In our recent converse with Bobby May on things juggable, he brought up two gags that stuck in our memory as being good usable comedy. The more you toy with them the more the appeal, that is if your act lends itself to comedy gags.
First: a derby balance on nose or chin with comedy expose. In effect, the juggler comes forth wearing a derby. The head gives a forward toss and the derby balances on the nose. The hat may be allowed to settle back on head and again flipped to the balanced position. For the comedy climax the head tilts still further forward to expose the fact that something besides skill is holding the hat in position. The something is simply a dark thread, one end of which sews to one side of derby goes around back of head, and other end sewing to the other side of hat. You'll have to experiment with the proper length of thread as well as the flipping of hat up from head.
Second: a little nifty that could make a swell encore stunt for a comedy act. Take a pair of gloves and to each finger of each glove sew or glue a short length of thread. The exact length will have to be based on a trial. To the other end of each thread glue ping-pong balls. Now if you are wearing the gloves and move your hands and fingers, the balls will jump around wildly but cannot get away. If the hands are held fairly closely together you get a semblance of unusual juggling.
Shooting The Breeze Roger
We're glad to know that someone besides us worries about the Bulletin.--We were late enough last month that Karl Cartwright wanted to know if we had sent it. The December issue will be slightly late too,, but after the Christmas rush maybe we can settle down and get back on time again.
Hugh Shepley adds to the list of books mentioning Juggling.-- "Circus" by Paul Eipper, published by Viking Press, N.Y., 1931. Contains a half-page description of Enrico Rastelli's act, mentioning his torch juggling particularly. The book also describes the act of Heros, Bavarian heavy juggler; has a full page picture of a Chinese girl spinning two plates on sticks; and a short description of some Japanese foot jugglers.
Bob Blau reports catching the act of Belmont Bros. at one of Houston's top nite spots. "They do a flashy act of hoops and diabolos, nice individual work and passing 6-7 hoops, also manipulation of tops in single and passing routines. They close with their illuminated tops in the dark. Very effective."
Jack Parker and Valentine & Evelyn making the train trip from East to West preparatory to USOing. Valentine says, "Passing clubs on the aisle of a moving train is fun-- try it sometime ! "
The Elgins hopping all over the country, but not Tulsa yet. Tom Breen says in reply to our article on audience participation, " We have been using the audience participation idea now for about four years and it really does go over nicely. We were playing at Alpine Village in Cleveland and one night went over extra well and Herman Pirchener who is M.C. as well as owner of the place insisted on an encore. So we asked the audience if they would like to see Herman try to Juggle. The new gag went over well and we kept it in after that.
December 15th Collier's breaks the story on Lew Folds. The article is replete with errors. It is too bad the article wasn't written better because such publicity on a national scale has been scarce and should be valuable to all Jugglers by increasing public interest in the art.
Larry Weeks types, "While en route to New York from Oakland, Calif., the train stopped in Chicago for four hours, so after buying a paper and finding The Five Willys listed at the Oriental, taxied right over, and spent a very pleasant couple of hours with them. The sixth Willy who is in the army, was on furlough from his camp in Texas, so went into the audience to catch the act with him and his wife. He married a charming Kansas girl, who was a dancer, and in the short space of one years time, he has taught her enough juggling so that his entire army job to date has been in special services. She takes to juggling very much, so things really work out swell. As to the Willys, the act looks great with just the five, and between stroblited hoop juggling, club juggling, passing etc., plus a few cute comedy bits, it's still the fine act that I saw featured with the Ed Wynn show on Broadway when they first came to this country five years ago."
Though this Bulletin will reach you too late to convey the Christmas greetings, we want to thank all of you for the swell cards and wish you all a healthy New Year.
A Juggler in the Stix by Doug Couden
Arcadia, Louisiana: Jack Taylor sends over copies of "The Stage", "The World's Fair", and "The Performer", English theatrical sheets. Just received school adv. cards from printer so if you want one, or a copy of above, let us know. Bill Ruesskamp mails old copy of Phoenix showing knife throwing technique. Purchased Earl Gotberg's "You, too, can be a Ventriloquist" and it's A-1. Eric Johnson sends pics and green felt- who'll send a pool table? Roger types a few lines (that's hotter news than if he bit a dog) on preview Bulletin letterhead. Out soon and you'll like it. Hugh Shepley sends more sketches of tricks. Also sends Bert reviews of acts.
"Spud" Roberts sends miniature business card and springs an idea, "I believe that jugglers don't have to search for new material but just use the old stuff, it being new to the present generation." There's a lot in that, plenty of tricks from the old days can be revived to advantage. However, this writer also believes that juggling has lagged behind in the use of modern materials in props and applying modern inventions to juggling. Also there is too much copying of the other fellow's routines. To stimulate invention read, "Heed that Hunch" in Dec. American Mag. In the same issue we find, "Want a Job At a Million a Year?", which gives some dope on Fred Allen's early juggling struggling.
Jugglers are imitators. That's how we started, seeing tricks which fascinated us and trying them ourselves, but when one is somewhat advanced, the viewing of a juggling act should stimulate the old bean to stew up DIFFERENT ideas. This would result in a wider range of juggling, an asset to the entire Biz.
New sub. signed by writer is legitimate actor Earle Mayo of N.Y. en tour with Windy Hill Co. with that potentstar Kay Francis. List from Roger shows another Vet, George Lerch, Cleveland, O., former Air Corps Staff Sergeant; another foreign sub, Sef. Santos, Honolulu; that S. F. team Valentine & Evelyn; Buck Hall, Arlington Va. and Ray Walker, Welch, W. Va. We're a growin' Jack Parker has already reported some news so let's hear from you other new readers.
Betty Gorham reports the Conners playing assemblies in Texas. Al does juggling, another tosser in schools. Any more? Harry Lind writes he's off to N.Y.C. to see the lights- and on business. Danny Dreeben types he got some of those Canadian la-crosse bells and likes 'em. By the way, where is Wilfred DuBois? He did a lot for juggling in the past and we would like to see him active again through the medium of this Pub.
Got the green light from Roger on the color change trick so here it is: Consists of juggling 3 discs, standing side to audience, doing the turn over cascade. Each of the six sides are decorated in a different color. To illustrate the turn over, hold plate in right hand pointing away from body, fingers in the concave side of plate. Toss and catch in left hand, palm up, fingers also going into concave side. Now let plate swing down (turn over). Repeat toss to right hand, catch and turn over. Cut discs about 12 inches in diameter from plywood. Glue six inch circles of foil paper on and enamel the remaining three inch outer circles of plywood white. Suggested music, "There's a Rainbow in the sky"--- and there you are.
If you like Bert Hansen's reviews how about one of you being the official movie photographer for our group? The Nov. Reader's Digest has something on this, "Pioneer of Home Movies". To film present day acts for our own pleasure and Instruction as well as for posterity would do a lot for the advancement of juggling. Along this line, the staff of J.B. has been cooking up an idea to stimulate more interest among the juggling gentry. Plan is to give an annual award, outside the staff, for those working for the good of the order. It's Bert Hansen's idea to give a pocket piece as this can be carried easily and others would then be able to see it. However, we find that a die for this solid gold "medal" is quite expensive and we would like to hear from those who would be willing to contribute for the initial cost. Also someone to dig down each year for the prize itself. Have we any affluent readers who would come across? Contact Roger or his emissaries on this please. All donations will be acknowledged through this page.
Jim Conway submits some odd pantomime stuff, juggling without props as follows. "Toss Imaginary balls, heroic attitudes. Spin plate on stick. Add more plates. Raise cannon balls. Biz of looking at muscles. Catch on back of neck. Take sword-fence. Bend and spring blade. Split hair. Swallow sword, draw out and flourish, then look foolish and run off". An idea here for a comedy encore bit.
Screwy Juggling Dept. In Avondale, N.C. ran across Joe Hawkins former clown juggler who played fairs. His pet trick was juggling 3 tall lamp chimnies but he did it the hard way, cascaded 'em but made the tosses OUTSIDE. Handed him 3 clubs and I'll be darned if he didn't juggle them the same way.
Season's Greetings to all.
Bert Hansen's Juggling Reviews
Lockwood Junior High Oakland, California January 28, 1942
The following routine was presented as an imitation of an old time juggler and was a part of his full evening magic show.
Entered wearing top hat- did umbrella in hat and removing long glove.
Three ball routine.
Spinning glass of wine in triangle on billiard cue (removed many gaudy vests during this trick)
Three cannon balls ( 2 wood, 1 rubber)
Combination with spinning plate in left hand, lighted lamp balanced on forehead and two hoop juggle with right hand.
Three club routine.
Chin balance of tray of dishes on rod with removal from chin and return to chin on a string. Chop out of rod- tray caught on hand.
Three spool routine.
George (who passed away on Dec. 4. 1942) was an artist, a creator and designer of magical ideas, an outstanding magician and manipulator, a good showman, and a loyal friend.
THINGS! GADJETS! STUFF!
Remember the rather oft used gag of juggling along leisurely, suddenly stopping, looking at
watch, and then juggling very rapidly as though to get finished on time? There are several
variations that you can use to change or revive this excellent basic gag.
1. with credit to Jimmy Muir whose M.C. gags are tops: Stop juggling, pull out a flexible steel tape measure, pull it out about 15 inches and remark, " I've only got a few more inches, I'll have to hurry"
2. Use a large watch such as made by Donald Holmes that has room in the back for a sandwich. Idea is to make entire action very casual. Stop juggling, take out large watch look at time, open up back and remove sandwich and eat leisurely, look at watch again and noting lateness of hour juggle furiously to catch up.
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