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Franz Ebert

February 20, 2013

Franz Ebert (b. 1868?),
German born American actor and comedian
(photo: probably Pach, New York, early 1890s)

Franz Ebert, the leading comedian of “the Liliputians,” is the concentrated essence of humor. He is a delightfully quaint, droll little fellow, with a face that is comedy in itself. His method is simplicity and quietude. You do not find him sinking to burlesque; he never descends to gymnastics. He accomplishes all his effects with a look, sometimes helped out with an intonation. He possesses a marvellous smile. That nature gave him; but he gained through art a walk which tells more than a ten-minute soliloquy. Franz Ebert, who was born in the Fürstenwalde, a suburb of Berlin, about thirty years ago, is one of eight children, of which family he is the only dwarfish member. He came to this country with the Liliputians in 1890 and appeared for the first time at Niblo’s Garden, New York, on September 15 of that year. It was the intention of the company to play for six months in the United States, but so great has been their success that they have remained her four years.’
(Marwell Hall, editor, Gallery of Players from The Illustrated American, Lorillard Spencer, New York, September 1894, p.42)

Franz Ebert
(photo: Pach, New York, early 1890s)

‘SMALLEST MAN ON EARTH.
‘Frantz [sic] Ebert, the Liliputian Actor, Has Just Been Naturalized.
‘The tiniest native of Germany has just renounced his allegiance to the Kaiser and taken out his naturalization papers as a citizen of the United States. He is the smallest American gentleman on earth, and his name is Franz Ebeling, comedian and man of the world, better known by his stage name, Franz Ebert, of the “Liliputians.” This diminutive person stands just 3 feet 6 inches high and is 31 years old. Little Ebert had an amusing experience when he appeared before the clerk of the naturalization bureau of the supreme court in New York the other day. He was introduced to the clerk by a friend, who stood more than 6 feet high. The clerk at once said: “We don’t naturalize children here. You had better bring the boy back when he is nine or ten years older.” The clerk apologized for his mistake when Ebert’s big friend explained who he was. The little comedian signed his name with a flourish. He was anxious to have is papers, he said, because his troupe was about to sail for Europe, and he desired to be able to call himself an American.’
(The Massillon Independent, Massillon, Ohio, 5 October 1899, p.2a)

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