Throughout my career as a circus clown, I always ask any of the older performers that I've worked with the same question, “Who is the best circus clown that you've ever seen?” The two names that answer that question most often are Otto Griebling and Bobo Barnett.
People who've worked with your father describe his act in the hushed and reverent tones that jazz musicians use to describe Miles Davis or Charlie Parker, that sportswriters use to describe Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan, that comics use to describe George Carlin or Richard Pryor.
Their eyes take on a far away look as they fondly remember the details of the act: the car, the dogs, the table and the trumpet. Despite the fact that your father retired decades ago, the memory of seeing your dad in the ring still stands out clearly for so many of them.
“...then he'd play 'Peg O' My Heart' or 'Am I Blue' on the trumpet and there wouldn't be a dry eye in the house. He played so beautifully. He just killed 'em. No one could follow him. No one...”
It has been a genuine pleasure to get to know you and your father, first through your writing and later by meeting you and your daughter, Christiana at the Book Expo at the Javitz Center in New York when you did me the great honor of allowing me to portray Bobo in helping to promote your wonderful book. The films that you've shared on your website are an invaluable document of a very gifted and dedicated artist and an inspiration to all who love clowns and clowning.
Bobo earned his place in the Hall of Fame a long time ago and we're all extremely happy to finally welcome him here to take his place among the pantheon of the very best in the profession.
Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself and your Dad with the rest of us,
P.S. You know that I'd be there if I could ; )
For more information on tonight's ceremony please click here.