He was as soon as billed as the tallest man on earth by The Greatest Showman’s illustrious circus, was as soon as mentioned to be a bodyguard to Queen Victoria and has links to the Completely Wonderful TV account for theme tune.
„Captain“ George Auger was as soon as apparently 8ft 4in (2.5m) huge and it seems got his title from Queen Victoria who was as soon as mentioned to beget given him the nickname after he „safe“ her.
His career in showbiz apparently started unintentionally when he was as soon as offered a job by the illustrious Barnum and Bailey Circus – the point of interest of the hit Hugh Jackman movie blockbuster of 2017.
The story goes that Auger was as soon as approached by circus bosses after he modified into as a lot as see one in every of their touring reveals – and was as soon as the truth is taller than their ‚tallest man act‘.
After entertaining to the United States and becoming a mainstay in Barnum and Bailey’s „freak account for style“ circus, Auger was as soon as on the verge of breaking into the flicks when tragedy struck.
The day earlier than he was as soon as as a consequence of transfer to California for a $350-a-week role alongside Hollywood colossal Harold Lloyd in a movie, he died with out note outdated 40.
Such was as soon as his popularity in the US, a total bunch watched as his physique was as soon as lowered on a crane in a particularly made coffin from the second-floor window of his Unique York home because he couldn’t match down the steps – as his devoted bulldog Ringling looked on whining.
And there adopted a nationwide publicity advertising campaign to hunt down an alternative to his allotment in a movie that went on to wow critics.
A tale of an unknown Welsh hero
Here is now not a huge tale, slightly a tale a pair of enormous man – veritably known as the British Goliath, however mostly the ‚Cardiff huge‘ – one in every of Wales‘ unknown heroes.
„From the slums of Cardiff to the verge of Hollywood, via Queen Victoria and being a freak account for huge name of the sector’s most illustrious circus,“ mentioned colossal nephew Bob Osbourne.
„Then demise the day earlier than you embark on your movie career – it deserves a movie of its possess.“
George Auger was as soon as born between Christmas and Unique 365 days to mum Elizabeth and aged Navy Corporal and policeman father Henry in Cardiff in 1881 – now not named George, however William Henry Auger.
„His fogeys were standard dimension however George was as soon as a freak of nature and had gigantism,“ added Bob, who has researched his family and colossal uncle George’s „surreal“ tale.
After entertaining to London as a toddler, Auger lied about his age to get into the Royal Marine Gentle Infantry outdated correct 12. He presumably got away with it because he was as soon as already 5ft 8in (1.72m) huge. He lasted lower than a 365 days earlier than deserting.
He lied about his age but again just a few years later to be a part of Mountainous Western Railways in Paddington – claiming he was as soon as 19 when correct 15 – when he joined up as a policeman.
‚Captain‘ will get Royal Ascent
It was as soon as here that his ‚captain‘ denomination got here about – a collection he would undertake to his earnings in just a few years on the opposite aspect of the Atlantic.
He by no way held an legit captain despicable however the title is speculated to beget advance from Queen Victoria after he was as soon as assigned as her police escort whereas she travelled spherical London.
„He was as soon as picked up by Queen Victoria to be a non-public bodyguard,“ mentioned Bob. „His job was as soon as to stand there and glimpse huge and menacing.“
Successfully, the ‚captain‘ be conscious lasted longer than the job as he was as soon as pushed aside as a police officer after correct a 365 days in 1899.
Auger was as soon as simplest 17 when he started work as a doorman in London’s West Close and on the turn of the 20th Century, he had grown to 7ft 4in (2.23m) and was as soon as described as the second tallest man in the sector.
A immense soar into showbiz
His career in leisure tentatively started in a Christmas panto as, that you would be in a position to maybe beget got guessed it, an immense in Ealing Theatre’s 1900 edition of Puss in Boots.
Then got here his unintended immense destroy – when he went to a account for as a spectator and ended up becoming the headline act.
Articles from the day issue Auger went to a Barnum and Bailey Circus performance whereas they were on tour in London. After noticing he was as soon as taller than their tallest man act, the account for’s administration it seems impressed him to stir to The United States to be a part of the firm.
„He looked to now not correct be in the enticing residing on the enticing time however he capitalised on these alternatives,“ mentioned Bob, an artist whose grandmother Hilda was as soon as born 30 years after her very immense brother.
„What are the potentialities of Barnum coming over, seeing someone tower over everyone else, getting him on stage next to their very possess huge, sacking their very possess huge and telling him advance to Unique York and we are going to assemble you a huge name.
„It reveals slightly just a few bravery for a boy from a peasant family – and one who had presumably been pointed at in the streets and the butt of jokes – to the truth is make the leap and trail to Unique York.
„This was as soon as a serious stir in recently and he’d be leaving his outdated-fashioned lifestyles late because verbal replace was as soon as uncommon then.“
So, in March 1904 he and contemporary wife Elizabeth board the SS La Bretagne at Le Havre in France sure for Unique York.
His American dream
His arrival in The United States hit the headlines as The Unique York Cases described his wretched transatlantic hurry, the place he needed to plot his knees up under his chin to sleep in his six-foot berth.
The publication confirms he was as soon as as a consequence of seem in the Barnum and Bailey Circus account for that could perhaps maybe well open at Unique York Metropolis’s illustrious Madison Square Backyard later that month.
‚Captain George Auger, the Cardiff Huge, the tallest man on earth‘, screamed the billboards promoting the self-anointed and continually modest Greatest Point out on Earth.
By this time he was as soon as his paunchy 8ft 4in – in the event you noticed what you be taught from the time. To position that into context, he would beget needed to duck in latest residing rooms.
„He had dwarfs in his pocket and got as a lot as things which can be fully non-PC,“ mentioned Bob.
„He’ll be forgiven for attempting a silent lifestyles because he had a odd immense glimpse and of us on the avenue would beget pointed fingers at him however he transformed that loyal into a replace different.
„He was as soon as slightly entrepreneurial, he embraced his dimension and monetised it – the epitome of the American Dream I tell.“ mentioned Bob.
„He modified into a movie huge name in the US, he wasn’t correct huge however had huge name quality that gave him that allure. Folks used to pay for him to advance wait on spherical their home and beget images with their kids.
„He milked it and who can blame him? Having a see so varied and being a minute of a freak, I mediate he cherished being cherished.“
The money-making from his shameful dimension took a brand contemporary twist by 1907 when Auger had swapped the freak account for for his possess account for – though restful playing an immense.
Write the theme tune, allege the theme tune
Auger made himself the headline act in Jack the Huge Killer and performed ‚the tallest man on earth‘ – and correct to intensify his huge physique, he cast the ’smallest comic in the sector‘.
„The truth he authored a play and took it on tour suggested him away from correct being gawped at in a circus,“ mentioned Cardiff historian Ted Richards, who has been consuming about contemporary analysis into Auger’s lifestyles tale, which has uncovered contemporary particulars about his Cardiff origins and family.
„He chanced on a gap for himself and he done some invent of happiness.“
The 26-365 days-outdated-fashioned took his account for to Europe in 1908 – docking in Liverpool aboard the RMS Lusitania.
The actor modified into an American citizen in 1917 and was as soon as wait on in the circus a 365 days later with a brand contemporary nickname – the ‚Cardiff Colossus‘ .
‚Made the superb of what nature gave him‘
Auger was as soon as ready to swap the relentless touring of circus lifestyles for the glitz and glamour of the up-and-coming Hollywood scene in 1922 when tragedy struck.
He had been cast in a movie produced by Hal Roach, who crafted the Laurel and Hardy franchise, to very wide name alongside Hollywood royalty Harold Lloyd as the immense Colosso in Why Anguish?
But after a thanksgiving day meal at pals he was as soon as staying with, Auger died of severe indigestion.
His obituary described him as a good natured, likable 8ft 4in (2.5m) individual that lounged thru lifestyles attempting to assemble the superb of what nature had served him.
Auger’s physique wanted to be lowered in a particularly made coffin from the second floor window of the Giant apple home with an estimated 1,000 of us having a see on.
Auger’s funeral was as soon as attended by many showbiz pals and colleagues from the circus, alongside side Ringling, his exact and loyal bulldog.
„It a classic story of someone that appears to be like varied, finds happiness however the story ends in unhappiness,“ mentioned Bob.
„A freak born into abject poverty and residing in the slums, turns into bodyguard for the Queen, will get spotted by the biggest circus of all time, moves to Unique York, turns loyal into a movie huge name and will get a Hollywood destroy however dies of indigestion the day earlier than going.
„The story would now not need any embellishment, it is got it all. And he was as soon as simplest 40.“
So we are going to by no way know how immense the Cardiff huge could perhaps maybe well were.
„He could perhaps maybe well’ve gone on to be one in every of Wales‘ most consuming leisure exports,“ added Mr Richards, chairman of Roath Native History Society in Cardiff.
„Now we beget had some immense names that beget broken The United States love Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Tom Jones and Sir Anthony Hopkins – however he would were the biggest, actually.“
Completely Wonderful legacy
But the Auger connection with the stage didn’t pause there – as one in every of the family did assemble it to Hollywood as a showbiz huge name of his possess.
Auger’s mother and father destroy up when their first born son was as soon as about 12 – and pa Henry is believed to beget had 19 kids with three varied partners.
One of Auger’s younger brothers had a son in 1939 – Brian Auger, who went on to turn out to be an done musician in the 1960s, jamming with Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix and forming a band with Rod Stewart.
With Julie Driscoll, he had a success in 1968 with the Bob Dylan song This Wheel’s on Hearth, which later turn out to be one in every of primarily the most recognisable TV theme tunes of all time on the BBC comedy classic Completely Wonderful.