The Legendary Vicky Unus performing her act of incredible strength and endurance.
Article from The Times 1963:
On the tanbark trail, the top status symbol is a private stateroom in the circus train. The occupant is always a center-ring star. As Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey Circus last week moved out of winter camp just south of Sarasota, Fla., and began its 93rd national tour, one stateroom was reserved for the youngest person ever to have one—an 18-year-old girl.
Her name is Vicki Unus, but she will be billed as La Toria as she spins in the air on the Roman rings. Her performance lasts seven minutes and occurs 32 ft. up, with no nets. For four minutes or so, she does such maneuvers as swings, splits, twists, roll-ups, hand stands, half crosses, and one-arm planches.
Seat Brusher. Then she goes into the grand finale of the golden rings, the one-arm swing. She hangs on with one hand while her body turns over and over itself like an eccentric propeller. She does it maybe 75 times, 100 if it is an opening night. Last winter she set the alltime record: 125.
Vicki is the daughter of F. F. Unus, the man who stands on one finger. The Unuses, like most circus stars, live in Sarasota. In Sarasota, even the high school has a circus. Three years ago Vicki told her father that she wanted to perform. Vicki was 5 ft. 3 in. and 125 Ibs. Said her father, with a pro's cold cynicism: "What will you do, brush off the seats?" Vicki lost 10 Ibs. and went into training under the great Lalage, whose real name is Wolfgang Roth.
She worked seven days a week, three hours a day. Where others often get much of their training as apprentices performing in public, she held out until she had perfected herself to the caliber of the center ring. Carrying a large plumed fan and wearing golden shoes, she is the new star of the traditional aerial ballet—one of the circus' four production numbers—and people of the circus have already compared her with the late, indubitably great Lillian Leitzel, who died 26 years ago in a fall in Copenhagen.
As a new face in the pin spots, she is part of a freshman class that includes East Germany's Prince Von, who puts skates on his hands and glides down two wires from roof to floor, and Mexico's Señor Antonio, the first aerialist in Ringling history to consent to do a hand stand while swinging on a trap bar at the top of the arena. As a child of the circus, Vicki Unus is proud to be La Toria and take her place among them—and among such old B.&B. stars as Harold Alzana, the high wire king, Trevor Bale, the big cat man, the Flying Gibsons and the Hanneford Bareback Riders. But she is proudest of all to be in the same show with F. F. Unus, her father, who has long since outlasted all competition in the art of standing on one finger, but who has just been forced to learn how to eat his words.