Woodside Amusement Park
by Walt Hudson
Petite Princess Yvonne called herself the
world's smallest stripper! This beautiful, 24 year old
gal was only three feet tall but she was a perfectly
proportioned little female. During the winter months she
toured burlesque circuits presenting her unique act. Her
devoted husband, Hans, (who was also a midget) traveled
with her and helped her in the act. He was also a
perfectly formed little man (who was two inches shorter
Princess Yvonne began her act waltzing on stage to a
recorded popular song of the day, dressed in a "southern
belle" costume. This cute blond-haired little doll
carried a parasol, which she twirled around. A silver
rope was lowered from the flys and the parasol, which
had a loop at the top, was hooked onto the rope and
pulled upward. The handle of the small umbrella also had
a mouthpiece attached to it and, as the parasol was
slowly raised, Yvonne placed the mouthpiece in her mouth
and the parasol and her body were raised high over the
heads of the audience as she hung by her teeth.
She proceeded to remove her clothing, dropping it piece
by piece to Hans who was onstage catching them as they
Her act was a modest and modified strip routine for our
family oriented audience, as she stripped down to a
She finished her routine by spinning around while
hanging on with her teeth. The pace of the music
increased and she spun her diminutive body faster and
faster until it was a blur. She stopped and was lowered
to the stage where she smiled and made her
Hans stepped forward and gave a brief lecture on midgets
and little people in general. In a childlike, high
pitched voice he explained, "There are two major groups
of little people, the midgets and the dwarfs. Princess
and I are midgets. We are perfectly formed people but we
are little in stature due to a malfunctioning of our
pituitary glands, which determine the growth pattern in
"At birth we were born and appeared normal in every
aspect. However, we did not grow in the normal growth
pattern and I stopped growing when I was four years old.
"People are always curious about a midget's sex life. It
all depends on when the growth pattern stops. Some males
reach the puberty stage and others do not. Those who
develop the secondary sex characteristics have a normal
"There are several kinds of dwarfs. The most common are
known as achondroplastic dwarfs. They are far more
numerous than midgets. They are born deformed and are
identified at birth. They usually have small legs and
arms with a normal sized body.
Their heads are larger than average and they tend to
have large foreheads. They mature at the same pattern
as average people do. Their sexual development is the
same as the average population.
"Are there any questions? If not, I have these photos of
the lovely Princess Yvonne presenting her contortionist
act. On the back of each photo you will find a brief
biography of this little lady."
Hans did a pitch which varied during the summer.
Sometimes he sold miniature Bibles, which were about the
size of postage stamps. Other times he pitched photo
post cards of Yvonne posed in a contortionist's
position. Yvonne also did an acrobatic and contortionist
act and during the day she would alternate this act with
the strip routine.
Princess sat backstage between shows and did a lot of
writing. I asked her if she was writing a book about her
"Oh, no. 1 am writing a book of poetry. Not an ordinary
book but one about people 1 know from the side show
world. I describe each person in poetry. See..."
She handed me a page she had just written. I read the
poorly written verse.
The tattooed lady, an amazing sight With ships on both
her hips, Roses grow on both her breasts And kisses on
A giant snake wraps around her neck Its coils entwine
her arms. The lady holds aloft her pet While it
undulates its charms.
There were a couple of other poems and I really didn't
know what to make of it, but I said, "Hey, this is
interesting! What other characters have you written
"Oh, plenty." Then she turned to Hans and said, "Hans,
be a dear boy and run out to the trailer and bring my
"Yes, my darling," he replied and he rushed off to get
"And bring the photos, also."
"Photos? Do you have photos of the people you're writing
about?" I asked.
"Yes. But each of the poems is illustrated by a midget
performer. You will see."
Hans returned in a few minutes with an envelope of
photos and the manuscript of poems about other side show
acts. I read the poems and looked at the strange photos.
They included different midgets doing the freak acts.
There was a girl
snake charmer, a tattooed gal, a little magician (with a
huge rabbit), a fire eater, etc.
The photos were all well posed and taken by the
professional theatrical photographer of that day -
"I didn't know there were midgets who perform all these
acts. And so many different ones."
Hans laughed. "There aren't! Those photos are all of
Yvonne and me and one other midget couple. We posed for
them all. The girls have different wigs to make them
look like different people. The entire photo collection
only consists of four different people."
I said, "1 really think it's a novel idea for a book. Be
sure that I get a copy of it when you have it
Yvonne and Hans often invited me into their small house
trailer which was parked on the lot in back of our show.
It was small and immaculately clean. In fact, I saw Hans
cleaning it almost every day. He also did the cooking
and waited on Yvonne like she was a real princess. The
bathroom and kitchen areas were custom built and
equipped to accommodate the couple's size. The bed was
standard size but they had the advantage of having
plenty of room left at the foot of the bed for storage.
Stair steps were built leading up to the sink and stove
areas. The couple also had a custom built home in the
suburbs of High Point, N.C., on a one acre lot. They
spent three months out of each year at their home.
(To Be Continued)
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