Vantile Mack, the Ohio Fat Boy
Vantile Mack was one of P.T. Barnum’s exhibits in the late 1850s, also billed as the Ohio Fat Boy, the Giant Baby, and the infant Lambert (after Daniel Lambert, 1770-1809, up til then the largest known man in the world). At age 7, Mack was said to weigh 257 lbs and have a 36 inch thigh. But it can’t have been good for his health. This sad item ran in the March 14, 1861 Richmond Daily Dispatch:
THE OHIO FAT BOY–The body of Vantile Mack, the celebrated Ohio Fat Boy, who died in New York while exhibiting at Barnum’s Museum, passed through Pittsburg on Thursday, by railroad. It was marked, “Agent Ohio Fat Boy, Darlington, Pennsylvania,” and was described on the bill of lading as follows: “One Fat Boy– dead. Double first class passenger freight. Weight, 600 pounds.–Freight, $2.50.” The weight, as given above, includes the coffin and box.
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.