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Lillian Leitzel – Acrobat And Strongwoman

Previous RIP Anita

Lillian Leitzel (Jan. 2, 1892 – 1931) was an acrobat and strongwoman for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She was one of the highest paid performers of her generation and known for her mix of a fiery temperament a12021_LillianLeitzel_07and great personal charm. Lillian Leitzel was a circus diva of the highest regard. She ruled the rings as well as the back lot during the golden age of The Greatest Show On Earth®.

Lillian Leitzel was born in Breslau, Germany on January 2, 1892. Leitzel’s parents separated when Leitzel was very young and she was raised by her grandparents. Christened Leopoldina Alitza Pelikan, Lillian Leitzel took her better-known name from the Americanization of "Alitze," her Germanic nickname meaning "Little Alice." She received a quality education including advanced training in music, dance and language skills. She was fluent in 5 languages. She studied the arts at conservatories in both Breslau and Berlin and excelled at the piano. Her instructors encouraged her and it was thought that she may one day pursue a career as a concert pianist. Leitzel, however, had very different ideas. In her private time, she constructed a trapeze bar for herself and taught herself the tricks she had seen her mother and aunts perform.


Leitzel’s mother and two aunts performed in an aerial act known as the Leamy Ladies. The Leamy Ladies trapeze act was famous throughout Europe. Leitzel begged her mother to let her perform and her visits with her mother eventually lead to her participation in the act.

a12021_LillianLeitzel_08Leitzel first came to the United States in 1908 as a member of the Leamy Ladies, appearing with the Barnum & Bailey show during the New York engagement that year. They returned in 1911 as a featured act with Barnum & Bailey. At the end of the 1911 season, the Leamy Ladies returned to Europe without Leitzel who remained in the United States working the vaudeville circuit. It was during this time that Leitzel honed and developed her solo Roman rings act which by then included the one-arm planges for which she is most famous. During the planges, Leitzel would separate her shoulder and throw her entire body over her shoulder again and again. It was not uncommon for Leitzel to do 100 revolutions during a performance. All the while, audiences would count out loud as Leitzel would flip over and over, "….96….97…98…99…100!" Leitzel’s record was an amazing 249 revolutions! Audiences loved her.

a12021_LillianLeitzel_02In November, 1914, while performing in South Bend, Indiana, a booking agent with Ringling Bros. Circus saw her act and offered her a contract on the spot. The 4 foot 9 inch, 95 pound Leitzel made her solo Big Top debut on April 17, 1915 at the Coliseum in Chicago. Leitzel was a Ring 2 headline performer from the outset where she remained throughout the rest of her life.

Leitzel was a featured performer with Ringling Bros. in 1915, 1916 and 1918, moving to the headline spot with Barnum & Bailey for the 1917 season. After the shows combined in 1919, Leitzel was considered the premier personality through 1930. Her astounding feats of strength and grueling endurance wowed Circus audiences everywhere.

Out of the spotlight, Leitzel was the first performer in history to command her own private Pullman car completely furnished with her own baby grand piano. Her quick temper was legendary. It was not uncommon to witness Leitzel a12021_LillianLeitzel_04cursing or slapping a roustabout who did not adjust her rigging exactly to her liking. Further, Leitzel was known to fly off the handle and fire and rehire her personal maid, Mabel Cummings several times a day. In sharp contrast, it was the same hot tempered prima donna who was known to the children on the show as "Auntie Leitzel" and who would hold birthday parties for her fellow performers in her private dressing tent.

She was courted by many men who showered her with expensive gifts. In 1920, Leitzel briefly married a Ringling executive by the name of Clyde Ingalls. They divorced just four years later. Shortly after the breakup, Leitzel found her one true love in another hot tempered circus performer, legendary trapeze flyer, Alfredo Codona. Codona had made a name for himself in his family’s small Mexican circus before becoming a top star with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®. Codona and Leitzel carried on a tumultuous romance plagued with jealousy, screaming matches and many, many breakups a12021_LillianLeitzel_01and reconciliations. Friends on the back lot said they were made for one another. The two were married on July 20, 1928 in Chicago — that is, once Leitzel finally showed up at the church. Leitzel kept Codona standing at the altar for a solid three hours awaiting her arrival. She made it clear who was in charge in her marriage.

Leitzel and Codona were tireless performers, even scheduling engagements during the Circus’ winter break. During one of these breaks, on February 13, 1931 Leitzel was performing at Valencia Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Codona at Winter Garden in Berlin. Shortly after midnight, Leitzel finished up her Roman rings presentation and ascended into the air to begin her infamous one-arm planges. On that night, the brass swivel on the rope crystallized and broke. She fell over 20 feet to a hard, concrete floor. She suffered a concussion and spinal injuries in the fall, but doctors were confident she’d recover. Codona rushed to her side. She insisted she was fine and urged Codona to return to Berlin to finish his engagement. She boarded a train with him and the pair headed back to Berlin when she died 2 days later at 2:09am, Sunday, February 15th.

Alfredo Codona was devastated by her death. He went on to remarry another aerialist named Vera Bruce, but their marriage was a miserable one. Distraught and unsettled, Codona became increasingly reckless in his act and finally suffered a bad fall as a result. Doctors informed Codona that the torn ligaments in his shoulder would prevent him from ever performing again and "grounded" him in 1937. The stress of Leitzel’s passing and the end of his circus career drove Codona to desperate measures. While discussing divorce proceedings in Vera Bruces attorney’s office, Codona asked if he could speak to his estranged wife in private. The attorney obliged and as the door closed behind the attorney, Codona pulled a pistol from his coat pocket and shot Vera Bruce before turning the gun on himself.

Leitzel is probably the first — and certainly one of the most enduring — circus luminaries of all time. Her celebrated life, tragic death and enduring legend haunts the circus world even today. She commanded top billing longer than any other circus performer in history and truly earned her position as Queen Of The Air.

Text from ringling.com

Filed under: Article, Entertainment, People, The thirties, The twenties Tagged: Acrobats, Barnum and Bailey Circus, Lillian Leitzel, Ringling Brothers, Strongwomen, The Greatest Show On Earth®

Unique Opportunity: Summer Job as Viking Ship Høvedsmann/ Captain


Originally posted on ThorNews:


The Viking ship “Lofotr” needs a new captain the coming summer. (Photo: Lofotr Viking Museum)

Have you ever dreamed of being Høvedsmann (Captain) on a Viking ship? This summer, you have the opportunity to apply for the position at the Lofotr Viking Museum in the Lofoten archipelago, Northern Norway – if you have the right qualifications.

There are two Viking ships at the museum. “Lofotr” is a full-scale reconstruction of the Gokstad ship dating back to the 800s. Like the original, “Lofotr” is an excellent seagoing ship which has won several regattas.

The Viking museum which is located on the beautiful Vestvågøy island is searching for two captains the coming summer.

(Article continues)

Lofotr Viking Museum Longhouse Norway

The reconstructed Viking longhouse at the Lofotr Viking Museum is the largest ever found. (Photo: Lofotr Viking Museum)

Here you will find the job ad translated into English. Notice that there is no requirement to speak Norwegian…

View original 181 more words

Filed under: Retro

Motorcycle women


Originally posted on Paleotool's Weblog:

And their exceptional caravan:

From Gypsies and Gentlemen by Nerissa Wilson.

From Gypsies and Gentlemen by Nerissa Wilson, n.d. circa 1920s?

Maybe one rides in the van while on the road?  What an awesome base camp.

View original

Filed under: Retro

Not Just An Aviatrix

1953 Chrysler New Yorker “Thomas Special” Coupe by Ghia.

This Is What Happens When……

Classic Volvos

Volkswagen T1 Deluxe 23-Fenster Bus – The “Samba” Bus

Previous Classic Volvos

a12025_elegant design1

Volkswagen’s Type 2 microbus enjoys a worldwide following, and among the most revered models is the 23-window Samba bus. A Deluxe model had chrome hubcaps, a polished VW emblem, two-tone paint (split by chrome trim) and an upgraded interior. In addition to its plentiful side and roof windows, the bus featured a folding cloth sunroof, which further improved ventilation for its nine passengers. As the most luxurious offering from Volkswagen in period, the Samba Microbus Deluxe was even used by European airlines to shuttle passengers to and from the airport, at a time when flying was generally reserved for the most affluent travellers.

a12025_elegant design2a12025_elegant design

Images found on Carlos Goulão’s pinterest & HemmingsDaily

Filed under: Automobiles, The fifties, Transportation, Traveling Tagged: Volkswagen 23-window Samba Microbus Deluxe, Volkswagen T1 Deluxe 23-Fenster Bus

The Life & Times Of Aunt Mabel – Part 30


Although she chose to spend Christmas living la vida loca* in Cuba, Aunt Mabel found it intolerable that her family saw this as an opportunity to skip buying her Christmas presents. She would never accept the fact and tore round their houses searching for her gifts when she returned  after new years eve thoroughly shagged and hangover.


By the way, she used the same technique when shopping and was unable to find her favourite goose liver pate or fresh clams. The people working at her regular grocers wisely left her alone, particularly those who had been victim of her boiling anger, foul language and hard kicks.

* The crazy life (for those of you who don’t speak Spanish and didn’t bother to check it on Google translator)

Filed under: Humour, Tackieness Tagged: Aunt Mabel, Christmas presents, Foul language, la vida loca

Nice Work……

I Really Do Hope……

And I Can Do Very Well……

What On Earth Kind……

Never Before . . . A Boat Like Scampy

1953 Earl MacPherson Calendar

Saturday Quiz: Guess That Ass


guess that ass_17-01-15

Let’s see how well you have studied classic celebrity backsides visitors.
The question is simple; Who’s famous ass is this?

Tip: she was more famous for another part of her anatomy,
and her surname has a ring to it”

NOTE: don’t leave an answer in a comment on the post.
Send it by mail to tidiousted@gmail.com

l got flake from several regular visitors because last weeks
quiz was too easy, I hope this one is a little harder – Ted

Filed under: Models & starlets, Nudes Tagged: Guess That Ass

The Sunday Comic – A Small Sacrifice

The Complete 1952 Ballyhoo Calendar


a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_01

Here is a complete 1952 Ballyhoo Calendar illustrated by American master Gillette “Gil” Elvgren, who you probably already know as one of the most important and influential illustrators of his time. If not, biographies of the man abound online, so for more info let your fingers do the walking. Just out of curiosity, a bit of research on Ballyhoo showed it was a humour magazine that existed from 1952 to 1954 and was a re-launch of an earlier publication of the same named that ran from 1931 to 1939. This could be wrong, so if you have better info please let me know.

a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_02a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_03a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_04a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_05a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_06a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_07a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_08a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_09a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_10a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_11a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_12a12032_ballyhoo calendar 1952_13

Images found on PULP international

Filed under: Art, Ephemera, Illustration, Models & starlets, Pin-ups, Pinups, The fifties Tagged: 1952 Ballyhoo Calendar, Ballyhoo magazine, Gillette “Gil” Elvgren

RIP –‘Lady of Arab Screen’ Faten Hamama Dies


a12033_Faten Hamama_01

Staff writer, Al Arabiya News
Saturday, 17 January 2015

Iconic Egyptian film star Faten Hamama, who was dubbed the “lady of the Arabic screen,” passed away on Saturday, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported. She was 83.

The state-run MENA news agency said she had in recent weeks suffered from a health condition that required hospital treatment. She was discharged from hospital only to be re-admitted because of a sudden illness before she passed away on Saturday.

a12033_Faten Hamama_07Hamama – who was once married to Egyptian actor Omar Sharif – starred in almost 100 films and worked with masters of Egypt’s massive film industry, including Youssef Chahine.


Born in the city of Mansoura in 1931, she studied at acting school and graduated in 1947 at the early age of 16. But her acting career began much earlier – she made her screen debut at the age of 10.

She often cited Assia Dagher, a widely acclaimed actress of the day, as her role model.

Some of her most famous works on the silver screen include “Struggle in the Valley” (1954), “The Nightingale’s a12033_Faten Hamama_06Prayer” (1959), “The Empire of M” (1972), “I Want a Solution” (1974), and “The Night of Fatima’s Arrest” (1985).

After a break from acting, Hamama returned in 2000 for a role in Arabic miniseries “Face of the Moon.” It was her final role.

Arab ‘love story’

It was in “Struggle in the Valley” that Hamama consented to her first ever kiss in a feature film. The receiver of the now famous kiss was Michel Demitri Shalhoub, her future husband, better known today as Omar Sharif.

A year after divorcing director Ezzel Dine Zulficar in 1954, Hamama married Sharif and often starred with the actor who would gain international recognition for his role as the macho Sharif Ali in David Lean’s 1962 British epic “Laurence of Arabia.”

Born a Christian, he converted to Islam to marry Hamama and described her as the only love of his life.

The two were considered one of the Arab film industry’s hottest couples. They divorced in 1974.

a12033_Faten Hamama_04Last interview

In her last interview, Hamama said she felt optimistic about the state of Egypt, which has seen turbulent times since the 2011 uprising that led to longtime President Hosni Mubarak stepping down.
She also said she had plans to visit the new project to expand the Suez Canal, one of the world’s strategic waterways and a key source of income for Egypt.

Hamama is survived by her daughter, Nadia Zulficar, son, Tarek Sharif, and husband, Dr. Mohammad Abdel Wahab Mahmoud.

Filed under: Actresses, Facts, People Tagged: Egyptian actresses, Faten Hamama, Lady of Arab Screen

The Softdrink Project – Donald Duck Fruit Flavoured Soft Drinks


header_image_softdrinksa12034_donald duck soda

Donald Duck soft drinks were the first sodas to be produced by General Beverages, Inc. of Chattanooga, Tennessee. They were licensed by the Double a12034_donald duck soda2Cola Company to produce the Donald Duck line. These fruit flavoured sodas were introduced in the 1940s and included flavours such as Lemon Lime, Grape, Orange, Strawberry, Black Cherry, Root Beer, Cola and Ginger Ale. Donald Duck Soda was released in both bottles and cone-top cans, and later, punch-tab cans. The brand was discontinued in the late 1950s

Text from RetroPlanet

Help Needed
I need your help visitors, both in suggesting sodas and soft drinks from around the world and in giving your opinion on the ones presented if you know the product. And you can start with giving your opinion on the ones posted already or reading what other visitors have written  – Ted

List of Soft drinks and sodas posted already
Visitors soft drinks and sodas suggestions and comments

Filed under: Food & drinks, Soft drinks and sodas, The fifties, The forties Tagged: Donald Duck Cola, Donald Duck Fruit Flavoured Soft Drinks, Double Cola Company, General Beverages
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