Photos with John Aasen
BiographyMinneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Like Charles Chaplin's sidekick, Eric Campbell, Harold Lloyd needed his own giant when casting Why Worry? (1923) in 1922. Lloyd first had his eyes on George Auger (Cardiff Giant) who worked at Ringling Brothers sideshow as a giant. But Auger died before the film started and a search went out for a replacement. The producer Hal Roach heard of a shoemaker that was constructing a pair of shoes for a "Norwegian living in Minnesota", and his name was John Aasen. His mother was Kristi Danielsen (b. 1868) from Numedal in Norway. She emigrated to the US via Liverpool during spring of 1887. Read more... It is not 100% certain who Aasen's father was, but while working in Eggedal, Norway, Kristi Danielsen met the Swedish Nils Jansson Bokke who reached a prominent 244 cm in height. It had to have been "The clash of the Titans" when the couple met as Aasen's mother had her own merit with the height of 220cm. But the passenger list on board D/S "Rollo" listed Kristi Danielsen as single. Later that year Aasen was born and we can only speculate if his father was the Swede. Some sources lists him as 273 cm tall and with a weight of 251 kilos. Nearly 8 meters of material was needed to make him a suit. In other words; impressive! The annual Nummedalslagets yearbook of 1925 wrote: "Apparently the world's tallest human (in the civilized world) with a loving and sympathetic personality who always appears courteous and modest. In Harold Lloyd's film classic, Why Worry? (1923) , Aasen plays "Colosso". He is suffering from a toothache and stuck in jail with other prisoners of a revolution in Chile. Lloyd is Harold von Palham as the rich hypochondriac who ends up in the same prison as "Colosso" and cures him of his toothache. Forever grateful "Colosso" aids van Palham in his adventures as escapees from the prison. With a cannon on his back and bullets hanging from his neck, the pair becomes an unusual couple who create comic mayhem. The film became one of the largest box-office attractions of 1923. Aasen was a great success in his first film and appeared in several others, but not with the same impact. It is said he mastered Norwegian fluently and for many years performed as a "Sideshow" attraction for C.A. Wortham Shows. He died on the 1st August 1938 in Mendocino, California.