1935 – Heavy Women Smoking Cigarettes – Vaudeville Act Takes A Break

The “Tiny Rosebuds” Take A Break From Rehearsing

Heavy Girls Smoking May 11 1935

We’ll let the slug from this unusual news photograph describe the scene:

A Half-Ton of Terpsichore

An act which is liable to bring down the house, (with a crash), is the Tiny Rosebuds, at present rehearsing in New York for a Buffalo appearance. Membership in the troupe is restricted to young ladies weighing at least 200 pounds. Here is the troupe relaxing after a light (heavy) workout. Left to right, are: Nick Elliott, instructor: Hieni Joyce, wgt. 215: Bobbie Diamond, Captain, wgt. 210: Fannie De Belis, wgt. 201: Tiny Sinclair, wgt. 240: and Dorothy Baer, wgt. 230.

Credit Line (Acme) 5-11-1935

The headline uses the word Terpsichore, who in Greek mythology was the muse of dancing and choral singing.

So what sort of an act were the Tiny Rosebuds?

Miss Bobbie Diamond the leader of the Rosebuds, lamented in a May 1935 interview with Raphael Avellar of the New York World-Telegram, how hard it was to pick the right women for the group.

“My Tiny Rosebuds don’t have to be too good looking, just passable. But they have to have the weight and you’d be surprised at the number of girls of 170 or so who try and pass for 200. It’s hard, I tell you, to get a first-class girl, because lots of them who have the weight haven’t got it in the right places. I mean it isn’t on the legs and thighs, where it counts. As I say, as long as they are passable and know a little rhythm, they’ll make good Rosebuds, providing they’ve got the heft. Right now I’m kind of looking for one to sing, too.”

The Tiny Rosebuds had started out as part of legendary showman Billy Rose’s “Small Time Cavalcade,” and would do one number per show. But up in Buffalo, the Tiny Rosebuds would have three new members in their troupe, replacing three that had recently quit. They needed lots of rehearsing because they were going to be doing three numbers each show instead of just one.

Miss Diamond explained, “The first number is a tiller. That means lots of kicking; not very high kicking. The girls are dressed up in beautiful organdie with lots and lots of ruffles. It makes them look even fatter than they are around the waist but doesn’t hide their legs and thighs. Then we do a classical dance in ballet costume. The last is a kewpie number. We wear Shirley Temple dresses for that one.”

According to Miss Diamond the girls always got a big hand, but many in the audience made the mistake that they were a funny act.

“We’re a novelty act , that’s what we are,” she said firmly. “I’m trying to get away from the freak show business. I want all my girls to be around the same size and not look like freaks.”

Miss Diamond told of how fifteen years earlier, in 1920, she weighed 120 pounds and was in the line in burlesque. Becoming butterballish, she found herself out of a chorine’s job until several years ago when she joined a troupe similar to the Rosebuds.

The World-Telegram writer Avellar noted that Diamond was “redheaded and thirtyish, and she retained despite her corpulence, an attractive face.”

Miss Diamond did her bit in the line with her Rosebuds and even has a “little specialty.”

“Believe it or not,” she said, “I do a couple of splits and a cartwheel.”

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