March 05, 2012
My maternal grandfather, Frank “Tex” Glanville, was a renowned vaudeville performer in Australia from the 1930s through the 1950s. He was primarily famous as a rope-spinner, but he was also a wire-walker, juggler, and hypnotist.
I only met Tex two or three times, long ago, and until last month I’d never seen video of him performing. But my mother just sent me several DVDs filled with silent footage of Tex from the 1940s and 1950s. It’s amazing stuff. Also included on the DVDs was the clip below, a late-’80s local-news report about Tex and his career. (My grandmother is also interviewed in the video.) The hook for the story was a McDonald’s commercial that used old footage of Tex to hawk the franchise’s Double Beef ’n’ Bacon burger. There’s some great old footage here:
Tex died in 1990. His ropes, juggling props, and voluminous scrapbooks are preserved as part of the Performing Arts Collection at Arts Centre Melbourne. I hope to make it to Melbourne in the next few years to take a look at everything. Tex also left behind an unpublished autobiography called At the End of My Rope, which I’m planning to lay out and publish as an on-demand book at Blurb.com.