The Tocci Brothers

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Giacomo and Giovanni Battista Tocci were conjoined twins born in Locana, Italy born on either July 4 or October 4 somewhere between 1875 and 1877. The pair were unique in possessing separate sets of organs and appendages in the upper halves of their bodies, but sharing everything below the pelvis. This meant a single pair of legs; each boy controlled the leg on his own side, making walking very difficult. (To get around in private, they sort of clumsily crawled; in public they would use a wheelchair). According to the many doctors who examined them, the boys were mentally healthy and intelligent, and by the time of their adolescence spoke several languages.

From infancy they were exhibited throughout Europe at medical institutions and similar venues in every major city west of Russia. From 1892 to 1897 they toured dime museums and sideshows throughout the United States; seeing them inspired Mark Twain to write “Those Extraordinary Twins” and Pudd’nhead Wilson. After their U.S. tour, the twins retired to seclusion in Italy. The year of their deaths is not known; accounts range from 1906 to 1940.

To find out more about  the history of show businessconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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And check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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