Media item

Kruger and Ward

Film from the AFI/Zouary (Maurice) Collection of the Library of Congress.


Opening title introduces "Kruger and Ward, the tall and short of it." The camera iris opens on a stage with a painted backdrop of a canyon and waterfall. Two clowns walk across the stage: a dwarf with a fake bald pate dressed in evening clothes and a top hat, and a tall, thin clown dressed as a woman. The dwarf follows the "woman" with a handkerchief, trying to get her attention, as the woman circles and appears to be looking for something on the ground. She finally notices her little suitor, but responds by kicking him down and then giggling. Undaunted, the dwarf gets back up, motions to the tall woman to bend down, and whispers in her ear. She giggles again and the two flirt.

Cont.: Film cuts to the same stage and backdrop, now with a hanging trapeze bar and two rings. Onto the stage walks the tall clown, now dressed in a sleeveless shirt and satiny, ruffled bloomers to mid-calf with tights. Following him is the dwarf, no longer in facepaint or wearing the fake pate. The clown mounts the bar and assumes a contortionist position that demonstrates his limberness by apparently folding his torso in half: anchored by his ankles, he sits up so that he looks at the camera with his head over the bar and his arms beneath it and through his legs. From that position, the clown lifts the dwarf off the ground with a rope which the small acrobat grasps in his teeth. As he hangs by his mouth, the dwarf sheds his tuxedo to reveal a satiny sleeveless shirt and pants to the knee with tights. The camera pans down to follow him as he releases the mouth grip and gestures to the camera. Cuts to a closeup of the dwarf, now shirtless, from the back as he contorts and perhaps dislocates his shoulders. He turns around and continues contorting and flexing his upper muscles.

Cont.: Cuts to the clown jumping on a table placed center stage. He lays on his back with his legs in the air, then brings his legs down behind him and to the side as he sits up with his upper torso. He returns to a normal sitting position facing the camera, and then assumes a variety of pretzel-like positions with his legs. Cuts to a similar shot of the stage with hanging rings but no table. With a boost from the clown, the dwarf hangs from the rings and performs a series of flips that force his apparently dislocated shoulders behind his torso. Again from the hanging position, he then rotates and dislocates his shoulders one by one, and repeats the actions several times. Cuts to the dwarf helped on to the hanging bar, from which he swings by the back of his neck only. Cuts to the clown mounting the bar, hanging by one arm as he wraps his legs around his middle torso, and rotating the arm so that his contorted body spins. The clown then hangs from the bar with both hands and wraps his legs around his body so that his feet are behind his head. In that position, he rotates his body through his legs and up and over his shoulders. The clown briefly sits on the dwarf's shoulders and spreads his arms in a gesture for the camera.

Probably filmed ca. 1918-19 in Chicago.

No copyright registration or production and distribution information could be found for an act under this name, but the film appears to be an uncopyrighted Spanuth's original vod-a-vil movie given the similarities in title graphics and camera technique to identified Spanuths.

See also the entry for this film on the Library of Congress American Memory website

Commonwealth Pictures Corp.; Spanuth, Hans A. (producer)
Publication date:
31 December 1918


Kruger and Ward (performers)
Original format:
Library of Congress