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"The Great Delbini
So. Beloit, Illinois July 21, 1936."
1/14/2013 05:57:00 AM
The Great Dalbeanie was depicted on one of a set of five 1934 posters depicting various acts in the Russell Brothers Circus. The others were bills for Frank Miller, Bob Fisher’s Five Fearless Flyers, Athleta (Kathryn Brooks), and William H. “Dad” Whitlark (my great-grandfather). The posters were produced by the Donaldson Lithograph Company of Newport KY. I have found information that Dalbeanie performed with the following shows in the US: Hagenbeck-Wallace; Russell Bros; Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey; King-Cristiani. My great-grandfather, William H. “Dad” Whitlark performed with the Russell Bros Circus from 1929 to 1935. I ran across a great article, entitled “Capt Dalbeanie Rode on Wheel from Australia,” in columns 5 & 6 of page 2 of the 14 August 1934 edition of the Statesville (NC) Record: “Three score years ago many a country gentleman found pleasure in asking his farm lad to lift himself by his boot-straps. Of course the lad would fail to do it. However that is exactly what Capt. Dalbeanie does twice daily with the Russell Bros. Three Ring Circus which is billed to exhibit in Statesville, Friday, August 17th, afternoon and night. Dalbeanie was born in Melbourne, Australia, reared in the gold fields of Coolgardie where his father was the chief engineer of the Golden Horseshoe mines, said at the time to be the richest gold mines in the world. Young Dalbeanie ran away from college to become a bicycle rider, and contesting in 12 major races he was the winner in eleven of them. He then for two years tried to ride a wagon wheel. Finally he discovered the secret which has enabled him to accomplish the remarkable feat he now performs twice daily with the Russell Circus, much to the chagrin of scores of others who have attempted to do this act. Dalbeanie declared the secret to be a ‘reverse balance,’ whatever that is. No one else has discovered it, so that this act is absolutely the only one of its kind in the world and it cannot be seen any place except with the Russell Circus. He then tried to ride the wagon wheel up a staircase, but says it was exactly one broken arms and three broken ribs before he got to the top of the staircase. Dalbeanie now jumps the rope on the top step, while mounted on the wagon wheel and again he says the secret is the mysterious ‘reverse balance.’ After attaining that success this ambitious Australian has toured twenty three countries of the globe, working continuously except for stop-overs in hospitals due to injuries received while riding wagon wheel up the stairway. The combined weight of the wagon wheel and Dalbeanie is 215 pounds and yet in some unaccountable manner without any outward help Dalbeanie lifts this weight step after step and jumps the rope, etc.—a feat accomplished by no other person, although many have attempted it with disastrous results. Capt. Dalbeanie is quite an inventor and a student. Many of his inventions have been described and illustrated in Popular Mechanics. He has just returned to America from a tour of England and is booked for a tour of France at the conclusion of the circus season with the Russell Bros. Circus.” According to a post by his grandson on the CHS website, Dalbeanie's career, as a balancing artist and later a clown, spanned the 1890s to the early 1950s. Upon retirement, he lived at the DeSoto Hotel in Sarasota FL. He died in 1958.To Buckles only: I would be happy to forward the picture of the Dalbeanie poster, but am unsure how to do. If you send instructions to me at email@example.com, I can forward to you pictures that may be of interest to blog followers.
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