Thursday, August 07, 2008

THANK YOU!



My heartfelt thanks and appreciation go out to all of those who have so generously contributed to the Felix Adler Award Fund thusfar.

We still have a ways to go, but we are getting there.

The auction items should begin appearing on eBay late tonight or tomorrow morning.

AND IF ANYONE FROM DUBAI IS INTERESTED IN BUYING 20% OF CLOWNALLEY.NET TOO, JUST SHOOT ME AN EMAIL! I'D LOVE TO SPEAK WITH YOU!

CALVIN SPEAKS THE TRUTH!



Word!

Shane and I have spent this whole week up to our ears in Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Popeye, Droopy and Pee-Wee Herman.

CLOWN ALLEY: Jung, Lewis and Jerome, 1930s



Another view from the same photo session as Tuesday's post.

CONNIE WILSON: Out of Makeup



Trudy Strong's mom, Bill Strong's mother-in-law, Dime Wilson's Mrs., here she is Ms. Connie Wilson!

CLOWN ALLEY: Shrine Circus, Phoenix Arizona

Photo courtesy of Jerry Jay



Clockwise from the top: Candy Dickson, Mingo, Pete Marinovich, Jerry Jay and Donn Nelson with Rex "Count de Boxcar" Young in the center.

POODLES HANNEFORD: Autographed Photo, undated



An autographed photo of Edwin "Poodles" Hanneford and troupe.

MYSTERY CLOWNS, Undated



A QUESTION...







If you were attending a circus performance, as a paying customer, which act would you find more entertaining to watch, these well-rehearsed professional clowns or these well-intentioned Shrine clowns?

Would you still pay to see the show if the juggling, wire-walking, aerial acts and the animal training were also being done by well-intentioned locals?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

RALPH DUKE: From Margaret

Photo courtesy of Margaret Duke Scoggan; restored by Rik Gern






I received this photo last month from Margaret Duke Scoggan but didn't post it right away because the scan that Margaret so generously decided to share with us was also pretty heavily damaged. She apologized that it was the only copy that the family had.

Well, no member of the extended Burck/Hall clan shall ever appear here on clownalley.net in anything less than their full glory! Not on my watch!

My friend Rik Gern (who is rapidly becoming a real wiz at photoshop) offered to take the time to lovingly restore the photo, best that he could, and here is the result.

Ladies and gentlemen, my friend Adam Burck's grandfather... Mr. Ralph Duke!


CLOWN ALLEY: Charlie Bell and Emmett Kelly, 1940s



Charlie Bell and Emmett Kelly on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the early 1940s.

CLOWN ALLEY: Frosty's Trunk, 1970s


Photos courtesy of Thomas C. Fitzgerald



A rare peak inside Clown Alley: the trunk of Master Clown, Glen "Frosty" Little




Master Clown Glen "Frosty" Little seated at the trunk of Master Clown Glen "Frosty" Little




And, inexplicably, Jim Tinsman seated at the trunk of Master Clown Glen "Frosty" Little



LAWRENCE SWALLEY: Al G Barnes Circus, 1920s



CLOWN ALLEY: Shrine Circus, undated



I apologize to whomever sent this one in, it has been lost in the shuffle for a month or two and I no longer have the info on where it came from.

This photo looks to be from the Texas Shrine dates and must have been taken at some point after 1976 (because Chester Sherman is not present) but before the early 80s when younger guys like Freddie Levine and Chris Bricker had to leave clowning on the Shrine dates because the Shrine clowns began performing in the show for free.

Why would circus producers hire professional clowns if there was a group of amateurs provided by the sponsor who would do the job for nothing?

Moreso than anything else, this is what really killed circus clowning as a profession in the United States.



Clowns (from left to right) Dime Wilson, Freddie Levine, ?, Rex "Count De Boxcar" Young, John McKay, Connie Wilson, Joe Sherman, Christopher Bricker

VLADIMIR KREMENA



Tuesday, August 05, 2008

NY GOOFS: America's Got Clowns



The NY Goofs present
America's Got Clowns
August 7th - 9th at 7pm
Click HERE for tickets


"Americas Got Clowns proves exactly what the title says, that America has some rockin physical comedians. New York Goof co-founder Dick Monday brings together his Clown School faculty and professional clowns from this fascinating world of comedy. Expect to see eccentric dance, musical entrees, bad magic, feats of tossing and manipulation (juggling), Godly and un-Godly characters, and a lot of very physical comedy. The New York Goofs have presented three original clown theater productions at the Flea over the last ten years and are thrilled to be back."

GENE LEWIS: Ringling, 1966



FELIX ADLER: Giraffe-Neck Woman from Burma




Few people today remember the first Mrs. Adler, Mu Kaun.

A very nice woman and devoted to her husband, they decided to divorce a few years (and a few rings) later when "they could just no longer see eye to eye" ; )



I got a million of 'em! They are all just as bad as that, but I do have a million of them.

CLOWN ALLEY: Lewis, Jung & Jerome



Joe Lewis, Paul Jung and Paul Jerome on Ringling in the 1930s.

FRANKIE SALUTO: Bellvue Hospital, 1936



Frankie Saluto in 1936 at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey (then) annual visit to the children at Bellvue Hospital during their New York run at Madison Square Garden.

ANATOLY SMIKOV: Rola Bola



Monday, August 04, 2008

OUR NEW "DONATE" BUTTON, JUST TO THE RIGHT



I'm busy rounding up some more items for the big eBay auction this week. In the meantime I've added a "donate" button for those that would like to contribute to the fund and help offset the cost of this year's Felix Adler Awards.

You can find the donate link at the top of the page, on the right hand side.

The button links to a dedicated PayPal account and can accept PayPal contributions as well as most major credit cards.

If 20% of clownalley.net's daily visitors chipped in and sent $5. or $10. we could reach our fund raising goal by tonight.

GROCK: Interview, 1953


Charles Adrien "grock" Wettach, interviewed April 1, 1953.

GENE RANDOW AND HAROLD SIMMONS: Polack Bros. Circus, 1959


Gene Randow and Harold Simmons fighting over the attention of the the beautiful Ms. Kay Francis Hanneford in a publicity photo from the Polack Bros. Circus, May 30, 1959.

PAUL JEROME: Ringling's Funniest Clown?


During our recent telephone conversation, Jackie Le Claire told me that his father thought that Paul Jerome was, hands downs, the funniest of anyone in the classic Ringling Clown Alley.

?

I find that extremely surprising based on the fact that I can't think of a single bit or gag that Jerome is remembered for other than his light up costume pieces.

He had a series of wires running through his costume that allowed him to have the tip of his nose light up (which is more often than not attributed to Felix Adler) or cause a giant heart to blink on and off. That's about it.

Jack LeClair had a very long career, created several classic gags and must have seen loads of clowns in his lifetime. I wouldn't question his judgement on this one so I'm going to agree with his call and say that Paul Jerome must have known how to work those light up gimmicks pretty darn well.

ANNIE FRATELLINI: Warming Up, 1984


Annie Fratellini warming up in her dressing room on New Year's Day, 1984.

PIPO AND RHUM: Fellini's I Clowns, 1970



Sunday, August 03, 2008

SUNDAY MORNING ART GALLERY: Lou Jacobs, by Chang



SUG HARTISCH: With Dad, 1954


"Sug" Hartisch, at six years old billed as "America's Youngest Professional Clown" with his father Carl Hartisch at the makeup mirror in 1954.

MYSTERY CLOWN



ERNIE BURCH: Washer Woman


Ernie "Blinko" Burch after performing the Washer Woman in an undated photo that looks to be taken on Ringling in the early 1950s.

CHESTY MORTIMER: Travel Magazine


Polidor Paul "Chesty Mortimer" Mortier on the cover of Travel magazine in a Maxwell Frederic Coplan photograph that was used on the cover of the 1939 Ringling program.

RUSSIAN CLOWN DUO: 1987