Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bertram Mills' Circus #5

The Original Hollywood Chimpanzees, trained by Castang and Judge, both of whom were born in London. Reuben Castang is the son of a man whose family established themselves as dealers in animals and birds in Leadenhall Market 200 years ago.
Charles Judge comes of an old circus family. His father was a circus proprietor, his mother was the daughter of one the first great importers of wild animals and his wife is a daughter of "Lord" John Sanger.

The "perch act" is one of the most thrilling and dangerous that a circus performer can undertake. Carlos and Julio Olvera, who were born in Mexico, make it even more hazardous than usual. This is their first visit to Europe.

An accident caused the formation of this troupe.After nearly 30 years of circus business their father had retired and was living on the revenues of two circuses in Egypt.
Then the two circuses burned down and the elder Picchiani found himself penniless. He returned to the sawdust ring and taught his sons and daughters to become acrobats. For forty years the troupe of seven sisters and three brothers have performed without change.

The ten members of this troupe are nine men and one lady. They have toured all over Europe and North America and are one of the rare examples of circus performers not born to the business. Before the troupe's formation, none had been connected with the sawdust ring nor their families before them.