Clarence Dale – “The Boy with the Big Head” – Sideshow act in early 1900’s.

Clarence Dale – The Boy with the Big Head

A featured performer for many years on the sideshow and vaudeville circuit in the early 1900’s.

At one time he was managed by Sigmund Neuberger on Wikipedia (The Great Lafayette) after having shared a bill together.


Lindsey Birdseye, aka Clarence Dale, was born in Texas around 1882, and was first exhibited in 1890 by a manager named Davis as a 6-year-old at The Fifth Avenue Museum in Pittsburgh. Examined by doctors, his case was supposedly not hydrocephaly, as: “the skull is healthy and hard as other skulls are. The boy is intelligent, has a most pleasant appearance, and converses on most any subject, and is a musician of skill, playing well on a number of instruments.” ( Pittsburgh Dispatch, October 5, 1890)………………..Clarence was also managed early in his career by soon-to-be world famous magician and illusionist “The Great Lafayette,” who met him as they both played dime museums. On April 12, 1891 Clarence’s life was saved by Lafayette along with the albino Zola Lorenzo, the Fat Woman Mme. Carver and her son the midget General Willis Carver when a huge fire broke out in Chicago’s Kohl & Middleton Museum………………….Sadly, the last we hear of Clarence is in October 1900 when he is taken from a “gypsy camp” in Waverly, NJ to Elizabeth Hospital in NY. We are told he is now 18 years old, and that he had lost the use his limbs when he was 16 and they were now ossified. Six months earlier he had lost his sight: “A succession of fits he had on Monday night scared his gypsy custodians, and they took him to the hospital. He has only one sister living in Burlington, Iowa. If he recovers he will be sent to his sister. His mother has deserted him.” It is unknown whether Clarence ever recovered

Jim R. Moore


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