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Midgets Conquer Tough Luck (1937)

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

No Sound on Film | 1937

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  •  One of the troupe performers not pictured in this newsreel is Austin native Clarence Swensen. He was hired by the All-Midget Circus to work with elephants and play saxophone and drums with a band. Like many of his colleagues, he went on to play a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz (1939). After World War II, Swensen joined the staff of the University of Texas at Austin as an electronic technician. He died on February 25, 2009, in Pflugerville at the age of 91. 
  •  Washing car windows 
  •  Serving drinks at a buffet 
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"Rain ‘washes out' a midget circus, stranding the little people a long way from home. Some of them find odd jobs in town when the sheriff sells their show, working in taverns or wiping windshields at service stations." [From original Universal Newsreel content sheet] Despite this very brief description from the original content sheet, TAMI has learned that this was Stanley Graham's World Famous International Midgets Circus, which folded in San Antonio in early June 1937 due to heavy rains. Many of the performers remained in San Antonio working odd jobs until some of them headed west to Hollywood in order to perform as munchkins in The Wizard of Oz (1939).