Saturday, April 11, 2009

CLOWN COLLEGE: Newsweek December 2, 1968

Here is the entire December 2, 1968 Newsweek article on Clown College.


Jack Ryan said...

The Newsweek reporter I took to Venice for this story said that, maybe, we would get the magazine's cover. Some "possible cover shots" were taken. Alas, it didn't happen. But the story itself stands up pretty well.

Pat Cashin said...

Well, the cover of Newsweek in 1968 would have been great. The cover of Life magazine in 1970 was huge.

It's rare that the circus gets coverage like that nowadays!

Any more memories of the article, Jack? What did the reporter think of the goings on at the arena? What did the staff and students think of national coverage?

Was the press as condescending in their coverage of circuses and clowns back then? Seems like the articles were always written from a positive point of view until around the late 80s. Everything since has been... different.

It seems now that the media feels that if it isn't Cirque it can't possibly be any good; it must be a bunch of third-rate carnies unless it comes from Canada.

Jack Ryan said...


Because Clown College was such a new concept, almost all of the reporters I took to Venice were very positive and fascinated by the whole process.

We had some sessions with the students beforehand about the media -- how to talk to them, etc. Most of the students were naturals and really didn't need the lessons.

At one point I had a CBS News reporter/camera person and an NBC crew in Venice at the same time. It just happened. Spent hours arranging for "exclusive" angles for each so, pleased to say, they both left happy. Both stories ran on the network evening newscasts.

One of the reporters (well-known then and now deceased) had a few drinks too many in the bar of the Nokomis Holiday Inn. On his way back to his room, he came within inches of falling into the motel swimming pool. Luckily, several of us were around to guide him to safety.

The Life cover was a very big deal, yes. I think, perhaps, that's how I kept my job for a few more years.

In those days, there was NO circus from Canada, the "new wave" had yet to break on our shores. The attitude was almost always Ringling = mom, apple pie, the 4th of July et. al. I know times have changed.

Happy Easter to the Cashins and all readers of ClownAlley.Net.