The Gil Dova Collection

Gil Dova

My brother Scott Cain became friends with juggling legend Gil Dova and his wife, the famed foot juggler Regina Baranton, about a year ago. Gil sent us some of his clubs and cigar boxes for the Museum of Juggling History. You can see these below.

He also sent us a variety of photos from his and Regina’s careers.

While many readers have probably seen videos of Gil’s act, check out Regina’s act with her sister.

Gil passed away on July 15th, 2016. I wrote an obituary of him that you can read here. I encourage you to read it and watch the video below if you’re not familiar with Gil and his wonderful act. It will give you much better context for the rest of this article.

Scott remained in contact with Regina following Gil’s passing. Regina decided to move from their home in Las Vegas, NV to Florida and asked if we would like more of Gil’s props and other juggling memorabilia for the museum. We said we’d love to add them to the collection. We contacted juggler Joel Heidtman, who lives in Las Vegas, to assist us. Joel was able to visit Regina and her son and retrieve a wonderful collection of Gil’s things. Joel was a tremendous help to us and we appreciate his assistance a great deal. Here is a photo of Joel with Regina and her son, who strongly resembles Gil.
Shipping everything came to more than $500, but wait until you see what we got. By the way, if anyone would like to help cover that shipping cost, please contact me.
We received three large and one gigantic package containing some wonderful treasures.
Here’s what the packages contained.
Six of Gil’s cigar boxes
Eight of Gil’s bounce balls
Two of Gil’s clubs
Four of Gil’s mini-umbrellas
Gil’s shaker cups and mouth stick
The biggest prop was Gil’s amazing prop stand that transformed into a horse, which he rode offstage at the end of his act.
In table/prop stand mode
In horse mode
A close up of the stirrups and spring latch that released the head and tail to pop up
Gil’s horse is now the biggest prop on display in the Museum of juggling history. We also received two extra horse heads.
 In addition to Gil’s props, the packages contained some other treasures. The most important were two of Bobby May’s top hats and Bobby’s wooden cigar.
The grey hat could possibly be the one that Bobby has in his lap in the photo below, although he had several similar hats.
Gil knew Bobby May since Gil was a young boy, as Bobby was a good friend of Gil’s father, the famous comedic acrobat Ben Dova. Bobby was Gil’s inspiration to become a juggler and the two were close friends. The next three items from the packages reflect this.
This is a large poster of Bobby May that was displayed in Gil and Regina’s home.
This is a montage of Bobby May photos and articles that was on display at Gil and Regina’s home. The photo near the bottom right shows Gil as a boy seated next to Bobby, who was visiting Gil’s parents’ home.
The following cartoon of Bobby May was made by Gil in 1962, using snapshots he had taken of Bobby.
Gil was also friends with Francis Brunn. The cartoon below was made by Gil for Francis in 1982.
A variety of photos of jugglers such as Bobby May, Ernest Montego, Ken Sherburne, and Dave Parker were also include in the packages.
We appreciate Regina and her family for entrusting us with these items. We’re happy to honor Gil in the museum. If you’d like to see these and hundreds of other amazing juggling treasures, they’re on display at the Museum of Juggling History, located in Middletown, Ohio (USA) and will be shown in the Juggling History Room at the 2017 IJA Festival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of nine books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA). His favorite color is purple and his favorite food is filet mignon.

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