Peppino “Baron Paucci” Magro was billed as the “World’s Smallest Perfect Man”. Born in Sicily in 1894, he garnered some publicity at age 15 when he survived being buried in rubble after an earthquake due to his small size (15 inches). He came to America to work for Ringling Brothers circus. The bulk of his career was spent working at Coney Island. For 15 years he was one of the stars of the Dreamland Circus Sideshow, renowned not just for his size but for his personality. He was a sporty dude who loved booze, flashy clothes, the racetrack and women. It was the personality that got him into trouble. His lewd mouth eventually got him fired from Dreamland, though he went to work for another Coney sideshow. In 1931, he got married to a (just barely) normal sized woman, 5 foot tall Mavis Lane (by this time the Baron had grown to 36 inches). But within a couple of years Mavis got fed up with his flirting with other women, who couldn’t resist “picking him up”. By the mid 30s he was back with Ringling Bros, where he appears to have finished out his career.
To find out about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc