Page 64                                             Summer 1987

Getting the Word Out

The History of Juggling Magazines


It seems fundamental that without "Juggler's World," there would be no IJA. There would be no way to get the word out on conventions, there would be no convention without membership support, and there would be little membership without the quarterly reminder that the excitement of juggling is shared by thousands of others.


An organization needs a voice to speak with its members. So it was that the road to the IJA, and to "Juggler's World," was begun in 1944 by Roger Montandon.


The Juggler's Bulletin

As early as 1937, the 19-year-old Montandon had tried to promote a column for jugglers in "Genii," one of the larger magic magazines. Nothing came of it until, discouraged by the continuing lack of juggling information coming through the magician's magazines, and having at his disposal a network of magicians who also juggled, he decided to publish his own sheet about juggling.


After discussing the idea through correspondence with professional jugglers Doug Couden and Bert Hansen, Montandon's first step was to call for letters from anyone interested in juggling by mentioning the need for juggling information in his Montandon Magic catalogs and in ads placed in "Billboard," "Popular Mechanics," and "The Linking Ring," official organ of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. His first letter to all the names he was able to collect constitutes, on September 15, 1944, the first newsletter of the juggling community. Even then, at the very beginning, he was calling for a formal organization:

Greetings Mr. So and so!

In looking over the list of you who have sent in for our lists of Juggling props and books the amazing thing is the national scope. Practically every State is represented with at least one person interested in Juggling.


I mentioned this fact to my good friends (I hope they are still my good friends) Doug Couden and Bert Hansen. We've been corresponding back and forth and in general discussing Juggling and Doug mentions the fact that a Society or Association or something of Jugglers might be in order. That same thing has been in my mind

for many years...


Since we try to keep in touch with you once a month anyway (to sell you some seventy-five cent hand balls) we'd be glad to include any news of jugglers - that's you or anyone you've seen... Let me have your suggestions, ideas, criticisms - or

better yet send in some news or pictures and we'll get started. Who knows - An amalgamated Society of Associated Jugglers or something worse might develop from this humble start. Yours for better seventy-five cent balls,

Roger Montandon

Something did develop from this "humble start." One month later, in October 1944, the waning days of World War II, Roger Montandon published the first issue of "The Juggler's Bulletin," mailed free to 150 subscribers. After six issues, he began to charge two dollars a year. Circulation dropped immediately:


Next issue - if we make it - will wind up the first year of publication. The organization has grown slowly - slower than we had originally hoped for - and now stands at 75 paid subscribers. We have every confidence that it will continue to grow and still have hopes of reaching a membership of 500...

 (JB 8/45)

It's important to note that Roger considered the Bulletin to be an "organization" with "members" rather than simply a magazine with subscribers.


He was offering it as a shared experience  rather than as his pet project. By dint of positive thinking, he had seeded life to an embryonic IJA. Membership subscriptions rose somewhat in the following months, surviving the increase to three dollars (waived for servicemen), until the founding of the IJA in June of 1947. As official organ of the new organization, the "Bulletin" reached 140 subscribers by September 1947, and 150 in 1948.

Doug Couden

Doug Couden wrote "From the Stix" in the "Juggler's Bulletin." Photo courtesy of Roger Montandon.

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