Bob Gerry Troupe
High Wire Act
By Dominique Jando
Founded in Germany toward the end of WWII by Alois Geryk, known as Bob Gerry, The Bob Gerry Troupe was one of the most successful high wireA tight, heavy metallic cable placed high above the ground, on which wire walkers do crossings and various acrobatic exercises. Not to be confused with a tight wire. acts on the European circus scene in the late forties, fifties, and early sixties. Starting in 1945, the troupe included the seven-person, three-tier pyramid to its repertoire—a feat originated by The Triska Troupe, probably in 1943, and then performed by the Canilio Mayer Troupe, of which Gerry was a member. This is the trickAny specific exercise in a circus act., of course, which was made infamous later (in 1962) by The Wallendas, when their own seven-person pyramid collapsed during a performance in Detroit, Ohio. Later, the Bob Gerry Troupe performed a six-person pyramid.
The Bob Gerry Troupe was featured in some of Europe’s most prestigious circuses of its time, including Fritz Mey’s Circus Sarrasani, Circus Krone, Circus Williams, and Circus Busch-Berlin in Germany; Cirque Medrano in Paris; Circo Heros (Togni) in Italy; Circo Price in Madrid, Cirque Royal in Brussels; Bertram Mills Circus at Olympia and the Harringay Circus in London; Circus Strassburger in Holland. They also appeared outdoors in several amusement parks in Scandinavia.
The Bob Gerry Troupe made a cameo appearance in Viktor Tourjansky’s film, Salto Mortale (1953), starring Margot Heil and Karl Heinz Böhm. In 1956, the troupe was awarded Arturo Castilla’s Oscar Mundial del Circo in Barcelona, Spain. Bob Gerry finally dismantled his troupe on November 11, 1963, after a last performance with the Italian circus Heros in Pforzheim, Germany.
- Video: The Bob Gerry Troupe, high wire act, at Circo Heros (1963)