“St. Dennistoun Mortuary” Coin-Operated Automaton, attributed to Leonard Lee, c. 1900, the mahogany cabinet and glazed viewing area displays a Greek Revival mortuary building with double doors and grieving mourners out front, when a coin is inserted, doors open and the room is lighted revealing four morticians and four poor souls on embalming tables, the morticians move as if busily at work on their grisly task and mourners standing outside bob their heads as if sobbing in grief, ht. 30 1/2, wd. 24, dp. 17 1/4 in.
From the Harry Earles File: Harry Earles (1902-1985) and his sisters, Gracie, Daisy and Tiny (all pictured here) were part of the “The Doll Family,” a multitalented family of dwarf entertainers. Harry, of course, starred (along with Daisy) in Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932). Like so many of the stars of Freaks and the film’s director, Tod Browning, Harry’s subsequent film career didn’t fare so well. He was one of the heads of the Lollipop Guild in The Wizard of Oz. After that, his film career was over. But Harry and his sisters cleaned up in the circus world and bought a lavish joint in Florida, where they all retired in comfort.