Monday, January 18, 2010

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Greg DeSanto Named Director of the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center!!!


World’s Foremost Organization Dedicated To The Preservation Of The Art, Craft And History Of Clowning Names Greg DeSanto Executive Director

Baraboo, WI (January 18, 2010) – A bright addition to Baraboo’s unique circus heritage was revealed today as The International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center announced the opening of its new headquarters in America’s Circus City.

Internationally renowned for its research and involvement in the art, craft and history of clowning, the ICHOF boasts the world’s most wide-ranging collection of clown artifacts and memorabilia, including wardrobe and props from many of the most famous names in clowning history.

“We are delighted to send in the clowns – and send them to Baraboo, back home where they belong,” said Greg DeSanto, recently named the ICHOF’s Executive Director. Himself a celebrated clown and circus historian, DeSanto, a Baraboo resident, performed at the Circus World Museum for over seven years. He’s also been featured in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, the Big Apple Circus and other major shows around the world.

As we expand our presence in Baraboo, we hope that scholars and historians and the public at large will experience our fascinating exhibits and extensive archives,” DeSanto says.

Founded in Delevan, WI in 1986, the ICHOF was created as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization, honoring and supporting the international art of clowning. The first and only group of its kind, it provides both rich research opportunities and educational outreach, along with the world’s largest collection of artifacts and collections concerning the art of clowning.

In 1988, the ICHOF began enshrining international artists who have enhanced and advanced the art of the clown. Since then, sixty-one performers have been inducted into the Hall, including Red Skelton, Lou Jacobs, Emmett Kelly, Otto Griebling, Felix Adler, Barry Lubin, Bobby Kaye, Jimmy Williams, Frosty Little, Steve Smith, Grock, Charlie Chaplin and Bill Irwin. The prestigious Lifetime of Laughter achievement award is also presented annually.

Fulfilling its commitment to community outreach, the Hall’s Caring Clown program provides therapeutic humor for children and their families at the Milwaukee’s Children’s Hospital. With Long Term Laughter Care, the ICHOF brings fun and comfort to residents at skilled nursing facilities and assisted living centers.

“We are honored to join the Circus World Museum and the Al Ringling Theater as key spokes in Barboo’s celebrated wheel of circus history,” adds DeSanto. “We welcome residents and visitors alike to join us in our ongoing efforts to promote and preserve the grand and glorious history of hilarity.”


Pat Cashin said...

Press release written by the legendary circus press agent, Mr. Jack Ryan.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pat for helping get the word out to a world-wide audience of clown and comedy historians and fans.

A major thank you to the incredible
Jack Ryan for gifting us with his talents to make sure we we step off on the right foot and cross our T's and dot our I's.

We had over 2 dozen circus and clown fans in town this weekend and offered them a sneak preview of the collection, which is in the process of being archived and inventoried. We were also blessed with several very generous donations and offers of time and resources to help make this project a self-sustaining reality.

So, welcome everyone. The clowns have come home!

-Greg DeSanto

Anonymous said...


This is fantastic news! The clown hall of fame can now get the prestige it deserves and I know the artifacts and materials are in good hands!

Congratulations Greg!

If there is anything I can do to help, please drop me a line, I would love to be a part of it and assist in anything you need!

Sandy Weber

Anonymous said...


Will the collection be housed on the grounds of Circus World Museum, or will it be at a different site in Bababoo????

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you Greg. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that you are the perfect man for the job. Is the new location in Circus World Museum? Will there be enshrinements again? Other than monetarily, what can we do to help, from abroad?

-Jeffrey "Bungles" Potts

Dan McCallum said...

Congratulations Greg!!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW ! This is big, really big, really wonderful. We are so very happyfor you and for us RCD's. Hope you will still find time to put on the ol' greasepaint along with Karen.

You know where we are. Let us know what we can do to help.

Baraboo, we gotta get to you!

Paul & Diane

John Peters said...

Congratulations Greg!if I can help in any way, please let me know.

John Peters
Jupiter, FL

Mr. Lee said...

Thank you Greg for the great job you have done.If your like me , then a big hug to Karen as well for letting you be you..You have always been a comedic favorite of mine, and will for sure do a superb job with this precious gift to the world. My very best to you. I look forward to being able to visit you and the ICHOF. From an old clown...Lee Stevens

KevinC said...

The Big D himself!!! YES!! If anyone deserves this honor of preserving our heritage, traditions and love for this outstanding artform it is Mr. Greg DeSanto himself! Congrats Big Guy! You are the King Of Goofs in all our eyes! I have no doubt you will make us all proud! Big smile!

---Kevin C. Carr, Clown College Class of '89, Red Unit '90, Blue Unit '91 & '92

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your kind words and offers of support. As we progress we will do everything to keep you the clowns, as well as the general public in the loop as far as information goes. We have some very exciting things to announce in the next few days, weeks and months, and look forward to sharing and preserving this one of a kind collection with everyone.

Also, to clarify, the ICHOF is a private not for profit and is being physically housed seperate from the holdings and collections of Circus World Museum. We are located on the downtown Baraboo square, three doors down from the historic Al Ringling Theater. We look forward to working together with the theater as well as CWM in the future to continue to make Baraboo, WI the place to go for clown and circus research and entertainment.

Greg DeSanto

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege to watch Greg and Karen DeSanto perform in NJ a few years ago and afterwards they autographed an 8 x 10 photo for me that I happen to have on my hallway next to Felix Adler and Emmett Kelly. I will never forget their "Banana routine", where I think he ate like 6 or seven of them maybe more. What made that evening much more special was that I was watching the show with Jim Howle and he said to me, "Watch and learn."
Congratulations on this great achievement!

With love;
Miguel Angel Juan
Minsk, Belarus