Poobah, fire-eating dwarf

Little Pete Terhurne waiting for his cue at the Pennsylvania State Fair, May 2005


1 August 2012: We bid a fond farewell to Pete Terhurne, who passed away this week at a nursing home in Florida, aged 81 years. Little Pete was a constant companion of showmen Chris Christ and Ward Hall, with whom he began working in the 1950s after Pete was "discovered" as a young man at a fair in Minnesota. Pete worked with Ward for a few weeks that first summer, and from then on was hooked on the business of show. As Poobah, Pete was a constant performer with the World of Wonders on midways and fairgrounds across the United States for six decades - typically working the bally stage as a fire eater - until declining health forced him into retirement two years ago. Pete was also well known in the circus community as a clown, and had quite an impressive resume of television and film appearances.

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Taken on May 28, 2005