Our cover pictures George W. Russell of 1002 South M. Street, Richmond, Indiana - another "old-timer" and juggling fan.
His letter to us of January 13th contains a wealth of interesting facts and will serve to further introduce him.
"I can remember along about 1889 or 1890 with the King & Francis Circus, there appeared a Juggler who handled plates, knives, and balls. He also juggled two balls, passing each one through a small cylinder each time. That is where my younger brother and I acquired the idea that we used many times. The writer has performed in Vaude, night clubs, minstrels and circuses and well as clubs and schools.
"A few "remember whens" - In 1892 the Barnum and Bailey Circus had a juggler who handled three full size beer kegs and caught each one by the edge. He also handled three old fashioned water pitchers and caught each one by the handle. I have since witnessed the following feats, Enrico Rastelli juggled eight plates, Paul Nichols juggled seven hoops, Frank LeDent juggled nine balls. The Ringling B & B Shows had a 5 people troupe where three of them juggled 5 Indian Clubs at once - also a return act with lighted torches.
"I have seen Paul Conchas, a heavy-weight juggler, Alexander Schaeffer, Kara, Salerno, Allaire and Lind, Derenda, and Breen, Juggling Normans, Juggling Johnson, Walter Beemer and Co., Juggling Mathiew, Oyav and Delmo, and many others.
"My home town is the home of the late Edgar Geyer, Juggler, Acrobat, and Rolling Globe artist. I met recently, Edward Doyle, Drum Major and Juggler. From latest reports, Allie Young and Edw. Everhart are still living in Columbus, Ohio.
"About the year 1900 there appeared O. H. Kurtz, a very clever juggler. He appeared in Western make-up.
"Shakespeare once wrote: "Things in motion create more interest than that which not stirs".
"Jules Verne, - famous French author, gave a very interesting account of Oriental Jugglers in his book, "Around the World in 80 Days".
"Edna Ferber in "Show Boat" writes about the famous Agoust Family in their novel Juggling act, the scenes of which were in a restaurant with two waiters and two patrons. She also mentioned the late Cinquevalli.
"John Zimmer, years ago, performed a four ball feat I have witnessed just once. He juggled four balls, then tossed one high in the air, juggled three regular routine while the one was going up and coming down, then joined the ball with the three again making the regular four ball routine."
A Juggler In The Stix by Doug Couden
John Alexander and Couden juggling
Del Rio, Texas.
When in the Tucson Ariz. area recently, met John Alexander after a lapse of 10 years. Snap shot taken by Lola shows John and I juggling clubs. Alexander is the only 1-legged juggler (*) I know of and with the recent March of Dimes some info on John is in order as he lost his leg due to infantile paralysis. He is not much handicapped as he can do almost anything a normal person can do, however, he is entitled to a big hand for continuing his active interest in Juggling. We had some pleasant visits with him and his family and enjoyed seeing him do various juggling tricks. The Alexanders caught our show and John must have liked my stuff with racket and balls (a la Wilfred DuBois) because the next time I saw him he had picked up some of our routine. He works for the Tucson Recreation Department as Secretary in the office, located in the Armory. So if any of you Juggler Guys are in Tucson, drop in and see him. He is also Secty. of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and gave me an Honorary Membership Card. This, he said, will make me Ambassador at Large for that organization as well as for the Juggling. John was a pro for a time, attended the Univ. of Arizona. He is also a ventriloquist and slight-of-hander, drives his own car, which he has equipped for 1-legged driving, and can rattle off a swell letter on the typewriter. For you letter writing fans, his address is 920 E. 7th St., in the Old Pueblo.
(*) Leonard Labon is another 1-legged juggler. Known 30 years ago as team "Labon & Vetch". Lost limb in 1920 but continued to do amazing Juggling. ROGER
Another juggler we met several months ago after a "Long-Time-No-See" is Bert Hansen, Berkeley, Calif. Bert, although a business man, is a semi-pro and does occasional acts of Juggling, ventriloquism and magic professionally around the San Francisco Bay area. He gets more pleasures out of his various activities than anyone I ever met. He has received the U.S.O Award for doing 100 free acts for service men, is an officer in the Oakland Magic Circle, a Circus fan, collects small show advertising and to top it off he has one of the finest collections of Juggling Act reviews in the country. He writes reviews himself and also has others from other sources on old time vaudeville acts. Bert does quite a variety of Juggling and has numerous props. Did not get a snap show when there but he says in recent letter he'll get a new 8x10 of himself and "Oscar" - vent dummy. If you have any small show advertising or old juggling act reviews he would appreciate them. Address 1644 Oxford, Berkeley, California.
When this appears in print Lola and I will be in San Antonio. Name of several jugglers: Gus Kiralfo who is 80 and still juggles and who will get the works in next issue; Ed Dewees. President of I.B.M. there, M. S. Mehendra, who wrote the juggling article for the Liking Ring recently, and Danny Dreeben, tosser and juggling enthusiast. Some nice letters from San Antonio and will enjoy meeting them.
Interesting letters from other jugglers; Norbert Provost, Howard, R.I., recently married and both working on shows of their own. Bob Blau, Houston, Tex. had jam session with Bobby May when there with Skating Vanities. Jim Conway, Los Angeles, may join a circus this season. Joe Nerbonne, Brockton, Mass. finished High School and may be in the service now. When we were in Brockton he took movies of my short club routine and picked up some tricks that way. An ingenious lad. George Bragg, I see by Misc. Routes in The Billboard is playing week stands with his family show in S.C. Remember lads, my mail address is 1860 El Sereno Ave., Pasadena 3, Calif.
A little too late to make the Ricton Issue, but highly appreciated is Bert Hansen's listing of tricks Ricton used in his act.
a. 3 balls in shower over right shoulder - 3 over left - 3 over both 3 on forehead, one at a time 3 in one hand
b. Hold 4 balls in right hand, put hand behind back and toss over shoulder to go into 4 ball routine.
c. Hold 5 balls in one hand, put hand behind back, toss 5 over shoulder and immediately go into 5 routine - 5 in shower, reverse shower, and reverse again.
d. 6 balls - 3 in shower in each hand, 6 in shower
e. 7 balls - cross
f. 8 balls - 4 in shower in each hand
a. 3 in shower - passing each behind back, 3 routine catching each on nose in quick balance.
b. 4 plates in shower
c. 5 plates
a. 3 billiard cues balanced on chin triangle fashion - shake head - top one falls on nose where it is balanced, other two caught in hands.
b. Hat from toe to nose balance.
c. Big chair balance on foot, toss to chin and balance.
d. 3 hat routine.
e. 3 spools or cigar boxes
f. Ostrich feather blown through tube and caught on nose.
g. Big hoop on high pole blanced on chin. Toss balls in hoop and make ball loop-the-loop.
h. Apples on fork - also catching on fork in mouth from audience.
i. Cigarette paper balance on nose - newspaper balance on nose.
j. 7 cigar boxes.
k. Comedy cannon balls.
l. Box and Bottle trick.
m. Juggle 3 handkerchiefs.
The above will give you an idea of the reviews Bert has on file. If you like the idea and would like to have a regular feature of such articles, why not drop Bert a line.... address in Doug's column.
Our Italian correspondent - Chad Steward, reports seeing Jean-Jean, boy juggler. A tube on a table, a board on the tube, and Jean-Jean balanced on the board, 3 spinning plates in mouth holder and juggling three balls. Caps act with juggling of three burning clubs.
A letter from Bobby May from Oklahoma City gave us the dope that he would be there for a few days with the Skating Vanities. We hopped an early train and caught the show and better yet, had a swell chat (till 3 or 4 in the morning). You'll have to see the juggling to really appreciate it and when he does come you way, don't fail to look up Bobby and Emily May - Emily might even rig up a swell sandwich and beer as she so kindly did for us. Bobby has a swell collection of pictures and bills back home, which he promises to share with Bulletin readers at some future date. Tom Breen sends us a swell picture of the act ..... The Elgins - which we'll reproduce in a future Bulletin.
Tom Redway sends us a swell poem -- "Just A Juggler" by Bert Wiggins, written years ago, which we think you'll get a kick out of.
A swell letter from Eddie Sheelar who has combined gun spinning with a McCaw bird to make a neat opening.