Tiny Tim: King for a Day
Directed by: Johan von Sydow
Croatia/Norway/Sweden/USA, 2020, 78m
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Tiny Tim was a reality-TV star decades before “reality TV” was invented. A lonely outcast, intoxicated by fame, he was queer in the most traditional sense of the word. As he said, “I feel like someone from Mars coming to Earth.” After a decade playing Times Square freakshows and Greenwich Village clubs, Tim exploded nationally in 1967 with a bizarre appearance on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, blowing kisses and singing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” in falsetto. In 1969, he and his 17-year-old darling Miss Vicki married on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show before a TV audience of 45 million (Beat that, Kardashians!). There were hopes that Tiny Tim would be a lasting star instead of a freak novelty act, but one man ruined that—Tiny Tim. Yeah, it’s a timeless story—music docs about someone’s incredible rise and inevitable fall are a dime a dozen—but King for a Day is different. It reveals Tiny Tim not only as a self-destructive oddball but also as a gender-bending pioneer and a music scholar with encyclopedic knowledge of pre-1930s songs, admired by Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Lady Gaga. With Tiny Tim’s diary read by Weird Al Yankovic, this is the rare music doc that reintroduces the world to a forgotten genius worthy of reappraisal. Let’s hope there’s a soundtrack album.