Enrico Rastelli: Full Stage Juggling Spectacle

Born this day in 1896, Enrico Rastelli was a third generation Italian acrobat and aerialist who grew up in Russia. He took up juggling on his own initiative at age eight; going solo with his own act at sixteen. After a lifetime of performing with circuses throughout Europe, he came to the U.S. in 1923 for a year long Keith-Albee-Orpheum tour. The large scale of his act (full stage, two assistants) and his peerlessness as a juggler (could juggle ten items, and could juggle while spinning a hoop and skipping rope simultaneously) justified bookings at top venues like the Palace and the Hippodrome. He undertook a second U.S. tour in 1928. He passed away in 1931; the cause remains a matter of dispute.

Some rare footage of him in action:

To find out more about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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And don’t  miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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