Moroski, Charlie

Charles Moroski (czeslaw mroczkowski)

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Charles Moroski (czeslaw mroczkowski)

Inducted into the Ring of Fame: 1999

Circus Profession: Horse Trainer/Equestrian

Born: 1905

Died: 1983

Charles Moroski circus ring of fame inductee

 

Charles Moroski

Charles Moroski was an outstanding trainer know for the classic elegance of his flawless presentation of liberty horses.

A native of Poland, Moroski starred in England’s Bertram Mills Circus for 12 years where he gained worldwide attention for the presentation of a 50-horse carousel.

John Ringling North persuaded Moroski to join Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in 1947 where he enjoyed a remarkable 21 year tenure as a headline attraction.

Charles Moroski (czeslaw mroczkowski) Charles Moroski (czeslaw mroczkowski) Charles Moroski (czeslaw mroczkowski)

The act was composed of Bob Yerkes, who was the catcher, his wife, Dorothy, and Reggie and his wife, Bonnie, née Cristiani—a member of the famous Italian family of equestrians, whom he had met on Muscle Beach in the early 1950s. Between circus contracts, Bob and Reggie performed movie stunts in Hollywood; Reggie appeared notably in Michael Todd’s award-winning movie, Around The World In Eighty Days (1956).

The Flying Armors (c.1958)

At five feet seven inches (1.72 meters), Reggie was rather tall for a flyer; yet in 1962, Yerkes caught Reggie’s first triple—a trick Reggie Armor would perform regularly with a success rate of more than 90%. In short order, The Flying Artons became a star act; Reggie was sometimes compared to the legendary Alfredo Codona, and he and his partners were featured in all major American circuses, and on television on ABC’s Hollywood Palace in 1956.

The Flying Armors

After a long association, Bob Yerkes and Reggie Armor eventually parted ways, and Reggie continued with his own act, the Flying Armors, which included his daughter, SaSa Armor. The Flying Armors appeared in England, on Thames Television’s Hippodrome (1966), and are one of the acts featured in Gilbert Gates’s circus documentary, Rings Around The World (released in 1966).

When Reggie retired from flying, he and his daughter created an aerial thrill act, with a rotating contraption that included a motorcycle Reggie rode on a small circular wooden platform up in the air. In 1978, while they were performing their act for the last time, outdoors at a church benefit fair, the carabiner holding Reggie’s safety belt broke, and he fell sixty feet to the concrete walkway below. He was severely injured and had to undergo no less than six surgeries that kept him hospitalized for several months.

That was the end of Reggie Armor’s performing career. He continued to work in a circus management capacity and as an event promoter. Reggie and Bonnie eventually retired, and they left Sarasota, Florida, home of many circus families, to settle in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Reggie and Bonnie Armor had three children, Jay, SaSa and Reginald III. Jay, the oldest, worked as a clown in the trampoline act the family performed in addition to other acts; he was tragically killed in a random shooting in a bar on New Year’s Eve 1975, at age 21.

Reggie Armor passed away in Tulsa on May 22, 2010. He was eighty years old.

 

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