Reggie Rymal: Baron of the Ball-and-Paddle

Reginald “Reggie” Wesgate Rymal (1921-2002) got his start in Toronto as a teenage yo-yo champion, but his ball-and-paddle act in nightclubs, film and television is what brought him brief fame in the 1950s. Rymal could keep many paddles going simultaneously and in live performance was prized for his ability to send a ball within a fraction of an inch of an audience member’s nose. His most famous moment of glory was in the 3-D movie classic House of Wax (1953), in which he was the intermission entertainment, paddling his rubber balls directly towards the camera:

Rymal also did TV guest shots on The Steve Allen Show, The Eddie Cantor Show, You Asked For It, The Colgate Comedy Hour, and The Spike Jones Show. He occupied a very narrow show biz niche, but he was enough of a show biz legend that Variety published his obit when he passed away in 2002.

To learn more on the history of variety entertainment, including tv variety, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.