I.J.A. CONVENTION JUNE 27 - 30 AT JAMESTOWN, N.Y.
The big news is out- - The International Jugglers' Association announces its First Annual Convention, June 27, 28, 29, 30, at Jamestown, N.Y., in testimonial to Harry H. Lind. If you are even only mildly interested in Juggling we'd bet an old "dead" juggling ball that you'll kick yourself twice if you CAN make the meet and DON'T. For all real juggle-bugs this convention is an unparalleled event - certainly the first one in the long history of our art. Here is a chance to hob-nob with jugglers from all over the country, talk juggling (18 hours a day - or more - if you care to), and see and talk about new ideas in juggling, and swap pictures and collector's items.
HARRY H. LIND
President Art Jennings (he's an unusually busy guy right now since Ruth presented him with a new daughter) has appointed the following men to take care of the many convention details:
Dr. Wm H. Crosby - General Chairman, 119 E. 5th Street, Jamestown, N.Y. George Barvin - Program Chairman, 100 Harry L. Drive, Johnson City, N.Y. George DeMott - Publicity Chairman, Millville, Pa.
While there are still many details to handle, the situation is well under control and you can look forward to one of the best get-togethers ever held. The Convention will actually be the 28, 29, and 30th with Sunday 27th the coming in day and with a probable night before party the evening of the 27th. A banquet and Big Public Show are being planned, educational sessions, swap sessions, movies - including a short one taken at last year's juggling session in Pittsburgh, and many other features.
The Jamestown Chamber of Commerce is backing this event wholeheartedly and Dr. Crosby advises that Mayor Samuel A. Stroth will welcome jugglers to Jamestown and declare that week Jugglers' Week. Those of you that can take advantage of a vacation at the same time will find the climate and surroundings to your liking with all the resort facilities of Lake Chautauqua at your disposal -- but we'll let the Chamber of Commerce tell you more about that.
Hotel Jamestown will be convention headquarters and Dr. Crosby has advised us that Mrs. George DeMott and Miss Violet Carlson will be at the reception desk to welcome, register, and guide you on your arrival.
The Registration is going to be held at $5.00 if at all possible and this amount will include the big banquet at the Hotel Jamestown, Tuesday June 29, at 6:30 P.M., and all the special features being planned. In order to properly take care of everyone, Dr. Crosby has requested that you send your reservation in promptly -- Do it now, before you forget - so that final arrangements can be completed. Your reservation should be sent direct to Dr. Wm. H. Crosby, 119 E. 5th St. Jamestown, N.Y.
If you would like to appear on the big Public Show, contact George Barvin immediately. Any pros who can make only one day and would be available for this show (to be either the night of 28th or 29th) please send this information directly to George so that he can line up the finest array of juggling talent ever beheld by public eyes!
The Convention is sponsored by the IJ.A. but you DO NOT have to be a member to attend and be welcome. Your interest in Juggling is the main requisite. If you can, come early and stay late- if you can only come in for one day, do that -- but mark your calendar now and start shaking the piggy bank, and come prepared to have three of the most pleasurable days of your juggling life. And here are the men that are working to make this the get-together of a lifetime.
DR. WM. H. CROSBY
JUGGLE TALK by JACK GREENE
In earlier issues of the Bulletin I have noticed squawks from jugglers lamenting the policy of the J.B. in catering to the student juggler - Punks, as many old timers called the beginners. It is not my intention to berate the squawkers but to ignore them. They have a perfect right to holler their heads off. On the other hand the same privilege must be accorded the fellow who thinks otherwise. I happen to be a juggler of the old school - with modern ideas of course - who believes the "punk" needs help and I am willing to help him or her to the best of my ability. The more jugglers there are, the more popular juggling will become. Is there any art more popular than music? And doesn't every family have a musician of sorts in it? And are there not more musicians employed today than ever before? There are according to Petrillo! It seems to me that the same applies to juggling. The following article may not be a work of art, but if it will help any struggling juggler to better himself I will feel I've done my daily good deed. And I believe if some jugglers who are well established in the profession would accept some advice they could improve their act as well.
Indian club juggling is certainly a unique offshoot of the juggling art. There are enough moves to be done with even one or two clubs to make up a ten minute routine, and many old timers confined themselves exclusively to the manipulation of one or two clubs. The reason for this is obvious when one stops to think about it. In the old days the clubs were used for swinging only. Every gymnasium had brackets with long rows of Indian clubs hanging from them. The local physical instructor would use these clubs to demonstrate club swinging to classes of men and women. One of the most famous of the club-swingers was Gus Hill, who was popular just before the turn of the century.
The juggling of clubs naturally evolved from club-swinging. During their rest periods, the club- swingers would play around with one or two clubs for diversion. It was only natural that eventually some pretty clever moves developed from those play periods. Club-swinging was going along at a merry clip before someone thought it would be novel to put it into a juggling act. After the jugglers saw the possibilities of using clubs it didn't take long to develop clever and difficult moves with one and two clubs, and from there into a three-club juggle. No doubt at that time this was considered sensational.
>From the three-club juggle there developed all kinds of tricks - the more ambitious youngsters going after them with vengeance until there weren't many more three-club tricks that could be thought of. Every juggler (at least the great ones) would try to outdo the other until one would think that every possible trick had been accomplished or at least attempted. But such was not the case! Even to this day one is likely to see new club tricks, and every so often I've seen jugglers do tricks that we old timers never thought of. Of course some of the old timers did some tricks that the new generation hasn't quite caught up with either.
It didn't take long for the ambitious club tossers to try their hand at juggling four clubs. However four clubs tossed into the air presents a difficult problem for the tosser. It is next to impossible to juggle four clubs as you would four balls - two in each hand in a shower fashion; clubs should be done in a 1 1 1 1 fashion or your wrists will suffer from the knobs striking them viciously. Now it seems that tossing them in that manner would be simple enough, but still someone had to think it up - someone had to dope out a way to juggle four clubs successfully. Hats off to that man, whoever he was! It is interesting to observe that the first man to incorporate a four-club juggle in an act had to complete the juggle by having the curtain lowered because he didn't know how to stop the clubs.
>From the straight four-club juggle there developed soon a few tricks of the simple variety, and it did not take long for the ambitious fellows to perform almost as many tricks with four clubs as they previously had done with three. But it must be remembered that it took a lot longer practice periods to get the four-club tricks than it did with three. True there was only one more club but that one more club made a world of difference in practice.
Five clubs is a very difficult trick in anyone's language, and it takes many months for a healthy fellow to stay with it till he feels sure of it. Several old time jugglers have laid claim to be the first to juggle five clubs. But it is not my intention to go into a discourse on who was the first. Some jugglers tossed the five by juggling three in one-hand and two in the other, somewhat in the manner of a four club toss. Others crossed them as you would a five ball fountain, and some turned them on double - two turns - while others used a three-turn revolution. I used the latter method, but I believe that a juggler who is learning the five-club toss would find it easier to use the double turn since the three-turn method requires more muscle and more precision. I really don't know whether a triple-turn is more flashy than a double-turn or not. That is probably more a matter of opinion than a matter of fact. However for anyone contemplating the perfection of the five-club juggle I would certainly advise the use of the double-turn.
A six-club juggle has been done once to my knowledge, and I have heard that even a seven-club juggle has been done. My advice to those attempting a six or seven-club juggle is - Don't tackle it! It won't pay dividends. Years of practice put into tricks that only jugglers would appreciate. It just isn't worth the effort. There have been many performers who have stuck to three clubs and have been very successful with them. They confine themselves to the many novel and intricate little tricys that show up remarkably well on the stage, and have received thunderous applause for their cleverness. Many of these flashy, applause getting tricks can also be done with four clubs.
In my opinion the best way to learn club-juggling is to first learn to juggle three balls. After you've mastered the three balls and still want to go in for clubs, take two balls and one club, and juggle the three. The one club gives you the feel of a club being tossed in the air so that when you try three clubs they will not feel like strangers to you. After you have been able to toss the two balls and one club with some confidence, you might try the three clubs. You will find it much easier to get into the three club juggle by this method than by trying three clubs from scratch.
To juggle four clubs you must first be able to juggle two clubs in either hand expertly. There's no use trying four until you have mastered the two in either hand. From there on you have to get used to the four clubs in the air at one time. In tossing the clubs for a plain four club juggle you must keep each two clubs in each hand in a straight up and down movement. Say, for instance, like two elevens or four ones - not in a double circular motion as with balls. Otherwise you will have trouble.
Five clubs should be crossed over from hand to hand as in a three club juggle. It is perhaps unnecessary to say that you should start out with three in one hand and two in the other, as any juggler who has reached this stage of the game knows that. But a word of advice may not be amiss here in explaining that a better start can be had by grasping the three clubs in you right hand crosswise, one under the other, forefinger and thumb holding the last two, to leave your hand and the other three fingers supporting and guiding the first one out of your hand.
The knob, or ball end, of a club is very essential in performing many club tricks. I have seen some jugglers completely ignore the knobs when they tried tricks, and in some cases they succeeded in accomplishing them. But from observing these jugglers I have come to the opinion that their tricks would not only look smoother, but would be easier to master, if they would utilize the knobs instead of ignoring them. If you fail to use the knobs on some tricks the clubs will wobble and make it difficult for the juggler to catch. Use the knobs when necessary - that's why they were put there.
When doing tricks with a partner or partners it is absolutely necessary to use the knobs to some extent. If you don't your partner (if he can catch the clubs at all) will suffer from busted fingers, because a club tossed from a plain hand grip will have a tendency to wobble, and a wobbling club will not only be much harder to catch, but if not caught it will be liable to smash the fingers of your partner.
In using the knob a little judgment should also be used. One cannot very well catch the clubs by the knobs, and it is easier to catch them by the handles, as they should be caught. If catching the clubs by the handles and throwing them by the knobs presents a knobby problem to you, the solution is not hard to find. When you catch the club by the handle, just let it slide gently down to the knob position - it's easy. Just don't get in too much of a hurry and it can be done by not gripping the handle too firmly. Gripping tends to wobble the club. Grasp your clubs in a sort of loose grip. The feel is the thing and you must gauge it correctly. Don't grab. By grabbing you lose smoothness and the loose grip that is essential for control.
Sometimes, even after a Juggler has performed for years, his thumbs seem to be always in the way. That is, there are times when his fingers are all thumbs. That situation is easily analyzed. The loose grip is taking the form of a hard grip and the muscles are tightening up. All you need do to remedy this is to remember to relax - get back with the loose grip again. Your hard grip is wobbling your clubs.
Many problems enter the life of a Juggler. These problems, in most cases, can be solved by the Juggler himself if he will take the time to analyze his ailment. Most often his trouble is caused by tightening up; his muscles are losing their flexibility. If you cannot diagnose your own case, have another juggler - an agreeable one of course - do it for you. The observer no doubt will be able to spot it quickly. His advice may not always be correct, but it may give you some ideas of your own that may prove helpful. At any rate don't hesitate to talk to other jugglers.
In 1947 I attended a convention of Magicians in Pittsburgh. The International Brotherhood of Magicians sponsored it and worked in a session devoted to jugglers. It turned out that there were nearly fifty jugglers present. Not one of these jugglers showed any inclination of being upstage or self-centered. Everyone there was willing to show his brother jugglers anything asked for by the other jugglers. There were some amateur jugglers there, and some who juggled professionally only part-time. There were juggler-magicians, straight professional jugglers, and last but not least, jugglers who had retired from the active field of the profession. Altogether it constituted a group of jugglers who were able and willing to show their brother jugglers many tricks and moves new to them. The feeling created by this jugglers' session reflected the efforts of a few fore-sighted jugglers and certainly it had many good points to be said for it. If it did nothing more than create good will amongst the jugglers its purpose was fulfilled. At that session it was also proposed that there should be a separate and distinct juggler's organization. It didn't take long for the fever to spread and then and there was organized the International Jugglers Association. Such an organization can and will serve the juggling profession in many ways. It will take support by everyone though, and will need the co-operation of just about all the jugglers in the world to make it a complete success. Do your part by showing an active interest in your art.
THE BALTIMORE SCENE as seen by VIN CAREY
We are looking forward with great interest to the coming convention of the IJA but in the mean time we have just had a Junior Edition of the convention ourselves. On Saturday, April 10th, Harry Lind with Mrs Lind and daughter, Violet Carlson arrived in Baltimore to spend the week end with Vin and Winnie Carey. Preparations for the visit have been going on for some time and at eight o'clock Saturday evening the following had gathered at the Carey domicile to meet and greet the Linds, Pielert and Scofield, Oliver and Annie and Mrs. Regester, Paul Gorden and nephew Alex Rom, Tom Mallonee, Phineas Indritz, Dr. and Mrs. Wm. Endlich, Mr and Mrs Andy Bo-Bo Thumser and the Careys. As soon as all had been introduced the caravan gathered up bags of juggling apparatus and reconvened in the Sunday School room of the Central M.E. Church where there was plenty of room for all to toss everything and anything to their hearts content.
Ten jugglers were in the assembly and they soon had the air filled with clubs, balls, knives, rings, battle axes, devil sticks, plates, etc. This went on for some time until everyone had a good workout or warm-up. Then a program was made up and each one presented his specialty as a single.
Harry Lind and Violet then gave a fine demonstration of their double club passing. Various others tried passing with Harry or Violet and then a threesome of Harry, Violet and Paul Gordon performed. Doc Endlich furnished the musical accompaniment on the piano but was later replaced by a record player so that he could watch the juggling.
Harry Lind then gave some special instructions to the club jugglers and then did his routine of club swinging and sliding. This went on til about eleven o'clock at which time the gang packed their props and all returned to the Carey house where 0liver and Vin entertained with the "Augusta Ave. Philharmonic and Chamber Music Society". This consisted of Vin on the drums and Oliver with an assortment of some half dozen instruments featuring the accordion. This was followed by some magic acts by Doc Endlich, Oliver and Vin. About one A.M. Winnie invited all to the dining room for a buffet lunch and the gang reminisced about jugglers of the past and present until the party reluctantly broke up about three A.M. Gosh, but I had a great time and I hope my guests were as pleased with the affair as I was. Most of those present have planned to attend the I.J.A. convention as this party was just a warm-up for the convention.
JUGGLERS' JUNCTION by BETTY GORHAM
Here and there: McConnel and Moore, the Gay Ninety's jugs, are now awing Australian audiences - Glen Phillips visited with Pryde and Daye while they were playing a club date in Sioux Falls, S. D., and also caught Ben Beri's act there - Richard McKinney writes that he is presenting his combined magic and juggling show in Jefferson City, Mo. - Jack Taylor and Jack Liddell, a Canadian club jug, had a get-together when the latter was in Jack Taylor's home town in England - The Chiesas, who thrilled convention goers last year, will be back with Ringling again this season.
The Billboard, April 3 issue, contains a revealing write-up on Gus Sun's early tossing tribulations and triumphs. After taking lessons from a juggler stranded near his home, he joined the Sommerville and Lee Circus and soon he started the famous Sun Circuit. One of a very few cannon ball jugs still doing heavy-weight tossing recently played a club date in Davenport. His name is Carl Thorson, a veteran of 40 years in show biz. Although we couldn't see him work, he visited with us for a while before leaving for a club date in Ill. For 2 years he was with U.S.O. doing his plate juggling and spinning, 3 ball comedy, combination tricks and cannon ball roll. Incidentally the cannon ball, rolling on his body and being caught on his neck, provides a thrilling finish to his unusual act.
Collectors' Corner: Richard F. McKinney, 110 East Franklin, Jefferson City, Mo., would like to locate a copy of Everhart's "Facts, Fame, and Fortune" or the old Van Wyck catalogs--- Anyone having 3 or 4 good used 11 oz. clubs, Lind's junior model, please let us know, as Jack Taylor would like some.
JUG JUGGLESON'S LETTER by DOUG COUDEN illustrated by JOE MARSH
Dear Roger. Did I tell you when we left the Silver Cow my wife balls me out for having a workout but seeing my ear bleeding she softens up and we stops at a Docs place and he sewed it up O.K. We lost 2 days pay but had nearly a G in the kick, over 300 bucks with a swell contract and all so I wired Williams and he wires back he's got us set in the Waldorf, I never been in the Waldorf as I always stop at the Mills Hotel in N.Y. I wired Williams could we park our trailer back of the Waldorf like we done at the Silver Cow. He shoots back a long letter saying we'll have to park in the Bronx as N.Y. is all built up now and no vacant lots nowheres. He gagged that the Indians has all scrammed since they got their 24 bucks, ha, ha. Well for 1/3 a G we can afford to drive way down from the Bronx. Williams wants Marie and I to wear the same wardrobe like we were in the Silver Cow as he said jugglers in tuxes is now a dime a dozen. This is O.K. by us as when we departed from the Silver Cow we had our wardrobe still on, ha, ha. After we get set in the Bronx with the trailer we drives down town and blew about 3 yards for a good front so when we drops in to see Williams he don't even know us at all so I had to wise him up we was the Juggleson act. He gives us the glad mit and asks are we ready to open and we says yes. Things has changed since I was in N.Y. in 1911 but its the same old hick town where they think Pbg is way out west. I doped out a new juggling trick for when we open, juggling 3 big watermelons. I got 3 toy balloons and painted them just like real watermelons. They float through the air slow which will get big laughs. Add some news for Jugs Bul, Roger. I caught a juggler at Lowes State before it closed and he done a swell act with balls and clubs and he sprang a new gag, You don't have to be crazy to be a juggler but it's a big help. So long, pal, Jug.
EXPLANATORY PROGRAMMES Severus Schaffer (Juggler and Equilibrist), Empire, Dec. 1903
Performer seated in pony dog-cart drives on to the stage (he is attired in frock coat and silk hat, suit of tights underneath) steps out of cart, and while balancing hat on his nose, reads from portfolio, while the attendants take pony away and back cart to rear of stage.
Juggles two plates, turnip and table knife.
Juggles two turnips, fork and hat. Throws turnip very high and catches it on fork held in mouth; other turnip on head under hat. The movements with this odd collection of properties were almost, if not quite, as varied, as one would expect to see were plain balls only employed. A movement with two plates that appeared to me novel was where the one plate was throw in the air and still spinning rapidly on its own axis, and caught as it fell, edge on and still shinning rabidly, on the bottom of other plate held in the left hand - The spinning plate is balanced on the other one for few seconds, and the juggling is continued without any break.
Juggles ordinary bent wood chair, various movements arm to arm, arm to head &c., balances chair by one of the rear legs on forehead, then without using the hands, jerks up head causing chair to make a half turn, and catches it (back of chair) on his forehead maintaining the balance.
Next follows a novel balancing act. With ordinary glass champagne bottle, 3 billiard cues, 3 legged table and a lamp. The thin ends of the cues are placed in the "kick" of the bottle, while the thick ends are attached (doubtless, permanently by means of sockets), to each of the three legs of the table, the lamp is placed on top of table, and apparently secured by means of a bayonet catch. The neck of the bottle is now balanced on the forehead, the whole structure being maintained in equilibrium while the performer a spins a bowl (trick center), on stick in left hand, and throws two bowls with right hand.
Juggles two genuine eggs and china plate. These three objects are handled with the freedom of three balls in the hands of the average juggler. Finally the eggs are, each in turn, thrown in the air, as high as the stage admits, and caught as they fall, on the plate and that without being fractured. They are of course broken and contents emptied onto plate to show the absence of deception.
Juggles washstand jug, various movements, finally seems to loose his hold of the china, and at the moment audience expect the smash, turns a complete and clean somersault and catches jug ere it touches the floor. Juggles this jug, wash-hand basin, and a lightly constructed small square table.
Snatches cloth off large center table, leaving objects on table in their original positions. Balances lighted candle on forehead and blows it out, maintaining the balance. Juggles candle and candle stick, while attendants pull dog-cart into position in center of stage.
With the aid of several stage attendants the cart is now raised in the air, with the wheels spinning rapidly. While the free end of one shaft is brought into contact with performer's forehead to be balanced there in perfect equilibrium, the while he spins a tray on stick in one hand and plate on finger of opposite hand.
A gun, sentry box, soldier and two large heavy balls with handles, are next brought on stage, also a pair of steps. Performer takes "rung " underneath center of box, in his teeth and balances box above his head; attendants hang the two heavy balls one on each side of box, soldier now gets into box with his gun (by means of the steps) and the two attendants hang all their weight, one on each side of the sentry box, - performer sustains the whole and in perfect balance. A portion of the weight is, apparently, sustained by contact of a part of the box with the head, i.e. not all the weight on the teeth.
The performance, up to now, is done in frock coat. Scene changes and performer appears in tights and executes some novel tricks; center and two-side tables.
Plate runs along arms over chest from hand to hand, arms outstretched; and a similar movement, plate running over shoulders behind head; and a similar movement with two plates over chest, crossing on chest.
Juggles two plates one hand and spins one on opposite hand. Juggles the three plates all movements with the facility of three balls - one movement appeared to me novel and difficult, i.e. while juggling three (the shuffle) one is thrown very high (center) and while it is in the air the remaining two are passed across chest from hand to hand (as explained above) and the center plate returns to hands, the juggling is continued without break.
Juggles one plate, usual movements, on one hand, round head, &c. and finishing by feigning to drop plate, turning somersault and catching it ere it reaches the ground. Wipes hands on handkerchief and accidentally drops handkerchief, - no, it is caught on foot with a cunning wink.
Juggles six dinner plates three in each hand (the shuffle); to start, one is held in mouth and one under left arm. Two in right hand are started and the one from under arm is introduced; then the two in left hand are started and the one from mouth is introduced; to finish, one is returned to arm and one between knees - obviously there is little time to lose.
Hoop, glass of water and billiard cue, an improve- ment on the old trick. Here the glass of water is placed on the inside of the hoop as usual; on the opposite side of the hoop is a swivel and socket for the introduction of point of cue around which the hoop with glass is now spun, the velocity ever increasing until the hoop spins around cue at right angles to cue which is now perpendicular: the velocity gradually subsides and hoop comes to rest at side of cue without the glass for once showing any tendency to become dislodged.
Balances plate on nose and spins another one on finger. Blindfolded. - Spins basin on cue in one hand, gets down on his knees and picks up three plates from floor and juggles them (shuffle) in the right hand returns plates to stage without breaking any. An explanation of this blindfold may not be out of place.
The juggler is genuinely blindfolded by his assistant with an ordinary cambric handkerchief, then a bag is placed over his head (provided with holes for the arms that the arms may work unimpeded), and finally another cambric handkerchief is tied tightly over his eyes on the outside of the sack. The bag is made of a thin material through which the eyes can penetrate (or ordinary sacking is employed, a few strands being pulled out of, that part which comes immediately in front of the face),
In the act of placing the bag over his head, the juggler, or his assistant, finds little difficulty in secretly (under cover of the bag) pushing the first handkerchief off the eyes on to the forehead. Then, when the bag is in posi- tion, the second handkerchief is tied, not over the eyes, but over the forehead; the difference is not now percep- tible to the audience, not one of whom, except those actually in the know, could be induced to believe that the performer has still an uninterrupted view of the objects he handles. A little good acting on the part of the performer, to further the belief that what he does is accomplished by a highly educated sense of touch, will add much to the deception. In conclusion, and under cover of retrieving the bag the first handkerchief is again secretly pulled down over the eyes, that now they appear fair and above board.
Balances piece of tissue paper on nose and blows it off.
Throws small table, tiny ball of tissue paper and heavy cannon ball, catches paper in month, and drops ball to show heavy. Juggles ball, various, ball down back and through legs, turning somersault to keep ball on the body and to catch same as it comes up on to his chest. Balances ball on long pole and usual "kid" business with attend ant. Balances ball on pole on forehead and transfers the ball to pole on chin, and cake-walk. Catches ball from pole on back of neck, and again.
Spins large round three legged kitchen table on very long jointed pole, centers it, and lays on back and balances pole on foot, kicks pole away and catches table on feet which keep it spinning, which concludes an interesting and exceptionally clever "show."