John Wagstaff – face contortionist

John Wagstaff as Popeye

John Wagstaff as Popeye in 1935.


John Wagstaff

From Life Magazine (Oct. 4, 1937) :


Enclosed find photos of a friend, Mr. John Wagstaff of this city, who has a face that he can readily screw into various positions and shapes. He does not use any artificial makeup or teeth removing. It’s just a natural face that he brought into the world. Mr. Wagstaff is a respected businessman of this city.

Jos. W. Stenger

Pasadena, CA.

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One thought on “John Wagstaff – face contortionist

  1. Fantastic discovery! I would like to know more about Mr Wagstaff for family reasons. My mother had an undated picture in her effects of Mr Wagstaff as “Popeye the Sailor” that was personally autographed to her. My siblings and I grew up with the understanding that “Mr Wagstaff”, whom she apparently knew from before she met our father, WAS Popeye and it was disheartening to learn later on that Pinto Colvig was actually the voice we heard in most of the early cartoon.

    I would appreciate the chance to learn more about John Wagstaff. Did he tour? Perform? etc.

    thank you.


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