A glance at Feb. Stuff & Things will show staffs in the hands of Frank Layton. I like these props as they make a fine appearance and will stand up a long time with little attention to decorating. With the addition of a spinning plate, ball and tennis racket there is an almost endless variety of tricks which a juggler can improvise. I will include only the tricks I perform, in the sequence in which I present them, as well as methods of handling props, an important adjunct to tricks involving several different objects. Tricks with staffs include elements of tossing, balancing, spinning, comedy, mixed and combination juggling, suitable for the all-round juggler. I use La Crosse balls and a Van Wyck plate but Roger puts out a chromed brass pinning plate that is fine for the following routine. The reader can get further ideas on spinning plate tricks by reading Stanyon's "New juggling Tricks" and Holden's "Manual of juggling".
The juggler can make his own staffs. Have a plumbing supply dealer cut four 18 inch lengths of 1 inch chrome tubing. Staffs have wooden ends (Fig. 1) which are tapered for plate spinning and to fit readily into open ends of other staffs. A nail is driven into the point, flush with the wood. End is attached by inserting two inches into tube, drilling a hole through tube and wood one inch from end and fastening securely with small brass bolt. Wooden ends are enameled white, #1 - Chrome Staff
Stand with right side to audience, ball and staff in left hand. Start plate spinning on point of staff, giving it momentum by striking sharply with open fingers of right hand. Right hand comes down under staff, ball is released from left hand and caught in right. Ball is tossed up a few inches and caught on forefingers of right hand. Staff and spinning plate are then placed on ball and balanced. (Fig. 2). To go into mixed juggling with the three objects, lift off staff and spinning plate with left hand, toss ball off forefingers, catching in palm. Turn facing audience and toss plate off point of staff, juggling the three. Throw doubles with staff and do turn over cascade movement with plate. To finish, toss staff high, placing plate under right arm and staff under left arm. You are now in position to start with four objects. #2 Finger Balance #3 Combination
Pick up racket, facing audience for combination trick. (Fig. 3) Ball is placed on top of racket which has a declevity to hold it. Racket is balanced between thumb and forefinger of right hand and carried to chin where it is balanced as left hand crosses over and removes plate from under right arm. Plate is started spinning on left forefinger. Right hand removes staff from under left arm, doing wrist spin. (To do this spin, hold staff perpendicularly in crotch of thumb, hand open, point of staff up. Let point fall forward, revolving past outside of forearm, back to starting position. Staff is spun with wrist movement and by tapping staff with fingers as it passes palm.) Stop spinning staff and plate, holding both in left hand. Racket with ball is lifted off chin with thumb and forefinger of right hand. Ball is tossed straight up off top of racket, bounced on head and caught out to the front on web of racket. TO BE CONTINUED.
We're not alone in having had a swell time at the Jug Session. Bernard Joyce pens, "I would really like to extend my 'Symphony' ( # 8 in B Minor by Schubert) to all the Jugglers who had to miss out on the convention, and I think it would be great if all jugs would start planning now for the next years session." Ted Stromberg of Sturgeon Lake, Minn. (he's the young jug that's been looking over the juggling world for the past 71 years ) pens, "Don't blame Doc Lind for wanting to take in a burlesque show to see if there was a juggler on the bill. The first 4 club juggler I saw was at a burlesque show shortly after the Spanish-American War, before the days of movies, about 1899. He was a very clever juggler, young and active. Couldn't swear to his name, perhaps it was the 4-club) juggler pictured on page 71 (Jug Bul.) or the gentleman facing Jack Greene an page 132, or it could have been Canttell." Eddy Johnson types that Larry Weeks was in town for a couple of days and he and Clem Foust got together for a jug-fest. Eddy further reports, "Clem has a showing date at a New York theatre next week. Purchased some new white rubber, LaCrosse balls for $1.00 each at Slavin's Sport Store 14 Rittenhouse Place, Ardmore, Pa." Topper Martyn reports, "Joe Marsh has lent me his bound volume of the Bulletins and its really interesting to me, particularly the bits about the old timers. My dad (Martyn of Martyn & Florence, "At the Tennis Court") was always an enthusiastic Juggler and I was brought up to regard Kara, Harrigan, Fields, Ed Levine, Jack LeDent etc. as really great people and its nice to see them being treated with the respect they deserve. At the moment I am doing more practice at skating than Juggling as the Ice Show business has caught on over here. I don't usually do clubs in my stage act but do them on ice as they are not affected by the "wind" set up when skating fast."
George Barvinchak, I,J.A. sec., garners a thousand dollars worth of publicity by tying in the "flying saucer" craze with juggling. George says, "I wonder if any other jugglers took advantage of the opportunity?"
Harry Lind writes, "Ringling Circus here July 10th and had 5 of the jugglers out here. Vinicio Chiesa put up 5 of my Junior Model clubs (11 oz) very easily. Next Andre Rever has gave me a surprise. He did 5 and then, get this, in stopping them he caught 3 in left hand, # 4 was placed in balance on his forehead, and then the 5th club was caught in right hand. Marvelous club juggling. This get-together gave me a chance to pass clubs with 3 more jugglers making the total of about 125."
Carl Thorson sends a dollar with this note, "Glad to hear about the Jugglers Convention. Sorry I was unable to make it. I am now closing an 18 month tour of hospitals for U.S.O. unit 15. Please find $1.00, would like to join the I.J.A."
--Binghamton Press Photo 'WHY THE FUSS?' - George Barvinchak of 100 Harry L. Drive, Johnson City, says he can't understand all the fuss about flying discs. "Why it's simple," he says, "I've been making them fly for years."
"What's all this fuss about flying saucers?" George Barvinchak asked. "They're nothing new. Why I've known about 'em for years. Made a few fly myself, too."
For the two or three persons in Broome County who haven't yet seen a flying saucer, George said he'll be only too willing to show Them what it's all about.
George, a happy soul who claims he's never been baffled by science, said he's making this offer to put an end to the many theories offered in behalf of the flying discs.
George dropped in at The Binghamton Press today to tell us about it.
"Why it's like the country suddenly went nuts," he said. "I feel I just have to tell everybody. It's my duty.
Look, he said, picking up four small china saucers, "it's easy." He began juggling the saucers in the air. "See? Flying saucers. What's" everybody so excited about?
George, who lives with his wife and 4-year-old daughter, Betty Ann. at 100 Harry L. Drive, Johnson City, then confessed that juggling is is one of his hobbies.
He also admitted that he's president of the Triple Cities Conjurers Club and secretary of the International Jugglers Association.
Someone standing nearby then reminded George that his demonstration had probably set science back another 100 years.
"That's 0. K. with me," he said. "I just can t sit by and watch people stay up all night looking for flying saucers."
At this point a telephone on a nearby desk jangled.
The call was from the 1,587,903th person to report seeing a flying disc in the last few days. A few minutes later there was another call.
"What about it?" someone asked George. "What do you say to that?"
"Send the to me," he said, I'll show them flying discs."
In Pittsburgh, on June 17, 1947 was held the first meeting of the International jugglers Association. Following are the minutes of the first meeting:
Jack Greene was elected chairman for the nominations. The following were elected officers:
President- Art Jennings, Derry, Penna.
Vice President- Eddy Johnson, 212 Eighth Ave., Juniata, Altoona, Penna.
Secretary- George Barvinchak, 100 Harry L. Drive, Johnson City, N.Y.
Treasurer- Roger Montandon, P.O. Box 711, Tulsa, Okla.
After three votes it was agreed upon to name this organization the, "International Jugglers Association".
Motion made by G. Barvinchak and seconded by Jack Greene that contributions be made by charter members to carry costs of having membership cards printed and postage for same. Motion put to question- carried that each member pay the yearly dues in advance. This was to be $ 1.00.
Art Jennings made the motion that the following affirmation be made by each member: "The acceptance of this card is my pledge to render assistance to fellow jugglers" Motion carried.
Motion made and carried that the "Juggler's Bulletin" be the club's official organ.
Roger Montandon made motion to commission Art Jennings to do the art work on the membership cards. Jack Greene seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Motion made and carried that Roger Montandon shall be the printer of the cards.
Jack Greene moved that we give the club officers nick names pertinent to juggling props. Motion carried. President- Big Club, Vice-president- Little Club. Secretary- Plate, Treasurer- Balancer.
Following is the list of paid-up, charter members: Bobby Jule, George Varvinchak, Roger Montandon, Jack Greene, Harry H. Lind, Vin Carey, Art Jennings, Floyd Dunham, Dr. A.L. Baldwin, Eddy Johnson, Bernard Joyce, Teddy Ray, Joseph Fleckenstein.
Any jugglers desiring to join the International jugglers Association may do so by sending money order or check to any of the above officers. A membership card will be mailed as soon as ready. Each member will also receive a copy of the Constitution and By-Laws, and a roster of all members.
"In my youth " as Lewis Carroll wrote, when I aspired to be a second Cinquevalli, I used to combine a little mystification in my routine of ball-tossing. As the routine calls for no conjuring ability and can be learned in a few minutes, some readers of the juggler's Bulletin may care to give it a trial. I will explain the routine exactly as I did it nearly fifty years ago, urging that as most jugglers are right-handed, they read right for left and vice versa in these instructions. I am left handed.
Have two balls under vest on right hand side or else in a pocket from which they can be unobtrusively removed. Two balls are juggled in left hand, passed over to right and back again into left. As the balls are juggled over left shoulder, one of those from vest or pocket is secured in right hand. Now if one from left is tossed into right hand and the two in right hand juggled, the left will have a third ball. This is suddenly blended into a two-handed criss-cross with three balls. To follow a two-handed routine with three balls, the three are juggled with left hand only. The right hand, thus left free, secures the fourth ball which is added to the three as the two hands again come into action. I wanted to add mysteriously the extra ball for my five ball juggle, but I never succeeded in doing this. Here is a poser for some ambidexterologist.
In my three-ball routine I made a variation that I have never seen done by anyone else. It is the usual criss-cross throw, but done with both hands immediately in front of body on the same plane. This gives the appearance of the balls being showered to and from the body. The hands revolving around each other as the balls are tossed gives a very pretty and graceful effect. No additional difficulty is involved as a trial will prove.
Lou Meyer, Baltimore Jug passes on this hint: "If you do a suit case act and want to carry a long stick for balancing go to a sporting goods store and get a tent pole of the folding variety. They are about four feet in length and fold into three parts for packing."
Evansville, Ind.: Joe Taylor, Boston jug, sends M.O. for sub and back issues and writes, "incidentally, this is being paid for with some of my first money made from juggling. You may add my name to the list of colored jugglers. Ed Ellis, mentioned by Tom Breen in Jan. '45 issue, has been my tutor." Saw Bill Sachs at the new Billboard plant. He's been with it for 22 years and is now executive news editor altho he is best known to perfromers for his Rep, Pipes and Magic columns. Bentwood, concave hoops are vanishing as bike mfgrs. have switched to metal rims. Joe Marsh, the Bulletin's "Top Drawer", types, "The letters of that villainous jug, Jug Juggleson are very good indeed." Joe's pic appears bottom right. Bert hansen doing 8 acts (40 min.) at kid parties. Betty Gorham had instructive visits with Glen Phillips, back from Canada, and the mystery jug on Royal American Shows. Jug cartoon in 7-5 Sat. Eve. Post. 8 x 10 in from Hugh Shepley and letter from Marty Lynch on his nifty, new letterhead. Marty bought some of those la crosse balls at $1.15 per each. Ouch ! But he reports they are the real McCoy. Rog had some with him on his visit. They seem slightly larger but have good bounce. But hold everything ! That bouncing putty listed in Rog's new catalog is weird stuff. It can be stretched like chewing gum but does not stick to the hands. It can be broken into pieces for juggling but the pay-off- when rolled into a ball it bounces like rubber ! Some one once asked if Rog could juggle and his reaction was, "Am I supposed to juggle too?" (in addition to publishing Jugs Bul) Yup, he can jug- did 5 balls here. Rog took movies but I blew tricks with props going down instead of up. Snap shows our editor doping out routine from the Juggler's bible, Adios.
Dear Roger, Since I wrote last lots has happened but first how about a payoff for all them letters of mine you put in the Jugs bul. Reason why is that Marie Montague the illusion gal on this here side show and I are like that since I excorted her to the movies. So I can use some extra moola to step out with her with. Say Roger have you ever been in love. The high diver took too much rye one night and when he done his dive he turned too far in the air and lit on his back in the tank. When he comes too lie yells he's through for good and he'd sell his whole outfit for a yard. Having no yard but a good idea I rushes over to the office wagon which is a trailer and ast the owner Perc. P. Cassidy could I fill in for the diver. He said if I done a free act why was I working for peanuts in the 10-in-1. So I gave him a song and dance of how I used to do a high fire juggling act but my outfit was burned in Omaha and now I was glad to even get hamburgers. I hit him up for the hundred smackers to buy the divers rigging and what do you know Roger, he advanced me the yard and I bought the outfit. Well, I hustled around and made up a fire baton, 3 juggling torches and 4 fire balls which I use gloves with. Then I hit Perc. P. Cassidy up for 2 yards per week but he just laughed but he came through with one yard so now I'm in the dough again so here's my 3 bucks for the Jugs bul. I made a 4 foot platform to juggle on but only have it 25 feet high so everybody on the midway can see good. I put a rack on back of platform for props, a good flash. I dip props in a coffee can half full of gasoline before lighting them. Nobody knows I never done no free act before and it draws big crowds every night. I go over big and I guess I'm the first juggler who ever done a high fire juggling free act. So long, pal, Jug.
There's even more vaudeville ?? ?? ???? . ?? to buffalo than in a headline vaude show. At least a dozen of the persons connected with the production are ex-vaudevillers. ?? ?? holds the record among them for getting the earliest start before the ??, having appeared in a minstrel show when he was only six. Bill?? Talent and Duke Johnson, jugglers employed to coach ??? in juggling sequences, have been in show business for 40 years and were veteran vaude performers. Others with experience ranging from tour to 21 years include Charles Winniger??,director ?? Bacon, Fav?? Bainter??, Seymour Fe?? ?? ??, Les Clark, Hugh Cummings, Adolph Winninger and Bill F?? ?? man.
This is number three of a series of articles on juggling. I hope you will get as big a kick out of reading them as I did writing them.
Whenever object jugglers are mentioned the name of Cinquevalli is bound to be brought up. Cinquevalli was a very fine juggler, using numerous articles such as hat, cane, and gloves; billiard balls and cues; and using pool pockets fastened to his shoulders, hips, and one low on his back. His moves were very clever. Rolling the balls across his back. over and around his arms and neck, finally landing deftly into the pool pockets. He dressed in tights, as was the custom in those days, specially the European jugglers. As for wonderful tricks I cannot say that Cinquevalli put any of his brother jugglers in the shade, in fact there were jugglers greater than he by a long shot, and I firmly believe that the present day good jugglers would make him take a back seat at a 'Jugglers-Only' contest. But if he were to present his act to an audience of non jugglers he would easily win the honors. Why? Cinquevalli was a master showman. If Paul were to stand in front of an audience and just take a bow he would get an ovation. That was Cinquevalli!
Around 1906 there seemed to be a large number of Family Acts. Most of them used the same setting- a dining room. They used the furniture, silverware, dishes, lamps and whatever else a dining room held. There was the Onri Family, the August Family, The Blank Family, and some others. Joseph Blank of that family was a great juggler, and I mean great ! One of his tricks that impressed me most was the juggling of seven large discs. He not only tossed them up in the air but he kept them going as an ordinary juggler would three or four balls. Archy Onri of the Onri Family turned to a single assisted by a woman. He featured devil sticks. Jack Onri later went in for a single under the name of Jack Hanley and was very successful.
Paul Spadoni, a wonderfully built man, was another object juggler of distinction. He did tricks that were popular in those days with a conglomeration of different objects. His specialty, though, was cannon balls. Rolling them across his chest, around his neck, over his back and catching them on the back of his neck after being tossed in the air. His finish was a showy one. After placing a cannon ball on each end of a crossarm and one at top of the center post he would lift all to his chin as a balance trick, at a signal the drummer-- who, by the way, is a great assistant to any juggler-- would start a roll on his drum. Spadoni would then knock the cross from under the cannon balls, the balls falling, one in each hand, and the third landing on the back of his neck. Neat and very showy.
Hartly was another object juggler who had a showy act. I believe he came from England. His finish was always an applause getter. He would toss from his toes a saucer, catching it on his forehead, then he would place a cup on his toes and toss that onto the saucer, from that he would toss a spoon from his toes and that would land in the cup. A goodly round of applause would always accompany that one.
W. C. Fields was not only a funny juggler but a good one to boot, Fields, however, went in for comedy more than he did for juggling. The last time I saw him work he had a trick pool table, getting all kinds of laughs from crazy shots. One shot which pocketed every ball on the table was one of his big laughs. As a finish he would go into the cigar box trick, getting many laughs by fumbling them all over the stage finally ending up by breaking all of them by jumping on them.
Speaking of pool tables - there was at one time an artist, I fail to recall his name now, who used a pool table and did all kinds of trick shots. Some in particular being done with a cue and several bails. He would be classed as a juggler because of his tricks, and not as a trick pool player. He would shoot a ball from one end of the table to the other end and have it bounce into the air from the far cushion and catch it in pocket.
Paul Conchas was the greatest cannon ball juggler it was ever my pleasure to witness. Paul was built like an Adonis. Dressed as a Roman gladiator he presented an appearance that would make the ladies gasp. After doing all the stunts his contemporaries did he finished by having dozens of cannon balls drop from a sort of a shoot like a loop the loop, one at a time and land on his neck with force enough to knock over a healthy man. But Conchas tossed them aside after catching them as if they were rubber balls.
Herr Troba was another artist of the old school. He did the usual cannon ball tricks, pool pockets and balls, and also juggled three loaded rifles which fired as they struck his hands. He finished with a sentry box with a good sized man in it balanced on his chin while holding a large shell in each hand.
Then there was Salerno, Chinko, Kara, and a host of other first class object jugglers. And one cannot forget the great lady juggler Selma Braatz who finished her clever act with a full back shower using lighted torches tossed high in the air. TO BE CONTINUED