Mihaly “Michu” Meszaros, who has died aged 76, was a circus performer better known as “Michu, the smallest man in the world”.
Standing at just 33 inches tall, Michu first appeared with the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1973 and was billed as “seven inches shorter than P T Barnum’s Tom Thumb”. This was a reference to the great American circus showman Phineas Taylor Barnum, who, some 136 years earlier, had introduced the midget Charles Stratton (“General Tom Thumb”) to the circus-going public. The Barnum and Bailey Circus later merged with the Ringling Brothers and by the 1970s it was run by the father and son impresarios, Irvin and Kenneth Feld.
Michu was indeed shorter than “General Tom Thumb” but he was not shorter than the 25 inches that Tom Thumb had stood at when he first toured with Barnum. By the end of his life, Barnum’s smallest man had grown an additional 15 inches, and it was at this height that the Felds compared him to Michu, using the traditional showman’s licence.
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