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Author Topic: Movie - The Greatest Showman  (Read 394 times)

the Earl of Whirl

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Movie - The Greatest Showman
« on: February 06, 2018, 02:55:36 PM »

Once again, I wish this were out of this non top spinning section but here it will stay.  My wife and I caught an extra showing of the movie musical The Greatest Showman.  It sold out the night before (first ever sellout with the renovated theater in Miamisburg) and they had some extra showings for those who were turned away (and others who wanted to join them).  This show is all about the life and times of P.T. Barnum.  Lots of circus style acts are shown (juggling, trapeze, stilt-walking etc.) but no top spinning.   Still, the movie has got me thinking about lots of others involved in the show and what is true and what is fiction.  The amazing voice of Jenny Lind is true (although her voice was higher than what is in the film).  Tom Thumb is shown and I had fun reading about his life on Wikipedia.  The conjoined twins Chang and Eng can be seen but it is the bearded lady who has the biggest supporting role of all the special acts.

Has anyone else seen this?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 03:02:13 PM by the Earl of Whirl »
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the Earl of Whirl

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Re: Movie - The Greatest Showman
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 09:06:00 AM »

The movie shows the conjoined Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker several times.  They have quite a biography.  If you want to read something interesting, check out their life on Wikipedia.  There are also several fascinating videos about them.  They each had a number of children and now have descendants that number over a thousand.  Their family reunions are amazing.  I am convinced they would have spun tops but there does not seem to be any record of it.

In the movie, it shows them doing a front flip.  I was sure that was fiction but I was shocked to find out that they were quite coordinated and, indeed, could do a flip.  They also could swim among other things.  What a story!!!
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the Earl of Whirl

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Re: Movie - The Greatest Showman
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 11:58:25 PM »

The story of Tom Thumb is also quite fascinating.  He made a lot of money for P. T. Barnum....and also himself.  He saved and invested it well to become quite wealthy.  The story goes that Barnum got into financial trouble and it was Tom Thumb who got him out with his savings.  He was also quite an actor and did a number of impersonations.  One of these was his characterization of Napoleon, complete with outfit and more.  It was so good that when he traveled through England, the Duke of Wellington (who fought Napoleon at Waterloo) stopped to see it.  He loved it and enjoyed it so much that they had to practically drag him out of the room because he wanted to see more and more of it.  I am sure he enjoyed Napoleon being impersonated by a very small man!!!
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ta0

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Re: Movie - The Greatest Showman
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 11:47:31 AM »

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, "freak" shows were very popular. Generally they were a side show of the circus and you payed extra to enter that tent. I write a little about that in my novel. There were all kinds of freak people. I was always bothered by the fascination of the public for these shows. But for many of the "freaks" it was a relatively good way of making a living, sometimes the only one.

One that I mention on the book is Lentini, a man with three legs. He had children and lived to be old. Supposedly he was also popular with women (not just an extra leg . . .) He had an act in which he kicked a soccer ball with his extra leg. I wonder what spintop tricks a man with three arms could do .  .
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the Earl of Whirl

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Re: Movie - The Greatest Showman
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 03:37:06 PM »

Lentini, eh?  Hmmm.

I looked him up.  There is quite a bit about him out there.  All of his legs were of different length and he was heard to complain that even with three legs he did not have a pair.  He lived a pretty full life and died in 1966 at the age of 77.  I am sure that Lawrence Benner (a circus clown and circus musician from my congregation of St. Jacob) would have known him and maybe even worked with him.

Also, significant to this thread, he is in the movie "The Greatest Showman" and portrayed by Jonathan Redavid.
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