Taylor Trout and Mickey The Juggling Jesters
TAYLOR and MICKEY TROUT "Juggling Jesters", U.S.O. Unit, Livermore, Calif.
April 1, 1944.
Devil Stick Routine
Three Club Routine - with kick-ups and back throws with both hands.
Three Hoop Juggle by Mickey then take-aways first by Taylor - then Mickey.
Passing with six hoops.
Three hoop roll over back.
Hoop return on string held by Mickey.
Large Hoop and small hoop thrown out and on return small hoop passes through large one.
Four hoop juggle and four hoop spin.
Seven hoops rolled around in circle - then sent off stage.
Glass of water in hoop ( rope attached to hoop) spun-in circle around body at various angles.
At opening of act. Taylor walked on carrying Devil sticks - laid one stick on floor - then explained that he was going to throw one stick into air and catch it in balance on tip of other stick.
After each try he would stop and tell a gag.
A JUGGLER IN THE STIX by Doug Couden
Little Rock, Ark. -- The first year of the Juggler's Bulletin brings out a new juggling scribe in the person of that globe trotting doughfoot Larry Weeks. A column on Pro Activities by this live-wire lad would be good reading. Your Stix contributor confines his stUff to more amateur and semi pros, which makes up a substantial part of the subscribers. This group would be the "forgotten men" of Juggling more or less. Also prior to our entry into full time Show Biz some twelve years ago we were in the above category for the most part. Hats off to Tom Breem and Bobby May among the Pros. A few more lads like them would do a lot for putting over the J.B. in a big way. Had the pleasure of seeing Bobby's scrap book during visit with Roger and as the Bulletin grows some fine articles can be secured from jugglers like him on the many Jugglers they have met during their interesting careers.
Outstanding figure of the Semi-Pro group for the first years is Bert Hansen with his juggling reviews. In addition to his acts already mentioned in this column, about this time of year Bert starts to line up Punch & Judy dates. He gets $30.00 for each appearance, a price which full time pros can't complain of. Norbert Provost, another fine letter writer, is forsaking the semi-pro rankS for full time professional career. Good luck Norbert. Then we have Bob Blau down Texas way and among the simon-pure amateurs who deserve special mention, our Betty Gorham, only gal juggler on subscription list to date. Eric Johnson, Hugh Shepley and Lee Rullmon, N.Y. collector of Juggling bibliography (books and stuff), who types "I'll admit to a bit of nostalgia when reading your little verses, I've seen them all in my day."
Roger sent complete subscription list and note that first Vet to subscribe after discharge is Eddie Johnson, Altoona, Pa. Juggler. List shows three foreign subscribers among them being Jack Taylor, Yorkshire, England Jugl. He bills himself as "Jacko", Juggling Man Monkey, cut from his letterhead appearing on this page. Jack encloses cartoon card showing club and top spinning tricks.
This scribe answeres all mail, quite a task, about 50 letters a month going out. Here's a couple of items from the mail bag.
Betty Gorham sent Bert Hansen reviews of three juggling acts caught In Davenport. In response to Bob Blau's inquiry about foil paper, H. L. Stack, Burlinham, Calif sent Bob a stack of same. Bob wrote asking how much but H.L.'s reply was "It's a gift." It's a pleasure to read of such friendly and cooperative gestures among Jugglers.
Paul Cinquevalli, who was to Juggling what Harry Houdini was to escapes, a great showman, got away with a lot in his publicity. He claimed he could do the double balance, that is balancing one round object on top of another. This, of course, is impossible. Many jugglers do this simulated trick, Double Balance, to coin a term for this type of trick. Here's Norbert Provot's trick along this line. Tennis ball 1 is bounced on floor with left hand and placed on one inch bottle cap "A" sunk in mouthstick. Second tennis ball is taken from right hand, bounced, and placed on first ball, holding it there. Cardboard cone with large ball is then held on top of tennis balls with right hand. Withdraw left hand, then right and balance. Ball "B" is in fixed position so that objects are balanced as one unit. Three objects can be juggled after ball is placed on stick.
A DIFFICULT 3-CLUB SPREAD - This movement is original as I have never seen anyone else do it. No doubt club jugglers did it in the old Vaude days as they did about everything. Remember the comedy trick of slinging a club out to the side and then pulling it in? Well, that is it brother, but you juggle the three back and forth with this same movement. To make it clear, here it is with one club. Hold perpendicularly in right hand, knob down. Let club swing down and to the left. Now toss club with an underhand sling out to the left, catching in left hand, palm up, knob to the right. Club makes about one and one half revolutions. Have been doing this spread for about 12 years as finish to club routine. It has plenty of body action and Zing.
SHOOTIN' THE BREEZE (Roger)
We note with regret that contests are not of interest to our readers - or at least no contests involving gags - as we received nary an entry. The contest is therefore declared closed with no winners.
Tom Brien pens an interesting letter with the below litho enclosed. Tom says of it, "The card enclosed was printed from a litho used by my father, mother, and brother John about 1908 when they were doing a three act. Afterward the act increased until we had seven kids and father and mother in the act at one time. But the young ones of the family never took up Juggling. John, the one pictured doing six clubs, died in Brussels in 1912. The only jugglers I can think of right now who saw my brother were Billy Pike of the Three Swifts, Harry Martine of Baker, Love & Allen who are in England right now, Moran & Niser, and George Gordon whose picture was in the Bulletin a short while back (p. 23). George practiced with the Breens in Pons Gym in Paris where my brother practiced the seven clubs, and four in either hand. That's not bad Juggling even in these days, eh?"
Larry Weeks brought to our attention the fact that Barney Horrigan, brother of Harrigan, tramp Juggler who was famous in vaude in the early 1900's, lives in Tulsa. We've known Barney for years but never associated his name with the stage name of Harrigan. We went over to Barney's last week and had a swell time looking over the scrapbooks and props. The original trunk which is padded specially to carry safely the glass kerosene lamp and chimney used in the act. The original music score and even plenty of the original cigar boxes used, are all in the basement.
Larry further notes in his letter to us of September 17, "Bumped into Fred Canestrelli here on Okinawa just a couple of days ago. He's the 22 year old member of Circusdom's "Canestrelli Family" who are famous for their unsupported ladder act. Their cousins are the Willys and also the Christiani Family. Fred is in the Navy and has been doing a Juggling act, making the rounds with Eddie Peabody when that show was touring. At present he's connected with another Navy Band Show. He juggles three and four sticks, does some mouthstick, hand, and headstick work, and does the ball in-the-audience effect. Atop an unsupported ladder, he juggles five rings. Does a knife balance underneath a spinning basin, and closes with a three torch routine.
SHORT SHOOTIN'S -- Shortly it will be just plain Larry Weeks with but a number and an address a mile long. You can now reach him at 441 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn, New York. The New Yorker magazine turned us down on permission to reprint the article on Lew Folds. It is in the Aug. 11th issue if you'd like to look it up. -- In last issue we pulled a pretty good trick in changing a hoop to a ball before your very eyes. -- Wonder if anyone reads this stuff - no one called us on it. -- Larry called us on an error in # 7 where we call Wm. Delisle's booklet a manuscript; - should be a pamphlet. -- See where a West Coast man is putting out a Diabolo top made of rubber so it won't hurt when it hits you in the eye.
THINGS! GADGETS! STUFF!
THEODORE STROMBERG of Sturgeon Lake, Minn. offers this club decorating hint: Most juggling club sets are decorated exactly the same. Ted has tried decorating each club a different color and has found the effect to the audience is well worth a trial. For example, he decorates one club all red with a gold band at top and bottom; second club is all blue except the two gold bands; and the third club is all green except the gold bands. With good lighting and facing the audience the appearance is that of red, blue, and green rings flying through the air.
Audience participation stunts have seldom been used with juggling acts. The notable exceptions are those in which people from the audience throw back balls to be caught on a stick or knife, apples or vegetables to be caught on a mouth-fork, and hats to be caught on head. The type of participation we have in mind involves representatives from the audience coming up on the stage and becoming for a few moments part of the act. Considerable care and thought would be necessary to work out a practical and entertaining routine. A few points to watch in forming such a routine - There must be no stage wait while getting the helper to the stage. The action once he is up must be fast, preferably funny, interesting, and without embarrassment to the helper. There should be some reward or souvenier for the assistant when he returns to the audience. The following brief routine has never been tested in its entirety by us or anyone else to our knowledge. It is intended only as stimulus for your creative impulses. Play with the idea. Let us know if you develop anything along these lines.
Last issue we brought out a method of getting a boy on the stage. When he arrives we would tell him that we were going to teach him how to juggle. We'd pick up a set of Roman Axes, the more wicked they looked the greater would be the comedy possibilities, and hand them to the boy telling him to go ahead and juggle them. We'd step aside as though to find a safe place from which to observe the action. If we'd picked a good stooge we'd expect some laughs due simply to the ludicrous situation. We wouldn't wait too long at this point before saying to him, "Maybe we'd better start with something easier." Then we'd place a pair of special spectacles on the boy and offer him a ball to juggle. The boy would reach out for the ball and miss it about a foot. Again we'd hold out the ball, and again he'd miss it. (We've used this particular gag many times and it never fails to get plenty of laughs.) The glasses are known as prism glasses and due to the arrangement of two prisms mounted in the framework they throw the wearer's sight off to one side about a foot. These were available from Johnson-Smith in Detroit before the war. The frames are constructed so they make the wearer look bug-eyed and thus increase the comedy effect. Next we'd bring the boy to center stage and by standing at his back and placing our arms through his and having him place his hands lightly on our wrists we'd juggle three balls in some simple moves and end up with the comedy move of holding one ball in the left hand and moving it up and down in time with two balls juggled in right hand. If the boy were short it might be necessary for him to stand on a slightly raised platform. If we had a fair vent voice we'd cause the boy to crack some corny remarks as we juggled. If we dropped a ball, and we might do it purposely, wel' move away from the boy and with the proper indication of disgust say to him, "You dropped one".
For a finale we would request the boy to act as fireman for the next part of the act. We'd place a comical fireman's hat on his head and hand him an axe to hold with the caution that if anything happened, to use it. Weld then pick up a black ball with a long fuse attached and have the boy hold it. (Shades of the old cannon-ball comedy) We'd light the fuse and whisper to the boy to wait until the fuse burned down half way and then throw the ball down and run into the audience yelling. We'd make sure that we were properly engrossed in finding the other two bombs while the fuse was burning down and only turn around when the boy dropped the bomb and ran away yelling. We'd get the boy back long enough to get his helmet and give him a souvenier and thank him for his help. We'd then conclude the routine with the regular routine comedy cannon balls using the simulated bombs one of which would be rubber we would hope!
This finale could be a scream for with a good stooge, properly whispered coaching, and plenty of showmanship we'd expect to see anything happen. Try it sometime when a suitable time presents itself.