Friday, March 21, 2008

Burlesque Bycicling

Joe Jackson and his cycling clone
Mastering a talent can often be the secret of a comedy genius. Juggling, dancing, magic, music, singing, tumbling, drinking galons of water or balancing billiard tables have been the excuses at the roots of the greatest clowns. Mastering a technique to destroy it for comic purpose.
In this way, austrian performer Joe Jackson become one of the most requested vaudeville headliners at the turn of the century. His son followed up to the 70s with the same act. Joe Jackson's technique was to destroy our basic skills of going on a bike to turn them in a string of unconveniences.

So genial was the idea, he was forced to bill himself as "the original", as on this poster we recently came across:

While recorded memories of Jackson act don't seem to exixts (but his son's verson have been televised), one of his antagonists was luckier in the preservation to eternity: is the case of Sam Barton, a Jackson clone (even if with some difference) that glowed for awhile in the British music hall.
So, for your enjoyment today, a poster of the original Joe Jackson and a film of Jackson's emule Sam Barton:

1 comment:

Adam said...

Great-- and good to see.

When I was at Ringling's Clown College in 1989, Joe Jackson Jr came to speak to us-- he said that he did the same act as his dad, and they were performing simultaneously during the 50's (Jr. in one place, Sr in another) so perhaps that's why "The Original"

Between them they had (as of 1989) performed the same 20 minute act for 109 years. It was a tight 20 minutes!

At the time, Jackson was too old to do the falls, and wasn't performing, but had hopes that his grand-daughter would take up the act. Don't know if she ever did (and I haven't heard anything about it)

Thanks for making this post and the video available-- I wasn't aware of Barton at all.

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