Remember when I wrote about Herbie Weber , his partner Marcella, and their wonderful low tightwire act? No? Well, go follow that link and catch up, then come on back.
In addition to that amazing act, Herbie also had another great act, this one a solo. He was billed as The Great Huberto, and the act was called The Slide for Life.
After being introduced, Herbie walked to the bottom of the thick rope that stretched from the ground up to the top of the big top at about a 30 degree angle. He picked up his balancing pole and stepped onto the rope. His climbing shoes had a notch between the big toe and the rest of his foot, so he could get a firm grip on the rope.
Slowly, carefully, Herbie climbed to the top of the big top as the drummer beat a tattoo to build the suspense. When he got to the top, the drumming stopped. He carefully put one foot behind the other and slid backwards down the rope, gathering speed as went. He was as still as a statue as he barreled toward the bottom. Three props guys gathered to break his slide; the one nearest Herbie wore a large, padded chest protector. A fourth knelt by the bottom on the rope.
As soon as Herbie slammed into the three waiting guys, the fourth pulled the trigger on a sawed-off shotgun loaded with blank cartridges.
The combination of the explosion and Herbie's successful slide drove the audience completely nuts.
Right afterward, Herbie went right back to the concession stand to sell popcorn, floss, and Cokes. Because hey, a buck is a buck.