Birge's Picks

Birge's Picks: Tiny Tim, Big Star

Publicity photo from the 100th episode of the television program 'Rowans & Martin's Laugh-In' with guest stars are John Wayne and Tiny Tim. NBC Television/Wikimedia Commons

Check out John Birge's picks for this week

April 20, 2021

The Women’s Club of Minneapolis was looking forward to a special guest at their gala on September 28, 1996. Instead of the usual pianist or opera singer, it was Tiny Tim, who had become a cult celebrity since his peculiar early performances of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” in the 1960’s. His 1969 wedding on The Tonight Show was viewed by more than 40 million people. 

In Minneapolis, Tiny Tim told his wife he wasn’t feeling well that night, but he knew his fans were eager to hear his ukulele and trademark falsetto. In the middle of his tiptoeing finale, Tiny Tim collapsed of a heart attack and died hours later at HCMC. 

Today the music world remembers Tiny Tim with a new documentary, celebrating him as pop legend, gay icon, and pathbreaker for stars like David Bowie, Boy George, and Prince. Weird Al Yankovich narrates the documentary, which opens Friday in select theaters. See the trailer here, and for streaming this summer, watch this space.

Meanwhile, if you’re in Minneapolis, say hello to Tiny Tim at his grave in Lakeville Cemetery, and tiptoe to leave a tulip at his star on First Avenue.