HOWDY, MY NAME IS BILL STRONG, I'LL BE YOUR "24 HOUR MAN", ROUTING YOU INTO THE PAST TO SEE WHAT THE CIRCUS WAS IN DAYS GONE BY. IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, AND MISS WHAT IT USED TO BE, THEN COME ON ALONG AS WE GO DOWN THE ROAD FOLLOWING THE ARROWS BACKWARDS, TO "YESTERDAY'S TOWNS"! IF YOU HAVE CIRCUS RELATED PICTURES YOU WOULD LIKE POSTED, SEND THEM TO,,,,firstname.lastname@example.org,,,,AND WE WILL TRY TO FIT THEM IN. "24 HOUR MAN" WILL HAVE THE FINAL DECISION ON POSTING.
- Name: 24-HOUR-MAN
- Location: GIBSONTON, FLORIDA, United States
Three years at CWM made me a real traditionalist, and I keep remembering Bob Parkinson saying, "I want the people to see what the circus used to be, not what it is today. That's what this site is about!
Friday, August 31, 2007
RECEIVED THIS FROM PENNY: OFF "CIRCUS VERN".
Some of you have probably seen it already, for those who have or have not. let's all wish Jim, "GOOD LUCK, & A SWIFT RECOVERY"
WELL,THE BISQUITS AND GRAVY HAVE FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH ME. I WILL BE GOING INTO SARASOTA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL FOR OPEN HEART SURGERY AS SOON AS MY DAUGHTER MICHELE ARRIVES IN SARASOTA.PROBERBLY WED. JIM RIDENOUR 3918 FREEDOM AVE SARASOTA,FLORIDA 34231-4506
NOW HERE'S ANOTHER ONE I DID GET HERE TOO LATE TO SEE!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
HIGH ACT FOUND: THE STARDUSTERS
QUASSAR'S QUIZ: WHO CAN NAME THIS FREQUENT VISITOR AT "SHOWFOLKS", WHO DIDN'T HAVE TO RUN AWAY TOO FAR TO JOIN THE CIRCUS
QUASSAR'S QUIZ #2: CAN ANYONE NAME THESE HAPPY NEWLY-WEDS????
THE LAST COMEDY HORIZONTAL AERIAL BAR ACT: THE LaBLONDE TRIO
Now I didn't say this was the last Aerial Bar Act, The Ibarras, & The Rodriguez were two of the greatest, & there have been some very good ones come out of Eastern Europe.
The Aerial Bar Acts of days gone by were not the same, the emphasis was more on Comedy, the music was a "gallop",(ours was "Happy Days Are Here Again"), played loud & fast, & the act was done the same way, non-stop action, when one guy finished a routine there was already another on the first bar starting the next. The net was stretched tight like a trampoline to enable the performers to go from the bars to the net & "rebound" back up to the bars, & every routine was finished with a series of somersaults in the net. Because of the fast routine & comedy they were almost always used to open the show, some of the big shows having as many as three bar acts in a display. I once heard Orrin Davenport say it was the best opening act in the business.
BILL, BRUCE, & BLONDIE
Idlewilde Park Pennsylvania, 1956,(Photo enhanced by Jerry Beeman)!
"STRIP SHIRT" or "LONG SHIRT"
This was probably the opening trick of every Comedy Aerial Bar Act that ever worked.
CUTAWAY BAR TO BAR
Each one of us did three routines, this being Bruce,s opening & of course each routine finished with a somersault to the net, & a series of somersaults in the net.
This is Jim LaBlonde, whose place I took in the act, I always envied those long legs, they made this trick look great, also the striped tights,(they were no longer being made when I came along, thus the red or black & white half & half tights I wore.)
Most routines were done starting from the pedastal, then from the first bar, to the second, third, back to the second & then to the third bar again. On my second routine, when I returned to the second bar I would jump to the net & bounce back up to the third bar, do a toe hang & a head first dive to the net.
COMEDY AERIAL BARS #2
This is Bruce finishing a routine with a dive over the last bar, catching with a reverse grip.
Now there is one for you historians to look up, where did the name for this routine come from? I'm not even sure if I'm spelling it right. In our case Blondie would do a routine of tricks & end up sitting on the last bar, I would then go to the middle bar, drop to the net & rebound up grabbing him by one foot & at the same time swinging my foot up for him to grab, we would then lock arms & legs and revolve around the bar with him winding up on top. After a couple sweeps &swats with a broom full of shredded paper, we would revolve again putting me on top, I would then hit him on the kiester with the slapstick and he woukld fall to the net.
The prop used by the second comedian varied from an old fashioned double board slapstick to an imitation mallet, in our case it was a baseball bat, all of which were loaded with a 38 caliber blank cartridge. The only problem here would be if the guy on the top turned the prop the wrong side down, & it was known to happen.
Bruce is just getting ready to do a "fly-over", as he swings under this bar he will let go, and fly feet first over the next bar, doing a half twist catching the bar as he goes past it.
What may appear to some as bad form,(the bent legs) was a must for Bruce, he was so tall he had to avoid hitting the bar in front of & behind him with his feet by bending his knees. When he first started practicing in Bloomington as a youngster, all the old timers said he would never be a "bar actor", because he was too tall
THE LaBLONDE TRIO PORTABLE GROUND BAR ACT
On the off season we still had to eat, so we would get the portable rigging out, & work Jimmy Hetzer's Christmas dates, or head North to Canada where there were still some Night Clubs, & Theaters using Novelty Acts.
Montreal was wide open in the '50's, with some clubs that stayed open all night long, I can remember loading out of The Mocambo Cafe at 6:am, & there were more entertainers coming in. It was a Paradise for small acts, like Jugglers & Unicycle Acts because they could work almost anywhere, as I remember it The Cycling Kirks stayed in Montreal the whole Winter & worked all the time.
BRUCE, BILL, & BLONDIE
We had some friends that did a Ground Bar Act, & one time sort of "kidding on the square", they said we should make a deal, we wouldn't do ground bars & they wouldn't do aerial bars, so Blondie told them it was okay with him if they wanted to do aerial bars.
This was not a hard trick, but could be a treacherous one to miss. George Hubler did the trick in the act, we did,(Glen Martin & Co.), me being "Co.", he missed the trick but it turned him just enough to land on his heels, severely brusing them.
STEP-A-LEAN,(in case you haven't heard)
Bruce & Tony Steel.
You can see here what I was saying about Bruce's height, it was even more of a problem on this rigging, as he had to keep from hitting the other bar with his feet & also the ground, plus these bars were only 4 ft. long so he had to keep from hitting the sides when he bent his legs.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
SNAPSHOTS FROM THE PAST: JOHNNY LADDIE
Once in while you see a performer playing a part in the ring who absolutely fits the part, in my eyes Johnny Laddie was one of those performers. I found the above composite of the Johnny Zoppe's Rhesus Monkeys when it was presented by David, his sister Sonja, with his father doing the comedy. To me it was & even though Johnny is gone, still is one of the "Classic" Animal Acts of all times.
As we all know, this act, along with Susan Sheryll's Royal Afghan Champions, is still being presented by David Zoppe & his lovely wife Susan.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
JACQULINE MARIE MARSOLAIS
In a recent post about entrance capes & wardrobe I included a lovely young Aerialist who was not familiar to me, but made a very nice appearance, no overkill as you see so much of these days. Below is an email I received from her,showing her appreciation, I think it was very thoughtful of her to take the time, & also give a little information about her career.
I just received a phone call from Becky Austroff telling me I
had a photo on your blog! Funny, because I've just finished
reading, "Water for Elephants" and then I get this phone call
and you have all these wonderful photos on your blog.
Our paths never did cross but your name is quite familiar
to me and I wanted to say hello and also share a little info
with you to clear up who the mystery girl is.
I was a showgirl for Ringling 1984-86 and my last year,
Peggy Mills and Irene Espana trained me to do Lyre and
an upside down walk.
The photo you have on your blog is an early photo that was
on the cover of circus report. It was actually taken while I was
still on the Ringling show as a publicity photo.
I left the Ringling Show and from there I worked for quite
a few shows including Tarzan Zerbini, Ian Garden, Tommy Hanneford,
George Hanneford and George Hubler, Circus Flora, Zoppe Circus,
Phils Bros, Leibel Circus, Hamid Morton, and probably a few others.
I did originally use the name Marie Marsolais, (my middle name) but
it was confusing (since I'm called Jackie by friends) so I started going
by Jacqueline Marie Marsolais from there on.
Also, I rode in Mark Carroly's riding act (didnt every girl?), the
troupe riding act on Circus Flora and I also did a tour
with Carla Zoppe in her all girl riding act.
After a few years doing the lyre, I switched to single trap.
I've been out of the biz for a while now, but have recently
been reconnecting with old friends. Currently I have a
graphic design and printing business and live in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Thanks again for the photos and the memories. It's been really nice.
Jackie Marsolais, Fort Lauderdale,
MR. HERRIOTT,,,,YOU'RE RIGHT AGAIN!!!!
John Herriott was recently quoted on Buckles Blog, "It's all been done before", well maybe not "all" of it, but you can bet, a lot of it. How many times have you heard someone claim to be the first, the original, the only. Here is a vaudeville newspaper ad for Detroit's Miles Theatre, in case you can't read the hand written date, it is March 22, 1914.
Some other notable acts to appear at the Miles, Rhoda Royal's Circus,,John Robinson's 4 Singing & Dancing Elephants,,HOUDINI,,Albers 10 Polar Bears,, & The Riding Duttons.
FROM JOEY RATLIFF::::
MILDRED & BOB LEE
Hi, here are a couple of Globe of Death pictures.
The Marvelous Ce Dora. I don't know much about them but they are on bicycles!
Mildred and Bob Lee. Toured with the Conklin Shows in the late 40's.
QUASSAR'S QUIZ: HUNT BROS. CIRCUS 1944
FOR FATIMA & MULAY
Saturday, August 18, 2007
QUASSAR'S QUIZ: GREATEST UNICYCLIST!!!!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
A LITTLE BIT OF THIS & A LITTLE BIT OF THAT
Trudy says I have to put "something", on the blog so the following are a bunch of them, not neccessarily connected, just a "little bit of this, & a little bit of that".
Tiny Gallagher has been popping up a bit lately so here she is again. This is Showfolks in the '80's, on the left is Teresa Morales, & on the right is Trudy Strong. Seen in the background are Bobby Hakes, & Buzzy Cuttin.