The Flying Wallendas


Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. Have you ever wanted to run off to the circus? I know when I was younger I wanted to join. That’s why when I was thinking about what to write for today’s post, I googled “what happened on March 22nd in history” and found out about Karl Wallenda. He was a high wire artist and reading about him brought back some great memories of trips to the circus with my dad.

Karl Wallenda was the founder of the Flying Wallendas, and he died on March 22nd, 1978 after falling ten stories from a tight rope during a promotional appearance in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Photo credit: UpNorth Memories – Donald (Don) Harrison via Visual hunt /CC BY-NC-ND


That day,  Karl perched on a wire stretched between the two towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel. He  worked without a safety net. I find this utterly amazing. What a daredevil. He was seventy three when he fell.

He was born into an old circus family and began performing at the age of six. His love for the high wire continued to grow as he matured, and he created a family business that traveled throughout Europe performing some incredible feats.

In 1928 John Ringling saw them performing in Cuba and quickly hired them for the Ringling Brothers Barnham and Bailey Circus. They debuted at Madison Square Garden without a safety net. It had been lost in transit.

In the years to come, Karl would develop some incredible acts, one of these being the seven person chair pyramid. The Flying Wallendas continued performing these feats until 1962, when, while at the Shrine Circus at Detroit’s State Fair Coliseum, the front man on the wire faltered, and the pyramid collapsed resulting in various injuries and deaths.

In 1970 He crossed the Tallulah Gorge on a high wire and did two headstands in the process.

Photo credit: roystonford via / CC BY-NC-SA


I’ve always been fascinated by the skill and concentration of the high wire acts I’ve seen throughout my life. It would’ve been nice to see Karl Wallenda perform. I know some of his descendants still perform today. What an amazing family.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. I wanted to share some history with you just for a change of pace. Have you ever seen the Flying Wallendas? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
This entry was posted in Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Flying Wallendas

  1. sharonledwith says:

    LOL! Seems like you were doing a little time travelling, Lisa! Thanks for the great post!

  2. cvarsalona says:

    I enjoyed your look back in history, Lisa. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s