British Pathe – Old Tyme Newsreels!

British Pathe – Old Tyme Newsreels!

When I was looking for video of people taking tops off of bottles I found this cool website called

british path

It’s got old newsreel video and there’s a bunch on whip cracking.  Here’s what I found:

It’s interesting to see what people used to do for whip tricks, where pretty much everyone did very similar things and now with creative whip performers like Dante and Chris Camp there’s a lot more variety in whip performance!

Inspired by the old newsreels I tried opening a bottle of champagne (OK, it was sparkling wine) with a bullwhip…it’s pretty dramatic:

P.S. FYI the video in the last post isn’t 100% legit.  While technically the soda is sealed, I altered the cap and the bottle and resealed it with a bottle capper.   Still it looks great!

4 thoughts on “British Pathe – Old Tyme Newsreels!

  1. The last video (bullwhip tricks) shows what appears to be a bullwhip with a rather long and flexible handle, almost a stock-bull hybrid. Even thought of making something like that? With a long tapered handle of let’s say cane, maybe 18″ long, with a short (8″) steel reinforcement in the center for the handle section… It would probably behave like that one; a cross between a horse/lunge whip and a bullwhip with a long transition zone. Probably deadly accurate too!

    I might try that when I get back on my feet.


    1. Franco,

      I made something sort of like that, it was a bullwhip and the handle was a riding crop core. The riding crop core was about 20 inches or so and made from twisted rawhide with a cane center. Then into that cane center I drilled a hole and put in a piece of spring steel. Here’s a few pics of the whips:

      However while it was pretty rigid for the first 12 inches it got pretty bouncy after that. It was a real unique action on the whip!


  2. One thing I noticed is that nearly all of them really overtorqued those whips. I suppose that

    wasn’t as big a deal as people make of it today.

    1. Jeremy,

      Did you notice how limp most of those whips were? That might be why they are putting so much power into them. Another reason is could be that they are stage performers and that’s sometimes part of showmanship. For some things you want big powerful swings and others softer swings.
      For example the Van Strattons are a higher energy act so them doing some dainty flicks would look out of place. Then when you look at Hassett he’s cracking (not in a show) with a lighter touch.

      When you are using a whip in a show a lot of “proper ways” to do things go out the window. For example if you are booked to perform at a fair and your stage is concrete you either have to do the gig on the concrete or drop the whips. And if your show is 100% whips you aren’t getting paid and a weeks run at a fair is no chump change. Also if you are doing an outdoor fair you want a lot of the cracks to be loud because acoustically a fair is horrible and you need to get above all the other noise and use your whips noise to bring people in.

      Go see the Indiana Jones show at Disney World and you’ll see a whip that get’s beat up three times a day every day. But it really adds to the show. Also last I checked Joe Strain makes the whips for that show so it’s not a cheap-o whip!


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