Monday, June 26, 2006
The extremely classic early century whiteface of Mr. Charlie Bell. 35 years on RBB&B, dog trainer extraordinaire and creator of the hunting gag that Lou Jacobs kept alive for the rest of his career, Charlie was featured extensively in Ceil B. DeMille's THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.
In the 1950s Charlie was also featured on boxes of Kellogg's Sugar Smacks in a series that also included Lou Jacobs and Paul Jung.
From the New York Times Sept. 26, 1964:
CHARLES D. CHASE, CLOWN KNOWN AS CHARLIE BELL, DIES
(SARATOGA (sp) Fla., Sept. 25 (AP) Charles D. Chase, an acrobat and circus clown for 63 years died today in a Saratoga (sp) hospital. He was 78 years old.
Mr. Chase started his career at the age of 7 when he ran away from home in Barnesville, Ohio as an acrobat in a medicine show. He adopted the owner's last name, Bell, as his own and was known thereafter as Charlie Bell.
During his early career he was billed as the world's greatest tumbler. In his main act he would somersault from a springboard over a small herd of elephants.
Later he worked in a comedy acrobatic team called Rice, Bell and Baldwin. He spent 35 years with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey before he retired in 1956.
He is survived by his widow, Gertrude, also a circus performer; a daughter, Charlotte Korak and a brother, Harry.