Archive for the Tattooed People Category

Betty Broadbent, The Tattooed Lady

Posted in Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Tattooed People, Women with tags , , , on November 1, 2013 by travsd

Woman Covered In Tattoos

Today is the birthday of Betty Broadbent (1909-1983). Born in Philadelphia, she was working as a nanny in Atlantic City as a a teenager when she met a number of tattoo artists and performers who inspired her to become illustrated herself. Eventually she was to become covered in 565 images. Over the course of her 40 year career she was to work in the side shows of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey, Cole Brothers and Sells-Floto circuses, in John Hix “Strange as it Seems” Side Show at the 1939 World’s Fair, and at Tom Mix’s Circus and Harry Carey’s Wild West Show, where she rode bulls and horses. She retired to Florida in 1967 and was the very first person inducted into the tattooing hall of fame in 1981.

To learn out more about show business history consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

safe_image

And don’t miss 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

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

Lorett Fulkerson: The “Last” Tattooed Lady?

Posted in Circus, Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Tattooed People, Women with tags , , , , on July 17, 2013 by travsd

180px-LorettFulkersontattooedlady

Today is the birthday of Lorett Fulkerson (Loretta Love, 1915-2007), often called “the last tattooed lady”, although judging by the streets around Williamsburg and Park Slope, nowadays ALL woman are tattooed. But Fulkerson was the last of the old time, first run performing tattooed women. 90% of her body was inked and her performing career dated back to the 1930s. In her time she had worked for Ringling Bros, Hubert’s Museum, Hall and Christ and many others. She retired in the early 1990s — when there were plenty of others willing to take up the torch.

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

 

Artoria Gibbons, the Religiously Tattooed Woman

Posted in Circus, Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Tattooed People, Women with tags , , , , , , , on July 16, 2013 by travsd

jpeg1058778266

Today is the birthday of Artoria Gibbons (Anna Mae Burlingston, 1893-1985). In 1912, the Spokane domestic met and married a tattoo artist named Charles “Red” Gibbons. To supplement their income (and advertise his skill) he tattooed over 80% of her body with religious images, drawn from the works of Raphael and Michelangelo. She debuted as a performer with the locally-based Pete Kortes Sideshow. From 1921 to 1923 she worked for Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey, in 1924, Hagenbeck-Wallace, and any number of circuses, dime museums, carnivals and sideshows thereafter, culminating in her final gig with Hall and Christ in the 1970s. She retired in 1981.

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

 

Rasmus Nielsen, The Danish Strong Man

Posted in Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Strong Men, Tattooed People with tags , , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by travsd

Rasmus_Nielson-1-797326[1]

Rasmus Nielsen (1874-1957) was one of America’s first extreme tattooed and pierced individuals. Billed as “the Danish Strong Man” he was tattooed from head to toe, and had two nipple rings which he used to lift objects up to 250 lbs. such as a blacksmith’s anvil.His nose and tongue were also pierced, and he could lift with these parts of his body as well.  When he lifted weights with his rings, he would make a loud succession of gutteral screams “to transcend the pain”, but undoubtedly for the entertainment of the audience as well.Organizations that employed him included the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus sideshow and Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Odditorium. He was also known as “the Scandinavian Strong Man” and the “the Tattooed Water Man.”

To find out about  the history of vaudeville, consult 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 Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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

The Great Omi

Posted in Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Tattooed People with tags , , , on April 8, 2013 by travsd

Zebraman_great_omi[1]

Horace Ridler (1892-1969) was a self-made British freak billed as The Great Omi and the Zebra Man (although to me he looks more like a poison dart frog). His early years are shrouded in mystery. His own claims that he was a child of privelege who attended private schools and possibly Cambridge or Oxford, and then squandered his fortune, could be true but have the ring of fancy. He soldiered as an officer in World War I, serving in what is now Iraq, and there he got his first tattoos. After the war he he had several more done and became a professional. Around 1927 he began enhancing his appearance until his entire body was covered not only with tattoos but also piercings and he also had his teeth filed. The story he gave audiences was the typical one about being kidnapped in New Guinea and forcibly decorated. He was to become one of the most famous sideshow attractions in the world.

His career seems to gain momentum when he came to the U.S. in 1939 to exhibit himself at the New York World’s Fair. Following this, he toured for a year with Ringling Brothers sideshow, then embarked on a tour of Australia, New Zealand and the American west with various shows. Then he returned to Britain in 1942 and continued performing for another decade.

Here is a clip in which you can see him move about:

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

safe_image

And don’t miss 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

La Belle Irene

Posted in Bowery, Barbary Coast, Old New York, Saloons, Circus, Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Tattooed People, Women with tags , , , , , on March 10, 2013 by travsd

la-belle-irene-011[1]

A post in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Irene Woodward (1862-1915) was New York’s second tattooed lady, having launched her career a scant few weeks after the first, Nora Hildebrandt. Her niche, reinforced by her billing as La Belle Irene, was that she was not only covered in artwork but fair to look at as well. Inspired by Captain Constentenus, she worked at Bunnell’s Museum in New York, then across Europe and with various American circuses.

To find out more about the variety arts past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

safe_image

And don’t miss 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

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

Captain Costentenus

Posted in BUNKUM, Circus, Dime Museum and Side Show, Human Anomalies (Freaks), Tattooed People with tags , , , , on November 9, 2012 by travsd

Capt. Costentenus, a.k.a Alexandros Constentenus, a.k.a Prince Constantine, a.k.a George Constantine, a.k.a. Djorgi Konstantinus is often considered the first professional tattooed man, although others came before him. Born ca. 1836, he was a Greek Albanian who claimed to have been a Prince raised in a Turkish Harem, who was later captured by natives in the South Seas who forcibly tattooed him from head to foot. He later admitted, he had intentionally gotten all of those tattoos expressly for the purposes of self-exhibition. Every inch of his body was covered in over 300 tattoos, including his eyelids, the inside of his ear, and his penis. The only part left uninked were the soles of his feet.

He was first managed by the daredevil known as The Great Farini, a.k.a Signor Guillermi Farini, a.k.a William Hunt. In 1873 he began touring with P.T. Barnum’s Great Traveling Exposition and he remained with Barnum through 1879. He continued to perform publicly as late as 1882.

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: