[PW] Which entertainer first juggled chainsaws?

d-lien University of Minnesota d-lien at umn.edu
Thu Jan 11 10:25:55 PST 2018


Garson O'Toole quoted:

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
1978

[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]

****************
The reference (confirmed by my hard copy) is to the October 1978 issue.

The lines appear in part two of the serial STARDANCE II by Spider and
Jeanne Robinson.
It's in chapter 7 of the novel (subsequently published in book form).  Chen is a
diplomat/politician/industrialist, part of a team with whom the
narrator's team is
negotiating Earth's appropriate response to a visit by intelligent aliens.

As a sidelight, I'd be very surprised if by 1978 the Robinsons were not familiar
with The Flying Karamazov Brothers, at least by reputation.  The FKB
appearance at the 1977 Westercon in
Vancouver, B.C. made them immediately popular in sf fandom, and while
I don't know
that the Robinsons (who were at the time I believe living in a
Maritime province)
were at that convention, they'd certainly know many people who were.  (But I was
in the audience for the FKB appearance there, and my memory -- which I
think I can
trust for something this outrageous -- is that they did NOT juggle a
chainsaw there.
It's possible they joked about doing so, or that others relating the experience
joked about the idea, though.)

**************
**************
and Garson also quoted, and wondered about:

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?

******
My memory is that their "juggling cats" act was an inside joke, a sort
of active (or, as it proved, inactive) shaggy dog joke (O.K., a "shaggy
cat joke").  I doublechecked that with my spouse, Terry A. Garey, who confirmed:

******

"They had rescued some kittens in a sack by the side of the road and
toured with them.  The juggling of the cats was a bit of a joke,  They
set the slightly drugged cats side by side, made a big announcement
about juggling them, then lifted one cat over the one next to it, set
it down, and "juggled" another cat, for about 6 or seven passes. the
audience loved it. There was no actual juggling of cats."
**************************

Dennis Lien / d-lien at umn.edu

On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 2:52 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> 1978
>
> [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
> chainsaws.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson O'Toole
> QuoteInvestigator.com
>
>
> 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 _______________________________________________
>>> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
>>> list at project-wombat.org
>>> http://www.project-wombat.org/
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
>>> list at project-wombat.org
>>> http://www.project-wombat.org/
>> _______________________________________________
>> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
>> list at project-wombat.org
>> http://www.project-wombat.org/
> _______________________________________________
> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
> list at project-wombat.org
> http://www.project-wombat.org/


More information about the Project-wombat mailing list