A new documentary, Tiny Tim: King for a Day, will examine the life story of the eccentric falsetto-voiced ukulele strummer who had an unexpected novelty hit in 1968 with his rendition of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” The film will be released to theaters on April 23rd.
One of Tiny Tim’s biggest fans, “Weird Al” Yankovic, narrates the late Dr. Demento favorite’s diary entries and letters. Tim’s widow, Miss Sue, comedian and activist Wavy Gravy, TV producer George Schlatter, and others, also contributed interviews for the doc. The film also features archival footage of Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, and D.A. Pennebaker discussing Tiny Tim’s career.
A two-minute trailer for the film shows Tim, whose real name was Herbert Khaury, singing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Then commentators, in voice-over, talk about how Tim seemed like “a homeless guy who wandered into the club” and speculation that he’d been “dropped here” from some other place. Yankovic reads one of Tim’s writings: “I am the hottest talent in the whole country.” There’s even a quick shot of Tim’s Rolling Stone cover. Then the clip shows his downfall, as he attempts to keep his career momentum going up until his 1996 death, when he suffered a heart attack onstage. The film uses archival footage, animation, and interviews to retell his story.
In a 1968 interview with Rolling Stone, Tiny Tim lamented never having the money while growing up to see the Dodgers. “I never had the money,” he said, “and I don’t really have the money now, either. It’s all going to pay expenses. Do you realize it cost me $80 for cosmetics? My, what an awful lot of money that is!”