Having already done posts of just about all of the other principle cast members of the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz (most of them having been in vaudeville) it gives me great pleasure to finally do this one. Leopold von Singer (born today in 1877) began assembling his troupe of performing little people in his native Vienna in 1912.
He opened an exhibit called the Lilliputstadt (“midget city”) at the Venice in Vienna amusement park. The success of this enterprise led him to tour it around Europe, hiring new performers wherever he went. When World War One hit in 1914, he brought the troupe to America, where they became a favorite on the vaudeville circuit.
In the 30s, when vaudeville dried up Hollywood became a source of work, in addition to The Wizard of Oz, most of the troupe also acted in 1938’s The Terror of Tiny Town, the notorious all-midget western.
Smaller contingents of company members acted in many more Hollywood films. By the late 40s the company disbanded. Singer died in New York City in 1951.
For more on performing little people please check out Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People in Vaudeville.