Kar-Mi Troupe - Monday, July 6, 2015

There are few historic pieces of art as colorful and wonderful as circus art.  Posters filled with colorful images first appeared around 1870, when the printing industry perfected color lithography as well as mass production.  Developments such as this might completely change an urban landscape - colorful images pasted on walls throughout a city were designed to draw crowds to events such as the coming of the circus.

The poster celebrating Kar-Mi likely dates to around 1912.  Kar-Mi previously called himself Victorina.  His real name was likely Joseph Hallworth (1872-1956), and he worked in Wild West shows, dime museums, riverboats, movie houses, and whatever venues he could secure for himself, up to the start of World War I when his two sons were recruited to fight for the United States.  Hallworth swallowed loaded guns, read minds, had himself buried alive for thirty-two days, and swallowed a two-foot-long table leg.  Meanwhile, his wife Miss Victorina, Kitty Fisher Hallworth, swallowed electric lights that would then glow through her skin in what was claimed, "the most weird and startling exhibition before the public."
QUESTION:  Easily, the most famous circus man in American history was Phineas T. Barnum.  Which of the following would not have been found on his resume?
A)  Promoter
B)  Politician
C)  Performer
D)  Publisher

BAD DOG, BAD.  We are going beyond the borders of the United States for today's historical observance.  But what happened on this day in 1885 has affected virtually every human born ever since.  And yes, it was a good thing.  Louis Pasteur was a scientist through and through. When he was given a challenging question, he tended to work diligently until it was answered. That said, he had no real experience in curing rabies when, today, a little boy was brought to him who had been bitten by a rabid dog.  Prior to Pasteur, that would have meant a long and painful death.  Pasteur changed all of that with a vaccine he created and injected into the boy. He fully recovered and eventually was employed by the Pasteur Institute, Louis' legacy - and one of the most beneficial facilities ever established in the world.  (I know, big statement!)  

ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK.  Bill Haley was born today in 1925.  A musician in the early days of Rock 'n Roll, it can be said that he actually influenced Elvis Presley when he played with his band The Comets (as in Halley's Comet. Get it?) with such songs as "Rock Around the Clock" from 1952, "Shake, Rattle, and Roll" two years later, and, of course, "See You Later, Alligator" from '56.  In fact, Bill Haley was the first rock act to ever appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, before even Elvis or the Beatles.  Unfortunately, he struggled with alcoholism much of his life, a battle he lost at the age of 51.

QUOTE:  The road can be hard on a kid if he's not careful. - Bill Haley

ANSWER:  C)  Performer.  For all of Barnum's work in the circus, there is no evidence that he actually ever performed any strange feats himself.  He was all about hiring others, then convincing people to part with their hard-earned cash.  Many times, people were scammed, but with minimal regret.