Saturday, 30 July 2011

LE PETOMANE – The Fartiste

Born in Marseilles, France in 1857 Joseph Pujol eventually became one of the most unique performers ever to grace a stage.

Legend has is that one day, while swimming, Pujol discovered his unique ability. As he took a deep breath before submerging, he felt water enter his rear. He soon discovered that, with abdominal control, he could deliberately suck water in through his anus and project it back out with great force. Further experimentation led him to discover that he could also do the same with air and, by varying pressures, he could produce distinct notes.
Pujol became the first flatulence musician. It was a skill that eventually made him the most well-known and highest paid entertainer in all of France.
Billed as ‘Le Pétomane’, Pujol began his career as a comedy act in 1887 at the age of 30. However, encouraged by success in his native Marseilles, Pujol began to take his ability seriously and within five years he was headlining the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
On stage, dressed in a fine red coat and black britches, Le Pétomane began each performance by explained to his audience that his emissions were odorless. After reassuring the masses, he would launch into his act. He would start with a comedy series of what he called ‘fart impressions’. He would emit a tiny toot, label it as the fart of a ‘new bride’, then flap a thunderous emission and label it as the same bride a week into the marriage. He did impressions of famous people, squeezed out a ten-second long squeaker, and then blew out candles using nothing by the gases emitted from his posterior.
For his finale Le Pétomane inserted a rubber tube into his anus, attached an ocarina to the end of the hose, and played popular tunes while inviting the audience to sing along.
He was a great success at the Moulin Rouge and eventually opened his own theater where he continued to perform until his popularity waned during WWI. He retired from show business in 1914 and in 1945 Joseph Pujol passed away at the age of eighty-eight.
Following his death, medical schools in Paris clamored to examine the late Le Pétomane’s famous anus. The family declined all inquires stating ‘there are some things in this life which simply must be treated with reverence.’

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Mademoiselle Gabrielle was a legless marvel from the early 1900’s. She was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1884 and began her exhibition career at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1900 as The Half-Woman.
Her first foray into show business proved quite successful as she soon traveled to America to work with the Dreamland Circus Side Show, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Furthermore, in 1912, Mademoiselle Gabrielle embarked on a short-lived vaudevillian career with New York’s Hammerstein Theater. She eventually broke her contract with the theater agent and was subsequently sued for breach. A four year court battle resulted in a $2000 fine paid to the theater agent. Few human marvels appeared on the vaudeville stage, the Hilton sisters did so several years later, but Mademoiselle Gabrielle was a special case. She was beautiful, charming, graceful and demure enough for the general public to accept her deformity objectively.
Mademoiselle Gabrielle possessed no legs and, according to a 1929 London Life article, she possessed no stumps whatsoever. Her torso finished just below the hip gracefully. Her figure was impressive and she accentuated her physical qualities and natural beauty with opulent Victorian garb and striking jewelry. Mademoiselle Gabrielle was independent and never complained of her condition. She firmly believed that she was ‘no less a woman’, despite being physically half of a woman.
Mademoiselle Gabrielle attracted men in droves and married at least three times during her lifetime. First she was married to a man with the surname of Hunter and lastly to a German gentleman. Due to these surname changes, her later history is difficult to trace and her eventual date of demise is currently unknown.