"COMEDY BALL MOVES" by Joe Marsh
"THE WATER FALL" - Right hand is held high, taking ball up, and left throws ball up as shown, right hand does not move, only to catch and drop balls continuously - funny effect.
"VANISHING BALL" - 3 balls are juggled, and one is thrown with 'sideways throw' to back of neck and the other two are juggled without a break - if done slick the vanish is not noticed. Jug turns round while looking for ball.
COLOR CHANGE - 2 white and 1 red are juggled, red is taken high up, one white is thrown high, and red ball released with a 'jerk' as white is caught. Jug continued.
Can YOU do this? Tie a length of twine with ball attached to stick as shown - wind round stick -and- balance 'till ball stops moving!!!
'THE SNATCH' - Balls juggled, 'snatch' made continuously downwards.
At the right you'll see the first of a series of "Top Drawer" cartoons from the facile pen of Joe Marsh. Joe, when he isn't illustrating (that's his business) or drawing up another marvelous page of ideas for the Bulletin, is performing with Brenda & Oscar. Below are Joe, Oscar, and Brenda.
Except for a few paragraphs of our own small talk, this issue is an all Marsh-Couden production. We can think of no better way of expressing our appreciation of their past efforts in behalf of the Bulletin than to dedicate this, the first issue of the fifth year to them.
We hope someday to have Joe and Doug both in the Bulletin office at the same time. What a Bulletin we'd formulate then! Rog, you old dreamer, get back to work!
SALESMAN by DOUG COUDEN
"I hold the champion sales record I I have sold millions of dollars worth of everything, and more different kinds of things than any other salesman. I have no equal and no one else can begin to approach my sales record."
"There is hardly an item from a hair-pin to a steam or Diesel locomotive that I have not sold. I have sold radio personalities, shows, acts, circuses, and even United States Senators. I have sold publicity and promoted the sale of intangible services."
"Who am I? Who is this champion, go-getter salesman? Well, when I say "I", I don't mean "me!' but I do mean the beautiful, sparkling, brilliant glossy commercial photographs which I make for every conceivable industry and for hundreds of radio personalities and show people."
"They show just what you are selling. Because one picture is worth ten thousand words. Your story can be told in pictures. Your services can be described in pictures. Your personality can be put over with pictures."
The above excerpts are well worth reproducing in the Bulletin as they really tell the story of the value of selling a juggling act with photos. I have heard it said that a juggler should not show his top tricks in photos, the idea being that the public, once they have seen the trick in a photo would not be interested in seeing it in actual performance. I believe that just the opposite is true. The public, seeing the photo, has an idea that "it can't be done" and their curiosity is whetted to see the juggler do the tricks in the flesh. So why use posed portraits? Action photos showing top tricks with the jug in wardrobe and other props in evidence really sell the act.
Quoted advertising is from a circular of the Mulson Studio.
SHOOTIN' THE BREEZE with Roger
Quite a few letters have come in since November asking what happened to J.B. so at least we know that some miss it. The truth is thaL ye ed has been busy mullin and planning, with this issue, # 49, the first of the 49ers - a little different in make-up, and a few minor policy changes- but still very much here.
During the coming year part of the Bulletin will be printed, part mimeographed. Articles and news requiring illustrations or photos will be printed, the rest mimeographed. We may change from first class mailing to third class but that is still in question. By the way, subscriptions are based on issues, not months of the year, so you always get 12 issues, regardless of whether they come out every month or not.
Quite a bit of material has accunulated since last issue but its surprising how fast it is used up, and we are far from having enough to even run six months ahead. We have some excellent articles from Doug, Jack Greene, Edgar Heyl, Vin Carey, Vi Carlso, Harry Opel, and others but how about YOURS?
Among the many appreciated greeting cards we found of special interest to Jugglers - Joe Marsh's hand drawn card of a juggler handling 6 balls, a plate and a hoop while balancing a card and hat on his foot. Upon opening the card three of the balls were found to be the nose and eyes of 'ole Sanity Clause. Anne and Oliver Register's standard card of Nick getting ready to slide down the chimney but with four foil balls being juggled in left hand. Harry Lind's Fiftieth Anniversary card with photos of four club juggle taken in 1898 and 1948 and captioned "Long ago", and "Still going strong". Jack Parker's candy stick tossing penguin card. And Bernie Joyce's words "Juggling Balls" directed at a string of tree ornaments.
Roy Henderson reports a picture of Bert "Molay" Turner in the Jan. 1949 issue of Movie Life. December 11 Sat. Eve. Post has a picture of Ann Sheridan with 3 clowns, one believed to be Homer Goddard. And here is one for the Bull - Roy, "Just before Christmas I leaned back on the rear legs of a chair and fell over backwards. As I fell I tried to gab something to keep from falling and did, but it was the wrong thing. It was a glass of water which I crushed in my right hand cutting the leader and requiring six stitches. Therefore my juggling will be slowed down for several weeks."
Gertrude Courtney, 61, former comedy Juggler with her husband under the name Courtney and Jeanette, January 4 in a Chicago hospital.
Frank LeDent, 62, December 28 in Philadelphia. Survived by his widow, Florence. Burial in West Laurel Cemetary, Philadelphia, December 31.
SCHOOL SKETCH IDEAS by DOUG COUDEN
Author's Note: The following has been written in answer to Roger's call for material to fill out the Bulletin. Although it was originally planned for publication in booklet form, it is being submitted as a "Merry Christmas" to Jugglers. Perhaps some jugglers planning to play schools will glean some ideas from it.
In my booklet, "Playing and Booking School Assemblies", I gave the information necessary to present a worth-while school show. In this booklet, I will deal with act ideas wherein the performer turns histrionic and presents his act or acts using a short play or sketch for his vehicle.
The idea is not new as performers have successfully followed this procedure in various branches of the business. Ideas along this line have come to the writer during the years my wife, Lola, and I have been entertaining school audiences.
Although we have never gone all-out along this line, we have incorporated the idea for my juggling act in presenting it as a sketch, "Fun in a Lunchroom". We have found that it broadens the field of audience appeals, especially along the comedy line. For example, comedy bits pertaining to the eating angle, whether along the juggling line or not, add more laughs to the act. Also Lola's role as waitress creates a logical reason for her to be an assistant and at the same time opens up an opportunity for cross-fire chatter.
To the novelty performer playing schools or those contemplating entering this fascinating field of show business, the sketch idea, in which the entire program is presented in this manner, has definite advantages. The performer advances to the stage of an actor, surely the highest form of stage presentation. In schools the audiences are more familiar with this type of entertainment than any other because of the class plays put on from time to time. In the audience are those who have played parts in these plays as well as students who have viewed them from out front.
Don't let the idea of acting before school audiences deter you for a moment. School plays, even under school dramatic coaches, are generally very poorly acted. A professional performer entering this field would have the advantage of experience in working before audiences, thus giving him that necessary stage presence. Also, if the performer has done any talking in his act, he will be able to get his voice out to the entire house, the principal stumbling block of student actors.
These two points alone would place the performer on a firmer basis than the school player. It goes without saying that by injecting his act into the play the effect would be outstanding.
Regardless of the type of act the performer presents, his act CAN BE PRESENTED IN PLAY FORM. It is just a matter of incorporating the act into a sketch idea and lengthening it to forty-five minutes, the standard assembly program presented during school hours. As the night show runs at least an hour and fifteen minutes, it can readily be seen that by presenting a different play for both the assembly and night show, a double-header can be played. This is the most remunerative method of playing schools; some acts have parlayed their net to one and two thousand per week. Something worth working for, especially those in the low income bracket.
Herein we will deal only with the assembly programs. A performer might ask, "Why not just do my regular school show?" My answer to that one is that there is a lot of competition in the business and a performer who can get away from the usual has a big advantage in booking. Let us assume that you book your own dates, the only practical way to start. When you approach the principal with the actor-performer slant he immediately recognizes the appeal this will have to his students.
He also places you on a higher scale than the average school entertainer. Principals generally know very little about the mysterious realm of performers but they are familiar with certain aspects of acting, obtained from school plays. As they recognize acting and stage-craft as an art, the idea appeals to them, thus greatly increasing your percentage of bookings.
TEAM IS BEST
The ideal set-up for the school actor-performer venture is the man and wife team, both versatile performers. If the wife is an assistant only; handling props, packing during the performance and helping to fill the stage in costume, I would not class her as a performer. To better present the novel sketch theme, the fem half of the act should work up two or more acts or specialties suitable for a lady performer.
Some are easily and quickly learned in a matter of hours.
To illustrate my point, let us digress a moment. A number of years ago Lola and I were playing halls in New England under sponsors. We were doing a long show, nearly two hours, quite a difficult undertaking for novelty performers. Lola decided to do rag pictures. We ordered them and they finally arrived. Lola worked, all afternoon, following the instructions and learning 'he patter. She presented the act in a show that night. After the show, we had several visitors backstage. One lady really enthused about the pictures. Here's what she said, "I liked the entire show but I think my favorite act was the pictures. They were very beautiful and you did them with such ease and grace, it must have taken years of practice."
Lola didn't tell her that they had just arrived that afternoon. Rag Pictures rave remained an integral part of our show ever since. True, routining and presentation have been greatly improved since that first showing, but the act was EFFECTIVE with but a few hours rehearsal.
Either acts suitable for a lady and easy to master are magic (especially production of flowers and silks), puppets, other art acts such as chalk talk in which outlines are already on the paper) and silk pictures (a rose bush is formed on an easel, rolled, colored silks forming the buds).
During the course of a year the school player works to many children in the lower grades so it is essential to have several acts of short duration to hold the attention of this age group. The play idea, with a simple plot, would add more interest and would make it possible to shorten some of the longer novelty acts.
To performers playing schools, especially through the bureaus, the big headache is the necessary time for setting up and packing props after the show. A revolutionary idea for the performer with a sketch is that much of this labor can be performed DURING THE SHOW, IN FULL VIEW OF THE AUDIENCE. From experience we know that this idea is thoroughly practical and appealing to a school audience.
Some students invariably manage to get out of class while we are setting up to see what is going on. They are extremely interested in these "behind the scenes" activities, so why not make them a part of the show and thus add further appeals? It can be done by the simple expedient of writing the sketch so that these usually lost labors can be used effectively on-stage and at the same time have a logical reason for so doing. This brings us to the first act idea, a performer-sketch, titled, "Behind the Scenes".
Interior set with bare table and two chairs. No props showing. Two actors in street clothes, seated disconsolately at table. Both sit and stare momentarily. They then discuss their plight of the husband losing his job. What to do next? The wife suggests trying to get a date with their acts. The husband thinks it a good idea. Why not try the - - - - School (the one they are in). Wife agrees so he exits to see principal. Off-stage he changes to stage wardrobe. Wife decides to rehearse her first act. She brings on bag, places drapes on table and chairs, secures props and does her act. Husband calls from off stage that the show is booked. He comes on carrying his props and does his act while wife changes.
The acts continue, singles and doubles and toward the end of show they change back to street wardrobe while the other is working. Final scene finds actors back at table, stage cleared of show paraphernalia. Lines cover the success of the idea, the acts and business which the audience applauded and laughed at. Their problem is solved. The wife remarks about how wonderfully it all turned out. They arise. He walks toward her. Clinch. Curtain.
The sketch gives the students an over-all picture of back-stage activities, setting up and packing in full view, booking the show, contrasting change to stage wardrobe and back to street clothes, as well as the actors' off -stage rehash of what went over with the audience (a quite common custom among school performers). The change to colorful stage wardrobe is real theatre with surprise and contrast elements. It is a proven, sock stage technique. While one is working the other can set up for next act. About the middle of show the stage should be fully set and from that point on the performer not working can pack and strike.
(To be concluded in the next issue.)