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Fri, Mar 30, 2012

Gone West: Edward Allen Jr.

Last Of The 'Flying Allens' Balloon Act

The last of a family of balloonists who traveled the country as The Flying Allens passed away in Colorado Springs, CO, March 1st at the age of 93. Edward Allen Jr. had performed with his father and siblings in the balloon act, in which he and others would parachute from the aircraft at about 3000 feet.

Ira Allen formed the family act with his brothers Comfort and Martin after serving in the Civil War. He built his own balloon and they performed a trapeze act suspended under the aircraft at the Pullman and Hamilton Circus in 1877, according to an obituary published in the Dayton Daily News.

At the height of their popularity, Edward and his sister Florence performed an act in which Florence was fired out of a cannon suspended underneath the balloon, and parachuted to the ground.

Allen served in the Army during WWII, and was discharged as a captain int he Air Force in 1945. He was later drafted to play professional football by the Chicago Bears in 1947, but a knee injury in the last game of his first season cut his football career short.

He continued to perform as a balloonist through the 1950s. Several artifacts from the act are on display at the National Balloon Museum and U.S. Ballooning Hall Of Fame In Indianola, IA.

FMI: www.nationalballoonmuseum.com

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