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Monday, October 15, 2012

 
Yesteryears: Flea circus scratched surface of tiny entertainment
from--dailyprogress.com
By: David Maurer | Daily Progress
Published: October 14, 2012
Entertainment extremes were likely the subject of any number of casual conversations around Charlottesville in October 1935.
There was the humongous finback whale that was displayed for a few days in a railroad car parked on a sidetrack near the Southern Freight Depot on Main Street. At the other end of the scale of size was Professor W.E. Alexander’s Flea Circus.
For a flea fee, one could edge up to the glass-enclosed little top and watch the peewee performers do a variety of things. The professor extolled the fleas’ talents for riding bicycles and pulling chariots and sulkies. The little buggers also would ride a tiny carousel, do a little soft shoe and kick food balls around.
Alexander and his palace of pests were carrying on a long show business tradition.
It's widely believed the first folks to harness fleas were 16th-century watchmakers. History tells us that in 1578, Mark Scaliot created a lock and chain so small a flea was able to pull it.
This might have sparked others to see what else fleas could do. Contrary to Alexander’s advertisement that claimed his fleas “were trained,” they were not.
read more---
http://www2.dailyprogress.com/lifestyles/2012/oct/14/yesteryears-flea-circus-scratched-surface-tiny-ent-ar-2276446/

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