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View Full Version : WC Fields: Great comedian, yes. Great JUGGLER? You bet!


MuniAddict
2007-03-30, 04:33 AM
I've always been a big fan of Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, the Marx Bros...all the great acts of yesteryear.

But WC Fields (Born William Claude Dunkenfield, 1879-1946) is not only one of the few truly great comedians of all times, but was also a very amazing juggler/manipulator of his day as well. CHeck this out! (Keep in mind that when this was filmed, probably in the mid 1930's, he was already pretty heavily into the booze, and into his mid 50's and overweight. He had also began his career in the silent era and learned his juggling skills in his teens.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MZWq14uD-A

feel the light
2007-03-30, 06:58 AM
And I'm younger by a few years, and about as fat.
Juggling is just juggling,
no matter how fine.
Fields was just a hack.
Yet every drop had a story,
We could almost see the rythm, yet he's lost it now,
then bangs it back.
Fields was just a juggler,
And we were just his hack.
Greatest juggler of all time they say.....
I say humph! behind their backs.

johnfoss
2007-03-30, 07:22 PM
I once read somewhere that at the turn of the (last) century, W.C. Fields was the highest-paid juggler in the world. But I think movies paid better for him later on...

Seeing that clip many years ago inspired me to learn to balance stuff on my foot (spinning plate on a stick), as well as to learn a 9-cigar box balance. The hardest part about that trick was making the boxes (reinforcing and decorating some cardboard school-supply boxes).

PopeSamXVI
2007-03-31, 06:52 AM
W.C Fields was a great man Too bad he got such a bad wrap for that time he juggled 9 chickadees. The animal rights people were al over him.

BillyTheMountain
2007-03-31, 09:47 PM
I once read somewhere that at the turn of the (last) century, W.C. Fields was the highest-paid juggler in the world. But I think movies paid better for him later on...

Seeing that clip many years ago inspired me to learn to balance stuff on my foot (spinning plate on a stick), as well as to learn a 9-cigar box balance. The hardest part about that trick was making the boxes (reinforcing and decorating some cardboard school-supply boxes).

Was that a shill who threw the ball knocking down his cigar box balance? Tough to think of a better ending.

Since I also did Fields cigar box "juggling" routine, I just used cigar boxes, with LOTS of tape and reinforcement, and Dr. Scholl's foot pads on the ends for grip.

Those stick foot catches are really something....

And he did that with old low quality balls, and even bounced them!

We're really spoiled today, with all the technology to make things easier.

johnfoss
2007-03-31, 10:58 PM
Was that a shill who threw the ball knocking down his cigar box balance?
I think you would call him an actor, following a script. Of course that begs the question of whether such was used in his live shows of old. Probably not, because if you actually encourage your audience to throw things, it would put a serious damper on the remainder of your show.

And that little kid with the tomato at the end? Good arm! :p

Yes, my cigar boxes were Toys R Us "back to school" boxes, with styrofoam blocks inside (for crush protection), tape, and silver mylar and red felt glued on. Doesn't matter what you do though, people will still think there's magnets or some other gimmick in there.

Come to think of it, when I used to do my 9-box balance (Fields was doing 12), I would always finish by dropping them on the floor to show they were not attached.

We're really spoiled today, with all the technology to make things easier.Yeah. Especially if you mean unicyclists!

BillyTheMountain
2007-04-01, 01:00 AM
I think you would call him an actor, following a script. Of course that begs the question of whether such was used in his live shows of old. Probably not, because if you actually encourage your audience to throw things, it would put a serious damper on the remainder of your show.

And that little kid with the tomato at the end? Good arm! :p

Yes, my cigar boxes were Toys R Us "back to school" boxes, with styrofoam blocks inside (for crush protection), tape, and silver mylar and red felt glued on. Doesn't matter what you do though, people will still think there's magnets or some other gimmick in there.

Come to think of it, when I used to do my 9-box balance (Fields was doing 12), I would always finish by dropping them on the floor to show they were not attached.

Yeah. Especially if you mean unicyclists!

So true!

homunculus
2007-04-01, 01:38 AM
I never knew WC Fields was a juggler --you can certainly see the showmanship; I don't really know enough to judge the true quality of the juggling, but his deadpan delivery really sells it. I good tutorial for buskers everywhere!

Triball
2007-04-01, 04:57 PM
I loved the trick where he bounced a ball from tha guy's face:D

Was WC also good at pool? I've seen him on billiard posters a lot:rolleyes:

tomblackwood
2007-04-01, 05:23 PM
I never knew WC Fields was a juggler. I don't really know enough to judge the true quality of the juggling, but his deadpan delivery really sells it.
He was a good juggler, especially for the time. He's also a member of the Juggling Hall of Fame (http://www.juggling.org/fame/).

UniBrier
2007-04-02, 06:14 PM
He's also doing it to live music. Think the band is in on the routine?

steveyo
2007-04-02, 08:15 PM
IMO Fields doesn't seem to have the extraordinary talent of the rest of those in the Juggling Hall of Fame.

MuniAddict
2007-04-02, 08:25 PM
IMO Fields doesn't seem to have the extraordinary talent of the rest of those in the Juggling Hall of Fame.Great showmanship though, plus keep in mind he had been at his height as a juggler probably 30 years prior to that film.

johnfoss
2007-04-02, 08:39 PM
IMO Fields doesn't seem to have the extraordinary talent of the rest of those in the Juggling Hall of Fame.
What you saw in the clip above was a small example of his juggling, as fit the needs of the film they were in, but is not indiciative of what he did 30 years earlier when he was in his prime. Apparently film of his juggling is very rare, that that clip is one of the few examples. To judge his juggling career by it would be like judging my Freestyle riding by watching me ride today.