photo by Alexander Laurence
TINY TIM: The Impotent Troubadour (1996)
I did an interview with Tiny Tim for CUPS Magazine a few months before he died. I drove out to Laughlin Nevada to meet him, and it was one of the most bizarre events in my life. He was playing in one of those retro sixties shows with some guys from Badfinger. We spoke for an hour in the casino office. Then we went up to this hotel room, and he gave me some orange juice. Many indie labels started releasing records by him.
by Alexander Laurence
Alexander: Very prolific of you with all these three CDs coming out at once: I
Love Me, Girl, and Prisoner of Love. What prompted this?
Tiny Tim: When it rains it pours. I Love Me was done in 1993. Steve Rubin
started it, God rest his soul. The Girl album was done in 1988 in Denton, Texas.
Prisoner of Love was done in 1994 and that's just coming out now. I've never
recorded a better one than this one.
You've had a low profile since the early ’70s?
TT: I've never retired from this business. I could not afford to. 1968 to
1969 were the great years. In 1970, the slump came. Success in the usual cases is
two years. After that the fickle public wants something new.
What was the secret of the success of your big hit, "Tiptoe Through the
TT: I thank Jesus Christ for his blessings. I prayed about it in 1954 when I
was thrown out in the media for my long hair and white makeup. Parents asked
me, "What's wrong with him?" and "What is going on here?"
What's this Tiny Tim thing all about?
TT: That's what Larry King asked when I was on his radio show. I didn't know
how to answer this question because the only thing I can tell you is that at
Loews Theater--I worked there in 1951--at the Christmas Party they have
employees sing for us. I sang a song called, "Never." I was uptight and I bombed out.
Right after Christmas something had to change.
You needed a way to stand out?
TT: Beautifully put. Something cried inside of me: change, change!! So in
1952, I decided that I was not good-looking and I didn't want cut this nose
because I was afraid of operations. So I took a challenge to try to make it with
this long nose. I must tell you that I always liked women, but they were not
that much attracted to me. I had to find two things: a career and what would
appeal to women. Certain women who fit into my princess dream world.
What sort of women are these?
TT: I'll give you an example: a woman who you know is Elizabeth Taylor. I met
her in 1947 and when she saw me there, her eyes popped out of her head. She
threw me a kiss from the cab. Some fellow said she likes anyone who makes her
eyes pop out of her head. That inspired me. I wanted to make it to her level. I
dream of a certain face that fits into my dream world and I had to have
something because of my looks. I started cleansing my skin eight times a day. I
used Pawns from Woolworths. Landers cream from Woolworths 25 cents.
That sounds kind of fruity.
TT: It's only fruity if you're fruity. I wanted my skin to be soft and
immaculate. Clean it, use astringent, night cream, eye cream, and if I can, a throat
cream. I wash my hair every day and haven't missed a shower since December
20, 1989. Cleanliness is next to godliness, but with women it was more so. I
wanted to appeal to women by cleansing and using cologne and light makeup. When
I made it with Tiptoe through the Tulips, the world was saying, "This guy is a
fag." It was worth it when one makes it. Originality is the key to success.
My main appeal as it is now: Jesus Christ comes first, romance comes second,
and show business comes later. I just saw two nice young girls come here. Just
to see that is heaven. They say: what a nice guy Tiny Tim! He signs so many
autographs. What they don't know is that I'm looking for one or two angels in
the crowd who might be the trophy winner in my dreams. Now I'm married to
Miss Sue and can't give any trophies out. She is 40-years old and I am nearing
65. The only thing with women is the Bible says I can't touch them until
marriage. Unfortunately, I'm no saint.
You've touched women outside marriage?
TT: Terrible, it was a sin of fornication. Every time that happens, I pray to
the Lord for forgiveness. I didn't say it was right because Masters and
Johnsons says it's normal.
How many trophies are we talking about?
TT: Thirteen trophies from 1963 to 1982. My first trophy came out to a girl
called Mrs. Snookie. I worked in New York in a club called The Page Three.
Police closed it because girls liked each other that went to that club.
So I wanted to appeal to women. First the high voice came. The high voice was
a miracle because at that time I sounded like everybody else.
Where'd the high voice come from?
TT: There was a feeling in the heart in 1952. I'd pray to Jesus "Oh lord, I
needed a change." It just came over me while singing Tony Bennett's 'Because of
you.' It sounded original. My father told me, "Stop that fairy voice. What
happened to your other voice?"
Looking at myself I didn't like short hair. I emulated a picture of
Valentino. It was not the long hair alone. It was the white face makeup with the long
hair. I wore the white face because it gave me a feeling of purity with
women. I see women as pure angels and it kept me in that facility with women. Tan
makeup made me feel too heavy in my soul whereas the white makeup was it. In
1954--high voice was there, the makeup was there and the long hair was there
and not just for show business. I wanted to find an eternal princess. Trying to
get jobs was difficult; going on the train with long hair and white face
makeup and cologne crowded customers would clear out as soon as I sat near
someone. They would get up and leave.
I notice you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
TT: In 1952, I found Jesus Christ. There was a touch where all of the sudden
I felt all my little worries. I mean I was so worried about the Dodgers. I
would cuss and swear when they lost one game and when I found Jesus Christ, the
most important thing was to get to heaven.
Will you get heaven?
TT: It's only up to him to judge. I can never make that judgment. I have to
work harder and harder all the time.
So you think the competition is thick to get to heaven?
TT: If we just sit here and think about anyone who ever lived, it would be so
uncountable. We'll see the great stars and singers of King Arthur's court.
Show business does not start with this time. I want to know who the stars were
then. I disagree with the Pope. I think there will be s-e-x in heaven or on new
Sex in heaven?
TT: Why do I believe there will be s-e-x in heaven? For the kids who died in
abortions, for the kids who died in their mothers' womb, for those who died in
wars, for the Mongoloids and the cripples. I believe they will have a taste
of it in the new world to come. In this world you can look at them but there's
always a line where you can not go further. For example I would love to go
with a 15-year-old girl if her parents said it was okay.
We could set you up with somebody.
TT: It's wrong for me to fool around because God says, "Thou shall not commit
fornication." There is an angry god right now. He is angry at man and woman
because so many people are divorcing and fooling around before marriage. Like
he almost destroyed the world with Noah. Look at what is happening today: the
unrest with Israel, England, and this thing with China.
These are the end times.
TT: Oh, the beginning of the end times.
Is the rapture approaching?
TT: Nobody knows when. It comes closer. However if the world goes on, we
ended the first half. If the world continues, we are finally going to meet
outer space aliens. Either from different galaxies or from another dimension
Are they related to Jesus Christ, the aliens? Was he an alien?
TT: Oh no, he was the son of God. But he may have created the aliens. I don't
Why do you think it will happen?
TT: You take Verne, Da Vinci, and Spielberg. In Da Vinci's time he sketched
wings for man. Verne did the submarine ahead of its time. Speilberg has his
vision of how they look -subconscious revelations of what aliens look like. As
for myself, I couldn't go in the army when I got drafted in 1951. They asked why
I wanted to go. I said it is a chance to go to the moon. They rejected me and
classified me as 4G which means if they bomb New York City we'll call you.
Now these things are coming true. I believe that 100 years from now they'll be
saying, 'how can you marry that creature from Mars or that creature from Saturn
or from wherever.' All these things will happen if the world goes on and
Christ doesn't come back. The question that will come up then is whether the
banishment to the Garden of Eden will only apply to earth or to the whole universe.
I think it will apply to the whole universe.
Will the aliens be subject to Christ?
TT: Yes, or they would have a God of their own. I believe personally it will
be the same God of Israel through Jesus Christ.
A lot of people see you as a novelty act. How do you see yourself?
TT: I'm the master of confusion. There is no explanation. As long as I please
him and walk with him, that's what counts. It is the same with the abortion
issue: abortion is absolutely wrong. The only time an abortion should be
allowed is if the mother's life is in danger. We could have been aborted, never
would have tasted pizza, never would tasted ice cream. The scripture says the body
is not your own. It is legal murder and that is why I am for Pat Buchanan. He
is the only one to stand up against abortion which is the murder of a life.
All the rest are prostituting themselves for the election. Number 2- Condoms in
Have you ever used a condom?
TT: Never did. Even to look at the thing. In the 1940s, those things were so
secretive. They'd hide them in the back of the store. I don't believe in
[the] rhythm [method] or birth control. That is why women have cancers, lumps, and
tumors because they wish to stop a flow the Lord does not wish to stop. That
is why Olivia Newton John had cancer. Birth control creates cancer. It is
causing a lack of the white race while poorer races who don't believe in it are
multiplying because the white man has decided to take it easy and wait until he
is 40. What is happening is all the dark races are multiplying while the white
man is diminishing. The quota is getting lopsided.
Overpopulation is the biggest false philosophy. Satan is a beautiful prince
that looks like Fabio. He is jealous of God. He goes to the United nations and
offers the false lie of overpopulation in China. I'm for life on every planet.
We can never be over populated: we can make a haven on the moon, a haven on
So Planned Parenthood is part of Satan?
TT: In my opinion, yes.
Are you sick of playing "Tiptoe Through the Tulips?"
TT: I never yield to the tiredness. Never bite the hand that feeds you.
How many Top 40 songs did you have?
TT: "Tiptoe" hit number 17 and that was the only one. It had such a furor in
1968. One disc jockey who went on strike didn't want to play it.
Why is that?
TT: He thought it was too odd. It blew his mind.
Another thing you're famous for is getting married on the "Tonight
TT: Miss Vicki. She was 17-years old and I was near 40.
How long did the marriage last?
TT: Four years.
Was she too young?
TT: Age does not matter. A person knows as much at 17 as they do at 47.
Whose idea was it to get married on TV?
TT: Mr. Carson's.
Why did you agree?
TT: I would smitten by her and I told the press. Carson asked me to marry
her on his show. It would make her mother happy and save the expenses.
How is your latest marriage going?
TT: I must also say that I am impotent. I discovered this in July 1994. It
happened like that maybe because blood diabetes or age. I told this to Ms. Sue and
press and even made a documentary record in England called, "Songs of the
Impotent Troubadour." The reason I made this album is to show that even if you're
impotent, you can still sing love songs. Miss Sue doesn't care that I can't
enter her. The album has sold a thousand copies in two years.