Throwback Thursday: My 75 Seconds of TV Fame

It was sometime during the winter of 1980.

I was going to grad school out in Pittsburgh, and I had volunteered to teach a juggling class at the local YMCA. As you might expect, it wasn’t a big draw.

But as fate would have it, one of the local TV stations in Pittsburgh (KDKA) wanted to do a segment on juggling for their PM Magazine TV show. For some reason, they contacted the YMCA asking if they knew anyone who juggled, and the director at the Y gave them my name.

I don’t remember a lot of the details of the video shoot, but I do recall that the woman (Donna Rae) who was going to do the segment wanted to be able to juggle on the show, despite never having juggled before.

We had about 15 minutes to plan out how the short segment would go and to teach her how to juggle. Fortunately, she was a quick learner, and while she didn’t quite master juggling three tennis balls by herself, we were able to do partner juggling to show the audience how two people could teach other how to juggle.

The show aired a few days (weeks?) later, and a group of us gathered in one of our rooms and watched it, with lots of heckling taking place.

I had also asked Carnegie-Mellon’s AV department if they could tape the show for me, and they said sure and asked if I wanted Betamax or VHS format. I wasn’t really quite sure what the difference was, but most people I asked suggested Betamax was higher quality. So I went with Betamax and then found it nearly impossible once I got the tape to find a Betamax player.

I then had it converted to VHS, and several years later one of my sons converted it into a digital file.

I thought I had lost the file, but then last night while I was looking for something else on my computer, I came across the file, and here it is. So this is me, 40 years ago. A proud member of the International Juggling Association, and a wannabe clown. And who knew that I would make a career out of being a teacher…


9 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: My 75 Seconds of TV Fame

  1. Jim, you have great juggling skills. I wish you would have said something. You might would have gotten an Emmy. Entertaining post as always!


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