Maximo and Bartolo, the so-called Aztec Children were two microcephalic unfortunates from St. Salvator, hired by P.T. Barnum starting in 1848-49 as representatives of an ancient, vanished race. The children had been sold to a promoter by their mother, who unwittingly believed that they were being taken to an American hospital to be cured of their condition. Instead they were exhibited to the public as “ethnological curiosities” for the next 40 years.
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.
Hey, Trav– do you have some source material on this? Would like to find out more.
Of the dozen or so sources I looked at the only one that really has more information than this is Robert Bogdan’s “Freak Show” — has 2 or 3 pages worth