"Ah.....you're offering to fight Young Samson
Grandpa?" Asked the barker. Everybody started to
laugh. "Not me! My partner back there," as Enos
pointed to Jason and motioned for him to come there.
Jason went to see what was going on. "Well now, how
about it big brother?" "You're big enough to eat
hay!" Laughed the barker and the crowd joined in.
"Fight him.....he's fifty bucks" "You know you said
that we need the scratch to get to our next job,"
said Enos. "Now I better warn you mister.....we
don't pay funeral expenses, but.....we do send
flowers! Everybody thought this was funny except for
Enos and Jason. Jason looked around at the crowd
laughing and then he took a good look at Young
Samson, sizing him up. He then decided to take the
challenge. He then stepped in the ring taking off
his jacket & holster. Jason turned to the barker and
said....."Just have the fifty ready." "And now in
mortal combat, P. T. Barnum presents the mightiest
man on the earth verses the flower of the
west.....the Hay burner!" Young Samson took a swing
at Jason and missed. Jason took the next swing and
hit Samson into the ropes. Again Samson took a swing
at Jason missing him. Jason then hit him,
one.....two.....three times again knocking him into
the ropes. Samson then charges at Jason, again
missing him. Jas took advantage of this and then hit
Samson in the stomach and then the jaw knocking him
out of the ring. Quickly the barker stepped into the
ring and asked everyone to move on down the midway
to the wild animal cages. He didn't want everyone to
hear what was said when Jason came to collect his
money. Right now Jason was pre-occupied with one of
the carnival girls giving him a
kiss. Jason overheard the barker and pulled him
aside. "I'd like my money," said Jason. "Money? What
money?" Asked the barker.
money you owe me," said Jason. "Ummmmm.....I don't
keep that kind of money on me," said the barker as
he rolled his eyes. Jason grabbed his arm and
said....."Then let's go where you do."
Charlie (barker) took Jason to see P.T. Barnum. When
they arrived to his tent P. T. was discussing
business being bad with an associate of his by the
name of Coutts. P. T. felt it was more the
competition then anything. He had made an offer of
$10,000 to A. J. Bailey for Princess Salome. What
his circus needed was the princess or a bigger
attraction. Coutts couldn't think of any bigger
attraction than Princess Salome. But P. T. already
had something in mind. It was a Wild West Spectacle.
Charlie barged into the tent. P. T. told him to get
back to his tent, that the show ran another hour.
Jason gave Charlie a shove knocking him to the
ground. P. T. was surprised and didn't know what was
going on. "You handle the money for this carnival?"
Asked Jason. P. T. stood there with his mouth
hanging open. "Carnival!" "Mister you are talking to
Phineas T. Barnum!" "This is the biggest show on
earth." "Fine! Then you ought to be good for fifty
dollars," said Jason. "He just knocked out Samson,"
said Charlie. P. T. was shocked. He told Charlie to
get back to Samson before someone else knocked him
out. P. T. just stood there looking at Jason. "So
you knocked out Samson.....hmmm." "Mister, you got
yourself a job. I'll pay you fifty dollars week in &
week out to replace him." Jason wasn't interested.
"You are the new Samson!" "I'll bill you as the
pride of the plains. The prairie cyclone, the
towering terror, anything you like." "I'll have your
picture on the billboards ten feet high." "Mister
you have just punched your way into the circus
business. P.T. then grabbed Jason's hand to seal
"Fifty dollars Mr. Barnum.....right now!"
"Alright.....but as I always say.....'There's a
sucker born every minute!" "And you are a sucker to
pass up a gold mine!" He then handed Jason his fifty
dollars. As Jason was leaving he yelled to
him....."Suckers always come back," then he laughed.
"He'll be back." P. T. was sure of that.
One day while Enos and Jason were finishing
surveying some land Jason happened upon a handbill
nailed to a tree. He didn't like what he read and he
headed straight for P. T. Barnum's tent or so he
thought. He came across a tent which had a sign on
it which read 'Allied Circus Presents Princess
Salome in the dance of the Seven Veils.' Princess
Salome and A. J. Bailey were going over her dance
routine when Jason barged in. The princess was upset
that he walked in on her performance. She didn't
want him to have a peek. When she found out he
wasn't interested in her performance and got a good
look at Jason she wanted Bailey to give him free
tickets. "Look.....were working here.....what's on
your mind," said Bailey. "P. T. Barnum," said Jason.
Bailey told the princess to go somewhere else and
wiggle a while so he and Jason could talk. "You're
from Barnum?" Asked Bailey. Jason told him he was
looking for him. He then pulled out the handbill
from his jacket and handed it to Bailey. The whole
time the princess is slowly dancing trying to get
Jason's attention. "Handbill.....I've seen a
thousand handbills, what's this?" Asked Bailey.
The Handbill read.....
"I'm the one he's advertising.....'Jason McCord'."
Bailey asked Jason if he quit Barnum. Jas told him
he never worked for him and that he was looking for
him to put a stop to the handbills. Bailey told him
he was sorry he couldn't help him. He told Jason
that they have been trying to get together for
months with no luck. "Your in the same business, do
you know where I can find him," asked Jason. "I do,
our paths cross every now and again." "You know that
stubborn old fraud won't sit down and talk a deal
with me." "He keeps sending me telegrams.....his
terms." "He wants to buy Princess Salome," said
Bailey. This angered the princess. She said there
wasn't gold on the moon to buy her. Again Bailey
told her to go wiggle elsewhere. Bailey told Jason
he couldn't give out information on circus member.
Jason couldn't understand, he had just called P. T.
a fraud. "Are all of you fraud's, that's why you
cover up for each other?" Asked Jason. "I have one
main attraction and I guarantee you she is no
fraud," said Bailey. "The why protect a man like
Barnum?" Asked Jason. "I admire him.....He's my
idol," said Bailey. "He's the greatest showman on
earth! Someday I maybe in his shoes." "So why should
I help make trouble for him?" "Because he'd make
trouble for you if he could. He steps on
mister, anybody to make a dollar." "Now sooner or
later he'll step on you!" "Well Mr.
McCord.....that's show business." Jason look at the
princess and then again at Bailey and said....."Show
business" and walked out of the tent.
Jason got to his horse when he heard a loud whistle
and someone calling to him....."Hey high-pockets!"
It was the princess. The only thing that was not a
fraud. Suddenly the princess lost her accent. "Hold
on there!" She yelled to Jason. "Hey.....them sure
was some cold, hard facts you were given J. A. in
there." "Because he knows them ain't true," said the
princess. "You left something behind," said Jason to
the princess. "Yeah," as she turned around to see
what it was. "You're accent!" They both laughed.
"You were right; we're all frauds more or less."
"The nearest I come to a Ottoman Court was a Turkish
bath in Hoboken. "Well at least you deliver what
your poster's promise." He looked her over and
said....."You can't fake that can ya'?" She asked
him to stay around to see her show. He said he
couldn't. He had to keep moving until he could find
Barnum. She told Jas that she knew where he could
find him. "Tell me," said Jason. Flirtingly she
said....."After the show." They both headed into the
As promised the princess took Jason to see Barnum.
When Jas walked in they were rehearsing the battle
of Bitter Creek. The show was terrible. "How do you
like my Apaches?" Asked Barnum. "If they had been at
Bitter Creek they would have killed each other off."
"You've got a Sioux.....a Cheyenne.....and Algonquin
and an Eastern Mohawk and a few that no Indian tribe
would claim." "An Indians an Indian." Said Barnum.
He then told the men to go and practice being an
Indian. "Like I always said big fella, a smart man
always comes back." "No you said suckers always come
back, and I don't like being called a sucker and I
don't like being made a sucker." "Now I'm here to
tell you to drop the Bitter Creek performance
today," said Jason. "You know the fellow playing
you.....he's getting rich." "Not as big as you are,
but better looking and he's reasonable."
mean business Barnum." "Ah business," said Barnum.
"McCord now you're talking." "Why let everybody else
get rich on your name?" "All you have to do is sign
a simple contract with me." "We'll go east and we'll
do a land office business." "New York, Philadelphia,
Boston! They'd be standing on top of each other just
to see the great McCord!" Jason told him he didn't
want to be in his show and he didn't want anybody
impersonating him either. Barnum told Jason that he
was public property and that anybody can talk about
history, read about it or re-enact it. "Now you can
do one of two things.....join me and capitalize on
it or pay the money to go and set with the customers
and boo yourself." "There is one other thing I can
do....." Barnum didn't think Jason would strike a
man twice his age. Jason assured him he would. "Oh
but I would.....right where it hurts.....right in
your pocketbook Mr. Barnum.....I'll sue you!" "Big
fella.....do you think that Napoleon or Abe Lincoln
would sue me?" "Not very well.....their dead." "So
are you McCord now that you've made the history
pages." "As far as the law is concerned you are
dead, extinct as a Dodo bird." Jason didn't buy what
Barnum was selling; he still said he would sue
Barnum. Barnum liked that. It would be a million
dollars worth of publicity for free. "Go out and
tell all the newspapers and be sure and tell them to
spell my name right." "Phineas T. Barnum. Phineas
with a P and an H." Jason saw he wasn't going to win
this battle. He asked Barnum if he could find him a
better replacement would he drop the battle of
Bitter Creek. Jason told him he could get him
Princess Salome, but he thought Jason was dreaming.
He had tried to buy her several times before and his
last offer of ten thousand dollars didn't work.
Barnum was sure if he couldn't get the princess no
one else could. When Jason tried to reason with him
a few of his men thought he was making trouble for
Barnum and they started a fight with Jason. First
Charlie went for Jason. Jas knocked him out of the
way. Then Coutts charged at Jason. They just kept
coming at Jason one right after another until Barnum
told everyone to stop. "Big fella.....I don't
believe you ran at Bitter Creek.....and if you
did.....it wasn't anything human that scared you."
"Why don't you tell us what really happened and
we'll stage the real story." "As I told you Mr.
Barnum.....you'll get more action out of Princess
Salome." "If you get her.....it's a deal!"
Jason did convince Bailey & the princess to go in
with Barnum after a few negotiations. Bailey got his
ten thousand dollars plus ten percent. Barnum got
the princess and a partner. As Jason was leaving he
could hear Barnum say....."Barnum never had a
partner.....doesn't need a partner.....never gonna
have a partner, is that clear?"
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