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.
For a Travel Channel show, we’re doing a segment on the little people who stayed at the Culver Hotel in Culver City and played the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. I’m trying to find pictures of them, their recruiter Leo Singer (Singer’s Midgets). There’s a book called The Munchkins Remember with plenty of images, but they all come from little people who are now deceased. The Leo Singer image is most needed. Does anyone have any or have any suggestions of a source?
Thank you for your help!
Travel Channel – “Hotel Confidential”
Leo Singer was my husband’s grandfather. We have a pic of him sitting in an outdoor cafe in Vienna with two of the midgets.
would love to see that!
[…] in our city. So, Mom jumped on that idea and took us both to visit Ann Rice Leslie, one of the Singer Midgets who performed in the 1939 “The Wizard of Oz.” Mom also mentioned that she had played […]
my great great aunt was ann rice leslie