Man Eats Light Bulbs (And Other Delicacies) – 1939

Harold B. Funston Demonstrates An Unusual Talent For Tolerating Pain

Harold B Funston eats light bulbs 1939

New York City– Harold B. Funston, accounting machine mechanic of Columbus, Ohio brought to New York for an appearance on a radio program, eats glass from a light bulb in a demonstration of his unique hobby — that of emulating the mysteries of the East Indian Fakirs. Credit line (Acme) 2/21/39

The radio program mentioned above was a CBS show, “Dave Elman’s Hobby Lobby.” In rehearsals, Funston amazed Elman, Radio Guide reporter Martin Lewis and the studio audience by chewing up and swallowing six razor blades, which he downed with a glass of water.  He then proceeded to eat some light bulbs.

Funston puts red hot soldering iron on tongue 1939 watermarkedFilm footage exists of Funston eating razor blades; putting fire in his mouth; and laying on a bed of spiked nails as another man sits on him. He also extinguishes a lit cigarette with his tongue.

Here is another image (unfortunately watermarked) of Funston applying a red hot soldering iron to his tongue.

According to a genealogy web site Harold Funston was born in 1900 or 1905 and died in January 1950, not surprisingly, in a magic trick gone wrong. No details are provided.

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5 thoughts on “Man Eats Light Bulbs (And Other Delicacies) – 1939

    1. SBM

      I just saw your post. I can provide limited information. He was a performer for many years as is noted above. After that career, I believe he started selling insurance but my mom could confirm for you. My mom knew him well, told me my whole life he was a very kind and good person. I have a little bit about him and his family on my page. I also have some old family photos of him. Please email me at for pics or information.

  1. SBM

    Jack Funston was a friend of our family’s. He did not die in a magic trick – he committed suicide in Covington, KY by asphyxiation.

    Very sad.


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