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Watch an Armless, Legless Man Light a Cigarette

Prince Randian, a top-billed sideshow performer, did everything with his lips alone.

 

Prince Randian was born without limbs in British Guyana in 1871. Propelled to stardom under P.T. Barnum, he built a comfortable life for himself, his wife, and their four children by making a living as a circus performer.

Randian was billed variously as “The Snake Man”, “The Human Worm,” “The Human Caterpillar,” or “The Living Torso” when appearing in sideshows. He wowed audiences simply by performing the everyday tasks he learned to do out of necessity, such as shaving, painting, and writing. In this short clip from 1932’s Freaks, which featured many real sideshow performers, Randian performs one of his most famous acts: rolling and lighting a cigarette with only the use of his mouth.

Aside from his dexterous talents, Randian was pretty witty. At the end of this brief clip, during which a clown has been rambling on about his new act to Randian, “The Human Caterpillar” offers, “Can you do anything about your eyebrows?!”

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