Flea Circuses

Under the magnifying glass fleas dressed as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza mounted tiny paper horses, and jousted with tiny lances. Troupes of fleas harnessed by metathorax to tiny chariots, cinched to wire leashes and trained to ride bicycles, walk the tightrope, dance to flea orchestras, and even pan for gold. For 200 years captive living fleas fed on their flea trainers, who through understanding of their natural aptitude, taught them to no longer jump up, but to jump forward and manipulate objects put into their claws. more>>

above, detail from cover of John C. Ruhl's Flea Theater pitchbook, circa 1925.
Pulicology, Pulex Iritans.

Detail from August Wolfinger's painting of Leroy Heckler from Hubert's Museum. Painted in 1933-34.
>>Centuries of performing fleas produced only a handful of masters: Bertolotto, both William and Leroy Heckler, and perhaps a few others. (To be continued....)


List of Performer & Venues:

L. Bertolotto

Professor William Heckler

Professor Leroy Heckler

The Fricke Flea Circus (Coney Island, 1910-20?)

Mathews Flea Circus (Nu-Pike, Longbeach, CA)

Mimi Garneau (1950's)

Larry Benner's Flea Circus [d]

Nat Braham's Educated Fleas [d]

Professor Brown's Flea Circus (Blackpool,1930's) [d]

Professor Warren's Flea Circus (Blackpool,1930's)[d]

Professor C. Wood's Flea Circus (Blackpool,1930's) [d]

Professor Axel's Flea Circus (Blackpool,1930's) [d]

Herr Lidusdroph [rj]

Madam & Prof. Lynch "London Flea Circus" with Modern Marine Hippodrome Train Show 1939-1940 [d]

John C. Ruhl (1908. 1925 at Hubert's) [d]

Professor L. Tomlin (Blackpool,1960's) "Smallest Show on Earth" [d]

Else Torp (Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, 1930's?-1965) "Loppe Cirkus" [d]

Professor Alexander "European Trained Flea Circus" [d] [cc]

Professor Stuart (1890 Royal Aquarium)[d]

Professor Wronker (Blackpool, 1920's) [d]


Hubert's Museum


References for this page:

[d] doghouse collection

[cc] Caldwell Collection

[rj] Ricky Jay

Multi-talented, appears in more than one category.

Full article needed and/or forthcoming


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Last update:10/31/07 (before that 4/1/07, 1/10/04)

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