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November 6, 2014 | Categories: news

This striking, sepia-toned photograph of popular sideshow attraction George Karlavagn dates back to approximately 1895 and was produced at the Obermuller and Kern studio of the Bowery (who were famous for their many portraits of freaks, western stars, and glamorous prostitutes.) Not much is known about Karlavagn’s early life beyond an obvious affection for brilliantine and his patronage of Professor Samuel O’Reilly, but it appears his later years were largely spent in hotel management/ownership. Judging from some of the newspaper stories we’ve unearthed, he seems to have remained a close friend of the theatrical community for the remainder of his life.

From the June 22nd, 1923 VAUDEVILLE NEWS.
“KARLAVAGN IS O.K.
The time to find out who is the artist’s friend is when he is in trouble, writes A.P. Happy Benway. Paul and Georgia Hall, he continues, got into a slight automobile accident in Philadelphia last week while driving from Chicago to New York. They were taken to the police station. George Karlavagn, owner of the Hotel Karlavagn in Philadelphia, was called and in 15 minutes Mr. and Mrs. Hall were released and on their way to New York. Karlavagn is for the actor all the time.”

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