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Samuel Gumpertz, King of The Coney Island Sideshow: An Illustrated Lecture with Douglas Gray
Morbid Anatomy Museum
Brooklyn, NY
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Samuel Gumpertz, King of The Coney Island Sideshow: An Illustrated Lecture with Douglas Gray
Date: Monday, October 24th
Time: 7pm
Admission: $8
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY

Samuel Gumpertz, fondly remembered today as King of the Sideshow, wore many hats during his three decades in Coney Island. He ran numerous sideshows, managed the magnificent Dreamland Park, operated Coney's largest bathhouse (Parkway Baths), owned the bizarre Eden Musee Wax Museum and Chamber of Horrors, and ended his career in Coney with the Dreamland Circus Sideshow.

Gumpertz was famous for bringing unusual performers to his "Congress of Curious People and Living Curiosities," which opened on Surf Avenue in 1911 and ran for three decades. He also included anthropological curiosities: a band of Bantoc tribesmen, the Wild Man of Borneo, Ubangi "Platter-Lipped" women,  Zip the "What Is It?" and Lionel, the Dog-Faced Boy.  Perhaps his greatest attraction was the half-scale Lilliputian Village at Dreamland populated by hundreds of midgets who lived in their own tiny community.

After Coney Island, Gumpertz managed the circus operations for longtime- friend John Ringling. Gumpertz was eventually was given control of the all the Ringling Brothers circuses by the feuding Ringling family members.

Douglas Gray, tonight's speaker, is part of the Gumpertz family. His grandmother, Ruth Rosenblatt was a Gumpertz and, due to a some minor family inbreeding, his first cousins were also Gumpertz's. As everything in his family is "need to know," it should not have come as a surprise to him when, at age sixty, he first heard of his only other relative in "Show Business," Samuel W. Gumpertz.

BIOGRAPHY: For over forty years Douglas Grey has worked in every aspect of the performing arts including Broadway, off Broadway, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, national and world tours with John Houseman's Acting Company, Twyla Tharp Dance, New York City Opera, American Ballet Theatre, Bill T Jones, and many, many others.  With Cloud 9 productions, Douglas produced the three longest-running shows in Pacific Northwest theatre history. As head of Entertainment for Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America, he brought onboard the Blue Man Group, a Speigeltent, Twyla Tharp, a Second City Comedy Club and Tony 'n Tina's Wedding and BB King's Blues Clubs. Douglas has hosted radio programs for Public Radio and the CBC and served as founding editor for the Manhattan Plaza News. Currently Douglas is supervising a grant to upgrade twenty NYC school auditoria and dance studios.


Morbid Anatomy Museum (View)
424 A Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
United States




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