Now The Flying Wallendas is the hottest topic in the world, everyone talk about this. Just look for the video:
The hype surrounding Nik Wallendaand#226;and#128;and#153;s high-wire attempt above Niagara Falls before a national television audience tonight got me to thinking about the time I wrote about another Wallenda daredevil act in Western New York that received much less fanfare, despite being more death-defying.I wrote a retrospective piece about it for my old newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle , and for the history of the Red Wings that I co-wrote with Jim Mandelaro many years ago.Of all the great performances in the Rochester ballcluband#226;and#128;and#153;s storied history it would be tough to top and#226;and#128;” literally and#226;and#128;” the show that Nikand#226;and#128;and#153;s grandfather, Karl Wallenda, put on the evening of May 12, 1976. A crowd of just 2,736 looked on at old Silver Stadium as the seventy-one-year-old Wallenda successfully walked a tightrope five hundred feet from the centerfield fence to the grandstand roof and#226;and#128;” 60 feet above the ground. As I wrote, the performance must have inspired the Wings because they swept a doubleheader from the Rhode Island Red Sox (now known as Pawtucket.)I say that it was more death-defying than Nikand#226;and#128;and#153;s attempt because the elder Wallenda did so without a safety tether like the one Nik will use tonight when he traverses the wire over the tumultuous mist of the Horseshoe Falls. (I should note that there has been speculation that Nik may unhook his tether after he begins his journey above the mighty falls. Obviously, if heand#226;and#128;and#153;s crazy enough to do that and#226;and#128;” which would be in violation of both United States and Canadian law and his contract with ABC and#226;and#128;” his journey will become more challenging than Karland#226;and#128;and#153;s was at Silver.)Several members of the acrobatic troupe that came to be known as and#226;and#128;and#156;The Flying Wallendasand#226;and#128;and#157; died during falls from the highwire, including Karl, who plunged to his death during an act in San Juan, Puerto Rico at age 73. ***The Johnny Antonelli book tour continues Satuday night (June 16) at 7 with a talk and signing at the Pittsford Barnes and Noble. Our presentation is free and open to the public.Next Tuesday at 1 p.m., weand#226;and#128;and#153;ll be doing a question-and-answer session and signing at the Bullpen Theater in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Iand#226;and#128;and#153;m really looking forward to that event, as well as a tour of the museum with Johnny.Our last signing event for now will be Friday, June 22, before the Red Wings game at Frontier Field. That starts once the gates open (around 5:45). Johnny also will throw out the ceremonial first pitch that evening.You also can listen to us talk about our book (Johnny Antonelli: A Baseball Memoir, RIT Press, $17.95) with friend and fellow author Curt Smith on WXXI (AM 1370) Saturday from 2-3 p.m. or Monday night at 11 p.m. Curtand#226;and#128;and#153;s show also is carried on Buffaloand#226;and#128;and#153;s PBS affiliate, WNED, Saturdays at 7 a.m..
Nik Wallenda has successfully completed his crossing of the Niagara Falls on a 2-inch thick wire suspended 150ft above the raging water.
If you forgot Niagara Falls was a thing that existed, you may have heard about a guy bringing some much-needed attention to the tourist attraction through a death-defying highwire act. Nik Wallenda, descendant of the circus act The Flying Wallendas, tightroped across Niagara Falls earlier tonight and managed to make it all the way across. The event was broadcast live on ABC..
Nik Wallenda is seen walking the tightrope Stuntman Nik Wallenda has tightrope-walked his way into the hearts and minds of many Canadians only recently, but his daredevil family of Flying Wallendas have been attempting to defy death for more than a century.The seventh-generation acrobat has garnered international headlines leading up to his history-making crossing of the Niagara Falls gorge on Friday and#226;and#128;” an homage or sorts to his famous grandfather Karl Wallenda who perfected the art of “sky walking”.The 32-year-old Wallenda has big, suede shoes to fill while carrying on the family business. The Wallenda family first began performing seven generations ago and#226;and#128;” first as street performers, later as circus trapeze artists and eventually as record-setting tightrope walkers.Wallenda’s parents, Terry and Delilah Troffer (Nik performs with his mother’s famous maiden name) both work in the stunt industry. Nik himself proposed to his wife Erendira during a performance in Montreal in 1999.It is a dizzying family tree, with scores of daredevil cousins, high-wire-walking uncles and aunts and likeminded in-laws mixed throughout.The ancestral Wallenda family was part of a variety of travelling circuses since the 1780s, travelling through the villages of Europe and performing in city squares for gratuities from the audience.The Wallendas perfected their craft over the next two generations as they continued street performing in front of small audiences. By the late 1800s they had established a reputation for their skills on the flying trapeze.The Flying WallendasKarl Wallenda, the patriarch of the modern-era Flying Wallendas, was born in Magdeburg, Germany, in 1905, and began performing in the family shows at the age of six.Karl would stack several chairs into a tower before balancing himself in a handstand on the top of the pile.He briefly worked with highwire walker Louis Weitzmann, picking up tips from the legend and employing them in his own shows with brother, Herman Wallenda, and a young assistant, Helen Kreis, who would later become Karl’s wife.Karl’s troupe was spotted by American circus magnate John Ringling during a performance in Cuba and was hired to appear with “The Greatest Show on Earth.”The Great Wallendas debuted their act at New York’s Madison Square Gardens in 1928. They performed without a safety net, which had been misplaced in shipping, and received a 15-minute standing ovation, according to family legend.Karl Wallenda founded his own circus in 1947, headlined by a trapeze performance that featured a seven-person pyramid.Tragedy struck the Flying Wallendas during a performance on Jan. 30, 1962, when their seven-person pyramid collapsed and three members of the troupe fell to the ground below the high wire. Two performers died, a distant cousin and a son-in-law, while Karl’s adopted son Mario was left paralyzed from the waist down.Jenny Wallenda, Nik’s grandmother, temporarily quit the act after her second husband, Dick Faughnan, died in the 1972 pyramid crash. She would return to the family show a year later.Karl, who suffered a cracked pelvis in the incident, began to focus more on sky walks and#226;and#128;” the art of walking between buildings along a high wire.The Wallenda patriarch fell to his death while performing a sky walk in Puerto Rico in 1978. The family maintains the cause of the accident was not age or misstep, but a problem with the rigging.Karl’s brood continues to perform long after his passing, with two sets of grandchildren striking out on their own. Siblings Tino and Delilah (Nik’s mother) became the centre of the current Flying Wallendas troupe while their cousins, Rick and Rietta, headline The Great Wallendas.Nik Wallenda, who began performing with the family as a clown at the age of two, began walking the high wire at four. He still frequently performs as part of the Flying Wallendas circus act but excels as a sky walker.Nik Wallenda has called crossing the Niagara gorge one of his life’s dreams. His next adventure will be crossing the Grand Canyon and#226;and#128;” a lifelong dream of his great-grandfather Karl’s. .
I will admit that I am a walking wealth of minutia, the stranger the better. and#194;and#160;I have always been fascinated with The Flying Wallenda family since I was quite young. and#194;and#160;The family of performance artists dates back to the 1700′s. and#194;and#160;It is a tragic and fascinating story. I tried to explain to my sons what … .