The Hairy Family of Burma
From 1887 through 1888 P.T. Barnum presented as an oddity in his sideshow this interesting family, which did indeed, as advertised, hail from Burma. Members of the exhibited family were of the third and fourth generation of a entire clan that had been born covered with soft fur, dating back to the hairy dynasty’s founder She-Maong, born in what is now Laos in 1796. They became court entertainers to the royal family of Burma until displaced by revolution in 1885. Agents working for Barnum discovered them living as refugees in England the following year.
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.