Wednesday, February 06, 2008

JOSEPH GRIMALDI: International Circus Clowns Club Annual Mass

Link suggested by Mike Naughton

A very nice segment from the program SHOWROOM, which shows members of the International Circus Clowns Club attending the annual mass in honor of Joseph Grimaldi at Holy Trinity Church in East London.

From Marcelo Melison...

Hello Pat:
Thank you very much for posting that clip on Grimaldi's service; I heard about it and I saw photos of it for years, but I never saw any film before. You are right, Sonny Fossett is the auguste with the white derby hat, he can be spotted at 1:43, 2:11 and 4:53. Then, at 4:32, helping the little girl to put her nose on, I saw Smokey (sometimes I saw it spelled Smoky) who was founder and president of The Children's Clowns Club (I understand he passed away a few years ago). The auguste with the bald wig and orange hair talking at 7:09 is Jack Collins, Weedy the Clown, author of the book "Clowning around for children" (don't bother to read it, it's terrible) and at 7:32, the camera takes the back of white face clown Davide, from the group Clowns Cavalcade (I recognize the costume with the very fluffy ruffles). So, there you have some names. Of course... take what I say with a grain of salt, after all, what do I know about Clowns?. I don't collect clown figurines...

Love and sincere gratitude always from this argentine-canadian clown, Marcelo PEPPO Melison.


Mike Naughton said...

Sonny Fossett, I believe.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone done a tribute to Grimaldi in the form of recreating his acts and persona? Bill Irwin did something like that regarding George L. Fox, who had been called "the American Grimaldi" ...

...and there are many recreations of commedia del' arte. A reenactment of Grimaldi and his style would be fascinating. Anyone know of any such thing?

Rik Gern

Anonymous said...

The ICCC is now better known as Clowns International.
The Fossett in question is Sonny Fossett who can be seen standing next to Circus impresario Gerry Cottle. Gerry can also be seen laying the wreath near the end of the service.
The lesson was read by Pierre Picton and amongst the other clowns were JoJo, Barney, Matto, Salvo, Bimbo and Smokey to name just a few.

Anonymous said...

Although I cannot thank you enough for posting the Joseph Grimaldi Church Service on your site, it would have been nice to have known the year can anyone help with this element PLEASE.

Anonymous said...

The Grimaldi Service is always held on the first Sunday in February, so we've just held it. To me it was interesting to see some of my clown friends in theire younger days, and more than a few who are no longer with us.
The ICCC changed its name to Clowns International ages ago, the idea being to acknowledge that the market place had expanded.
Lest you didn't know (and why should you?) I'm a former Chairman of Clowns International.

One of our members has a Joey Grimaldi tribute show of which I've seen excerpts. Tis good.

John Cooper.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,
If your friend who has the Grimaldi tribute has any footage he'd like to share, I'm sure there's a website in this little corner of cyberspace that would be happy to post it!

Rik Gern

Anonymous said...

Wow, this a lovely piece of memory lane, thank you so much Salvo for giving me this link. Lots of old friends and people I grew up around. Lovely. What a wonferful childhood I had with such special memories.
Lisa Smokey's Grandaughter

Sunny said...

Wow! This is a lovely piece of my history. Thank you so much Salvo for contacting me with this link. I had a wonderful childhod growing up around so many fabulous people. I am very proud of my heritage.
Lisa (Smokeys' Grandaughter)

Salvo said...

Hi there,

I trust the following will be of interest to all who may watch this video.

Incidentally Father Michael, i.e the minister serving at the time this was filmed, informs me that it was filmed between 1974-1978 if anyone can tell me the exact year then it would be much appreciated.

The running order of the video starts with Margo, I think the next was Jack Aster, then Sonny Fosset, Rainbow (Harold Whiteley), I think the next was Mary, unfortunately I am not sure of the spelling of her clown surname, followed by Jolly Jack (David Girt), another shot of Mary this time sees her finished result, then Margo, then a very young one of myself, i.e. Salvo!

I am so sorry that this looks more like a shopping list but it seems like the only way I can do this rather mammoth task! However, I will now continue and hope it has all been worth it? Weedy (Jack Collins) followed by a very young Bobo a.k.a Piers Laurence, son of Jojo (Leon Laurence), Rainbow (Harold Whiteley) putting on his hat, Father Michael placing the famous eggs on the pulpit.

Now comes the procession into the church starting with Gerry Cottle, our then President, unfortunately this will be extra hard to do due to bobbing heads but I'll have a try all the same! The first clown seen over the shoulder of our President is Margo, with Rainbow at his left, then Mary, followed by a brief glimpse of a clown called Pepe, but not the one most of you will know i.e. Pepe (Peter Lambert), then we see a better shot of Margo in the shadow with Rainbow at her side, and this time a better shot of Pepe with Mary at his side, with Bimbo (Dennis Black) with the red bowler, unfortunately I am not sure the name of the clown with the black bowler but I believe he is the son of Jack Aster, you can just see Jojo to the left of Mary and Jack Aster to Jojo's right, just behind Jojo you can see the hat of one of the Clown Cavlecade Troupe.

Everybody now in position and the service continues to save repeating clowns that I have already mentioned I will now attempt to name the ones we have not fully seen the first one is Sonny Fossett standing next to Gerry with a young Matto just behind him followed by a side profile of yours truly, with Mattie just behind me and a better shot Clown Cavlecade member I mentioned earlier, just to the side of Mattie is Clown Bobby from Bristol, I am not sure how this film has been put together because I feel sure the Clown behind Mattie with the white bowler is Sonny Fossett followed by Matto.

The next shot we see is a group and this would be virtually impossible to name everyone in this but clown not seen before in this video is a young Pierre Picton and Jack Aster in the foreground.

We now have a good close up Pepe followed by another Clown Cavlecade member this one looking a little like Joseph Grimaldi. The next close up we have is that of Pierre Picton doing the reading. By now you either know the clowns in this video or have stopped reading, but just in case the next close ups we have is that of Jack Aster followed by Jojo. Unfortunately, I don't know the clown with Joey on his bowler but if anyone does then it would be great to know! The next close up we have is of Weedy who I have already mention above but this is a close up of him! Incidentally, sometime ago Zippo was looking for Weedy I am very pleased to say I had been able to have put them together and I believe Clown Tweedy came into being! Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. The next close up of a clown not yet mentioned is dear old Smokey and his grand daughter Lisa with Pecko sitting just behind them and to his left as we look at the video is Barney who I will really miss because he has been most encouraging to me but to many others too.

We now have a close up of Bimbo followed by the Clown Cavlecade member already mentioned. It has took a very long time to do this commentary but for those of you who have managed to get this far I would be most grateful if you could kindly let me know then I will know whether this type of exercise has been worth it!

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours in Service.


PS, For any information I missed I am sorry but I’ve done my best!