Johnny the Dwarf

by Scott McClelland

 

The first show was performed in the late fall of 1920, in the village of Stenon Saskatchewan. From there the theatrical troupe, which consisted of 5 performers and a booking agent traveled by train across Canada. While playing in Arran Saskatchewan, Nick met John Chornoby, a dwarf who stood just 29 inches high. Nick found that John had a wonderful singing voice and decided to train him to be a true vaudeville performer. Johnny became a very popular attraction in the show and Nick was expanding his new found horizons. This was the beginning of my Grandfather's credo, that no human would be exploited for his deformity or malady... and would be employed as a performer, not as a freak.

Johnny sold his pictures and assorted candy kisses during intermission and kept the money earned from his extra enterprises as an added bonus. Each year the show would change and slowly the Lewchuk's began to have children to incorporate into the show. As they grew up one by one they took leading parts in both performance and other tasks. The members of the family who took part in the show were Mary, Anne, Elizabeth, Earnest, and of course Nick and life partner Anastasia. The show was now becoming a family run business with little need for outside help. Earnest became the advance agent, booking the theatres two weeks in advance and also had the prestige of being the Master Of Ceremonies.

 

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