Rare color footage has been found of the World’s Tallest Man.
Robert Wadlow (1918-1940) stood 8 feet 11 inches and weighed 491 pounds.
Home movie footage that was thought lost for decades has now reemerged and appears to have been taken during one of Wadlow’s personal appearances in the late 1930s.
Robert Wadlow’s hyperactive pituitary gland fueled his extraordinary growth
Wadlow broke the record for world’s tallest man when he reached 8ft 4in 1937
Robert went on tour with the Ringling Brothers Circus and drew large crowds
Wadlow was the oldest of five children. Here’s Wadlow on his 17th birthday with his two younger brothers
Robert Wadlow, at 2.80m tall in Illinois With his brothers and sisters in 1936
Robert would often pose for pictures with people during personal appearances. His nickname was ‘Skycraper’
Homes, public spaces, and general household items weren’t exactly equipped for a man of his height, and he often had to make adjustments to be able to perform simple tasks
Born on February 22, 1918, Robert Pershing Wadlow was born at 8lb 7oz and from there began to grow exceptionally fast and exceptionally tall.
By his first birthday, he was 45 pounds, and 3 feet, 3.5 inches tall. At his eighth birthday, he had exceeded his father’s height of 5 feet, 11 inches. At 13, he became the world’s tallest Boy Scout, at 7 feet, 4 inches and by the time he graduated high school, he was 8 feet, 4 inches tall according to Guinness World Records.
Robert was diagnosed with hyperplasia of the pituitary gland which caused him to grow rapidly due to an abnormally high level of human growth hormones in his body.
Despite his size, Robert’s parents tried to make his life as normal as possible. At school a special desk was made for him and as the oldest of his four brothers and sisters, he was expected to play take part in the same activities they did according to AllThatsInteresting.com.
He suffered from weakness and lack of sensation in his legs and feet and needed braces and a cane to walk
Robert is pictured here at the age 17 of with his mother and brother in 1935
On one occasion he traveled by plane from New York from St. Louis to appear on a radio program. To accommodate his big frame, a row of seats had to be removed to make leg room
Wadlow was a quiet and mild-mannered young man, which led to him be called a ‘gentle giant.’ He enjoyed photography and playing guitar — until his hands grew too large to do either
One man had fun poking fun at Robert’s height using a telescope to reach him
Because of his extreme height he suffered from a lack of feeling in his legs and feet but opted never to use a wheelchair instead preferring to walk on his own.
In 1936, Ringling Brothers spotted Robert and recruited him for their traveling circus. Hie presence drew a huge crowd, turning him into quite a celebrity.
A couple of years later, in 1938, the International Shoe Company contacted him, offering him a job and becoming the face of the brand. He received all of his specially-made, size 37AA shoes free of charge according Mashable.
When he wasn’t taking part in circuses or travelling the world promoting shoes, Robert lived a quiet life. Friends and family describe him as a ‘gentle giant.’
Day-to-day life to Robert wasn’t easy with houses, public spaces, and everyday household items which were not designed for a man of his height.
Robert was 7 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 290 pounds at the age of 13. He is shown here with his father, Harold and brother, Eugene, 9
At the age of 19, Robert was 5ft 7in tall and made his 5ft 11in father look small
Robert is seen cutting his birthday cake as he celebrated his 21st birthday
Little Jan Hoover had to use her opera glasses to look up to the tallest man in the world
Pearl Tolson, standing on the shoulders of another poppy girl, pins a poppy on the lapel of Robert Wadlow who had the distinction of being the tallest man in the world
In order to walk properly, special braces had to be fitted to his legs – however because he had very little feeling in his legs he was unaware that the braces were rubbing against his ankle.
In 1940, a blister formed that became infected, causing doctors to resort to a blood transfusion and emergency surgery.
Unfortunately, his great height also left him with a weakened immune system, and he eventually succumbed to the infection.
On July 15, 1940, Robert Wadlow died in his sleep. His body was laid to rest in a casket measuring 10 feet, 9 inches, and weighing 1,000 pounds.
A life-size bronze statue of him stands in his hometown of Alton, Illinois, while three others stand in Guinness Museums around North America with several wax models of him in Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museums for people stand alongside and pose next to him.
Robert is shown at age 13 with his father, Harold. His father was 5ft 11in while he was 7ft 4in
Nineteen year old Robert Wadlow of Alton, Illinois, chatting with a friend after appearing at a charity event, Omaha, Nebraska in 1937. He was eight feet, seven inches tall at the time.
As a young man, Wadlow’s custom-made clothes required three times the amount of cloth. Here’s Wadlow being measured for a suit jacket for his 8-foot-3-inch stature
You know what they say about men with big feet? Big shoes!