Monday, July 17, 2006
Whenever I ask anyone who's been around the circus industry for any length of time who the very best clown they ever saw was, the answer almost always comes back... Otto Griebling.
On the rare occasion that they don't say Otto, they almost always say Chester "Bobo" Barnett.
Bobo would enter the ring in a midget car, similar to Lou Jacobs, Kinko Sunberry or Hip Raymond. He'd emerge from the car and then pull from it a full comedy dog act. He'd perform with the dogs and then finish by playing "Peg of My Heart" on the trumpet.
Sounds easy. Doesn't sound all that funny.
People assure me that he used to KILL with that act. Everytime. Everywhere. K-I-L-L!
There are tapes, somewhere I'm sure, of Bobo's appearances on Ed Sullivan and other variety shows of the era. I haven't been able to track any down yet but if you've got one, or know someone who does, I'd love to see it!
Chester's daughter, Bonnie Ann recently wrote a book. It's mostly about her own life's journey but contains a good amount of info on Bobo...