Al and Jenny Tomaini: a strange but happy couple (5 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
2 March 2024

It is believed that opposites attract. But the couple must also have common points of contact for a harmonious relationship. These people were very different, which did not bother them at all, despite the sidelong glances and gossip.

Al (Aurelio) Tomaini was born in 1912 in New Jersey, one of seven children. By the age of twelve, he had outgrown his father, who was a strong man and his height exceeded 185 centimeters. Al’s pituitary gland functions were increased, and as a result, the young man’s height exceeded 2.10 meters. To make a career, Al lied a little, adding more centimeters to himself, and called himself “The Tallest Man in the World.”

No one seemed to mind Al's sugarcoating, mostly because he was an incredibly sincere and sweet guy. He was shy, gentle and sweet inside and out - from the top of his huge head to the soles of his giant boots. During one performance in 1936, one special girl took a special interest in the gentle giant with a shy smile.

Her name was Jennie (Beernice Evelyn Smith) and she was born on August 23, 1916 in Bluefton, Indiana, with crooked arms and no legs. The girl's height was just over 60 centimeters, but by character Jenny was a giant in her own unique way. The girl took part in the show from the age of three and was known for her acrobatic agility and the agility with which she ran on her deformed arms. Since 1931, Jenny was under the strict care of her adoptive mother.

A pretty but resilient 19-year-old girl endured psychological abuse with little hope of salvation, but when a romance broke out between her and Al Tomaini, she literally found a giant protector who saved her from any danger forever.

The unlikely couple eloped from a fair in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 8, 1936, and were married by a justice of the peace that same day. The couple honeymooned in Niagara Falls and continued to tour together for decades as "The World's Strangest Married Couple." During the off-season they settled in Gibsonton, Florida. It was there that these two wonderful people built a home and a life together.

Gibsonton was known for having unusual people. Many circus performers retired or wintered there, and some still live there. Al and Jenny bought a piece of land along the river and built a cabin and fishing camp there, known as "Giant's Camp", as evidenced by one of Al's huge cowboy boots nailed to a nearby road sign.

Al and his wife raised two adopted daughters in Gibsonton. Using their savings and income from the camp, they bought and donated an ambulance to the city. Al was the world's tallest fire department cook and President of the Chamber of Commerce. The former artist even helped build a public building. All this time the couple was inseparable. Al could often be seen with his beautiful half-girlfriend, half-woman, whom he held on his shoulder or carried in his arms.

Inspired by this love, Al lived longer than most pituitary giants. He probably suffered a lot of physical pain, but didn't show it. However, in the end, his time also came, and he left his beloved in 1962 at the age of 50.

Jenny continued to live without her giant husband. She never married and continued to manage the camp until her death on August 10, 1999. She was buried on the anniversary of Al's death.

The Tomaini family still resides in Gibsonton. Their great-grandson, Alex Zander Marrow, continues the circus legacy by performing professionally in the circus. He was once the youngest sword swallower in the world, and his grandmother, Tomaini's adopted daughter Judy, built him his first bed out of nails.

True love knows no boundaries, barriers or obstacles. Or he just doesn't notice them...

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