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SENSATION of the ARENIC WORLD.

 

 

 


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Conn Baker Diavolo

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Set Natural Laws at Naught

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

It was Divaolo who introduced the act to America as the feature of the Adam Forepaugh & Sells Bros. Circus when it opened it's final stand in Madison Square Garden on April 2, 1902, after filling the big New York spring date while the Barnum show was in Europe. In 1901 Forepaugh Sells had presented an off beat act described in the 1901 courier as "Starr, the shooting star, in his dare devil dash down the ladder of flame". "Starr's" big trick was to ride a bicycle down a triple extension ladder placed at an angle of "52" from a height of 60 feet, bouncing and jumping over the rungs, keeping upright all 79 feet of the way and riding on down the hippodrome track.

 

Diavolo created a sensation; the Forepaugh Sells show published a herald later in the season devoted entirely to this act, the reviews of the act in 13 different New York papers were quoted in the herald. Here is what the New York Sun, of April 3, 1902 had to say about the act.

 

"If you see it in the Sun it's so. The most remarkable feature of this year's circus exhibition was of course that of Diavolo, the loop the loop bicyclists. There was generally a pervasive idea inside and outside Madison Square Garden that his first performance would be his last. In fact there were two ambulances from the city hospitals present, one containing six surgeons who were anxious to have the first opportunity of examining the prospective corpse, and one filled high with air cushions on which Diavolo was to be carried in state, with so much life as remained in him, to Bellevue.

 

At about 10 o'clock the circus band began a series of long ruffles, which ended with the start of Diavolo for the bottom of his hair-raising convoluted incline. The rider, dressed in a suit of coruscating red scales like any unreformed devil, mounted a wheel high up under the uppermost incandescent lights which lined the roof of the Garden, and at a signal slid like lightning down to the tanbark and then, on the inside of an exaggerated barrel hoop 37 feet in diameter, up and around, himself upside down at the top and held to the track by the centrifugal force of his wheel, coming out right side up again on the down grade and caught finally in nets prepared to arrest his progress."

 

Diavolo apparently knew what he was doing, as he continued to perform the act the rest of the 1902 season and again for the 1903 and 1904 tours of the Forepaugh Sells show, and for many more years.

 

Excerpt from the June 1969 Bandwagon - Circus Historical Society

 


 

 

c1900s DIAVOLO - Daredevil J.C. Carter

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

Diavolo  Bicycle Daredevil Act 1905


 

 

A B: Short arc, to ease the downward momentum for the climb.

B C: Long, gradual rise, so designed to minimize the outward pressure greatest in this arc.

 

C D: Half circle, made small so that the wheel may get past the apex with the least possible expenditure of force.

 

D E: Wide downward art giving the least possible momentum on leaving the loop.

 

E F: Gentle slope to the ground.

 


 

 


 

Allo Diavolo

 

Looping the Loop on a Bicycle.

 

EN ROUTE SEASON OF 1906, INDIA  CHINA & THE EAST INDIES

 

WITH HARMSTON'S CIRCUS

 

 

 

click on above images enlarge

 


Looping the Loop on a Bicycle

 

HE SKIRTS THE BORDERLAND OF ETERNITY

 


 

STARTING in mid-air and riding down a steep incline 100 feet long, he accumulates a speed of 60 miles an hour which hurls him into a monster loop with a force of 1400 pounds.   He is compelled to resist this enormous pressure and then in the flash of a second accommodate himself to less than five pounds pressure at the top, and again take up the greater pressure on emerging from the loop.

 

He must steer his bicycle sharply to the right, with absolute accuracy, while riding up-side down and turning a complete somersault, and while fighting the constantly changing force inside the loop.  In other words he must loop the loop or break his neck.

 

Acknowledged by old showmen to be the most sensational and spell-binding act ever performed before the public.  Declared by them an act that has made the show business more difficult by setting an unattainable mark for future novelties.

 

The only act in the circus world that cannot be learned.

 

It must be accomplished at the first attempt, as failure means serious injury.

 

There is no half-way route.

 

Put of upwards of 300 aspirants, only two have succeeded and escaped desperate falls. 

 

Several have been Killed.

 


 

 

News Paper ad courtesy of Sarah Long, and are posted here with her permission,  All rights reserved. No Images may be re-

produced, reposted or used in any manner except that of viewing without the express written permission of the copyright holder

 


 


 

 


 

 


 

 

THE ONE SUPREME, STARTLING SENSATION of the ARENIC WORLD
 

DIAVOLO

 


LOOPING THE LOOP ON A BICYCLE

 

EN ROUTE SEASON OF 1905 SOUTH AFRICA & INDIA, WITH FRANK FILLES' CIRCUS.

STATING in mid-air and riding down a steep incline 100 feet long, he accumulates a speed of 50 miles an hour which hurls him into a monster loop with a force of 1100 pounds.  He is compelled to resist this enormous pressure and then in the flash of a second accumulates himself to less than five pounds pressure at the top, and again take up the greater pressure and emerging from the loop.  He must steer his bicycle sharply to the right, with absolute accuracy, while riding up-side down and changing force inside the loop.  In other words he must loop the loop or break his neck.

Acknowledged by old showman to be the most sensational and spell-binding act ever performed before the public.  Desired by them an act that has made the show business more difficult by setting an unattainable mark for future novelties.

The only act in the circus world that cannot be learned.  It must be accomplished at the first attempt, as failure means serious injury.  There is no half-way route.

Out of upwards of 500 aspirants, only two have succeeded and escaped desperate falls.  Several have been killed.

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

August 6th 1902 - NYT


 

 


 

 


 

Letter to - (Diavolo)  Looping the Loop sent to the famous bicycle daredevil J.C. Carter who was traveling with Harmston's Circus in Asia area.

 

 

Note post marks - letter was forwarded many times.

 

 

June 7-1906   F Taylor 29a Quinton Street Earlsfield Surrey S.W. England.

 

Dear Carter Thanks for the P.S. and paper and wish you all success.  I am still at home doing nichs and going silly doing it  I wish something would come up it cant last long, Dad not any thing to do, and has gone down to the sea side for a trip a bout for a week and be back 

 

(No2)  to Germany for her health and I cant think that the firemans exams Eve is going out after all and I have been waiting for Hyman to come home to see if he has some thing on for me he is on a holiday on the car and also returns tomorrow.  Well Carter I will be pleased to here from you and will you think of me some curiosity home Wish Best Wishes I Remains Yours as Ever Frank

 

 

Image Include in Letter

 

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Circa 1900 Souvenir Pin Back

 Forepaugh & Sells Brothers Circus Posters

Looping the Loop

 


 

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