Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CLOWN ALLEY: Horse Race Gag, Ringling-Barnum (1968)

Photo courtesy of Greg DeSanto

Lou Jacobs, Mark Anthony and Lazlo Donnert getting ready for Mark's Horse Race Gag.

Lou ran around the track in 1968??? Wasn't there ANYBODY who could have done that for him?

And I wonder if they stuck around to catch Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians?


Clownron said...

I don't know about 68 but from 73-75 Mark Buthman and I took turns pushing Lou's piece of crap bathtub around the arena whenever it wouldn't run.

Mike Naughton said...

Just my opinion -
The horse race was a perfect fit for Ringling because it was done on the track in spot lights that allowed amble time for prop changes in the rings. There were rings at one time, three to be exact.
It was a big, colorful and animated clown gag.
The gag also benefited from the script, when delivered by a capable announcer brought smiles to the faces of the bemused adults.
There was youtube of the horse race done on Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers, was it on clownalley.net or elsewhere?
The Jimmy James script should be archived for historical purposes.

Anonymous said...

Mark and Lotzie did the horserace gag with Dougie Ashton in the third slot...

To the best of my memory, Lou never performed that gag...He didn't need it, and it was some exertion, running around the entire track. (This must be a publicity shot of some sort...)

In fact, Mark himself, who produced the gag, didn't finish the season in the horse...

I took over Mark's slot sometime around LA that year, and, while I was young and could run (of course, I cut through the center ring) I did have a hell of a time with the timing of the finish and releasing the bungee chord which held the neck of my winning horse ("Spark Plug," natch...referencing the old "Barney Google" newspaper cartoon of Mark's youth!).

Finally got the damn thing right, athough not without frustrating everybody until I did--the timing is crucal to the finish of the gag... (Mark, to his credit, never held my painfully flat learning-curve against me...Just the kind of a guy he was...)

--Michael Karp

P.S. I know some versions of the gag have the ringmaster calling the race, etc... but I'm pretty sure Harold Ronk never actually narrated this version...It was all done to musical cues.

The three horses came out of the back door (two on one side of the track, one on the other) and joined up about half-way up the right-hand side.

Mike Padilla and Frankie Saluto held the finish line ribbon on the left side, and, at various times, Marcus (?) Drougette and Mark Anthony (once he left the gag) shot the starting gun...

Now that I'm remembering, Bobby Kay also ran in it, on occasion!

But I can't picture Lou in it ever....even shooting the starter's pistol....