a 1951 photo card of Larry Benner. Larry's
Flea circus consisted of flea operating a
merry-go-round, flea towing a boat, flea dances n
Indian teepee, flea foot ball kicker, flea chariot
and cannon races, flea juggler, flea strong man, the
display of the flea not hitched and the presenting
of the untrained flea.
is novelty performer Larry Benner (born Dec. 29,
1900, passed away in the 1970's) of Miamisburg,
Ohio, son of a musician. Larry started out as a
professional violinist in Chicago. He later played
the musical saw as well as a 27 note set of Shaker
chimes. His chimes are now showcased at the Circus
World Museum (426 Water St., Baraboo, WI 53913). He
also had a flea circus, did magic tricks and had a
puppet show. One of his amazing acts was: he tore
newspapers while he told a story, and when the story
finished he would open the sheet of paper and there
would be a circle of elephants and other figures
that pertained to the story he just told.
For 50 years Larry clowned in clubs and parks and
with the Barnett Circus, Sparks Circus and
Sells-Floto Circus (a combination of the Floto Dog &
Pony Show and the Sells Brothers Circus that toured
with sideshow acts).
Larry also sang comedy songs and strummed a guitar,
was a hit with Punch & Judy shows and had a
ventriloquist act where he yodeled with his dummy
"Jerry". Larry had a studio in the Lyon and Healey
building where he gave lessons. His students won
prizes. Larry also had his own orchestra with which
Larry entertained at Riverview, White City
(amusement park) and at the World's Fair. He put on
illusions and starred on medicine shows, in black
face and in Dutch comedies.
In the words of James Madison, Larry was "This
artist versatile is master at his art which is to
charm the mind and to enrich the heart".