Today is the most commonly accepted birthday for the muumuu-wearing microcephalic sideshow performer Schlitzie (1901-1971). best known for his performance in Tod Browning’s 1932 movie Freaks, little is known about this performer’s origins or even his given name (which may possibly have been Simon Metz). What is known is that by the 1920s Schlitzie was already a major sideshow star (often billed as an “Aztec”, a “pinhead” or even a “Monkey Girl”) in such premium venues as the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Tom Mix Circus, Clyde Beatty Circus, and others. In 1935 chimp trainer George Surtees became Schlitzie’s legal guardian and manager. Other films Schlitzie appeared in besides Freaks included The Sideshow (1932), Island of Lost Souls (1932) and Meet Boston Blackie (1941).
And now, Schlitzie’s big scene:
To learn more about the history of show business, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
Also 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