Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Clyde Beatty Clowns 1995


Photo shared by Chris Connors

Gideon Sanders and Brandon Magnuson on Clyde Beatty Cole Bros Circus in 1995.

Both were graduates of the Ringling Clown College Class of 1994. Gideon spent one season on the show, and Brandon was there for two, including 1996, which was the last year the show had an all American Clown Alley.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Emily Carragher: Drawn To Life


Many well wishes to Emily Carragher, former Ringling, Fossett’s Circus, and Varekai clown, who opens the new Cirque Du Soliel Show, Drawn To Life, in Orlando, FL tonight.

Emily appears as Miss Hésitation, one of the main characters in the brand new show that replaces the long running La Nouba at Disney Springs!

Here’s to a long run and lots of laughs!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Bob & Momo


Would love to learn more about these two if anyone has anything to share.

I know they performed in Europe, and appeared on the program La Piste Aux Etoilles at least once performing the Busy Bee entrée.

Also, one of them has a hilarious name!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Les Francescos: Rings Around The World

Les Francescos (Francesco, Ernesto, and Enrico Caroli) are some of my favorite clowns. I first saw this act on one of Mike Martin's video tapes about twenty years ago, and I was instantly taken with this trio.
This footage is from the 1966 special, Rings Around The World, in which author John Shawcross reflects on great circus acts he has seen around the world.
I'm not sure on which show this was filmed, but I bet someone out there knows!

Side note: Watching Enrico (the auguste with the mustache) do anything is a master class in clowning.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Clown College 1994 Faculty Show: Mike Smith

Here is a short act performed by Mike Smith at the Clown College 1994 Faculty Show in the historic Al Ringling Theater located in Baraboo, WI.

Ringling moved the Clown College to Baraboo from Venice, FL in 1993. The program was located at Circus World Museum, which is the former Winter Quarters of the Ringling Bros. 

1994 was the final year with Steve Smith as the dean; Dick Monday took over for the final three years: 1995 in Baraboo and 1996 and 1997 in Sarasota, FL.

Mike Smith was a graduate of the 1989 Clown College class, and he went on to spend two years with the Ringling Red Unit. He and his wife, Lara Heidtman Smith, also came back on the road with Red for six months during the 2000 season after almost the entire Alley (all but three of sixteen) from the previous year had not renewed their contracts.

Mike has performed in many different venues with his friend, CC classmate, and Red Unit Alley mate, Jay Stewart, and he also spent a short amount of time clowning on the Kelly Miller Circus in 2008, filling in for their clown who had not arrived in the country yet.

Jeff Jenkins (CC class of 86 grad, Blue Unit clown for two years, and founder of the Midnight Circus along with his wife Julie Jenkins), can be seen acting as emcee at the beginning of the video. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Kelly Miller Clown Alley 1988


Francis West, Ted “Zippo” Tutweiler, Dale “Herky” Smith, and Joe “Skippy” Schmidt.

Francis and Dale were both recent graduates of Ringling’s Clown College from the Class of 1987. Ted graduated in 1971 and spent the 1972 season with Ringling’s Blue Unit. He clowned on many mud shows during his life, but I believe he spent the longest time on Kelly Miller.

I don’t know much about Joe, but would love to learn!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Ringling: Barbara Nolan


Photo credit: Longtime Clown Alley wardrobe man and amazing photographer, Bill Swift

Barbara Nolan (Kinkade at the time), with her dog, Midnight on the Ringling Blue Unit. The photo must be from 1998 because they are posing with her Flea Circus walkaround. The theme of the show that year was Sideshow, so all of the clowns did sideshow themed walkarounds.

Barbara started out as a dancer on Ringling, even participating as the ballerina in the painter soap gag featured in Ringling’s 118th Edition (1988-1989). She attended Clown College in 1995 and toured with the Blue Unit from 1996-1998.

After that she was a part of the Circus Circus Clown Alley in Las Vegas for awhile.