LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The daring young man on the flying trapeze

Sheet music for
Flying Trapeze

In my recent post on Jumbo, I asked if the name of any other circus performer had become a noun in the English language. The answer, of course, was the French pioneer of the flying trapeze, Jules Leotard, who gave his surname to the tight-fitting outfit that he wore for his act.

Leotard was immortalised in the 1867 song That Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, with lyrics by George Leybourne and music by Gaston Lyle - although the name of the flyer in the song is the fictional Signor Bona Slang. Well, he was depicted as a cad who stole the narrator’s girl, so Leotard might have sued...

Jules Leotard
as I drew him in
Circus Mania
The story of Leotard is one of many told in Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book For Anyone Who Dreamed of Running Away With the Circus.

But now you can hear the song in a new rendition by Graham Parker that is one of many Victorian songs recorded by contemporary artists such as Richard Thomson, Kimmie Rhodes and Christine Collister on an album called The Beautiful Old. For more info go to or preview the disc at CD Baby.

All together now:

"He'd fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young man on the flying trapeze..." 

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