Alexander Montarg was one of P.T. Barnum’s Living Skeletons, whose period of greatest activity appears to have been from the late 1850s through the 1860s. The man’s vital statistics were startling. He was only four inches thick through the chest, and his wrists were an inch in diameter, about as big around as the average man’s thumb. Montarg reportedly weighed only 54 pounds. Picking up that violin to play it must have been seemed like picking up a bull fiddle.
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.