A Little about Little

I love watching midgets. Ever since I was a kid I loved watching midgets. You know, with four wheels. Four wheel racing was and still is very popular in Indiana, my birth state.

We had a tiny little track in my home town and it was usually stock-car racing and of course the night always ended with the Big Figure Eight race. A large group of race fans are there to see crashes. Just thinking about running a bunch of junkers around a figure-eight track and your mind’s eye sees the smashed, smoking piles of metal and the fist-shaking angry drivers.

But when the midgets came to town the race seats sold out early. Many of the Indy 500 drivers loved driving the midgets.
Here in Bakersfield we have a great clay track and the midgets race twice a year. I never miss watching the midgets.

I loved watching midget-wrestling. It was HUGE in the ‘50s and ‘60s. We had a big burly World Champion wrestler from our Indiana home-town, Dick the Bruiser.Dick the Bruiser  Indiana loved him. He drew thousands of spectators at big arenas. The opening acts were always midget wrestlers.

When I was in my early ‘20s, my band played weekends in a sleazy bar in Indiana. It had a big long bar-room and a separate large room with booths, tables, dance floor and the bandstand. The only lighting in the room was “black-light.”  True.
People were so ugly in black-light. All false teeth, shown when smiling, were black. I did like the fact we could see through ladies polyester blouses.
The long bar was tended by two brothers…both midgets.

You see, the term midget, now considered derogatory, was the term used for a person whose stature was proportionate dwarfism. At some point in their early life they stopped growing  and stayed proportionately correct for their size.

This sleazy bar I played music in had two midgets that tended bar. They had a mysterious form of proportionate dwarfism. As each kid reached 12 years old, they stopped aging. True. When I knew them they were in their ‘30s. But patrons saw two 12-year-old kids behind the bar, both smoking cigars and cussing like nobody you ever heard before. True. I found them enjoyable, but I stayed in the other room looking through ladies blouses. True.

According to Webster’s, the word was first used in 1816. The word was then used by Harriet Beecher Stowe in two of her novels in the mid-19th century. Then in that same time period, 1850-1870, P.T. Barnum introduced his famous midgets in his circus…Commodore Nutt, Lavinia Warren and the famous General Tom Thumb.Tom Thumb
They were given fantasy military titles, elevated to high society, introduced to kings and queens and showered with gifts.


So I’ll stop using the term which some “little-people” find derogatory. I understand.

I’m still going to watch the midgets race, though. True.

About bakoheat

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One Response to A Little about Little

  1. Robert D. Levinson says:

    The clay track must be the Bakersfield Speedway. Dalers (Oildale folk) flocked to see the down & dirty carnage every Friday. Have you written anything about the history of Oildale? Off the subject, there’s a book by Joseph Doktor (sp?) called “Shotguns on Sunday” about the turn of the century killing of the last of the outlaws ( Jim McKinney). He was blasted in a downtown joss house where Chinatown existed, but not before taking out the first two Kern County sheriffs killed in the line of duty. Historical perspective of life at the turn of the century.
    Wish I still had the book, K.C. downtown library had it. Let me know if you find it, when you get the time.

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