Alzoria Lewis and Johanna Dickens
Alzoria Lewis and Johanna Dickens were presented jointly on Coney Island sideshow stages from the 1930s through the 1950s. Though unrelated, they were usually presented as “sisters” or “cousins”.
Alzoria (sometimes rendered as Alzora), born in 1912, had severely stunted limbs, six fingers on each hand, and an uneven distribution of toes (six on one foot, one on the other). She would crawl onstage on all fours, and was billed variously as the Turtle Girl, the Walrus Girl, and the Pig Woman. Though she was born and raised in Brooklyn not far from the Coney Island stages where she performed, her spiel consisted of a long tale of woe describing fictitious origins in the deep South. At a certain point, she was also known as Alzoria Green (she was married twice).
Dickens, a dwarf born circa 1920s, was billed as the Bear Girl.
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.