BOBBY MAY..."ACE OF CLUBS"
Skating Vanities of 1945 - Oakland, California - January 28, 1945
ENTIRE ACT PRESENTED BY MAY ON ROLLER SKATES
Three club routine, including continuous throw-backs with both hands, spinning each alternate one on top of head, balancing each alternate one on chin, kick-up of single club. Closed club routine with four club juggle.
All routines above done while skating around Arena.
Cigarette thrown over shoulder to match catch, same with match, cigarette lit from match and smoked.
Three ball routine with controlled bounces, "exceptionally fine" off rhythm work, head roll with single ball, etc.
Single hat manipulation ... then lighted cigar placed on hat held in hand, thrown into air, cigar caught in mouth and hat caught on brim in balance on cigar. Hat kicked from foot and caught in balance on cigar while skating.
Headstand on raised prop while juggling and bouncing three balls to music.
At close juggled five electrically lit balls, spun hoop on one leg and large ball on his head simultaneously. All props are electrically lit in varied colors and trick is done in Black Out.
Boulevard Room - Stevens Hotel - Chicago from The Billboard 6/23/45
Bobby May did remarkable headstand, ball-and-bat audience gasping in surprise frequently. But when he tossed a cigarette in his mouth, lit a match, threw it in the air and lit his cigarette by catching and balancing the match on it, his routine was at its peak.
Bobby May, veteran vaudeville trooper, can juggle five tennis balls while standing upside-down on a headrest. He flips them onto a drum and catches them on the rebound. In this picture, May has flipped three balls and is about to flip two more in his left hand. - L. S. Willis, Philadelphia PA
Shootin' the Breeze with Roger
The BULLETIN OFFICE was honored by the visit of DOUG and LOLA COUDEN this past month. That might be the formal way of saying we finally got together with Ambassador Doug. To say we're honored is putting it mildly when you consider that they traveled through the "wilderness of Oklahoma" for 14O miles to say hello (and wish us well). We tried to get some pictures but the day was cloudy and they didn't come out very well.
Among the things discussed were ways of beating more guys into subscribing to the Bulletin and Doug presents his solution in his column. The meeting was all too short and we can but hope that we'll meet again at the first Juggler's Convention - if not before.
We've received three letters from Cpl. LARRY WEEKS of "This is the Army" fame, each one chock full of interesting news and information. Larry has just completed a tour of the Philippines and his previous itinerary reads like a tour of the world. His latest address is Cpl. Larry Weeks, "This is the Army Det.", A.P.O. 707, c/o Postmaster, San.Francisco, California.
In his letter of May 23, he says, "We have just concluded a six weeks tour of the Philippines - playing four of the islands. Spent a great deal of time visiting Manila and found quite a few jugs there. Both LESLIE and BUSTER RAY, of Circusdom's Ray Family - were around with a Special Service Outfit. They both do a variety of different acts, including clowning - juggling - magic - dancing - acro - comedy - and vent. Leslie does a foot-juggling act for which he uses a 40 pound G.I. garbage barrel, and concludes this act with a routine involving the center pole of a standard Army tent with both ends ablaze. My friend VAL SETZ now with the Joe E. Brown U.S.O. Unit and they're now in the Philippines. Two Manila girl foot jugglers are cousins and although they work separately, they both do exactly the same act. YIA MAY and ESTRELLA LLINA are their names. Their routine consists of Jap parasol manipulation followed by the inevitable Barber Pole Routine. The parasol work is extremely effective and I have never seen so many moves done with the feet in handling a prop of this type." More from Larry next month.
GEORGE DEMOTT sends in some interesting programs and some rare posters of the late Rosani. George further reports that Otto Greibling of Peru, Indicina, producing clown with Cole Bros. Circus, is doing some Juggling bits. 'Rube Simmonds of Boston, Mass. who is an old time Juggler, is also clowning with the show but no Juggling. Two more Jugglers may be found in the Side Show, a young Mexican juggler, who closes his act with the greatest high silk hat routine with 3 hats I have ever seen - featuring bouncing hats on head. There is also an old Chinaman doing a fine juggling and balancing act and featuring top spinning." George also sends in additions to the list of magazine articles we printed in Bulletin 7, (and which we'll print in a future Bulletin.)
BERT HANSEN says - "Recently saw a good presentation of "Devil Sticks" by a member of Chinese Troupe with Arthur Bros. Circus. Another member of troupe did swinging bowls of water - one bowl of water fastened to each end of about a ten foot cord. Raymond Wilbert and his troupe playing the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco."
BOBBY MAY and EMILY home for a spell before Skating Vanities open again September 1. STAN KAVANAGH, "somewhere in India". DARMODY, old time club Jug. and Gun SPINNER, now 85 years old, living in Waburn, Mass.
A Juggler in the Stix by Doug Couden
Stratford, Okla. Joined Standley Players, week stand tent repertoire show. On way up stopped off at Gainesville, Texas, home of Community Circus. Visited A. Morton Smith, Shows Director and announcer.
>From his collection can add the following to list of books on Juggling. "Star Turns" by A. H. Kober, The Macmillan Co., N.Y., 1929. This has a fine chapter on Rastelli. If you read it I am sure you will agree with the writer that this Juggler did the most difficult routines of any Juggler past or present; "Circus Parade" by John S. Clarke, Chas. Schribners, 1936, with ifo on Kara and Rastelli, also photos of Trixie taken a few years ago, "Circus Life and Circus Celebrities" by Thomas Frost, London, 1875, contains numerous references to Jugglers.
On to Tulsa to see our Editor. After visits with Roger, I am firmly convinced that the Publication of the Juggler's Bulletin could not be in better hands. Although Roger does not have the wide background of Professional Juggling that some of our readers have, he has other qualifications which more than make up for this. He is 27, an Electrical Engineer, graduate of Oklahoma A&M College. He is now experimenting with black light which is right up his alley. This angle should help put Juggling in the top brackets of Novelty Acts and it is easy to visualize the possibilities. Imagine, for instance, the effect of the numerous 3-ball tricks with the performer invisible. Roger is Foreman of the Wait Mfg. Co. Although now rushed with war-work this plant is equipped to turn out almost anything in wood or metal juggling props.
The owner, Logan Wait, active in local show activities, is wholeheartedly behind the idea. When the War business slacks off more time will be devoted to supplying the needs of Jugglers. As for subscribers, so far there are too few to make the Bulletin self-sustaining. An idea to increase the list is for each reader to influence another to subscribe. There are enough amateur and pro Jugglers in this country to put the Bulletin on a sound financial basis if most of then would subscribe. Roger is not complaining. I am just stating the situation as I see it after talking to him. Any ideas?
Here's one for the book. A 3-legged Juggler! We've mentioned 1-legged Jugglers but why stop there? Frank Lentini, Circus and Side Show Freak, this season with Cetlin & Wilson Carnival, did juggling on the wire when he had his own circus in Cuba years ago. A Free ticket to the World's Fair if you can top this one!
Bob "Front Page" Blau inquires about foil paper for decorating clubs. Guess Harry Lind still has some. His address is 66 No. Hanford Ave., Jamestown, N.Y. Last reports Harry was behind on Club orders. Which reminds me - have an idea for a light weight, inexpensive, practice Club. Anyone have a shop to experiment on this.
Toe Taylor, Boston English H.S. Senior reports taking lessons from Frank Alvarez.
Notice in the Final Curtain of The Billboard of the death of August Goodman, 77, former heavyweight Juggler.
Snap shots in from Bert Hansen and Hugh Shepley. Bert saw Truzzi again, this with Pollock Bros. Circus. Bert pipes, "He certainly sells juggling." Ricton mentions Drawee and Rapoli, marvelous Jugglers of 40 to 50 years ago. Ken Spencer, Minneapolis piffawmah who recently made us a swell ventriloquial figure, writes about his 16 1/2 seasons on various tenters. He calls them "Reptile Shows" - "Physic Operas" - "Mud Shows" etc. He's reformed now, just makes Vent dummies, plays fairs and does a 1-man show in theaters and halls. Address is 1860 El Sereno Avenue, Pasadena 3, California.
"Hair on the Jest" -
Here Is the beginning of the collection of gags and comedy situations adapted to Juggling. At first glance you might safely say that they'd make Joe Miller turn over twice -- or at least scratch his back -- but, every gag listed is a sure-fire laugh-getter if used at the right time, at the right place, and with the proper pointing and timing.
To Norbert Provost a thousand thanks for a full page of swell gags and comedy ... we just looked up the definition of comedy in Esar's Comic Dictionary - COMEDY.... A serious business. So down to serious business. Here Is Norbert's collection:
"Juggler juggles 3 balls, then does 2 balls in one hand for a few seconds, he then announces in a very loud and dramatic voice, "the same trick, one foot" - at the same time lifting one foot a little ways off the floor without bending the knee.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the next trick I'm about to do is absolutely impossible."
"I've Performed this trick all over the country, (pause) yes, I've even done it in the city a few times."
"Imagine getting paid for this."
"Well, it's a living. "
"I do get Paid for- this, really I get paid weekly, (pause) very weakly."
'Well, it's better than selling apples on (---) Street, isn't it?" Inject local color in this gag by using the name of some well known local street.
'Silly, isn't it?"
While juggling clubs, balls or plates Juggler says, "How do ya stop these things?"
When a Juggler gets a hand in the middle of a trick he says, "I'll bet when I first came out, you all thought I was going to be lousy."
Gag for turn using a partner. "My partner is really a clever girl, really, why you should see some of her other tricks, for example, she can bend over backward and pick up a handkerchief with her teeth, and I might add for an encore, she bends back again, and, ahem ..... picks up her teeth."
Milking for applause - "Applause makes some Jugglers nervous, but it doesn't bother me a bit."
We just looked up the definition of Comedian. "A comedian is a guy who has a good memory for old gags and hopes others haven't." Here's Doug Couden to pass on some more good comedy:
>From BERT HANSEN. "Spin two hoops in opposite directions on one arm and say, "People wonder why my wife and I get along so well together - she goes her way and I go mine."
Saw ROGER do this one while in Tulsa. Place plate on head and hold two on outstretched arms. With comedy business of up and down movement of eyebrows, plate on head is caused to slide off, three plates then juggled with one turnover, caught and tossed from open hands."
HUGH SHEPLEY opens with plug hat balancing, then does the comedy umbrella into hat.
BOB "Front Page" BLAU bounds ball off thigh, then kicks it up from feet. Also bounds ball several times on one forearm, then to other, and continues juggling three.
That's all the room we have this month, but next month we'll be back (providing you like this feature) with gags like..... "Don't applaud - if you like it, just throw cigarettes."