| It appears Paul began his career in showbusiness as an armless wonder playing the violin. Born in 1876, he lived in various places in Atascosa Co.,Texas. Perhaps in an effort to earn money during the off-season, Paul became a justice of the peace in the County seat of Jourdanton and for this reason he became known as "Judge" Desmuke.
Apparently Paul even had a brief career in the motion picture industry. The IMDB notes that a "Peter Dismuki" worked as the stunt double for (presumably) Lon Chaney who played an armless man in the 1927 Tod Browning silent film "The Unknown".
The same Peter Dismuki appeared the following year in the film "The Sideshow" as, you guessed it, "the armless man." Also in the film was Mexican born actor and circus knife thrower Esteban "Steve" Clemente who appeared in some 60 films, 10 throwing knives.
Steve, who claimed he was once Pancho Villa's personal bodyguard, reportedly taught Lon Chaney how to throw knives with his feet in two months. But I'm thinking he actually taught Paul and that it was Paul's feet that were used in the close-ups.
Paul was with the 101 Ranch wild west shows in 1931 when the organization went bankrupt. When the 400 workers found out they weren't going to get paid Paul, along with the others, refused to leave the lot, preventing the show from tearing down and returning to Oklahoma.
Paul then took his new-found talent and appeared at the Century of Progress Expo in Chicago in 1933-34 with Ripley's Odditorium, throwing knives at his trustful wife, Miss Mae Dixon whom he married in 1926. According to Andrea Dinnett in her book "Weird and Wonderful" the two were married "in a Barnumesque public wedding ceremony at Ripley's museum in Boston in 1934 but this must have been for publicity.
Paul passed away in 1949 in Atascosa Co., Texas.
|In another scene from "The Unknown"|
|Lon Chaney in a publicity still for the 1927 silent film "The Unknown". He played the role of "Alonzo" the armless man and in order to be convincing, reportedly learned to throw knives, fire a long arm, play cards, eat, smoke and drink with his feet. (In the 1920 film "The Penalty" he played a legless man) His only "talkie" was the 1930 remake of "The Unholy Three" where he reprised his role as Professor Echo, the ventriloquist. Also along to do the remake was the famous midget man Harry Earles as Tweedledee. Harry would later again work with director Tod Browning as the star of the 1932 now classic film "Freaks"|
|The postcard on the right was based on the photo above. The guy on the pedestal was "Ossified Harry" who, because of a medical condition, was completely immobile.|