Great Jugglers of the Past
Enrico Rastelli film, 800451 bytes, 698 frames, 160x120.
Enrico Rastelli, 1896-1931, is often cited as the greatest juggler who
ever lived. This is the only film of him known to exist, made in 1929
at the La Scala Theater in Berlin, Germany. It includes
juggling 4 sticks, juggling 6 plates while spinning a ring on his leg
and skipping a rope turned by two assistants, jumping rope with a
soccer ball bouncing on his head, soccer ball head rolls, brief
juggling of 5 and then 4 large balls, and bouncing 2 balls on his head.
Original film transferred to VHS video, then made into QuickTime on a
Mac, and converted to MPEG with Sparkle, Version 2.0.2.
Bobby May, 5 balls, 259345 bytes, 267 frames, 160x120.
Bobby May was long known as America's greatest juggler. This is the 5
ball routine from the film of his act in 1933 at the La Scala Theater in
Berlin, Germany. It starts with a force bounce that is brought up into
a high cascade, followed by throws under both legs, a half-shower, a
half-shower with shoulder throws, and a full shower. The balls are
then dropped to the floor from the full shower and 4 are caught in his
hat after a bounce. The last ball bounces from his forehead to his
neck, rolled down his back, and is caught in his hat held between his
legs as he somersaults forward.
Bobby May, 4 clubs, 342754 bytes, 202 frames, 160x120.
Bobby May performed this brief 4 club routine for a fan's movie camera,
starting with a series of 4 clubs dropped to his foot and kicked back
into the 4 club pattern, changing to a 4 club half shower, moving to
synchronous throws and 4 club splits, and finishing with a high throw
caught behind his back. But that's not all. Bobby did this entire
routine with a fifth club balanced, base down, on his forehead.
Francis Brunn, impossible trick, 704855 bytes, 219 frames, 160x120.
This is a segment of an appearance by Francis Brunn on the Jack Benny
television show in 1961, and shows what I often describe to others as
an utterly impossible trick. Francis holds 2 large balls in his left
hand, which do nothing except to demonstrate that his left hand is not
used. He holds a large ball in his right hand, and kicks another large
ball from his foot to his forehead. He spins the ball in his right
hand on his finger, and then drops the ball on his forehead to the back
of his neck as he bends forward. He then straightens up, dropping the
ball on his neck down his back. Just before it reaches the ground, he
kicks it with his heel, causing it to fly back up over his head in
front of him. As it descends, he catches it perfectly, on top of the
other ball, still spinning on his finger! Note that this is not done
with editing, or by giving him many chances until he got it. This is
one of the tricks Brunn performed in his act, in front of live
audiences, every night.
Francis Brunn, combination trick, 1376233 bytes, 407 frames, 160x120.
This is Francis Brunn's famous combination trick, also from his
appearance on the Jack Benny show. Standing on his left leg, Francis
spins 2 large rings on his right leg, and 2 more on his right arm, as
he spins a large ball on his right forefinger. A smaller ball is
perched on top of a stick held in his mouth, while another ball sits on
a stick balanced on his forehead. At the same time, Francis juggles 3
rings effortlessly in his left hand. Though often copied by many, this
trick has never been duplicated completely by anyone with Brunn's
excellent style and showmanship.
Great Jugglers of the Past /
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