Half Man to Star in Browning Film


Called on Tod Browning the other night to congratulate him on his excellent job in staging "Freaks," and was he enthusiastic?  Tod's an old circus man himself, you know, and he had this idea of inner life among the misfits under his hat for a long time . . . But that's not the point.


Tod is going to star Johnny Eck, the Half Man, in a picture which he is writing . . . . and as Tod outlines it, it's going to be a whale . . . . No danger of anyone copping this plot, since there's but one living Half Man and Tod has him under contract.


Johnny Eck is a youth of twenty years, and his twin brother is a normal healthy individual who is studying medicine back in the east where the brothers were born . . . . Johnny is a natural freak - he was born a half man - and except that his body ends at the waist, he is as normal as you and I . . . . He is an excellent musician, well educated, a reader of best literature, and a fine looking chap.


And his brother is his double - except that he is fully formed.

It is on this that Tod is planning his scenario . . . . The brother will be a physician, who experiments with the phenomena of nature, and ends up with a terrific catastrophe for not minding his own business . . . . Probably you can figure it out for yourself.


"I tell you, Bob I've a real actor in Johnny Eck," Tod assured me.  "If it wasn't for his affliction, he could be made into a star . . . and at any rate, we may make enough for him so he can quit the sideshow life, which he abhors, and turn to his true love, which is music."


Article by Robert Grandon 1932, Publishers Syndicate.


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