Peter Robinson, The Human Skeleton
Today is the birthday of Peter Robinson (1874-1947), best known as the human skeleton in Tod Browning’s movie Freaks (1932). While he was married to a bearded lady in that film, in real life he was wed to professional fat lady “Baby” Bunny Smith, who weighed 467 lbs to his 58, a kind of real life Jack Sprat situation.
Pete was born in Springfield, Mass. and is said to have gone professional circa 1895. He worked at Coney Island and for Ringling Brothers. He married Smith in 1924. In 1928 he toured with a revue called “A Night at Coney Island” which toured vaudeville theatres around the country (a rare experiment).
For more on 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.
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