Through the years, theater has produced many talented performers that made the world gasp in surprise, shock, horror and wonder with their mind-blowing stage acts of all time. These performers exhibited their extraordinary talents in the world’s largest cities. However, only a few made its way up to the 21st century. The rest has been part of history.
Mademoiselle Octavie LaTour, also known as Mlle. Mauricia De Tiers, is a daredevil stunt driver. She performed in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the year 1905. The attractive lady drove a small car at high speed in her act called, “L’Auto-Bolide” or the Dip of Death. The vehicle turned upside down as it made its way to the end of the track. She finishes her act looking at ease and, beautiful in her long dress.
Aloys Peters thrilled and terrified the audiences with his treacherous “hangman act.” He climbed to a height of 75 feet, puts an elastic rope with a loop around his neck, and then dived to the ground. However, the rope would just snap back before he would actually hit the ground. As a result, he flies upward and makes a controlled descent. In 1943, something went wrong in his stunt and his neck broke. He hung in the air for 20 minutes, which horrified all the spectators.
Human beings have this innate ability to vomit, but Hadji-Ali brought the act to the next level. He regurgitated liquids and objects at his own will. He was known as the “water spouter” in the early twentieth century. The apex of his performance was consuming gallons of water and a pint of kerosene. Because of his ability to control the muscles in his stomach, he would spit out the kerosene first on fire. He follows the water eventually to put out the flames.
Richard Sands was a successful circus owner. However, he was also a skillful acrobat in his own flight. He was known as the “ceiling walker,” where he walked upside down across the ceiling while his feet are handing from rings. Unfortunately, he got killed in 1861 during his performance when the plaster ceiling collapsed. He fell down and broke his neck, which apparently caused his demise.
Samuel Wasgate became so famous at an early age of 10. He performed death-defying stunts, which he called Le Tambour Aerial. Here, he balanced on his neck while he was on a trapeze bar hanging in the air. At the same time, he also played a drum. Aside from that, he also balanced on Guillermo Farini’s shoulders while crossing a very high wire.
Signore Josephine Giradelli is an Italian-born “fire queen.” She literally played with fire in all her acts. She held a boiling lead in her mouth, placed a red-hot iron over her head and hands. She even walked on a sizzling hot metal plate and dripped melted wax on her tongue. During her time, her acts were pretty unusual for women, that is why she drew in large crowds and sold-out her shows.
In the entire performance of LaRoche, he relied much on balance and physical effort. He is an Austrian acrobat and contortionist, who entertained the audience with his mystifying acts. He uses a steep spiral track and a metal ball of about two feet in diameter. What makes the act more interesting is that he positioned himself inside the ball as he descended and ascended smoothly.
Pansy Zedora, also known as Alar the Human Arrow, fascinated the audience from both sides of the Atlantic. She positioned herself on a huge crossbow above the audience. She was shot into the air and flew through a paper target. She performs together with her sister, who swings from a trapeze to catch her as one of the all time act.
Samuel Gilbert Scott was an American daredevil who got himself killed in his stunt at Waterloo Bridge in England. He was best known for making a spectacular headfirst dive in a cliff near Niagara falls. After that, he dove from tall buildings, bridges and ships. His acts drew large crowds. In 1841, he decided to run from White Lion Pub to Waterloo Bridge and jump from a scaffold found on the bridge into the river. However, things didn’t really turn out well. What spectators thought was an amazing act ended his life as one of the all time act.
It was the popular equestrian play, Mazeppa and the Wild Horses of Tartary that helped Adah Isaacs Menken on her road to fame. She is an indie actress that wore a flesh-colored full body stocking to portray nudity while being tied to the back of the horse. Her famous act amazed and drew the attention of the crowds from Europe and America.
Many of these acts already have a modern counterpart, but history will always remember these fearless performers who risked their lives just to entertain the audience as one of the all time act.