Juggling Firsts: Part Three – Rings / Hoops and Miscellaneous

As I stated in the first two parts of this series, in 1946 Vaudeville juggler Tommy Breen wrote a now well-known article for Roger Montandon’s Jugglers’ Bulletin on “Juggling Firsts,” listing the first jugglers to accomplish various feats, to the best of his considerable knowledge. This list has been an invaluable resource to juggling historians ever since, but it is …

Obituaries: Lois Jackson and Walter Houc

The juggling community has lost quite a few members in the past year or two. We would like to take this opportunity to honor one who has recently passed and one who passed last year. LOIS JACKSON (1929 – 2014)   Lois Jackson was born April 11, 1929 in Morgantown, WV (USA) to Lessie and Paul Trevillian. She grew up …

Juggling Firsts: Part Two – Clubs / Sticks / Rackets

As I stated in part one of this series, in 1946 Vaudeville juggler Tommy Breen wrote a now well-known article for Roger Montandon’s Jugglers’ Bulletin on “Juggling Firsts,” listing the first jugglers to accomplish various feats, to the best of his considerable knowledge. This list has been an invaluable resource to juggling historians ever since, but it is now 68 …

Juggling Firsts: Part One – Balls and Ball Bouncing

In 1946, Vaudeville juggler Tommy Breen wrote a now well-known article for Roger Montandon’s Jugglers’ Bulletin on “Juggling Firsts,” listing the first jugglers to accomplish various feats, to the best of his considerable knowledge. This list has been an invaluable resource to juggling historians ever since, but it is now 68 years old. Therefore, I’m now endeavoring to compile an …

Hat Spinning – History, Instruction, and Performers

 In the final years of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, hat spinning was a fairly standard and common form of juggling. Today this art form is performed by perhaps as few as two or three jugglers in the entire world. For those who have never seen it, hat spinning can perhaps be best described …

Toss Juggling With The Feet

Most toss jugglers don’t know much about antipodism, the art of foot juggling. While they both share the term “juggling,” there isn’t much over overlap in skill sets. Some of the best toss jugglers don’t use their feet at all and some of the best foot jugglers don’t know how to cascade three balls. Obviously, this isn’t universal. Many toss …

Japanese Juggling With A Ball And Two Sticks

The title of this article is probably a bit misleading. While the form of juggling discussed certainly did originate in Japan and is still practiced there, it was picked up well over a hundred years ago by Western performers and was extremely popular at the early part of the twentieth century. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A December …

Breenos – The Forgotten Props Of The Breen Family Jugglers

One of the most influential American juggling families of the first half of the twentieth century were the Breens. Hailing from Lawrence, Massachusetts, Tom Breen made his debut in 1886 at the Weber and Field’s Theater in New York City. His wife stayed at home to raise their children and train them in dance and music, but she died young. …

Be Funnier With Scotty Meltzer: Hat Juggling

Variety performers have to wear many hats: writer, editor, director, performer, prop maker, agent, publicist, social media manager, even costumer. In any other form of theater, each of these jobs would be done by different people with different skills, different training, and different temperaments, yet most of us to do all these things and more ourselves. We don’t have to, …