Carrie Akers, the dwarf fat lady was three feet tall and weighed 300 lbs — and she was mad about it. So much so that she left P.T. Barnum after working for him only a couple of years in the late 1880s. None of her co-workers, including Barnum, could stand to work with her. It is for this reason, and not for her size or looks, that posterity remembers her as “The Wart Hog.”
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.