Archive for the Albinos Category

Eko and Iko (George and Willie Muse)

Posted in African American Interest, Albinos, Coney Island, Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Missing Links/ Wild Men with tags , , , , , on April 21, 2013 by travsd

albinobrothersEkoIko3[1]

Eko and Iko were actually George Muse (1893-1971) and Willie Muse (1892-2001), two Albino African American “twin” brothers from Roanoke, Virginia. The lore is that they were kidnapped from their hometown as children, and taken on the road by first the Al G. Barnes Circus and then Ringling Brothers. Their hair worked into woolly dreadlocks, they were billed variously as the “White Ecuadorian Cannibals”, the “Sheep Headed Men”, the “Sheep Headed Cannibals”, then finally the handle that took: the “Ambassadors from Mars” or the “Men from Mars”. (It was the fancy tuxedos that justified the diplomatic title).

In 1927, when they came through their hometown with the circus, they were reunited with their mother, who was appalled to learn that though they had been performing for 18 years, they had never been paid anything beyond their room and board. She attempted to sue for $100,000. The young men missed performing, though, so they went back on the road in 1928. In the 30s they worked Dreamland Circus Sideshow in Coney Island, and toured Europe and the Far East. In 1937, they rejoined Ringling Bros.; by the time they retired in 1961 they were with Clyde Beatty. George passed away in 1971. Willie was 108 when he finally followed his brother in 2001.

To find out about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

safe_image

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 Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

chain%20of%20fools%20cvr%20front%20only-500x500

The Lucasies, Family of Albinos

Posted in Albinos, BUNKUM, Circus, Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Vaudeville etc. with tags , , , , , , , on December 10, 2012 by travsd

The Albino Lucasie family were European (the name is French), but P.T. Barnum, who discovered them at the 1857 Amsterdam fair, gave out that they were “Negroes from Madagascar” and claimed that their pink eyes remained staring even as they slept. He brought them to New York to work at his American Museum that same year. (Currier and Ives did a famous portrait of them titled “The Wonderful Eliophobus  Family,” a whimsical name meaning “fear of the sun”). In addition to Barnum’s shows, the Lucasies also performed with W.  W. Coles and the Lemon Bros., for a total of 40 years. When Antoinette died, Rudolph continued performing in vaudeville as an albino violinist. He died in Kansas City in 1909.

To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.

safe_image

%d bloggers like this: