While researching old news, I stumbled across this story of economic hardship and the ever-changing employment market from 1917:
“There’s nothing in professional gianting any more, states R. E. Madson of Norfolk, Neb. , a 20-year-old youth who stands 7-1/2 feet in his stockings…”There isn’t enough money in the circus business any more to attract a real big man,” said young Madson. “There’s no reason why a man who is a few inches, or a foot or two over the scale, should not use his brains and live like a man and not a freak. I don’t find it hard to do.”
There’s a certain amount of naivete in Madson’s quote, and not just because he’s promoting his movie in North Dakota. Here’s Ralph Madsen a couple years later:
The movie that Ralph Madsen was promoting in ND in 1917 doesn’t show up in his IMDB listing, but Madsen did have other plans to use his intellect and skills. Madsen was an expert in livestock raising and veterinary care, and being a skilled rancher seemed to be his goal in life. Based on the picture above and others, young Mr. Madsen apparently discovered that you can take a giant out of the circus, but you won’t ever completely get the circus out of the giant.