Photo courtesy of Tom Dougherty
This is probably the rarest photo we've ever had here in THE ALLEY.
It is a photo of Frank "Slivers" Oakley, a true master clown and a huge star in his day. If you look through books on circus and clown, surf the web or search old newspapers and magazines, you'll only ever find a small handful of photos of Slivers. Why? I don't know. But I think that I've only ever seen five or six. This looks to be from early in his career.
This find comes to us from Tom Dougherty, currently featured on the Gold Unit of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and one of the truly great contemporary American circus clowns...
here are a couple of photos you might call rare as
they come out of Slivers Oakley's personal scrapbook
which he kept in his trunk throughout the prime of his
career. Mitch and I met Sliver's grandson and he
showed us the scrapbook...wow! A treasure trove of
clown and circus history. I believe we were the first
people outside of the family to lay eyes upon it. It
was so overwhelming, I had to take a nap after looking
at for an hour. Fortunately I had my camera and got
some images of this remarkable find.
Tomorrow, another photo of Slivers from the Tom Dougherty Collection!