Extinct Americana: Hubert's Museum

From 1925 to 1968, Hubert's Museum sat on 42nd street in Times Square. It offered exhibits of taxidermied exotic animals and gaffed cryptids in a series of cases encompassing the perimeter, but the real action was to be found on the stage, where live performances were constantly going on.

Zip The Pinhead performed here in the 1920's, when Coney Island wasn't in season. There was also Andy Potatochips the Russian Midget, The Headless Woman in a Box, Sealo the Seal Boy, Congo the Jungle Creep, Susie the Elephant Skin Girl, Eddie the Jewish Giant, and Prince Randian the Caterpillar Man. Many of these folks also appeared in Tod Browning's Freaks and Diane Arbus' famous photographs of Hubert's performers. It was also home to the last Flea Circus to be found in America, located in the museum's basement and experienced in groups of six people per show for an additional charge.

The museum closed in 1968 due to poor attendance and the changing neighborhood. It was replaced by a peep show.

It took awhile to find, but hubertsfreaks.com is worth your time. It seems to exist to market a book, but there are some great photos, as well as audio recordings of the "talker" out in front of the museum describing the acts inside, with all the idiomatic embellishments you'd expect.

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