Friday, November 05, 2010

GLEN "FROSTY" LITTLE: Obituary, New York Times

Glen Little, Better Known as Frosty the Clown, Dies at 84
Published: November 4, 2010

Glen Little, better known as Frosty the Clown, who performed at the White House and was a teacher and mentor to a generation of clowns with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, died on Oct. 26 in Kimberly, Idaho, near his home in Burley. He was 84.

His wife, Patricia, confirmed his death.

Mr. Little was the last of four Ringling Brothers clowns to earn the circus’s “master clown” designation, and the last surviving member of that select group.

Peggy Williams, one of Mr. Little’s protégés, described him as “kind of a drill sergeant, but in a comedic way.”

“He insisted that you always look your best, even on a Saturday after three shows, that you never looked disheveled in front of the audience or ruin a kid’s fantasy of a clown,” Ms. Williams said.

Mr. Little was the circus’s executive director of clowns in 1986 when an About New York column in The New York Times described him meticulously inspecting his charges before a performance while wearing “full clown regalia.”

After scolding lackadaisical and inappropriately attired clowns, Mr. Little, perched on a tiger cage, said, “Sometimes it’s tough to get them to take me seriously.”

Glen Gordon Little was born on Dec. 5, 1925, to Elsie and Glen Little in Genoa, Neb. He was given the nickname Frosty because he loved playing in the snow as a child.

After high school he joined the Navy in 1944. An injury in 1945 led to the removal of part of his right lung and an honorable discharge.

Mr. Little married Shirley Moss in 1950; they divorced in 1970.

He began his capering career with the Joe King Circus in Colorado in 1956 and opened his own clown business in 1962.

Mr. Little’s persona combined two styles of clown: the whiteface, more dignified and usually the boss or straight man in a gag; and the auguste, prone to wearing garish, oversize clothing and more often the butt of physical jokes.

In 1968 he spied an opportunity for the big time: Ringling Brothers’ new Clown College in Venice, Fla. He graduated with the inaugural class in 1968 and landed a coveted job with the circus at the age of 44.

In 1970 he was promoted to boss clown, a job he held for the next decade.

He met his second wife, Patricia, in 1971 while the circus was in California, and they married three weeks later in Chicago.

Mr. Little became executive director of clowns in 1980 and held the job until he retired in 1991, the year he was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame. He taught at Clown College during most of his career.

In 1983 Irvin and Kenneth Feld, the owners of Ringling Brothers, designated Mr. Little a master clown. Only Otto Griebling, Bobby Kay and Lou Jacobs had received the honor before him. Mr. Little also performed repeatedly at the White House, where he met Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Little is survived by a brother, Dixon Little, of Northport, Fla.; a daughter from his first marriage, Tawnya Wiseman, of Greeley, Colo.; and a daughter from his second, Roxanne Webster, of San Diego.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

SAM POOKA: Part Five

All good things must, eventually, come to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure and privilege  to present the thrilling conclusion of Sam Pooka...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

GLEN "FROSTY" LITTLE: From Steve Smith

Frosty Little - teacher; performer; mentor; Master Clown.

He entertained so many millions over the years; 

He helped show so many of us the way over the years;

He loved to blow things up; set things on fire - any kind of pyro effect. 

His list of CBOBS {Comic Bits of Business} was endless, and mostly questionable. 

He should have had stock in Sea Breeze.

He was a one-of-a-kind, true original - Hotorini!!! 

I imagine him now, and here is a thought or two: "I'll be there...when you look up at the sky at night. In one of the stars I'll be smiling...In one of the stars I'll be laughing....And so it will be as if all the stars in heaven are smiling & laughing when you look up at the sky at night. I'll be there. But, oh how we'll miss you down here... 

For all who know this life, know it too briefly, and all who leave this life, leave it too soon. May peace cup your heart and hold it gently.

love & light...
Rest In Peace

GLEN "FROSTY" LITTLE: Obituary, Sarasota-Herald

Glen "Frosty" Little taught others art of clowning


Glen Little, an early graduate of the Ringling Bros. Clown College, was known as "Frosty" the clown.
Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 at 8:42 p.m. 
In his off hours, Glen Little could easily go unnoticed, but when he spread white makeup all over his face and donned his trademark pointy red hat, thousands of circus lovers instantly knew him as Frosty.
One of the first graduates of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College who later mentored hundreds of younger clowns during a 23-year career, "Frosty" Little died Oct. 26 in Burley, Idaho. He was 84.

"We used to say that the Clown College was a salvation for American circus clowning, but I say Frosty was the salvation of circus clowning," said Chuck Sidlow, who studied under and worked with Little for several years.

Born in 1925 in Nebraska, Little developed a lifelong love for circus after seeing a performance as a child, Sidlow said. Friends said he got the nickname "Frosty" from a grandfather because he loved to play in the snow.

In 1968, he became part of the first class of Clown College, which was based for many years in Venice. He graduated at age 44, and quickly joined the newly created second touring unit. Within two years, he became the "boss clown," and for 11 years until his retirement in 1991, he served as "Executive Clown Director," overseeing clowns in both the red and blue units and helping to develop new clown gags. He also returned each summer to work with new Clown College students. He and his wife, Pat, lived in Venice during his Ringling circus years.

"He made young kids feel welcome and made sure the old-timers were treated with respect and honor," said Sidlow, who now works for Circus Sarasota. "He recognized their contribution to the circus and the art of clowning, and he carried the torch."

Sidlow said Little created more than 200 clown gags, designed and built props and taught many newcomers how to be better in the three-ring circus world.

"He was a father figure to almost everybody," Sidlow said. "He had a soft humane side that enabled him to mentor. He was such a giving person, and instead of teaching you about circus and clowning and comedy, you learned by osmosis, because it just came off him."

In 1983, Little joined Lou Jacobs, Otto Griebling and Bobby Kay as one of only four Ringling circus "master" clowns. He was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 1991, around the time he retired and moved with his wife to Burley, Idaho, where he ran a circus museum.

He also worked privately with many clowns to develop and perfect their acts, Sidlow said. In 1996, he also wrote a book about his clowning experiences, "Circus Stories: Boss Clown on the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for More than 20 Years."

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his brother, Dixon, and a daughter, Tanya. No formal funeral is planned, but a celebration of life will be scheduled in Sarasota.

PETER PITOFSKY: Evening at the Improv


Candy was returned safely home last night. Thank you to all for the thoughts, prayers and for forwarding the information ; )


Video courtesy of Circopedia

Monday, November 01, 2010

IN MEMORIAM: Thina Hansen

Mrs. Thina Hansen, wife of John Hansen and mother of Diana Hansen-Juchno and Shane Hansen, passed away quietly Saturday, surrounded by family. A longtime circus performer with the Rolling Diamonds as well as active member of Showfolks of Sarasota, she was a very loving grandmother to J.R., Olivia, Michael, Madison and Ella.

A Celebration of Life is being planned for December.

A wonderful woman; she will be missed.

Now that I am gone,
remember me with smiles and laughter.
And if you need to cry,
cry with your brother or sister
who walks in grief beside you.
And when you need me,
put your arms around anyone
and give to them what you need to give to me.
There are so many who need so much.
I want to leave you something --
something much better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I've known
or helped in some special way.
Let me live in your heart
as well as in your mind.
You can love me most
by letting your love reach out to our loved ones,
by embracing them and living in their love.
Love does not die, people do.
So, when all that's left of me is love,
give me away as best you can.

~ Author unknown


From Jimmy Graham...
Hello to all my facebook friends...My daughter CANDY GRAHAM -17, is missing. Last night (Saturday Oct 30) she and her boy friend went to Hollywood for a concert at the Palladium on Sunset Blvd- he went in and she did not but rather took off to somewhere. If you see her call ME at (909)234-9864 or the local police...she is listed as a missing person/minor.

There is reason to believe that Candy may be in Van Nuys, CA. If ANYONE know ANYTHING about Candy's whereabouts PLEASE get in touch with the Graham family immediately!


Courtesy of Gary Peare

Sunday, October 31, 2010


CLOWNS AND THEIR WORK: By Harry LaPearl (April 16, 1910)

Clowns and Their Work

By Harry LaPearl. New York Clipper, April 16, 1910. Reprinted in Circus Scrap Book, No. 11 (Jul), 1931, pp. 18-20. The information should be checked with additional sources.

Probably no one is better able to speak of the labors of a clown than Harry LaPearl, himself one of the leading clowns of America. In an interview with a Clipper reporter, in answer to the question, "How does the work of a clown compare with that of a stage comedian?" he said: 

"Did you ever stop to consider what a clown has to do to make the public laugh?"
The Clipper man said very few people gave it a thought. 

"The very answer I expected," replied La Pearl, "and I shall endeavor to give you an idea of the work of a 'funny' man with a circus, and let you compare his work and that of a stage comedian." 

"To begin with, a clown, to be successful, must be a good pantomimist; he must have a funny make-up, and he must have original ideas - otherwise he will soon find himself relegated to the tall timbers. He must also be an acrobat, a tumbler and a juggler, and many of them are aerialists." 

"Does a comedian need these accomplishments to succeed? And yet they are a clown's stock in trade. Without them he could hope for no recognition in his calling. 

"A comedian (I have been on the stage myself) changes his voice, sneezes, or he can just do a few funny steps and the audience roars. Try to do the same thing in a circus ring and, believe me, the only notice you would receive would be from the manager, who would notify you that if you wanted to continue with the show you would have to do something. Several times since I have been with the Barnum and Bailey show, I have tried to ring in a few of my vaudeville stunts, and I am ashamed to tell you the result. 

"With the show this season I am doing about seven acts. Think of asking a comedian to do as much work as that! The majority of the boys are compelled to go into the "spec," or the parade as the public calls it. They then rush to the dressing-room, change their parade costumes to clown make-up, being allowed about five minutes for the change. Then they rush out to the tanbark and work like beavers to make the spectators sit up and take notice, while ten or more acts are performing. 

"Of course, I will agree with you in regard to some of the clowns not being funny or having proper make-up, but take it from me they do not get very far in business - though they are usually kickers on the salary question. A good clown very rarely has a kick about salary, as the management is not slow to notice the value and services of a clever performer, and the reward usually follows. It has been so in my case, and I can mention many others. 

"For instance, take Al Olifan, who has been in the show business all his life. He started at the bottom like the rest of us, and today he is one of the leading producing clowns in the country. 

"I tell you, and you would agree with me if you ever tried to amuse the public, that a clown's portion is much harder than a comedian's, and he positively must be funnier. To prove this take any one of our leading comedians and let him pull the same stuff before circus crowds that he uses on the vaudeville stage, and watch the result. In my experience I have seen many well-known comedians who have been a frost at clowning, and not because they are not clever in their own line. 

"On the other hand, very few of the clowns have proved a failure on the vaudeville stage. There are Frank 'Slivers' Oakley and Spader Johnson, both of whom have made a pronounced success in vaudeville. I am not picking out two of the leading clowns, mind you, there are others too numerous to mention who have scored big hits. 

"I remember once, in a little town we played in Texas, there happened to be a well-known comedian playing at the Opera House (the comedian by the way is now appearing in New York) who was asked to appear as a special favor to the management in a clown act, and, honestly, he could not draw a laugh. Why, some of the minor clowns we have with the show made him look like a 'piker'," and with a hurried "excuse me, I am on in this display, shake hands with Al Olifan," La Pearl rushed out of the dressing room. 

Of course, during all this interview, the Clipper man said scarcely a dozen words. He was about to ask Mr. Olifan how he did a certain stunt, when that gentleman began by saying, "You will pardon me, but I overheard most of the conversation, and I can vouch for every word Mr. La Pearl has said.

"I have often heard this same subject discussed by performers, but never have given it a thought. There are several ways to look at it. Of course you will understand that a comedian on the vaudeville stage has to amuse his audience alone, he being the only one on the stage at the time. Now, take the clown. He is obliged to get his laughs while a dozen acts are performing at one time. He has to do something very original and funny to attract their attention," and with a hurried good-bye, Mr. Olifan went to do one of his many stunts.