Photos courtesy of Jeff Darnell
These photos came in from my new friend Jeff Darnell last night.
I'll let Jeff tell you all about them...
By way of introduction, my name is Jeff Darnell...... Clown College class of '78 and former Blue Show clown in the late 70's and early 80's.
I joined the CC faculty in 1983 and later did advance clowning in the south eastern US.
Tom Dougherty and I were classmates in 1978. My family and I had the pleasure of a visit with Tom at my home in Durham, NC last week while he was en route to Des Moines from Savannah. We had a blast digging up stuff from the collection of things from my Ringling days. The Slivers Oakley scrapbook discovery has had an impact on Tom..... and amazing "ripple effects" on my clown, "JD." After a long period of "dormancy" in the performing world, Tom is encouraging me to "return to the ring" of sorts..... and dust off the skill sets of my past.
I recently walked through a two year Hospice experience with my Dad. This journey has squeezed and stretched my heart&soul in many directions. One thing that's being revealed to me is that the timing is now right to begin the second half of my "clown journey."
I have some things on the back burner that will soon be heating up!
For those of you who don't know me, I left the Blue Show to begin the adventure of getting my degree in furniture design and construction with a minor in Psychology at Appalachian State University. I met my wife, Judy, in Boone while working as RAs in Frank and Hoey Dorms. We have a daughter named Allie. She is in the 8th grade.
My veins still had sawdust in them after touring full time with the Blue Show and I returned to Clown College in 1983 to teach make up, stilt walking, and drive the CC bus. I still have flash backs to the Class of '83 "theme song" that was sung over and over and over and over and over and over and over en route to the Venice Villas at night...... and in the morning too. "Do wa diddy diddy dum diddy do!"
I had the privilege of sitting at the feet of George Shellenberger in the prop department down at Winter Quarters. I made it a point to soak up his homespun wisdom..... and was always in awe of his incredible ability to visualize..... then build some of the coolest, and of course the sturdiest, props that would usually make it out on one of the tours. George could do this from a small "doodle sketch" on a pad or just by listening to a clown/student describe what he wanted the prop to do.
I also had the honor of sharing a common wall with Lou Jacobs during the fall of '83 while we occupied the back two condos at the Venice Villas. We were right beside the pool. I will always remember his gracious response to a plate of fresh pineapple I cut up for a Sunday afternoon lunch. He said, "that's good!" Then he smiled and said "thank you." He was a man of few words. His twinkling, "Santa Claus" eyes did most of his talking and this will forever be remembered by me. Our world is a better place because of the mark he left on our hearts!