1) So,Going from Sideshows to Film-making,Easy transition ?
…Well, both are forms of entertainment, although probably on opposite ends of the spectrum. The fact is that the physical aspects of operating a carnival sideshow were becomming difficult for me at my age. It has also become very hard to find bona fide freak attractions to exhibit in sideshows. Most of the stuff you see now days are what we call “gaffs” or manufactured oddities. The public is wise to this phony stuff and it causes heat that the carnival owners don’t want to deal with. Moving into film work seemed like a natural progression for me. I did have some experience in the field having been associated with Fred Olen Ray since the early 1990s on several fronts. I am fortunate enough to be able to finance my own projects which makes the transition from freak show operator to movie producer/ director a lot smoother. I was successful in outdoor show business and time will tell how I do in the film world.
2) Fred Olen Ray pops up alot in your life,Friend or foe—Details of the relationship,Business or personal ?
Fred Olen Ray has been a dear friend and inspiration for me since we met about 20 years ago. At the time, Fred was making movies but had a love for the sideshow business. He had actually purchased a trailer mounted attraction called; “Terrors of the Amazon” and had it on tour back east. Fred wanted to establish a route for his shows in California and he contacted me for information. We eventually operated oddity shows together and traveled all over southern California touring various attractions. We became friends and I stayed at Fred’s home on many occasions while playing fairs and festival dates in L.A. Naturally, Fred invited me to visit his film projects during this time, and as luck would have it, started inserting me into some of the minor roles that were available in his movies. He was also good enough to rent props, tents and other material from me for some of his films. That’s one of my old museum show tents in scenes from “Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds” and my tents and oddities in “Sideshow” for example. Fred Olen Ray is a nice guy and very generous person who is appreciated and loved by those that know him well. I watched and learned while on those many film sets of his, and hoping that what I observed will serve me well on my own projects.
3) When you were doing the side-shows ,What was your top three acts ?
My biggest grossing sideshows were; “Worlds Fair Freaks” which was a traditional 10 in One sideshow with live acts and real human oddities. Over the years we employed many well knows performers such as; Otis the Frog Boy, midget; Prince Arthur, Melinda The Monkey Girl, Fat Man; Howard Huge, Human Pincushion; Lowell “Curley” Frisbie, Tattooed Man; Capt. Don Leslie and many others. Our two-headed baby show “Man Made Monsters” was a very successful attraction and made boat loads of money. Another show which was a top midway grosser was our “Mystery Museum” exhibit which did not have any live acts but was loaded with pickled, stuffed and mummified freak specimens of all kinds.
4) One sentence descriptions- John Schneider_________,Michael Dudikoff___________,David Novak__________,DT Carney___________ and Kevin Searcy_________.
5) So wanna explain anything about ‘Super Shark’ ?
…I was in L.A. where I had booked one of my little museum shows with a spring festival and had made arrangements to meet Fred Ray for lunch while there. I hadn’t see Fred at that point in maybe five years, and was happy to see him along with his son Chris who had joined our little reunion. During the meal we were talking about some recent projects and a mutual friend who had invested in a couple of Fred’s movies, and I remarked that I would like to do some producing myself. Well, it wasn’t long before I heard back that a new production was in the works which I could envolve myself with, so I jumped in. We first had planned to shoot a western themed horror picture with locations in the Oakhurst and Fresno area. Fred and his wife Kim came up to scout the area for a couple of days and we toured many locations in the mountains including our ranch property in Oakhurst and the Old Town movie location in North Fork. As things often happen in filmmaking, everything changed from the original idea to a completely new one and we started to work on “SUPER SHARK “. It ended up being shot in L.A. with a great cast and crew. I again showed up in one of Fred’s pictures doing the small role of “Jake” owner of the Dockside Bar. Super Shark is now in distribution and will be aired on the SYFY Channel starting in April of 2012.
6) Big Foot, Besides your new movie,Did you tour with him ‘Frozen’ or ‘Mummified’ ?
7) BEST of JEFF On/Off Set ?
8) WORST of JEFF On/Off Set ?
9) Do you still own any of the ‘Mysterious Sideshow Museum’ artifacts ?
10) What is next for ‘Harmur’ company ?