Recently, TCM aired THE BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940, starring Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell. There was plenty of singing and dancing, but one scene in particular caught my eye:
Holy guacamole!! Who was this blonde cutie bouncing balls off her head and juggling plates with aplomb? Well, your Cracked Rear Viewer spared no expense to get to the bottom of this mystery! Her name was Trixie Firschke, and she was known as Queen of the Jugglers. She was born in Hungary in 1920 to a family of circus entertainers, and began learning her craft at the age of 11. Trixie and her family travelled across Europe, playing for capacity crowds and heads of state, including Adolph Hitler, who gave the young girl an autographed box of bon-bons (she later said she found him very scary!). In 1938, the clan moved to America except her mom and sick younger sister. Times being what they were, when war broke out they became separated, finally reuniting in 1948.
Trixie was now a headline act, playing prestigious halls like the Roxy and Radio City in New York, and nightclubs across the country. After her film debut, Trixie did not appear onscreen again until a 1944 effort from Universal titled MY GAL LOVES MUSIC:
If you think that jumping rope bit was something, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! In 1942, our gal Trixie joined the Ice Capades. That’s right, she performed her juggling magic while ON ICE SKATES, as this rare clip demonstrates:
Trixie married fellow skater Escoe Larue, with whom she had five children. She left the Ice Capades in 1957 and slowed down her performance schedule, making a few sporadic appearances but mainly content with raising her kids in Oklahoma. Trixie Firschke was given the Historic Achievement Award by the International Jugglers Association in 1991, and quietly passed away on September 22, 2001. Though she only appeared in two films, her contributions are so unique I wanted to take you classic movie buffs back to a time when a circus star shared (and stole!) a scene with the great Fred Astaire. Thanks, Trixie!
(Source: eJuggle, The Official Publication of the International Jugglers’ Association)