Michael's Reviews > Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women

Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women by Ricky Jay
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's review
Sep 16, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: greatjewishwriters
Read in March, 2010

The best story in this great, invaluable collection of magic, carnival and curiosity stories is the one about Johnny Eck, a man with just a torso for a body who was featured in Tod Browning's cult movie Freaks. Eck's identical twin brother was recruited by a magician to be the chosen member of the audience to undergo the classic sawed-in-half-in-a-box trick. Unbeknownst to the audience, the twin was substituted onstage with a "man" comprise of Eck and a dwarf who wore a pair of pants from head to toe. Pretending to be the twin, Eck and the dwarf departed the stage appearing as a whole person, but in the process of returning to the proper seat separated and ran around the room like a chicken with its head cut off. Shouts, fainting, and rushes toward the exit ensued en masse. The prank was so shocking it was never performed again.
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