The first time I ever saw a mime was in that wonderful movie, Children of Paradise, which a more sophisticated friend introduced me to when I was 19. Baptiste, the mime in the movie, is first seen on stage, saving the heroine, who was in his audience, from disgrace by showing the crowd that the real pickpocket, a mustachioed villain, has escaped.
The character of Baptiste is based on a real star of the French boulevards in the 1840s, Jean-Gaspard Debureau, pictured here. (He was actually Czech.) He was also the inspiration of Marcel Marceau (real name Marcel Mangel: he was Jewish and survived the Holocaust era by complete integration into France), who introduced mime to the world.
That turned out to be a mistake. Why? Because there are mimes wherever you turn now.