The Juggling McBanns at the Pavillion Theatre, Newcastle

The Newcastle Weekly Journal and Courant of 6 Feb 1909 gives a longer than usual description of a juggling routine when The Juggling McBanns appear:

The Juggling McBanns at the Pavillion, Newcastle Weekly Journal & Courant Article 6 Feb 1909 - From Newcastle City Library

From Newcastle City Library

They “gave an exhibition of club swinging in which they showed themselves to be highly proficient, and the variety and dexterity of their manoeuvres in this line were apparently very highly appreciated, as they concluded their performance amid a very hearty round of applause”.

The Juggler’s Bulletin of May 1946 gives a little biography and history: “The McBann name is a contraction of the two names – Pat McGreevey and Tommy Bannahan. They were the original McBanns and afterward Pat put his brother Henry in the act and the act really made a big name for itself. They were known as the fastest double act of their time (1908 – 1912). When Pat died in Lucerne, Switzerland, Henry continued the act with Jerry Buckley. Pat McBann was the first juggler to attempt six clubs. I’ve been told he juggled four in one hand and two in the other but he passed away before he could get it perfected to put on the stage.”

There are a couple of sources that show Pat and Tommy performing together before Henry joined in 1908. The New York Times article from 16 July 1905 mentions them as performing at as far back of 1904 at Hammerstein’s Roof Garden alongside, amongst others, legendary trick-roper Will Rogers. That must have been early in the partnership as Franciso Alverez’s book, Juggling – its history and greatest performers says “McBann and his twin brother had played Hammerstein’s Victoria in 1904 in the well-known act, the Juggling Johnsons.” It adds “Pat McBann was an outstanding club juggler during the first part of the century…Some old-timers used to say that Pat could juggle four clubs in one hand. Harry Lind, who had seen this trick, had this to say, “Pat kept the four clubs going with an underthrow, all the time turning his body to the left as he made the passes.” Many believe that, while Cinquevalli may have been more spectacular, McBann was the better juggler. Pat’s sudden death came as he was performing on the stage of Berlin’s Wintergarten. He is said to be buried in the Alps in Switzerland.”

The act was still going strong in 1912 (whether this was Pat and Henry or Henry and Jerry Buckley isn’t clear), by which time they had added  hat throwing and electrical illusions to the club swinging as you can see from this advertisement for their performance at the Theatre Royal in the Brisbane Courier from 24 April 1912.

One Response to “The Juggling McBanns at the Pavillion Theatre, Newcastle”

  1. Void Says:

    Great stuff, thank you. Keep ’em coming!

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