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dalimermaid

1939 NYWF ssearch Midget Troup

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Hi Guys,

New here. I am researching my family history and thought you might be able to help. My uncle was a drummer in Fred Roper's Marvelous Midget troupe for a year 1939. I have memorabilia and many letters from Fred to my grandmother as uncle was only 16 at the time. He had also spent a year in south Africa at the Johannesburg WF.

Do any of you know any relatives of the troupe, or have any links, suggestions or other info? There is a short film on one of the classic dvds in which my uncle is playing table tennis with the other midgets.

I have to shy, he was one of the most amazing people given the world's general unacceptance of 'different ' in those days...his story is worth telling. I would love to contact relatives of the other midgets he knew and writes about.

Thanks DM

Also any info on Dali's mermaid display?

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I have photos of a couple of midget bands from the '39-40 NYWF, both of which include a drummer... but the name of both bands has Bob Hermines' name instead of Fred Roper. It appears that the Roper troupe from Great Britain got taken over by Boston theater producer Morris Gest when they were stranded in New York, and he got them booked into the World's Fair.

More info:

The Roper/Gest group appeared in an attraction called "Little Miracle Town."

The Hermines group appeared in a "World of Mirth Show" which was in the "Midget Theater".

*Both* of these groups were advertised as "The World's Greatest Little People".

Maybe Billy or somebody can look at a map and tell us whether the Midget Theater was part of Little Miracle Town.

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The book Vaudeville, Old and New says the Hermines troupe was indeed booked into Morris Gest's Little Miracle Town, and were re-booked for the second season as well. The Hermines troupe had been touring Europe in the 1930's while the Roper group was performing in places like Africa.

The Roper troupe continued to have financial difficulties, and by February 1940 the animals had to be sold off. Some of the Roper midgets decided to quit at that point and went back to Great Britain.

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Also any info on Dali's mermaid display?

This book covers the entire subject: Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus: The Surrealist Funhouse from the 1939 World's Fair by Ingrid Schaffner.

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Well, thanks so much that was an unexpectedly quick response. I am reading up on it a lot and have my uncles letters form both J'burg and NYWF to go on. The Dali book I will get if it is still available. I found one on Morris Gests little miracle Town but it had sole last year for $200. Very rare I guess.

I am still hoping for a family or relative link to any of the troupes.

But meanwhile I am glad I found this site for your help.

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Many consider Dali's Dream of Venus to be the first ever piece of "installation art."

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