Our cover picture will serve to introduce you to BOB BLAU of Houston, Texas .... 4301 Canal Street to be exact.
BOB is at present our most consistent Texas Reporter of Jugglery. His letter of December 22nd reports as follows: "Had a nice visit with Bobby May last week. He was featured with "Skating Vanities" - used clubs and balls, and some trick stuff with hat and cigar. Also a combination stunt of Juggling, balancing, and twirling. Closed with his famous "up side down" juggling - a really sensational act. From a fellow Juggler's standpoint, the real treat was to see him juggle seven balls in my living room with low ceiling 'n everything."
We've enjoyed the picture BOB sent and the only thing that we've been wondering about is the object in front of the clubs on the floor. It looks like it might be a tomato -- we don't say it is -- but if it is we're wondering if someone threw it (at BOB or if, later on in the act, he throws it at the audience. How about it, BOB?
Now the Christmas rush is over - the January rush begins - and then we expect the February rush and so it goes. But we did enjoy the many cards, photos, and bills that have come in. Speaking of cards - we particularly liked the photo Seasons Greetings picturing ERIC JOHNSON with HARRY LIND in a little Club work; The Merry Christmas from DOUG & LOLA COUDEN picturing DOUG, the Trailer and the Dog. TRUZZI's card from Florida made us slightly envious - here we are freezing and there TRUZZI is basking in the Florida sunshine. The envelope of ERIC's also appeals to us. He draws an Indian Club on the envelope and puts his address within the lines of the Club. LARRY WEEK's V-Mail cartoon of a Corporal juggling balls spelling out Merry Xmas.
HARRY FERRIER sends an interesting photo taken 30 years ago and a bill picturing his acts of Juggling and Magic as of today. HARRY has been juggling over 40 years and played with the famous Yip, Yip, Yaphank show of World War I.
ANDY THUMSER sends an interesting photo with a ball balanced on his head. In addition ANDY has added a sheet for our collection picturing "The Great English" Colored Hoop Roller. ANDY notes that he worked on the bill with this act at the Hargraves Opera House, Chester, Pa., 1910.
KARL CARTWRIGHT sheds some more light on the Colored Juggler problem. He says, "The first one I remember was with the Billy Kersard Colored Minstrels. I was a small boy at the time and don't remember his name, but he did a nice routine with balls, hats, cigars, and plates. Then there was Will Cook with the Black Patti Colored Musical Comedy Co., Albert Drew with A. G. Allen Colored Minstrels, who was also a wire walker. Arthur Prince with Huntington Colored Minstrels who featured clubs and hoops. Coy Herndon with Silas Greer from New Orleans Colored Musical Comedy. I consider him the best hoop roller I have seen. Purl Moppir, featuring hoops, and Willie Edwards, who was also a wire walker and animal trainer. Pee Wee Williams - comedy juggler and song and dance man. John Pamplin, who was with a number of the colored shows and also with Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Wild West show in the 1929 season. He worked in a Devil make-up, used clubs, balls, blocks, and finished his act by balancing a revolving table on his chin, table being on top of a Pole."
DICK WILLIAMS reports that BEN BERI appeared at Wichita, Kansas the latter part of December with the Harry Howard production, "Hooray for the Girls".
From Indianapolis, Indiana, WALLY BURNS reports meeting BELMONT BROS. and JUGGLING ELGINS.
TOM BREEN of Richmond Hill, New York, adds EDDIE ELLIS to the list of colored jugglers and says he is now working around Boston doing clubs and balls.
BERT HANSEN sends us an interesting page of pictures of TRIXIE, juggler on ice, which appeared in the March 1905 issue of "See". BERT had an interesting experience at Christmas time, playing the part of Barnaby, the Juggler in a play called "The Miracle of the Juggler" adapted from the French folk-play "The Juggler and Our Lady".
The holidays found plenty of Juggling going on all over the country. BOB DUPONT at the Beachcomber, Miami Beach; The THREE SWIFTS at Loew's State, New York; The SIX WILLYS at the Oriental, Chicago. The Department Stores all over the country had their quotas of clowns, jugglers and magicians. At the Famous-Barr Store, St. Louis, PAUL ZALLEE of Atterbury Bros. Circus entertained with comedy juggling. The VALLETS, acro-baton artists were at the Rio Cabana, Chicago. LEW HOFFMAN, juggler and hat manipulator doing pantomime at the Olympia, Miami.
In "The Family Circle" a house organ distributed by Safeway Food Stores, for January 5, ROBERT PILGRIM, who cartoons a page of Food Oddities under the title "Food for Thought" - cartoons a drum majorette with the following caption: "As we've always suspected, these big batons carried by drum majors once served another purpose. The hollow baton with the big hollow ball was used in early Europe as a container for wine with which the Drum Major refreshed the members of the band."
It has long been our contention that television will offer new and excellent fields for jugglers but no doubt standard acts will have to fit to the limitations of television until further perfection. With this field in mind it might be wise to keep in mind the type of juggling best adapted to video, and have such material ready for the break. Billboard for Jan. 6 has an interesting column entitled, "Vaude seen as Video Natural" that is well worth reading. Page 12 if you're curious.
The January issue of "The Linking Ring" continues the excellent article on "Jugglers Past & Present". We haven't been able to get extra copies so you'll just have to root a copy out for yourself - any of about 4000 magicians around the country can let you read their copy.
From CORONET for January 1945
Juggling with Fate
THE SCENE WAS CHINA in 1927. An American newspaperman, covering the Chinese Revolution, was captured by a gang of bandits and held for ransom. The deal moved slowly. The bandits became impatient and threatened the correspondent with death.
Suddenly the victim recalled that during his school days he had often put on a juggling act. Picking up some rubble from the ground, he astonished the brigands with his clever juggling feats. They were so fascinated and pleased by his performance that they permitted him to go free. The ingenious newsman returned to America, where today he is known as the dean of the news commentators. His name is Hans Von Kaltenborn.--IRVING JOHNSON