Stuff With Staffs
JUGGLING FOUR DIFFERENT OBJECTS
Stand with right side to audience, racket and staff in right hand, ball and plate in left. The objects are chaffed, two in each hand, tosses made straight up. Throw objects alternately, leading with racket, then plate, staff, and ball. (Fig. 4) Incidentally, chaffing is a variation of the fountain movement in which objects are showered outward in each hand. To close the trick, toss staff high and place racket under left arm. Catch staff in right hand. Swing body around with left side to audience while doing wrist spin with staff and smiling out to audience. Dispose of racket and ball.
TWO STAFFS & PLATE
Face audience, two staffs in left hand. Plate is started spiraling on one of the staffs. Free staff is removed by right hand and spinning plate is transferred from point of one staff to the other as arms are moved back and forth. To make the switch bring up staff at an angle. (See Layton pie.) Staff with spinning plate is lifted with right hand and balanced on chin. Do finger twirl with free staff in left hand, then wrist spin in the right. pass staff around the one balanced on chin, back into right hand. Now bring up staff in right hand and lift off spinning plate. Balanced staff falls sideways and is caught in left hand. (Fig. 5) Repeat lifting off two or three times. Spinning plate on staff is removed from chin and second staff is inserted, holding in left hand.
Take baton and place under left arm. Place rope in left hand along with staffs and spurning plate. Spin the plate fast, then carry staffs and plate to chin with right hand. Remove baton from under left arm with right hand and get rope in correct spinning position in left hand. Start rope spinning, then the baton. (Fig. 6) As you have to do rope spinning blind it is best to prepare rope with a swivel and secure loop at x so that it will always open. To make your triple spin different than my pet trick you can substitute a glass of water in a hoop, spinning basin, twirling a long, heavy ribbon or other of the various spinning tricks. Here's another combination which I have performed while changing for a week on tenters. Balance a 4 inch wooden ball on open end of two nested staffs, on chin. Spin a plate on staff in left hand and do wrist spin with staff in right This, of course, is much easier than the above movement. At conclusion of triple spin, dispose of rope baton and plate and pick up another staff. (to be concluded)
OUT OF MY SCRAPBOOK
MORE ABOUT OBJECT JUGGLERS
No doubt there are a number of good and great jugglers who will not be mentioned in these articles. It is not my intention to slight anyone, but either the juggler has slipped my memory or it may have been that I never knew or saw the jugglers omitted. I would like to hear of those missed in these articles from you jugglers; it may be that your information will help with further items pertaining to this art.
A few weeks ago it was my good fortune to bump into Glen Phillips, an object juggler of the old and new school. An old timer with modern ideas. His act consists of the high hat, cane and gloves, Indian clubs, devil sticks and finishing up with the Saucer, cup, sugar lump, and spoon, tossed consecutively from the toe and being caught on the forehead. To say he went over with a bang would be putting it mildly. He is a finished performer from all angles. And a great guy to meet. He did an act with his wife for a number of years under the team name of Phillips and Sylvia. He visited with me for a day while in this neighborhood. Of course we went out in the back yard and threw a few shoulders. It was rather tough going for me for awhile but got into the swing of it sooner than I expected. Sure we had a regular gabfest about the great jugglers of the past and present. I might add that his information was a greet help to me, bringing back many pleasant memories and refreshing my mind about the jugglers of three generations- past, present and future.
Also had a visit from our newcomer from Davenport, Betty Gorham. Betty is of the coming generation. And I can say this much for Betty- If she will stick with it she will be a wonder. She has all the talent necessary and the youth to go with it. Not yet fifteen years old and nuts about it. It's a pleasure to take someone like her under my wing and dish out advice and show short cuts in the jugglers art. Watch for Betty. In a few years you will be hearing of her.
Years ago when one talked of object jugglers the name of Cinquevalli was uppermost in the minds of jugglers. Today it is Rastelli or Truzzi, and not long ago it was Serge Flash. I never met nor did I ever see Rastelli, but from what I hear he must have been sensational. Have seen Truzzi and have nothing but admiration for his work. Featuring the ball and stick tricks in a manner which is startling to say the least. His other work is beyond criticism.
Ben Beri is another juggler who can be classed as an object juggler. Ben is also a comedian. Anyone who has seen Ben work will agree with me when I say he is distinctive. Not only does Ben carry himself well but his delivery is exceptional. He is not of the tramp variety comedian but more or less the gentleman juggler with a dash of subtle buffoonery that goes over great. Beri does balls, clubs, and tambourines. Perhaps other articles. It has been years now since I saw Ben do his stuff.
Joe Cook was a juggler who was quite versatile. Joe was not only a juggler but a comedian as well. He also danced, walked a wire, did quite well on a rolling globe, and talked himself into the hearts of millions through his clever way of handling lines in his talking parts. Joe was one of the few jugglers to master five clubs. When one mentions Joe Cook one cannot help but mention Evansville, Indiana in the next breath. Joe came from that town and was always talking about it. The good citizens of that town erected a monument in Joe's honor a few years ago. The only living American to be honored thusly.
When we reach into the bag and pull out famous comic jugglers we cannot overlook such well known comic jugglers as Bedini and Arthur, Emerson and Baldwin, Redford and Winchester, The Tossing Austins, Chas. T. Aldrich, Herbert Lloyd, Harrigan, the Tramp Juggler, Tom Hearn, O.K. Sato, The Havelocks, Kavanaugh, and the Kelso Bros. Many others I am sure ought to be in this list.
And now that winsome little miss of the ball and stick fame, Trixie. I have been told she does tricks that would make men jugglers turn green with envy. Never having seen her work I cannot say much about her here. But from the word being passed around amongst jugglers she must be great. Her trick of standing on skates and juggling six plates while bouncing a ball on her head is to say the least, startling. Am waiting the day when I can catch her act. Recently I read a review on Woodrow, a sixteen year old boy from England stopping the show at each performance at the Roxy in New York. His specialty is cigar boxes. No doubt you old timers have tried out the cigar boxes in your early youth, placed there in your act for awhile, then eliminated them for something else. Just didn't go far enough with them. It strengthens my contention that no matter what you do, if you do it better than anyone else, you will be successful. It doesn't need great tricks such as tossing eight or ten halls in the air, or the juggling of five or six clubs to be a success. No how simple the tricks, if you do them better than anyone else ever did them you will have the honor of being among the great.
Frank LeDent specialized in balls. His manipulation of three, four. five, seven and nine balls was something to marvel at. I've been told he juggled ten at times. Frank also did high hats and was one of the first- if not the first- to do the bouncing hats.
OUT OF MY SCRAPBOOK (continued)
Gaston Palmer of the Piriscoffis Troupe was among the great of another day. Gaston did a swell trick with three pool cues. Placing two on his chin in a V shape with another lying on top of them like the top line of a "T", he would gradually work the top one and one of the others so that they would fall into his hands, leaving one still on his chin, he would then slide the remaining one down his head and gently push up during the glide to reverse the remaining cue from one end to the other. He was great at tossing also.
To my mind now comes one of the finest novelty juggling acts of show business of years ago, The Howard Bros. The played banjos. During the course of their act they would play around; juggling two three, and passing six between them, and also doing the back to back trick with six, at the same time playing a lively tune on the banjos. They were expert musicians and pretty good jugglers. To play and juggle at the same time was something to behold.
Tambo and Tambo were jugglers of tambourines, which brings also to mind the Freeze Bros., who claimed to be the only performers in the world spinning thirty two tambourines at one time. Sixteen each, using theirheads, hands. knees and toes in doing it.
My next article will cover, to some extent, hoop jugglers and rollers. Among those mentioned will be: The Gregorys, Ollie Young, Everhart, Konners Bros., Alpha Troupe, and also some of the outstanding single hoop manipulators. Reminder: Please send me any information you can on the juggling art. Even corrections in these articles, if any.
JUGGLERS I HAVE KNOWN Stanley Collins England
REBLA: I wonder how many readers of the Juggler's Bulletin remember the name of Rebla, the English comedy juggler. When quite a lad Albert James Stevens for that was his birth name, joined the Agoust Family of jugglers for a while and toured the Continent with them. On his return to his home in Mildmay Park, London where he lived with his widowed mother, a frail, sad-eyed woman, he decided to work an act modelled on the lines of W. C. Fields. Two of his friends at this time were Johnny Bruce and a lad named Freeman (I forget his Christian name) who was very clever at card manipulations. The three friends used to meet in Bruce's house much to the annoyance of Bruce's grandfather, an eccentric old gentleman who used to swear horribly about the noise made by the boys. Bruce and Freeman decided to double up for a time as the Idento Brothers in a comedy juggling act, but Freeman, who preferred boxing, soon tired of Music Hall work and gave his place in the partnership to another friend named Bert Stoneham.
Meanwhile Stevens who had managed to interest Harry Day, the famous London Agent, secured a booking at the Bedford Music Hall in Camden Town with an act which was an immediate success. Thereafter he played the Barrasford Tour and many of the London Hails under the name of Rebla which was his first Christian name spelled backwards without the final "t". After a while he took on a partner named Harry Diamond and as Alber and Amber (Alber was, of course, Albert without the final letter) they toured for a while. When Diamond left him, Stevens took on another partner (I have forgotten his name but believe it was Charles King)this time a late assistant of Chung Ling Soo. This arrangement lasted but a short while to be followed by yet another partner in the person of a friend of Stevens named Charles Brook. Together Stevens and Brook opened at the Alhambra, Paris with a very successful act which lasted until Charles Brook fell ill and died in Paris where, I believe he was buried. Stevens remained on the Continent breaking all the contracts he had made in this country which meant a seven years' injunction restricting him from performing in England.
In 1918 or thereabouts he returned suddenly to England having in the meantime married the daughter of Marinetti, the Continental agent and starred in a revue with Harry Lauder at the Shafterbury Theatre, London. What became of him after this I cannot say for I have not seen him since. If he is alive I imagine him to be about 66 years of age. Stevens in addition to being a very expert manipulator was an excellent tap dancer.
James Aitken writes: "On recent trip to N.Y. had the pleasure of seeing Lew Folds in "Ice Time" at Center Theatre. Folds is doing a routine on ice skates and opens with top hat, cane, and gloves; then three balls; a balancing trick with two sticks and spinning hat; three clubs; bouncing 5 balls on drum; and finishes with devil sticks. Speaking of juggling on ice, I read Topper Martyn's report in July Bul. and it brings me back to a date I played in Poli's Palace Theatre, Hartford, Conn. On the bill was a very clever juggling act, Martyn & Florence. They did tennis racquets and I remember Martyn did a ball routine bouncing balls thrown at a board set in front of him at about an angle of four inches on the high side. This bounced the balls back to him at a 45 degree angle. On the same bill at Hartford was Olson and Johnson who were just getting started about that time. I caught the Olson & Johnson show at the Boxy and in a talk to the audience Johnson said they had been partners for over 30 years. So that's a few years ago that I was on the bill with Martyn & Florence.
STUFF & THINGS Doug Couder
Ky. Lake: Glad to see Jack Greene's "Out of my Scrapbook" in the Bulletin again. Seems like more shorts like Stanley Collins' "Juggling Jottings" would also be welcomed by Roger, especially if they were regular monthly contribs. During his visit, Rog mentioned he had too few Jug articles on hand. As Jack Greene gets a kick out of writing jug stuff (same here), so would you once you take a fling at it. I suffested to Roger that someone do a monthly column similar to Bill Sachs' magic column in The Billboard; news of where jugs have been working, etc. Also why not jugs sending in articles on their pet tricks or routines? Yep, Jugs Bul needs more scribes. To encourage contributors, jugs are invited to do this column as guest writers. You'll find it interesting and good practice to get your hand in. It will make it a lot easier for Roger if you prepare your copy as follows: Send separate sheet (or sheets); type (double space) or write on one side of paper; write 250 words legibly and send it to me % the Bulletin; a small sketch, along with your Stuff & Things, would be fine. What to write about? Anything pertaining to jugs or juggling. It's open field. Go to it! Jim Conway, on way to Wash. to join show, had his motorcycle stolen in S.F. He scribbles, "So I advanced to the rear--south to L.A." Un-success story: Could not crack unicyclist Mel Hall (lad who sells la crosse balls) for a sub. If you want free listing in the Theatrical Directory, write for a blank: American Associates, 3521 Adams Ave., San Diego-4, Calif. Sub El Miller, the preachin' pifawmah, leaves his church in Lanesboro, Iowa to finish college at State. Joe Marsh's sketch depicts Mr. Juggleson performing his great ball and chain feat. Adios.
JUG JUGGLESON'S LETTER
Dear Roger, Perc. P. Cassidy pays off Sat nights in singles and you should see the big bulge from the bundle of lettuce when I walk away from the office wagon. I ate 5 squares per day to get the wrinkles out but now I'm back to 3 a day but I always get a snack after my free act anyways. Marie the illusion gal was on the side show because she used to play parts in rep shows but couldn't connect this season. We went to another movie matinee and passed a jewelry store and saw some swell sparklers. To make a long story short I bought her a diamond engagement ring but we wasn't engaged long as we went right over to the justice of the peace and got hitched so congratulate me pal. Ad some more news. I made a down payment on the trailer the high diver lived in so we park it right back of the rigging. It's handy for a dressing room as I step right out of the trailer and do my free act in wardrobe which is all white and I look like a million. The whole carnival blacks out for my act and Marie Keeps the spot light on me when I climb the ladder and switches it off when I start to work. I made her quit the side show job. She's a good cook and can cook thousands of things--beans, ha, ha. Marie had a Chevy sedan so we just hook up the trailer and roll to the next spot like a bat out of hell. 25 miles per hour, ha, ha. I made up another fire trick by wrapping asbestos around a big wire hoop which I spin with a long thin wire like rope spinning and it wows them. For my grand finale I get both the burning wire hoop and the fire baton going at once and Perc. P. Cassidy said it's the best free act finish he ever seen. Being a carnie aint so bad if they'd cut out the corny gags. The trouble with Minnepis anyway is you get slung in the can at the least provocation. So long, pal. Jug.
Vin "2 ball shower" Carey writes, '"Lew Hendersons in town with Bailey Bros. Circus. They did a number of wonderful acts but their club juggling was outstanding. Peggy was married the following morning to MacMcDonald, the Elephant Supt. on the show. Currently playing in Baltimore- Four Juggling Jewels at Gwynn Oak Park; The Bamfields at State Theatre; Rudy Cardenas who does balls, hats and novelty juggling with six milk shake cups. He is sensational and does a different routine at each performance having a seemingly endless repertoire; Lou Meyer and Andy Thumser (Bo-Bo) are both busy. Andy is at Gwynn Oak Park for his 12th year.
Winnie and I took off on our vacation July 28th and arrived in Jamestown, N.Y. about five-thirty that evening. Harry's shop was unoccupied and so I stepped up to the back door in time to hear Harry's daughter Violet say, "I wonder if they can get up here from Baltimore in one day" Harry, hearing my steps on the porch, answered, "I guess so, because here's Vin now. After a wonderful dinner and dessert we went in the yard and Harry and Vi put on their double act with 6 clubs, the giant clubs, etc. Vi's son Budd did a bit of club work and I performed the "two ball shower" but a third one kept sneaking in to spoil the usual routine. Harry showed pictures taken with his movie camera, I did my half hour club act, and Clara and Vi brought forth their famous Danish and Swedish pastries. The party broke up about 1 A.M. The next day before leaving we got to look at the marvelous photo collection which will be in Harry's forthcoming book. I was deputized to get further material and we departed for Niagra Falls. What a family! What a time!"
The following reviews are reprinted from Stanyon's "MAGIC". These reviews are of interest both as a historical record of feats accomplished by Jugglers in the past and as a source of material that, streamlined, would be new and acceptable entertainment for present day audiences.
(In every issue from No. I, Vol. I, to present date.)
COMEDY JUGGLING. JUNE, 1903.
During last month Tom Hearn, who styles himself "the laziest juggler on earth," gave, at the Palace Theatre a very original show of comedy juggling. Stage set as a bedroom, and when curtain goes up, performer is seen in bed playing the part of the sluggard. Alarm clock rings on table and performer reaches out of bed for a stick with which clock is forthwith knocked off table. Gets up with counterpane held in front of himself, walks round and gets back into bed again Gets up (dressed in Pyjamas) and lights candle, walks about in Pyjamas and drinks out of large wash jug. Throws jug in air, and turning round attempts to catch jug, but it falls and is smashed to pieces-and the same fate is meeted out to the wash-hand basin. Placing candle in position in front of towel horse he "takes off" Chassino who makes "hand shadows" with his feet, and who appears just in front of him (see Chassino programme in our last issue.) Runs to cupboard in washstand, but door sticks, gets excited, and appears in a hurry-suddenly door opens, and he reaches inside and brings out-no! wait a minute -only one shoe which he puts on one foot; this bit of business convulses the house.
Next follows a burlesque on Sandow's home course of physical culture, all apparatus being diminutive and all exercises done in the laziest manner possible, finally he falls exhausted on bed. Next rings a bell, goes out and brings on his own breakfast. Snuffs candle with bell Juggles dexterously with cups, teapot, etc., and gets his hand fixed in a cup, as he cannot get hand out smashes cup with a hammer, then discovers he has cut off half of one of his fingers; (finger bent at middle joint) finds portion of finger and sticks it on again.
Spins top hat round finger and other movements, finally rolling hat along arm on to head. Throws a large china vase, containing a tree 4 ft. high, in the air, turns round and endeavours to catch vase but it is smashed to pieces and performer falls over tree; and continues every now and then to fall over this tree. Next follows an imaginary act of going down into the cellar by lifting a flap on stage; done by a gradual stooping behind flap-and back again.
Juggles with a plate, various movements on hand. Juggles foil and two apples, throws one apple to audience who throw it back and he burlesques catching it on point of foil-really misses it and quickly sticks on the other apple all the time in the hand. Gets the apple he missed and does it again.
Juggles three apples and catches one on fork held in mouth. Throws one to audience (a confederate who changes it for a hollow one) who throws it back thinking he will catch it on fork; it hits him on the head and smashes to pieces and he falls apparently dead on stage: finally crawling back into bed. Afterwards shows tight: gets muscle up (indiarubber ball) and fires a revolver Works a rattle, breaks a chain, lifts a heavy (apparently weight and throws it away (rubber). A large ball comes on stage and chases performer around, dodging him, etc., this is, apparently, on a thread or wire, it suddenly disappears and performer gets wild and fetches a hammer to hit someone.
Balances a large lamp on his forehead (audience say "surely he will not break a beautiful thing like that"), the lamp falls-no! it does not break although it falls head first, i.e. on the glass chimney-it is a beautiful imitation of china and glass made of Indiarubber. Juggles three hoops in front of himself, skillfully (a la Everhart) then plays the three hoops off at one wing and you see them enter at another, but the burlesque of this latter trick is apparent when some five or six hoops make their appearance as against the three. The hoops do not stop at five or six as myriads now make their appearance from every opening-performer gets dazed and bewildered, and as a last resource rushes back into bed covering himself completely with the bed clothes; and well he does this for a shower of some fifty hoops, (the cheap light wooden variety) seemingly hundreds. fall from "flies" and smother him: and these are followed by a second and still larger shower of hoops as curtain falls.
Performer, in response to a well merited encore comes out in front of curtain with his head and limbs tied up in bandages and the next "turn" wonders when, if ever, he will get a chance.
(In every issue from No. I, Vol. I, to present date.)
JUGGLING. NOV. 1902
Paul Conchas (Military Juggler) performed the following feats at the Hippodrome, July 8th last. Four large canon balls and three shells (various sizes) on stage. Having proved weight of apparatus, juggles one ball, a very heavy cue, from hand to hand, elbow to elbow, over shoulder, down back, into hand between legs, and vice versa, and up arm into hand, round neck, over head into back of neck, throws into air from neck and catches on elbow, throws high in air and catches on neck. Throws heavy cannon ball; bottle, and a tiny piece of paper, and catches paper in mouth.
Places one shell on pole, about 4 feet long, end fashioned to receive it, and balances pole on forehead, another pole placed on chin opposite end touching shell on other pole-shell passed, in perfect balance, from one pole to the other.
Places a larger shell on a longer pole and balances same on chin, knocks pole away and catches shell in nape of neck.
Holds a short stick in mouth with a cup at opposite end. Places cannon ball between heels, kicks ball up behind, over head, and catches on stick in mouth.. Long pole with three branches at top, each of which receives a cannon ball, is next balanced on chin, pole knocked away and balls fall, one in nape of neck, and one on each elbow bent to receive them. Juggles the three balls, various movements, and catches one on neck. In conclusion, attendant stands some distance off and throws cannon balls to juggler, who catches them on back of neck and throws them, one by one, from that position, right off stage. The balls falling on the stage left no doubt as to their weight, and this latter feat formed one of the most clever and striking we have had the pleasure of witnessing.