Paul Desmuke: The Judge

Paul Desmuke (1876-1949) was a native of Atacosca County, Texas. Born without arms, he became extremely proficient in the use of his feet. With his lower extremities, he could write, play the violin, and perform a knife throwing act, with his wife Mae Simmons as the target. He performed with Al G. Barnes Circus & Sideshow; Zack Miller’s 101 Ranch Wild West Show; and in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium at the Century of Progress Expo in Chicago, 1933-1934. He also performed in the silent films The Unknown (1927) and The Sideshow (1928). In later years he was a Justice of the Peace in his home county, where he was known as “The Judge”.

To learn more about show business history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on silent film, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.