Over the years, I’ve come across photos and videos of German slack wire jugglers Elimar and Eldino and often confused the two. I recently decided to research these two performers and get my facts straight.
Elimar Clemens Buschmann was born in Cologne, Germany in 1917. He was the youngest of three brothers and didn’t come from a show business family. His father was a confectioner, making candy and other sweets. Nevertheless, Elimar learned to juggle and made his debut at the age of 16 at the Wintergarten Theater in Berlin in September of 1933. He was a very talented juggler, tightrope walker, and slack rope artist. He was known throughout his career simply as Elimar.
During his early performing career, Elimar traveled around Europe with various circuses, leaving Germany in his early twenties to escape the Nazi regime. He spent WWII in Melbourne, Australia, interned as an enemy alien. While there, he took charge of the camp entertainment committee.
He spent some of the post war years of the late 1940’s in the USA. At one time, he was hired as part of a big production, but didn’t discover until days before his booking that the show was on ice. He rented a rink from closing time until dawn for several nights to learn to ice skate and incorporate skating into his act.
Elimar on ice skates
He did multiple tours with the Harlem Globetrotters in Europe as one of the half-time show acts. One of his career highlights was appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1950s.
He met his wife Louise, a singer some 16 years his junior, back in Australia in the early 1950s. They spent about 15 years touring around Europe and Asia with a double act, working in cabaret and variety night club venues. Billed as “Elimar and Louise,” their act comprised of three sections. First Elimar would juggle on the ground using balls, tennis rackets, hat and cigar, and clubs with Louise acting as his assistant. He claimed to have been the first juggler to perform devil stick using a tennis racket. Then Louise would sing while the slack wire rig was set up behind the curtain. Then Elimar would perform on the slack wire, juggling up to 7 rings, doing combination tricks, and performing ball and mouth stick tricks.
Elimar was very talented, but his career ended fairly abruptly in 1965 due to his struggles with alcoholism. He retired in Australia and lived on the fringes of the carny circuit for a number of years.
As a testament to his great skill, he was featured in the following photograph along with Bobby May, Francis Brunn, and Massimiliano Truzzi – three of the greatest jugglers of all time.
Bobby May, Francis Brunn, Elimar, and Massimiliano Truzzi
Below you can see some of his outstanding juggling. Pay special attention to his top notch work with a top hat and cigar.
Elimar passed away in 1980 in Melbourne, Australia.
We know far less about Eldino, though I have been able to learn a little. He was from Pforzheim, Germany and originally apprenticed as a goldsmith. However, his passion for juggling led him into performing. By the end of the 1930s, he had gained a good amount of success as a juggler, working both on the ground and on the slack wire. He taught Gus Lauppe how to juggle and got him started on his journey as a performer. Eldino performed at least up to the early 1960s. At some point, he was performing in South America and suffered a heart attack, which led him to retire as a performer and become a goldsmith and watchmaker in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Below you can see some additional photos and a video of Eldino in action.