Dick Hilburn, “The Quarter Man”
Today is the birthday of Dick Hilburn (1918-1971). billed in the sideshow world as “the Quarter Man”. The name sprang from the fact that he had but one fully developed limb (his right arm). With this appendage, he would get around by pushing himself on a skateboard. Originally from Bladenboro, North Carolina, he exhibited himself in his own sideshow, which also employed Carl Norwood, “The Frog Boy”. Hilburn was also a midway tattoo artist and sign painter.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.