Two summers ago I posted audio of my cousin Lorrie’s telling of her family story growing up a part of a carnival act. Her Dad, Billy Outten, was famous for his high dives, and the whole family (Lorries parents and her sister) performed as well. Outten’s big act was a “double fire dive” where he lit his pants on fire at 110 feet and dove through a lit hoop below into a 6 foot tank.

I’d heard these stories before and was glad to have Lorrie allow me to record them in audio. The pictures on that blog post where shots I made at her house in Wyoming of some of the articles about her Dad.

The story gets really interesting when they found out that a MovieTone clip of her Dad was used in the movie The Right Stuff (where they sought out the characteristics of dare devils).

After that July 2011 post I did get an appreciative email from a man who said he remembered seeing the act and that his father was a photographer at one of the parks where Lorrie’s family performed. Just last week, Ed posted an exciting comment to the blog post:

A couple years ago I emailed you about my father being the photographer for West View Park, when Billy Outten and family performed there. All his photographs were assumed lost, when he passed. However, my nephew found a bunch of photographs that my sister (now deceased) placed in storage, and he scanned them and posted them on a web page. (Private).

I downloaded about 8 photographs that were taken at West View Park (outside of Pittsburgh, Pa), that had to be from the late 40″²s or early 50″²s. If you want copies of these, let me know and I’ll be glad to send them to you.

Needless to see, my cousing was excited when she saw these photos. Below are the ones Ed sent. I’m eager to hear Lorrie tell me what she remembers or identifies in them, but just for now, the serendipity just makes me giddy.













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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


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