Move Over Mini Me: Midgets And Their Permanent Mark On Filipino Entertainment
The Philippines have long been having this fascination with midgets though not at that type wherein the local showbiz press is taunting at Mahal's love life one of the most famous dwarves in the local show business industry, there were shows and stars and a handful of midgets that glazed the silverscreen with their talens long before Mini Me or better yet Verne Troyer as he is known in real life became a franchise to various shows, commercials (Cadbury) and music videos (Crazy Town's Butterfly).
What I have here is not a profound or introspective sociological perspective at the pressence of midgets on movie and television what I have here is just a mere summary of midgets that as memory serves me been present in the entertainment medium that is television which has in one way or another raised me in the 80s and the early 90s. (Too bad there's so few of their photos in the net.)
If my memory serves me right he was the first 'love-team' partner of Mahal back then when she was still on Lunch Date (the show that replaced Eddie Elarde and Bobby Ledezma's Student Canteen) with Randy Santiago, Chicky Hollman-Yulo and Tony Rose Gaida. That was before Mahal's love life was something that is of a novelty. I can remember him wearing this sailor's hat when I saw him personally at a motorcade theatre tour for the movie In The Navy where he supported the then sweet as ever tandem of Lotlot & Monching.
She said to be only 15 at the time when Keno asked her of her age while she was in Lunch Date. There she played the role that is to be the antithesis of Aiza who was at the time the most bankable asset of Eat Bulaga. My cousin who once joined as a contestant on one of their contests fondly told me that Mahal when she handed his consolation prize money to him was only up until his waist and my cousin was only 11 years old at the time.
Noel "Unga" Ayala
Who could forget Ungga from the Istarzan parody of Edgar Rice Burough's Tarzan which starred comedian Joey De Leon. During the first Istarzan movie Noel was clothed in this midget ape suit where he graced the screen with his stupid grin jokes together with the late Rene Requestas. But during the ending of the movie he was shown to have removed the mask and later starred at the film as Ungga who together with Chitae would be the slapstick sidekicks of Istarzan.
The dwarf in Going Bananas
I've long been struggling to recall this guy's name but true enough if you were one of those who've watched Gong Bananas at the time he was this white skinned dwarf who has this patch of hair in his cheeks who was to serve as Whitney Tyson's husband during skits. He was famous for his role as the opportunistic perv on the show's parody of the Electrolux commercials where it features Jay Ilagan as a salesman who'd be singing the "i'm gonna knock on your door, ring on your bell..." routine where simultaneously before he could finish the word "bell" Monica Herrera or whoever that starlet is would open the door that he was previously knocking on and he'd accidentally press on the actress' breast, where all the while this midget was watching from a distance and he'd get the idea that if he'd be the one who's doing that he'd be led even lower to the girl's body, but
sad to say everytime he'll be doing the same routine of Jay Ilagan he'd always end up with
Johnny Delgado or Al Tantay opening the door for him and he'd accidentally press on the
Goliath of Takeshi's Castle
This dude was sort of a late comer a Johny come lately that was added to the mishmash of Anjo Illana and Smokey Manoloto who were at the time the hosts of Takeshi's Castle on IBC 13. He'd always be shown in his kimono weilding this sword and he'd always get his ass kicked by their boss Takeshi.
The last but not the least in fact the most significant, since he was the one that paved the way for those mention above to make their careers in Philippine showbiz. Said to have been 'pinaglihe' to Sto. Niño he stands at the most 4ft tall and starred on various local 70s James Bond ripoffs as Agent 00 star of the movie For Your Height Only. Where he is shown as this suave secret agent that has these various stupid high-tech gear. As the 80s weaned and as the decade came to close his career faded into obscurity. It was said that he had settled in the USA and have appeared even on Hollywood Squares. Though as a testament to his contribution to the art his film For Your Height Only is the very first Filipino film to be made into DVD format, and his persona featured on magazines such as Details and on various websites. It could be said that he was an importable commodity of the Philippines since he is looked upon as a serious actor in the States. He is also
subject to the fascination of counter-cultural guru Dino Ignacio of Bert Is Evil and Maritess VS. The Superfriends who dedicated a site for the short dude.
While there are also others who seemed to appear as though they fall under the same category as those above but are in fact in a different class themselves.
A very popular child star of the 70s, who was said to have been given anti-growth horomone drugs by his to dampen his growth (maybe they think that he could be imortalized as a child star much like Baby Herman, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) sad to say the speculated action resulted with Niño's career downfall during the early 80s where it would be ruled by his coursin Aga (who's career was in the first place launched by Niño) and his cohorts in the Bagets. He would every now and then resurface with a new girlfriend or wife or something.
This guy is quite short but I'm not quite sure if he's a dwarf but he is quite famous in his own right since he still has a career now where he'd sporadically appear in movies and television shows. He started out as the slapstick assistant of Mr. Shooly from the socially and politically oriented talkshow cum comedy Mongolian Barbecue.
Now don't get me wrong or anything this post in by no means intended to down the
above mentioned people nor do I have a bigot attitude to those who are born with dwarfism.
It was inteded as a reflective post since I remembered the time when such issues were just
plain fun and there were no controversies such as that of Mahal existent at the time and
how on my perspective I see Americans finding such humor funny nowadays which is evident
with Mini Me, that black guy who appeared on Me Myself & Irene and the midget Blink 182
parody on the Man Overboard video. I hope you find this post worthwhile.
For a detailed bio of Weng Weng - http://www.trashvideo.com.au/wengweng.htm
For a review of For Your Height only - http://www.capital.net/~phuston/WENG.HTML
For Dino Ignacio's Weng Weng Site - http://www.wengweng.com