Monday, October 09, 2006

1968 Diploma: RBB&B College of Clowns

These incredible scans come to us from the one and only Jack Ryan...


Hi Pat,

Not sure if or how well two of these pix might reproduce but thought you might enjoy them, particularly the magnified view of the diploma signatures.

The background: I was in charge of national publicity for the inaugural Clown College session in 1968. It was a natural story for the media and without all that much persuasion we had both CBS and NBC network news, the AP. The New York Times and numerous other top flight media outlets descend on Venice to cover it. (Finding appropriate accommodations in Venice for network "news stars" was, at the time, a daunting challenge.)

In recognition of the publicity successes, I was made an "honorary graduate" of the first Clown College (then called College of Clowns) session. As you will note, my "diploma" is signed by: Irvin Feld, Danny Chapman, Otto Griebling, Mel Miller, Pat Valdo and Lou Jacobs. Quite a collection of circus autographs!

The photo is of yours truly and Irvin Feld on the night of December 9, 1968, just after the first Clown College graduation ceremony and performance had concluded.

As to who came up with the idea of Clown College, through the years, I've heard many different versions. I do recall it being said at the time of the first session that Israel Feld, the "quiet brother" and a terrific, delightful gentleman, came up with the idea and championed it to his brother, Irvin. Who knows?

Enjoy! And "May All Your Days...." Nevermind. I'm repeating myself.

Jack Ryan


Anonymous said...

I would like to say thanks to you for your great links to the past, Jack. Tom and I had a great time with you in rehearsals this year. We still talk about you all the time. Please keep the comments coming, and don't look at my punctuation!
Mitch Freddes

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ryan,
We've never met but I've been aware of your vast contributions to the GSOE for many years.
The theme song, "May All Your Days Be Circus Days" which was used as a signature piece during finale is one of my favorite circus songs. Who wrote the lyrics and who did the score?
Also, yesterday my family and I attended the gold unit in Lake Placid, New York where we had a mini-reunion of Clown College '74 with Mitch and myself. I finally learned how the "Mitch" nickname originated. Mitch, you should share that story here on the web.

Anonymous said...

Mitch and Mike:

Mitch: Hope all is going well on the Gold Unit. Are Jon and Liliana still saying ANY of the words I wrote for them? Likely not but it's OK. I've cashed the check and spent it. Please give my best to the cast and crew, Mitch, and drop me an email sometime:

Mike: Thank you for the kind words. Richard Barstow wrote the music for the "May All Your Days" song and he and I collaborated on the lyrics. I think it's a good little song and am sorry it's not still used. Hope you enjoyed the Gold Unit. I KNOW you enjoyed being with our friend Mitch.

Best regards to you both.

Jack Ryan

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ryan,

Would you have a copy of the lyrics?

Leaving the Ringling performance I was always reassured that all is well with the world because the song promised: "There will always be a circus...forever and ever more."

Anonymous said...


I sent you an email with the lyrics. Didn't want to bore Pat's readership with arcane lyrics!


Pat Cashin said...


Anonymous said...

OK. Prepare to be bored.

"May All Your Days Be Circus Days.
A Merry Spangled World of Delight.
May All Your Days Be Children's Laughter, Ever After, In The Spotlight.

Troubles Begone. Swing On High! Join The Parade Before It Passes By.

May All Your Days Be Circus Days.
One Hundred Thousand Score.
There Will Always Be A Circus,
Forever And Ever More."

The whole thing was greatly enhanced by Bill Pruyn's brilliant arrangement, particularly the musical figures in between "always be a circus" and "forever and ever."


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mr. Ryan.
This Brit has no recollection of hearing the song ever, but the expression "May All Your Days be Circus Days" has certainly been used at the end of a performance over here. Paulo's Circus towards the end of 1989. The ringmaster!

Best wishes to ALL.