Prop Launching Prop Stands and the Jugglers Who Use Them
As I do research on the history of juggling, I take note of certain trends and novel performance ideas. One thing I’ve noticed is the cross section of jugglers who have used prop stands or other devices to launch props to them. Below is a sampling videos of some of these jugglers. Instead of just providing links to their uses of these devices, I’ve embedded videos to encourage you to watch their entire act, as I think you’ll enjoy them.
The earliest juggler that I’m aware of that used a prop stand or other device to launch props to him was Bobby Jule. He did this in the 1950s, as you can see in the video below.
Perhaps the most famous use of a such a prop stand was the club launcher used by iconic Russian juggler Alexander Kiss.
Another early juggler to use a prop launching mechanism was Gil Dova. He uses it at the start of the following video.
German juggler Bert Garden’s prop bag not only launched balls to him, but also moved around the stage via a remote control operated off stage by his wife.
Claudius Specht is an juggler who also uses a remote controlled moving prop stand that launches props, in this case clubs and shaker cups, to him.
One of the more unique prop launching machines was used by Christoph Rummel, which you can see in the following video.
Rod Laver uses a interesting contraption to launch table tennis balls.
Eugenius Nil uses an interesting box to launch and hand him balls in the following video.
Mark Hayward uses a giant mouse trap to launch him balls in the following video.
Andrei Popov uses a ball launcher at the beginning of his unique act.
Well-known juggler Viktor Kee uses a suspended box to drop props to him, which you can see in the following video.
Dutch juggler Niels Duinker has recently added a remote controlled, ball launching prop stand to his show, which you can see below.
Doug Sayers and Marcus Monroe have experimented with simple step tetterboards to launch them balls and clubs. Check out their results below.
Bruce Sarafian has filmed tricks with a similar launching device, which you can see below.
Here is Petter Wadsten’s ring dropping contraption, which is still a work in progress.
I also recall that at least one or two of the jugglers that Benji Hill coached for the IJA Junior’s Championships used prop stands that launched balls, but I was unable to find any videos of this online. If you know of any other examples, please let me know.
David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. 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 twenty-four books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).