Friday, April 25, 2008

BILLY VAUGHN: Ringling Blue Unit Alley 1975

Photo courtesy of Billy Vaughn. Comments courtesy of Pat Cashin and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Mr. Vaughn

Sadly, Ringling no longer employs this many clowns across all three of it's current units and any one of the clowns in the photo used more makeup on a three show Saturday than the current Alleys will use all season.

"Gone are the days..."

Many very healthy babies have been thrown out with far too much crystal clear bathwater in the pursuit of "updating" what should be "timeless".


Nick said...

I couldn't agree with you more... Today's Ringling Clown Alley doesn't have the same gusto or sense of clown tradition that the old ones had. And, though I am younger and don't fully remember the heyday of clowning, I do remember the clown acts used to be a lot better slapstick, funnier and goofier. Alas...

Anonymous said...

I agree also,what ever happened to the funnier gags like the safe breaking gag and museum gag?I use less makeup for allergy purposes in our collegiate circus,half our alley are the ages between 26-80.seriously.check the web site out

"Hillbilly" said...

Today's Ringling alley truly is different than ones of the past, and that's because Feld Entertainment wants it that way. In the past, you didn't have one clown headlining the show like Ringling has been doing for 15+ years now. The alley no longer receives the focus and attention it use to; both on and off the floor. Because of this, the alley has been forced to take a back seat to the majority of the clowning done in the show; year, after year, after year. Of course, they are allowed the opportunity to "shine" during the hussle, bussle, and chaos of the "All-Access Preshow." There are now less than half the number of clowns in the alley than there were a couple of decades ago. If you've been in the alley for 3 or 4 years now, you're considered a senior clown. Unfortunately, because of all this, it kinda hard to keep that same sense of clown tradition alive.

Anonymous said...

That's what happen's when it becomes a coporate world.I remeber going to show's when there were three rings and there was no hold's bar with the clown's.gun powder gags and slapstick pie's you name it.I miss the old traditional cirus not the foo foo circuses

Anonymous said...

ok I am just looking for a place to take my grandson to a true circus! But, you must realize I think the movie "The Greatest Show on Earth" is still my favorite movie. So, any suggestions????
Because after reading all the reviews on the inter net is there still a "true" circus!

Pat Cashin said...


What part of the country are you in?

There are a few excellent circuses that tour America, but they don't all visit each and every one of the 50 states.