Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ted Evans - The Tallest Man Alive

Ted Evans was born in Derbyshire, England in 1924. He never enjoyed an average size, rather he managed to live both in petite and gigantic extremes. At the age of 14, Evans was only 77 pounds. The lightweight teenager had the size and desire to be a jockey. But an athletic injury caused him to suddenly grow like a garden weed. According to Evans, the injury upset his glands in some manner.
Once the abnormal growth came to an end, Evans claimed to be an astounding 9 feet, 3 inches. Either he got a bit carried away when describing his height, or he had some confusion converting from the metric system. No giant has ever listed himself at a greater height. When Evans came to America in 1952 with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show, an agent for the circus only wanted to bill him as 8 feet, 11 inches. Most likely that was still a great exaggeration. The Guinness Book of World Records lists his actual height at 7 feet, 8 1/2 inches. Though Evans had gained extraordinary altitude, he maintained his thin frame. At his supposed 9 feet, 3 inches, he only weighed 392 pounds.
“The Tallest Man Alive” used his great size to help New York City promote its Spring clean-up drive in 1953. During a “Parade on Wheels” Evans clutched a 20-foot broom to help support the city’s slogan, “Keeping New York Clean is a Giant-Sized Job.” Evans was on loan from Ringling, but surely promoting the show as well.
Like many giants, he stood extraordinarily tall, but his years were short. Ted Evans passed away in 1958 at only 34.

Photo: Kobel Collection, courtesy of Bob Blackmar


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