Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dave Ballard - The Texas Giant

When the 7-foot, 7-inch Dave Ballard was born in Commerce, Texas in 1905, he weighed a not-so-giant 10 pounds. Over his growth-happy years, he added another 340 to support his lofty frame. Ballard graduated high school and attended Austin College until he could no longer afford tuition. So he turned to his size to raise money.

The giant worked in numerous jobs, including positions as a haberdashery clerk and a movie doorman. But at more than seven-and-a-half feet, Ballard eventually found his way into entertainment. In addition to the obvious role of a giant in vaudeville, he also acted as a pirate and a Keystone Cop at cocktail parties. And in 1947, Ballard played the “king-sized Kris Kringle” at a Christmas Land exposition in New York. The role required extreme patience, not because of curious kids, but due to eager adults asking unoriginal questions like “Raining up there, Bud?” and “Where’d ya get the stilts, Mac?”

Ballard also earned a living as a sideshow giant. In the late 1950s he appeared with the Cristiani Brothers Circus. He later worked as the Texas Giant with Ward Hall.


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