Niagara Falls, or rather, a whole complex of waterfalls on the Niagara River, is located on the border of two states - the United States and Canada. The river separates the US state of New York and the Canadian province of Ontario. Tourists from all over the world come to see this miracle of nature. And where there are tourists, there is money. This means that there will definitely be those who want to make good money on onlookers.
One of the first such entrepreneurs was the French equilibrist Emile Blondin. In 1859, to the horror of the audience, he decided to walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls at a height of 50 meters. He successfully covered 390 meters separating the American and Canadian coasts. The rope was only 5 centimeters thick.
Blondin soon realized that these tricks would attract the audience and could bring a solid income to the tightrope walker. For two whole years he made transitions over a roaring waterfall, constantly complicating his tricks. After all, the audience quickly got used to the usual transition, which means that something new was required.
He drove a wheelbarrow in front of him, drank champagne, walked the tightrope on stilts, for which he received $ 400. The amount for that time is huge. And once he put him on his shoulders and carried him to the opposite bank of his impresario. True, the impresario himself had mixed feelings: he wanted to make money, but he was also afraid for his life. Emile Blondin invited him to blindfold so as not to see the monstrous stream of Niagara beneath him.
The most adventurous viewers even bet on how Blonin's next trick will end - luck or tragedy. At the same time, those who bet on failure tried in every possible way to harm the rope-walker: they let sunbeams in his eyes, swayed the pillars on which the rope was attached. It was these madmen who became the reason that Blonden decided to stop performing. He was not so much afraid of heights as the antics of some madman, capable of anything for the sake of winning.
Emil Blonden decided to return to Europe, where he performed for more than one year, having visited, among other things, Russia. In St. Petersburg, he passed over the parade ground of the First Cadet Corps. The height was 30 meters, and the distance between the supports was 160 meters. In addition, Blondin surprised the audience with an original trick - he installed a tiny stove on a cable and cooked scrambled eggs.
In 1969, the Peruvian playwright Alonso Alegria wrote the play Crossing Niagara, dedicated to Emile Blondin's tricks over Niagara Falls. The play was performed in theaters in 50 countries.
After Blondin left America for Europe, he found followers. A few years later, Harry Leslie from the United States took the place of the Frenchman. But his career did not last long. Once, after a successful performance, he was almost killed by one of the spectators, who bet on a bad outcome. Leslie decided to quit the lucrative but dangerous pursuit.
And in 1873, the Italian Hugo Ballini fell off the rope. Fortunately, he managed to survive in the swirling stream of Niagara Falls.