Pinhead, Accident of Birth

If you drop by here you might notice I sometimes post pictures of wacky art. I found a whole collection today that lead me on a voyage of nostalgic reflection and adventure. It was a collection of pics of sculptures by Thomas Kuebler. The gallery was called "Beggars and Freaks" and you can find it here. What was interesting was that a lot of the "Freaks" were literally sideshow performers who also were in the movie Freaks in 1932. I recognized Schlitzie aka Pinhead.

Not this Pinhead

Rendered here by Mr. Kuebler along with...

John Eckhardt Jr. aka Johnny Eck aka Halfman.
One half of a set of fraternal twins.

Minnie Woolsey aka Koo Koo, the Bird Girl 
and Harry Earles. Three of his six siblings were also dwarfs
and all four played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz

But let's talk about Schlitzie. His real name was possibly Simon Metz (later his name was legally Schlitzie Surtees, I think) and his date and place of birth are unknown. He was born with microcephaly which caused his brain and skull to be very small. He was very tiny physically and had the mental abilities of a three year old but by all descriptions seemed to be a happy and pleasant person. He was also well cared for by the various people who took him in during his career in the circus. While I refer to him as a he, Schlitzie was dressed as, referred to and 'marketed' as a female in many shows and in Freaks. It apparently added to his mystique. Sideshow performers with microcephaly (there were many) were known as pinheads.

Posing as The Thinker. I make the point that he's posed here because he isn't smiling. Most pictures I've found he is always smiling. In this one he's doing what he thinks is a representation of 'thinking'. I don't think Schlitzie was required to think much and that's probably why he is always smiling. Do you think if he lived now he would even know who Brooke Mueller or Lindsay Lohan was? No.

Schlitzie, with Wallace Ford, in a scene from Freaks.

It is a mistaken conception that Schlitzie wore dresses due to incontinence. However he is often shown in dresses with pants underneath so obviously this was not a problem but it continues to be the prevailing theory. Why? He doesn't deserve dignity?

Here's a montage of scenes which include almost all of the people above.

Interesting to note that the dwarf characters of Hans and Freida, 
affianced in the movie, are played by a real life brother and sister.

Prince Randian, The Human Torso. Married with children. Lived to be 63. Shown in this video lighting a cigarette he rolled himself (the rolling of which is sadly not shown).


Anonymous said...

I had to google "affiance". Your so smart frimmy. :)


Frimmy said...

Um, no, no I'm not but perhaps the occasional "affianced" will balance out all the grammar and spelling errors.

Unknown said...

I've seen that razor blade toting dwarf in my dreams before.


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