Showing posts with label Rupert Ingalese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rupert Ingalese. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Mozetto or Rupert Ingalese ' No "one" is born a Juggler'

 Most of the story of Mozetto aka Rupert Ingalese aka Frederick Priest has been written by juggling historians Reg Bacon and Thom Wall. Thanks to them both for their help with this- I've just focused on the Australian bits....You can check out Reg Bacon's website  or pick up Thom Wall's edition of Ingalese's book

In 1912 an unusual juggler came to Australian shores. He travelled under the name F Mozetto and was an extroverted young man with very strong views about the art of juggling.

Mozetto, who looked more German than his Italian name suggested, according to a newspaper account, was booked by Tivoli owner Harry Rickards.  Rickards died before Mozetto arrived in Australia, but the contract was honoured by his successor, Mr Hugh McIntosh. The juggler had a very long tour and claimed it as a world record.

Mozetto was described as an American juggler in the Australian Press. In an interview, he claimed that he had been juggling since he was a child, and that he was inspired by the juggler Charlene.  He gave several long interviews. In each one he emphasised the necessity of practice.  He claimed, ‘before I go on stage for a performance, I put in half an hour or an hour just doing a few old tricks to get my nerves and muscles under control.’

Mozetto on the Tivoli Programme

 In Australia, Mozetto was described as the originator of the marvellous coin catching trick. This trick was the talk of the Australian vaudeville world and featured in all the reviews of his act.

In the coin trick, Mozetto took seven coins, threw them in the air and then caught each one individually as they fell. He used pennies. He claimed that he could catch nine, but he would only catch seven on stage.

He also had an assistant in his act, young Eugene Cottin. Cottin’s role was to provide the humour and act as a balancing prop. As part of the act, Mozetto held Cottin in his left hand, juggled two plates with his right hand, and balanced a billiard cue with a lamp on the end on his forehead. His balancing tricks were described as ‘very clever’, whilst his coin catching trick was seen as ‘neat.’

During his tour, Mozetto had one major problem, the Australian climate. The humidity made juggling difficult. ‘Australia is the worst for a juggler to show in. By the time I have done two or three tricks my hands are as slippery as wet eels.’

Despite his complaints, he also complained about the lights, it seems that Mozetto was quite popular in the country. In Sydney he associated with a group called the Chasers, who met every Thursday at the harbour. He created a record for the group by eating nine chops in one sitting.

Mozetto and presumably Eugene Cottin from an Australian newspaper

He also seemed popular with the ladies, and in April 1913 Miss Vera Remee, an actress, confided to an Adelaide newspaper that she was engaged to Mr F Priest of Priest, Dodd and Co, London, better known as the world famous, Mozetto the juggler. Miss Remee later starred in an Australian movie called The Sundowner, but never seems to have become Mrs Priest or Mrs Mozetto.

Mozetto left Australia in 1913 with his assistant Eugene. He continued working internationally until around 1920, when he disappeared. However, he was replaced by another juggler standing 5 foot 7 inches tall, with fair hair and blue eyes, the well-known juggling ‘sage’, ‘philosopher’ and author, Rupert Ingalese. Strangely those measurements were similar to those of Mozetto.

It was Mozetto’s habit of dining on the shores of Sydney Harbour that led to the discovery by modern jugglers that Mozetto and Ingalese were the same person, as the article which mentioned the world record chop eating feat referenced both names

The Chaser's club, a few years before Mozetto joined them

 Mozetto and Ingalese, were the stage names of Frederick Rupert Priest who was born in England around 1885.  Fred Priest began his juggling life as a ‘boy juggler’ in the English music halls, he had changed his name to ‘Mozetto’ by the time Harry Rickards hired him for his first Australian tour.

In 1920 Mozetto disappeared from the billboards to be replaced by Rupert Ingalese. The next year, Ingalese published a book called, Juggling, or How to be a Juggler. The book detailed how as a young man, Ingalese had seen a street juggler dressed in tights. Later he encountered the juggler Charlene and then he had a prophetic dream.  In the dream, a young Ingalese was thrilling a large theatre crowd with his juggling feats. The book advocated lots of practice saying that practising juggling developed ‘admirable qualities of the mind, patience and diligence’. The instructional manual approached juggling as a skill and showed a love of the art shared by all jugglers. According to Ingalese, ‘no man is born a juggler. It is an acquired Art, - requiring similar qualities of mind and character to those necessary to enable a man to excel in any walk of life.’

In 1924, he returned to Australia using the Ingalese name with his wife, Dorothy, and assistants. Several articles in the Australian press referred to his ‘real name’ being F R Priest and mentioned that he had previously toured Australia.

Ingalese arrived in November under contract to JC Williamson. The announcement of his arrival identified him as Mr F R Priest, who in ‘1911-12 performed without a break for 45 weeks which he claimed as a record in Australia in a ‘dumb’ act.’

Rupert Ingalese from an Australian newspaper

The Ingalese turn was completely different from Mozetto’s show. The act was set in a red drawing room. The curtains opened to Agnes Grey, (Mrs Priest) playing Moonlight Sonata on a piano, her hair was red. A footman, in red breeches, entered with a card, and was closely followed by a gentleman in a cloak, lined in red, Rupert Ingalese, who proceeded to juggle various objects in the room. The whole was conducted in silence, with the footman providing the humour and Agnes the piano accompaniment.

Ingalese juggled the candles lining the room, he balanced the servant in one hand whilst juggling with the other, he played the piano with one hand and juggled with the other, there was balancing, coin tossing and humour.  In Perth he performed a trick that he claimed had never been performed before, he spun a hoop on one leg, played a musical instrument on the other, juggled with one hand and balanced a lampshade on his forehead.

The threesome performed all over Australia, sometimes between short films, sometimes on a vaudeville bill. It was a long exhausting tour.

Ingalese, wife Dorothy and partner, left Australia and continued to tour the world. He changed his name twice more, once to Paul Wingrave and then to Rajputana.

The juggler of many identities died in 1958 and was survived by Dorothy, in his will he left her 2000 pounds.