The Texas Giant


I'm looking for information about Jack Earle, the Giant. Seems to be very little on the web or books.  Enrique Enriquez, Caracas New York

Enrique,  he was born in Denver Colorado in 1906 as Jacob Ehrlich, at a weight of less than four pounds he wasn't expected to live.  Jacob was small for his age and was a delicate boy until he reached his seventh birthday. Then from out of no where it seemed as if he started to growing for no reason.  Before he was ten he was over six feet tall.  His family lived in El Paso Texas at this time and it seemed that everyone started calling him Pecos Bill. (He used this title for over twenty years.)  Because of his height it was hard for him to make friends and Jacob would avoided people by walking the allies on the way to school so he could hide if he would see someone coming.

When Jacob was thirteen his father made a trip with him to Los Angels.  He was over seven feet tall and created quite a stir as they travel around town.

Century Comedies heard about the young man and Jerry Ash and Zion Meyers offered him a job in the movies. Jacob liked the idea of being in the movies and convinced his father that this was a great idea.  Jacob took the screen name Jack Earle when he started working in the silent film industry, and appeared in many movies. Over the next few years he found himself busy in the movie making business, and going to school. It was a very good time in his life and he was happy with the way things were going. He appeared in films like Hansel and Gretel in 1923 and Jack & the Beanstalk in 1924.  Jack's movie career came to an end during the filming of one of his movies when he fell from the scaffolding he was standing on.  The scaffolding broke lose and Jack fell to the ground were he broke his nose and ended up in the hospital.  While he was in the hospital his eyesight became blurry and within days he lost his sight completely.  As his doctor examined him he found a pituitary tumor.  The tumor had pushed up against his optic nerve during the fall.  For the next four months Jack underwent X-ray therapy.  His eyesight returned and it was thought the treatment may have stopped his growth.  At that time he was eight feet six inches tall.

Jack became part of the sideshow by accident.  Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus passed through El Paso, at the time they had a man working for them who was billed as the worlds tallest man, at seven feet five inches tall Jim Tarver was still thirteen inches shorter then Jack the Giant. A lot of Jack's friends tried to convince him to go over to the circus and show them that they grow bigger and better in Texas.  It was quite a meeting and before the circus left town they offered him a one year contact which turned into fourteen years.  During his time with the circus Jack met most of the Giants that lived during his life time.  Jack stayed with the circus until the late thirties early forties.  He became tired of the routine so he decided to leave the business.  Jack hadn't decided what he wanted to do, but the circus wasn't holding his attention.  Jack decided to lay Pecos Bill to rest and after retiring from the circus, he moved back to California. 

Jack went to work for the Roma Wine Company as a salesman. He worked his way up to their public relations person.   He was very talented and work in a variety of mediums like painting, sculpture, photography and even poetry.  Jack was published in a book called The Long Shadows.  On November 4, 1950 the Saturday Evening Post ran an article titled Life of Giant Jack Earle. Jack died at age 46 in 1952.


John Robinson, Sideshow World


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