Finding Humanity At The Sideshow
Cartoonist Bill Griffith based his legendary character Zippy the Pinhead on Schlitzie, a real life sideshow 'pinhead' who appeared in Todd Browning's 1932 film Freaks. Early audiences were appalled by Browning's use of real sideshow characters to seek revenge on those who treated them cruelly.
Griffith's graphic novel is his effort to understand Schlitzie and the sideshow family who cared for him. We talk to Griffith and a member of Schlitzie's sideshow family.
Also this hour: the man who saved thousands of premature infants by exhibiting them in incubators at the Coney Island sideshow.
- Bill Griffith - Creator of the syndicated daily comic strip Zippy and author of two graphic memoirs, including, Nobody's Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead
- Wolf Krakowski - Yiddish singer whose CDs are on Tzadik Records; Wolf has videotaped testimonies of Holocaust survivors for the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation
- Claire Prentice - Freelance journalist, editor, and writer; She's the author of two non-fiction books, including Miracle at Coney Island: How a Sideshow Doctor Saved Thousands of Babies and Transformed American Medicine
Colin McEnroe and Jonathan McNicol contributed to this show, which originally aired May 2, 2019.