Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Human Fly

Feb 18 1947 Salisbury Times

John  J. Woods was born in Atlanta Georgia about 1889.  He would start performing as a human fly when this kind of entertainment act became popular about 1906.  He would bring his wife, Evelyn Peschel, and later his daughter, Rose, at age 1 into the act. He would perform his human fly act across Canada and the United States well into his old age. The family called Centralia, PA home.   In 1969 he disappeared and no one ever found him.  His wife had him declared dead and remarried. 

The Human Fly act was pioneered by Charles Gibson Polly who at age 12 a local haberdasher offered him a suit of clothes if he could climb his building.  After successfully doing that he found a career of it.  Usually more than just climbing the building the human fly would then perform some deed on the top of the building.  In Johnnie Woods case he would balance his wife on one shoulder and his daughter on the other shoulder and walk blindfolded around the ledge of the building. 

above the human fly in 1949

The Human Flies usually were hired by charities and fundraisers.  Doing WW2 hundreds of thousand of dollars in War Bonds were sold by them.  Usually they would do Veteran Organizations, Cancer research, March of dimes, heart etc.

above 1941 May 26th Salisbury Times

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