Old Uni Photo!

Check out this old picture of this guy riding a giraffe while balancing a tall pole with a lady at the top juggling volley balls!!! Its hard to put in one sentence…so check it out. My grandpa got it at some auction.

Go to http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/albun76

Here’s a mini of the pic:

If you check out the larger pics in the album, you can see there’s a regular unicycle in the background to the left.

very kewl!
thanx for sharing
and this in the days before safety wires?
that’s when u know u r confident in your idling!

That’s amazing! How did she get up there?

i’d hardly call myself a circus-expert
a couple of thoughts
quite often during balance-pole acts, the bottom member will get the pole in position and then the top member will skurry up the pole before getting into the serious tricks (that bit alone will take u a while to get under control)
in this case, unless she climbed up the side of him on the giraffe (i.e. freeemounting a giraffe that’s allready being ridden) i cant see any way for her to get to the bottom of the pole and must assume that she stepped off the suspended platform behind her and onto the top of the pole
either way, this is an impressive skill

Re: Old Uni Photo!

According to:

The Big Show: A History of the Circus
Sutton, Felix
1971, Illustration 26

this is a family/troupe known as The Marinkas.

Unfortunately, no other information is given about time, place, background, or how the trick was set up, etc.

I did a cursory search on the web, but found nothing additional. (I didn’t spend much time culling through the hits.)

Still a very nice photo. Take it to “Antiques Roadshow” and see if anyone there can provide details. :slight_smile:

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

I was not planning on addressing this particular question but I realize you will eventually find out that it is me in the photo and I know how insistent the folks in this newsgroup can be when they want the scoop on a new skill.

This photo was taken of me in the early 1970’s when I was performing under the name Marinka. The balancing pole-giraffe act in and of inself is no big deal. The way we got Shirley (my assistant) up on the pole is of interest here.

Before the show, I would swallow, first the three volleyballs, and then the balancing stand. The swallowing was slow and cumbersome and done backstage because, although interesting to watch, it took long enough that the crowd would become impatient. Ringside, Shirley would climb onto my shoulders and I would freemount the giraffe. I began to push the balancing stand out through my mouth by rapid contractions of my esophagus. When the stand was out by about a foot, Shirley would climb up onto it. Then, I would lift the stand with Shirley atop it using this esophagul contraction technique until I could grasp the base of it with my teeth. I could then quickly grab it with my hands and transfer the load to my shoulders. I could then move my head to the side and tilt it up enough to eject the volleyballs from my throat at a high velocity and in rapid succession directly into Shirley’s juggling pattern. This was a real crowd pleaser.

We had some difficulties with the routine. Shirley was taken to gorging with fruit pies before the performance and they begun to take up permanent residence in her thighs and rump. I later had to discourage this activity as it added weight and made it difficult to elevate her. We used to tease the crowd by riding close to the bleachers and waving our arms frantically. We got a bit too frisky on one occassion and Shirley fell into the stands in a cart mounted popcorn popper and had butter at a high temperature forced deep into the pores of her skin. Our performances ended after that accident because the additional slipperiness in Shirley’s skin prevented her from adequatedly handling the volleyballs and remaining in a fixed position on the platform. I could never find a replacement with the exact haircolor to match Shirley’s cute little outfit. We parted friends and I still remember the tender embrace with Shirley and the subtle scent of warm butter on her cheeks.

Well, Harper, since you have no shame I’ll post another of your old photos. I thought you would have participated during the “directional see-saw” post since you are one of the orginators of the technique.

You can tell this an old photo due to the lack of gray hair and the see-saw is manually operated rather than the new fangled automatics.

unicycle[2].jpg

Re: Marinkas

Sorry all, I had my facts completely wrong.

A quick perusal of “Historical Revisionist Circus Performers of the Post-Stalinist Soviet Union”, 1968, pg 305, by Leo P Govop, the performer in question was actually none other than Harpozny Gregorovich. His assistant went only by the single name, Svetlana.

Harpozny was an astounding performer until the autumn of 1959 when he cryptically commented at the end of a flawless performance, “Jeez, I could be getting paid big rubles for this in Vegas.” Sadly for him, Svetlana, in exchange for 2 rolls of toilet paper (extra scratchy) and a voucher for the privilege of cutting halfway to the front of a line for one loaf of semi-fresh bread, turned him in to the authorities. Svetlana in her memoirs, later confessed that she always suspected Harpozny of learning and frequently performing this trick merely to be able to justify staring at her butt for prolonged periods.

Harpozny was sent to a gulag where he spent the remainder of his days teaching his fellow prisoners the art of balancing rotted fish carcasses on their foreheads.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Sorry all, I had my facts completely wrong.

A quick perusal of “Historical Revisionist Circus Performers of the Post-Stalinist Soviet Union”, 1968, pg 305, by Leo P Govop, indicates that the performer in question was actually none other than Harpozny Gregorovich. His assistant went only by the single name, Svetlana.

Harpozny was an astounding performer until the autumn of 1959 when he cryptically commented at the end of a flawless performance, “Jeez, I could be getting paid big rubles for this in Vegas.” Sadly for him, Svetlana, in exchange for 2 rolls of toilet paper (extra scratchy) and a voucher for the privilege of cutting halfway to the front of a line for one loaf of semi-fresh bread, turned him in to the authorities. Svetlana in her memoirs, later confessed that she always suspected Harpozny of learning and frequently performing this trick merely to be able to justify staring at her butt for prolonged periods.

Harpozny was sent to a gulag where he spent the remainder of his days teaching his fellow prisoners the art of balancing rotted fish carcasses on their foreheads.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

booya

that pic at the start of this thread is, as Darth Vader would say, “impressive”.

Yes. As you can also see we rather quickly took to using cadavers as the fulcra for these particular stunts. The live ones from the audience kept complaining about the cracking noises as we rode over them and the shortness of breath afterwards. Sissies.

Re: Old Uni Photo!

> Before the show, I would swallow, first the three volleyballs, and then
> the balancing stand.

No way, I remember you first swallowing a Root Beer… then the three
volleyballs…

Tell it like it was Greg.

Darren

u people aren’t well

I’m buying the materials now, Greg… but I want to know if you had problems with splinters on the pole? Did you try fiberglass, aluminum, or titanium poles? And, if you don’t mind, a link to the website where you bought the volleyballs would be nice…

Fiberglass was too much of an irritant so I had to go with aluminum tubing. I would use carbon fiber today. It’s strong, light, non-toxic, and the cloth doesn’t have such itchy fibers.

Once again, Greg takes some liberty with english, streatching the word swallow to the breaking point -'envelope’or ‘insert’ would be more appt. I say this with some authority, having acted as his apprentice stand luber for 18 months. When I accepted the position, it was described to me as ‘the toughest job you’d ever love’; however, beyond this, I can’t recall much from that time period.

-Christopher

For technical reasons I’ll need a higher resolution version of this picture, and the young ladies phone number.

-C

Cool pictures! Is she standing on only the pole, or small platforms out to the side to rest her feet on?

But what about that pencil-lead taste? You’d have to go with the strawberry flavor additives, which reduce strength by 25%. Not to mention their carcinogenic tendencies… :frowning:

Re: Old Uni Photo!

> For technical reasons I’ll need a higher resolution version of this
> picture, and the young ladies phone number.

I’m not sure, but I think it may be Debbie Hyder and her
stage partner Chantal the Fairy (the cadaver :wink: ). Take a
look at this and see what you think:
http://www.users.bigpond.com/chantalfairy/madame_loyal.html

Debbie came all the way from Darwin, Oz for the British
Unicycle Convention - that’s a sort of hint BTW.

Anold the Aardvark

The problem with being the Witchfinder
General is that you have to keep finding
witches, or you’re out of a job.

  • Colin McClernon