Thursday, April 11, 2013

Juggler Gets a Surprise: Stereoviews A-Z

Another of photographer Herman Knutzen's hilarious vaudeville-like skits. The juggler is known elsewhere online as the magician, but he is really a juggler in the end.  

Vaudeville was a popular form of stage entertainment in the U.S. from the 1880s to the early 1930s. A vaudeville show had anywhere from ten to fifteen acts, with magicians, acrobats, athletes, singers, dancers, comedians, and trained animals. 

This was also during the time of the great magician Harry Houdini. Of all the vaudeville performers (or vaudevillians), Houdini was America's highest paid in the business. Houdini led an interesting life, and some may be surprised to know he was also a pilot and flew a French Voisin biplane. (I add this for the benefit of my private pilot husband :).

Knutzen does a fine job of capturing America's love of vaudeville in the following set. You can almost hear the live laughter. 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I take ze two eggs like zis, 
and ze sossitch like zis."

"And place zem all upon my nose, like zis."

"I carry zem around, like zis."

"I pairform 'm ze difficult feat like zis."

"Sacre-bleu! I have ze sad accident."

"Mon Dieu! Ze egg is of such a great age it is to smell."

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl;
[Gravseth family archive; 1906, Herman Knutzen Stereoviews]


  1. LOL! My first thought when I looked at them was "Is he dressed as Babar?"

  2. This act would do well today. Youtube sensation.

    Moody Writing

  3. That looks like a very entertaining act.

  4. Just stopping by from the A-Z Challenge list to say "Hi"

    Really enjoyed your post honey.

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge :)


    1. Nice to meet you Vikki:) Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This is awesome. If I say that every day know that I mean it every single day. I am really enjoying the stereoviews.

  6. Some talented artists, back in the Vaudeville days. Haven't seen anything like anywhere else yet, so fun being here.
    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

  7. Are you following Arlee Bird, the A to Z founder? He was a real juggler back in the day.
    And proud to say I can still juggle tennis balls!
    Thanks for commenting on my post today. I'm struggling to keep up with Challenge posts, comments, and new followers, but I am trying!

    1. Thanks, Alex...appreciate the visit. I sent Arlee a message. Hope he can stop by. You two have a long list to follow!!

  8. Your juggler looks like I feel sometimes. :)

    Funny that we both picked juggling for our J word.

    Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

  9. Hi Sharon. Interesting that Houdini and your husband are both pilots. I did see a few jugglers out there. I add that I love juggling. One of my sons was very good at it as a kid and tried busking on more than one occasion. He drew a crowd around Disney World once as he would stop and juggle what ever was nearby at the kiosks we passed. Had to giggle at the vaudeville juggler in the stereoview. The captions are great. God bless, Maria at Delight Directed Living

    1. One of these days I'm going to write about my husband's 12-yr airplane project in the garage. Bet your son had fun. Thanks, Maria!

  10. Sharon, I learned alot reading your blog that I didn't know before. Wondering about the pictures. They look great. Did you draw? These were antique stereo-vision slides? Really funny too.

  11. Mary, hi! The stereoviews are actually photos on card stock and doubled sided so they can be viewed (3-D) in an antique stereoscope I inherited. This set is dated 1906. (Posts A & B explain this more). Thanks for the follow!

  12. Hello Sharon.
    Hubby's a private pilot, hmm, I'm getting my pilots licence this year, tired of driving everywhere.
    I still have an antique stereo slide viewing "Device". I think they are called View Master 3D something or other.
    Juggling, that's what I do with my crew each day, ha, ha, ha.
    Very nice post, Geoff.

    1. Yep, he flies a tandem RV8. Not really my thing but he loves it. I'm his white-knuckle passenger!


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