Emmett and Percilla

 

When Emmett Bejano, the Alligator Skin Man, was a child, he was adopted by the dean of the sideshow men of the nineteen twenties and thirties, Johnny Bejano. It was common practice in those days for sideshow owners to adopt children who were considered human oddities, from parents who either did not want them, or who realized the advantages they would receive by such circumstances.
 
Emmett has a skin condition medically known as ichtyosis, which causes the dermas to flake and scale creating an appearance akin to the hide of an alligator. This congenital condition is neither hereditary, or contagious. The skin has no pores or sweat glands. The person therefore perspires through the eyes. This causes discomfort hi hot weather, and usually leads to optical problems.
 
When he matured in his teen years, he decided to see what was in the world besides his adopted father's show. Emmett was a likeable, intelligent, educated young man, and a valued attraction. He soon found himself employed by another well respected sideshow operator, Carl Lauther.
 
A girl from Puerto Rico, Percilla was known as the Monkey Girl because of excessive hirsuties, which gave her beautiful black silky hair on her head and also on her face and body. Carl and Frances Lauther adopted Percilla. She was provided a good home and a good education. Percilla has a beautiful speaking and singing voice, and is an accomplished dancer. In her act, she performed with a trained chimpanzee in an interesting, highly entertaining act, which delighted the public.
 
Romance soon blossomed between Emmett and Percilla. However, the Lauthers were not pleased with anyone who might have an influence on their daughter, the star of the show. Emmett and Percilla eloped. It has been the love story of the century.
 
In April, nineteen eighty-eight the International Independent Showmen's Association club rooms was the sight of a lavish party to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary.


 


They were then billed as the world's strangest married couple. They were featured on every leading show in the country until the early nineteen fifties. At that time they built their own show wherein they were the only attraction. Emmet being very articulate, did the outside announcements, assuring them successful attendance wherever they pitched their tent.
 
As they aged they tired of the stress of their own show, so again they contracted with other shows. They were the feature act on our show in nineteen seventy-nine, and greatly aided our successful tour that year.
 
They purchased a home north of Tampa, Florida where Percilla, with her gift for growing flowers, has developed a genuine showplace. In addition to raising pets and flowers, they raised their handsome son Tony, who honored his parents and his country in military service. Percilla, always the gracious hostess, gives splendid parties at their home. I love to dance, as does Percilla. Without modesty, I admit we were among the best doing the Cha Cha and Rhumba.
 
Emmett and Percilla are now enjoying retirement in their comfortable home. Their son Tony and his family live nearby.  Percilla's natural mother often journeyed from her home in Puerto Rico to be the honored guest in her daughter's home. Their beautiful love story endures and continues.

 

Ward Hall

 

Post Script;

Emmitt died in 1995

Percilla died February 5th 2001

 


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