DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
WEIRD & WILD: Midgets & freaks
January 14, 2009  | By Diane Werts
 
tiny town twosome.jpgIf you've never seen an all-midget western musical, here's your chance. And if you've already been, um, lucky enough to catch The Terror of Tiny Town, you can savor it again late Friday night at 2 a.m. ET on Turner Classic Movies.


Can't say it's brilliant, but its mere existence says something about the wonders of Hollywood movies, especially since it was made in 1938 -- 1938! Who knew they had such a sense of irony, absurdity and sheer gonzo-ness back then? Or was Columbia Pictures actually playing it straight with this little (pun both intended and not) marvel?

Many of the pint-size performers -- no insult, since the "novelty" of their size provided pretty much the film's entire appeal -- tiny town lobby card.jpg would soon be seen in 1939's classic-to-be The Wizard of Oz, as residents of Munchkinland. Those were hardly hefty roles -- in fact even more a novelty than the character/speaking parts of Tiny Town -- so the fun-poking western at least let them strut their stuff as actors to an extent rarely provided.

Check out the video clips, photos and other detritus thoughtfully provided by the web site for TCM's Underground late-night Friday showcase, a worthy successor to USA cable's old Night Flight eccentricity. Stay tuned to TCM late Friday/early Saturday for two idiosyncratic early-talkie treats featuring oft-incomprehensible dwarf actor Harry Earles: Lon Chaney's sole sound film, the con flick The Unholy Three (3:30 a.m. ET), and director Tod Browning's imposingly bizarre kill-thriller Freaks (4:45 a.m. ET), where Earles heads a one-time-only cast of real-life sideshow performers [in photo with Browning, below] taking revenge on malicious full-sizers.

DVD recorders were made for this.

freaks cast browning.jpg

 

1 Comment

 

Lee Hartsfeld said:

Great movie (Freaks) but it seems like TCM has been showing it every other week. In time, it might join the once-weekly playlist with Psycho and High Noon. Which would be fine, since it's a great movie. But... why can't TCM stop looking so much the same from month to month?

 
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
FSVOX
Type in the verification word shown on the image.