Finding Humanity At The Side Show | Connecticut Public Radio

Finding Humanity At The Side Show

Feb 17, 2021

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 side show 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. 


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Colin McEnroe and Jonathan McNicol contributed to this show, which originally aired on May 2, 2019.