Juggler's Bulletin

P.O. Box 711, Tulsa 1, Oklahoma

Number 28, January 1947



Top hat thrown on stick (with big nob - stick being balanced on forehead.

Head is tipped back quickly, hat and stick fall on headstick is trapped by nob and a 'china-man' pose gives laughs. Very funny this.


A good gag for the 5 ball Jug. is to lay the balls on the left arm, one at a time, the first one, near hand, slips down, is caught in right hand and returned to end of line. This is kept up continuously. It helps to impress on audience that 5 balls are being used.


Jug puts hat on head sideways and does 'Napoleon' pose. A very slight, very quick turn is made to right then a quick turn sideways to left.

Hat drops on head in wearing position.


Jug throws hat with right hand at same time combs hair with SAME hand.

Hat is caught on elbow.

Work very casually.


Like much that is good in juggling, there is little printed word covering the manipulation of cigar boxes. The only other printed instructions we could find appeared in Stanyon' s magazine "Magic" in May 1906. This was in conjunction with a review of the act of M. Gintaro.

Tom Breen records, "In the eighties (I believe it was 1884-86) a juggler came from either France or Italy and his name was Trewey. He did shadow graphs and also did tricks with blocks. These are the tricks that jugglers today do with cigar boxes. For years they were known as Trewey's Blocks but I guess that nicely papered or painted blocks did not fit in with tramp make up and that is where cigar boxes came in." In England the boxes or blocks are commonly called "wooden bricks". Harrigan, Trainp juggler is credited with being the first to start using cigar boxes.

Our first contact with the cigar box routine as it is known to modern jugglers came in seeing W.C. Fields in the picture "The Old Fashioned Way". We were in high school at the time and the thing that appealed most was that the boxes were easy to procure by dropping in any of the dozens of drug stores on the way home--and so it still is today. No doubt, no other feat of juggling capable of such a wide variety of moves and such excellent comedy, uses such an easy to find, inexpensive prop. This fact should make it one of the most popular with amateur jugglers and so we record for you our findings plus some of the ideas written by Stanyon back in 1906.

In recent years cigar box manipulation has taken a back seat in juggling performances, probably due to the greater demand for speed and flash demanded by the popular skating revues as well as conditions demanded by modern night club presentation. An exception that comes to mind is the recent performance of Woodrow, young English performer who recently brought down the house in a New York theatre with his clever use of the cigar boxes.

In the simple routines three boxes are used. They should all be the same size and weight for convenient handling. Before the war most cigar boxes were made of wood but today the majority are made of cardboard or fibre board. The wooden ones, will of course last longer but the others will manipulate equally well.

We prefer to keep the lid shut with a couple of tabs of adhesive tape rather than a nail. The only other preparation that makes them easier to handle, but is not absolutely essential, is to cover the ends of each box with cloth to prevent slippage. Originally we glued cheesecloth over the ends but later, becoming lazier, we simply took two strips of adhesive tape (the rough surfaced type) and stuck them on the ends of each box.

Some jugglers prefer to have a box made of a light plywood covered with cloth and decorated. While such a box will wear considerably longer than a cigar box we have always felt that such a box is not nearly as good from a comedy standpoint and also tends to give the appearance of possibly being faked.

In the illustrations to follow the boxes are shown as seen from the performer's view. The boxes have been lettered with the words EL ROI TAN so that you can tell from the illustrations when a box is turned over or changes position. Any resemblance between the caricatures and the writer is denied.


Place the three boxes on edge, end to end, on the floor. Body bends over and right hand grasps the right box, left hand grasps the left box, the body straightens up and the three boxes are raised from the floor. The center box is held in position by the squeezing action of the other two boxes. With the boxes at about waist height as shown in Fig. I-A you are ready to start several different moves.

SINGLE BOX-TURNOVER (RIGHT) Figs. 1-A,B,C. Schematically shown in Figs. la-A,B,C.

With the boxes in starting position, the hands and boxes are moved as one to about chest height and at the peak of the upward motion, the right box is drawn quickly to the right, turned over clockwise and then, as the boxes descend, moved sharply to the left where it again contacts the center box and prevents that box from falling. When this move is properly executed, the center box never looses contact with the left box, therefore the left box and center box must move down after the upward motion and the right box after being turned over must also be moved downward to contact the two descending boxes. The three boxes should be together again at about waist height with knees slightly bent. An exact reversal of this procedure will put the boxes back in the original starting position.

SINGLE BOX-TURNOVER (LEFT) Figs. 2-A,B,C. The moves are exactly the same as described above except the left hand box is turned over counter clockwise.


From starting position the boxes are moved upward to chest height, both end boxes leave the center box and as the center box descends, outer boxes are turned over (one clockwise, the other counter clockwise) and the three boxes again make contact at about waist height, knees slightly bent.


From the starting position, the right hand moves its box up with a quarter turn clockwise, left hand box is moved down with a quarter turn counter- clockwise, and the center box which remains horizontal is clamped by the two vertical boxes. a variation the left hand box can be moved up and the right hand box down. Another variation is to start from the position shown in 4-C and move the boxes so that the "TAN" box interchanges with the "EL" box.


Birmingham, Ala.: Moved into new Schult Luxury Liner while vacashing here. Pleasant visits with Frank and victoria Layton playing Temple Theatre with dog act. They also live in a Schult. Rev. El Miller scribes, "Yup, I'm a preacher now. 1 have a nice brick church of 260 members." Congrats, El, but remember juggling is good exercise. Thanx for nice letters re Stix column, also Xmas cards. Outstanding of latter from Betty Gorham with natural color photo. One from Father Flanagan and his boys. A small donash to him to Boys Town, Nleb. will bring you a surprise. Jim Conway out with jug adv. postal and have you seen Spud Robert's cartoon card? Golden and Jim Aitken had a new home built in NOLA and moved in. Gwen Bercheleigh, Bert Hansen's wife, is Pres of the Oakland Magi gals. Charlton Chute adds "Juggling" by Rupert Ingalese to his collection along with other items. W. C. Fields departed to play big time on that golden, distant shore. Tom Breen pens there was little reaction to his 'Juggling Firsts" article. It's hard to get a rise out of Jugs, Tom, but there are exceptional exceptions. Why not challenge stuff in Jug acts? This competish angle has been developed to a high degree by hoofers wherein two vie for honors in shifting spot. Good op here for two good single jugs. Loring Campbell writes re Harry Opel in TOPS, "Harry used to do juggling but eliminated it because it was too hard and he says that people in small towns do not appreciate skill. They want to be entertained." Magic, of course, leads in mystery, both acts are about equal in comedy but juggling is tops in musical coordination, group coordination, skill, action, speed, and punch. Snap shows sub Russell Torello, the juggling jeweler. He conducts a jewelry biz at 742 S. Kingsley Drive in L.A. Darn good juggling, I'd say, for only two years as a jug hobbyist. Adios.


Dear Roger, Thanks, pal, for the cartoon of Pall Malls. Better than Bull Durham, ha, ha. Betty sent me 5 rubber balls and Charlton sent a pencil and a calendar. He knows the score as each morning I arise and mark off another day. Amateurs aint bad at that if they wouldn't swipe your gags and tricks. The concrete floor in my cell is fine for bouncing balls and I'm getting to be a second Alexander. This is the best thing that ever happened to me as I have lots of time to practice and figure things out. I'm off those downstairs dives like Kelly's Celar for life. When I get out I'm going to make a strong play for those high class upstairs clip joints. All that low brow convict wardrobe and billing myself as the juggling jester from Joliet will be thrown to one side and from here on out you'll hear a lot of Jug Juggleson, the Gentleman Juggler from Joplin. Dont sound bad at that. I'm going to get an outfit like Lew Folds, plug hat, patent leather shoes, tux and all. I'll live in the best hotels and eat in the best joints. You have to aim high in life to get anywheres. Just watch my smoke. Musicians in them swanky spots can all read music so I'll pour it on with highbrow numbers. The Chief softened up some and he gave me back my 3 48's so I'm practicing up on that now which used to be my mainest trick, firing blanks while I juggle them. The Chief won't let loose of the blanks though as he said it would make too much noise and keep the drunks awake. Ha, ha. Reading over the old Jugs Buls I got a swell idea how to juggle a lot of balls easy like Kara done. Only I'll make scenic railway tracks out of toy tracks then throw balls up on top of it and balls will shoot the shoots, loop the loop and at the end will shoot out into my hand again. Looking out the barred window gave me another idea. Why not juggle some of those chrome hub caps on cars, a good flash. Will pick some up when I get out. So long, pal, Jug.


Hugh Shepley types, "Dropped in at the Y.M.C.U. gym in Boston on my Christmas pass and found Eddie Tierney, Billy Hart (of Hart and Dine), and George Kenyon (brother of Cal Kenyon of the Elgins) all working out. I enjoyed George's interesting reminiscences and in spite of the fact that he had not juggled since 1941, when he worked as an audience stooge with Kay and Karol, he could still pass seven clubs and do some pretty fancy stuff with three. Hart showed some of his amazing hoop tricks while Tierney kept things moving in the club department. Later two other jugs joined, Frank Ferranti, local mouthstick worker, and Dutch Jordan, so a swell afternoon was had by all!"

Hamilton Floyd, now a civilian working f or War Dept. at Okinawa types what will be of interest to prospective cutlery tossers, "While in the states I bought three 'trench' or 'Blunting' knives from an army surplus store. The model I got is 12 inches !once overall, seven inches of which is blade. The blade is 1 1/4 inches wide. They are impressive looking knives, all the more so since people can tell they are stock or G.I. knives and not made up specially for juggling. They are well balanced, the handle is of leather, and there is a rounded knob at the top, all of which makes them easy to toss and catch. Would suggest covering the points with adhesive tape when using for the first time."

Max Holden's "Manual of Juggling" now out and we have a copy waiting for you. Received too late to review in this issue but you can review it yourself if you drop $ 1.50 to Box 711.

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