Tiny Tim

During his proverbial 15 minutes of fame in the late '60s, Tiny Tim was one of the most bizarre spectacles on television: a heavy, six-foot-tall man with long, unkempt ringlets of hair, an enormous nose, and a garish plaid wardrobe; warbling the old-time pop standard "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" in a quavering, shockingly high falsetto while accompanying himself on the ukulele. Pegged as strictly a novelty act, Tim actually possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of vintage American pop and vaudeville songs; he was an avid collector of 78 rpm records and sheet music, and often scoured the New York Public Library's musical archives for material. And, although he was best-known for his falsetto, Tim was also a creditable baritone crooner in the pre-Bing Crosby mold, which allowed him to sing duets with himself. Tiny Tim's initial novelty wore off with the public after a couple of years, but he was so genuinely, guilelessly eccentric that he was never really forgotten, remaining something of a pop-culture icon for decades to come.