Susi the Elephant Skin Girl
Susi the Elephant Skin Girl (Charlotte Linda Vogel, 1908-1976) suffered from a condition known as ichthyosis from birth, a painful malady which caused her skin to thicken, turn grey, wrinkle, and break out into cracks that were apt to admit infections. A native of Germany she began touring the U.S. and moved here permanently after Hitler came to power. She exhibited herself mostly in the New York area, at Hubert’s Museum in Times Square, at Coney Island (Dreamland Circus Sideshow), Gorman Bros. Circus, and in later years with the Ringling Bros. sideshow during a Madison Square Garden engagement. Occasionally, she would travel elsewhere to perform. She performed at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933 with Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Her last known booking was with the Great Allentown Fair in Pennsylvania as “the Swamp Girl”. Today is her birthday!
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.