[PW] Which entertainer first juggled chainsaws?

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Wed Jan 10 12:52:54 PST 2018

Here are some matches from a quick incomplete search.

The phrase "juggling chainsaws" was employed in a simile circa 1978.
This may have simply been a hypothetical dangerous activity, or it may
have been an entertainment act of which the writer was aware.

Year: 1978
Periodical: Analog Science Fiction/science Fact
Quote Page 153
Database: Google Books Snippet; data must be verified with hardcopy;
search for "1978" reveals that the volume does contain issues from

[Begin excerpt]
Chatting with Chen was like juggling chainsaws. I sighed. We were
being honest. "Yeah — if he got a chance to pull it off, sure. But
that'd take some doing."
[End excerpt]

A theater critic in March 1981 stated that promotional material for
the juggling act "The Flying Karamazov Brothers" mentioned "chainsaws
and cats". Perhaps the Brothers were challenged by an audience member
who brought a chainsaw? Perhaps they juggled a plush toy cat?

Date: March 18, 1981
Newspaper: Richmond Review
Newspaper Location: Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Article: Helmets and hoses . . . The amazing Flying Karamazov Brothers
Author: Madame Arcati (Review Theatre critic)
Quote Page 26, Column 6
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
"Juggling CHAINSAWS and CATS", the promotional literature stated, The
Flying Karamazov Brothers were at the Folk Music Festival last year so
I knew it was true.
[End excerpt]

A television listing in September 1981 mentioned that a "Chainsaw
Juggler" appeared on a show called "YOU ASKED FOR IT". The name of the
performer was not given.

Date: September 24, 1981
Newspaper: Lancaster Eagle-Gazette
Newspaper Location: Lancaster, Ohio
TV Viewer Information: Day: Thursday
Quote Page 11, Column 1
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin TV listing]
YOU ASKED FOR IT One Legged Tennis Player; sung Dynasty Village;
Dangerous Horseshoes; Chainsaw Juggler; Wild Animal Hospital; Backward
Echo Challenge
[End TV listing]

In August 1983 a picture of a chainsaw juggler at Venice Beach
appeared in "The Baltimore Sun", but I did not see the name of the
performer in the article.

Date: August 28, 1983
Newspaper: The Baltimore Sun
Newspaper Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Article: Around the West in 17 days--with a car and a tent
(Continuation title: See part of the western U.S.A. by driving hard
day after day)
Author: David Michael Ettlin
Start Page T1, Quote Page T4, Column 4
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin caption of a picture showing a chainsaw juggler]
A chainsaw juggler in Venice, Calif.
[End caption]

[Begin excerpt]
At Venice, a chainsaw juggler (yes, the chainsaw was running) revealed
how to get the Krishnas out of Los Angeles airport: "Throw a quarter
on the runway."
[End excerpt]

A chainsaw juggler was named in March 1984.

Date: March 2, 1984
Newspaper: The Desert Sun
Newspaper Location: Palm Springs, California
Article: New Yorker has entertaining alternative (Continuation title:
Tributes aren't always expensive)
Author: Bruce Fessier (Entertainment Editor)
Start Page B4, Quote Page B6
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
. . . whom Ms. Ellis found in Venice Beach, did some Flashdance-style
breakdancing; and Robert Gruenberg amazed the audience by juggling
[End excerpt]

Garson O'Toole

On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 11:12 AM, d-lien University of Minnesota
<d-lien at umn.edu> wrote:
> "First time I saw them live was at Westercon XXX in 1977 in Vancouver."
> Hey, I was in the audience there too (and the first time I'd ever seen
> or heard of them).
> Jaw-droppingly impressive.  Raved about them.
> Dennis Lien / d-lien at umn.edu
> On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 9:56 AM, Jeffrey Pike <jpike at gpl.org> wrote:
>> First time I saw them live was at Westercon XXX in 1977 in Vancouver. Cosplay was a thing even then, and one of the items that came up on stage was a scimitar about 18 inches long. The Brothers seemed rather distressed by it, but they gamely included it in the act.
>> JP
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Project-wombat [mailto:project-wombat-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org] On Behalf Of John Cowan
>> Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 10:35 AM
>> To: list at project-wombat.org
>> Subject: Re: [PW] Which entertainer first juggled chainsaws?
>> On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 9:54 AM, Jeffrey Pike <jpike at gpl.org> wrote:
>> The Flying Karamazov Brothers used to solicit random items to juggle from
>>> their audiences.
>> How well I remember.  My wife and I went to see them live several times, and on one occasion tossed up an item on the stage to be juggled, but it wasn't chosen by the audience.  The two most challenging things I saw were a pineapple (ouch) and a plastic bag of garbage (very unpredictable behavior).
>> If a chainsaw had been forthcoming, they would have accepted that challenge.
>> Not necessarily.  They always reserved the right to reject any item or to modify it.  The bag of garbage had several things removed from it, presumably to lighten it.
>> --
>> John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
>> La mayyitan ma qadirun yatabaqqa sarmadi Fa idha yaji' al-shudhdhadh fa-l-maut qad yantahi.
>>                 --Abdullah al-Hazred, Al-`Azif _______________________________________________
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