Saturday, November 18, 2006

Jeff Darnell Remembers...

Some photos and memories from the collection of Mr. Jeff Darnell...

This photo of Otto is from 1968. I was in second grade at the time. I started writing Clown College about that time requesting info about how to apply as well as begging for autographs from clowns. I got one from Otto first, and later one came from Coco that same year. I think the Coco photo is still at my folk's house in Greensboro. I will send you that when I can find it.

The other one is from 1970, I was in 4th grade and Coco, advance clown at the time, actually came to my school to visit me. I think this was cooked up by my mother, the promoter and the GM of the Greensboro Coliseum who new me and my family by then because I had become a fixture around the building and train yard when the circus came to town.

It was a wonderful surprise for the "shortest kid in school" and the turning point in my academic career. I was convinced that Clown College was where I wanted to get my "edumacation." Coco encouraged me to stay in school, however, (as a former advance clown, I guess that's what you're supposed to say to a kid) .... and go to college before trying to go to Clown College. But, being the rebel I was, I didn't heed his advice. I attended CC in 1978 right after high school and then to college after my stint with the Blue Show.

Maybe that's what fate had in store for me though. Doubts yes..... regrets no!

I'm only including the poster shot so you'll know what I looked like back in the 1900's. I was very humbled and honored to be included on the 110th edition poster with Prince Paul! Not sure I was worthy at the time... but it didn't stink! :-) I need to get a bigger scanner and I'm embarrassed that Prince isn't cropped very well.

I can't count the number of times I made my Dad drive up and down the road that ran parallel to the train yard where the circus train parked in the hopes of catching a glimpse of a "real" circus performer. That was always the highlight of the new year in February..... and it definitely helped to brighten a kid up with the post Christmas blues.

I lost my dad this summer and I'm so thankful for those days when we got to dream together about the things that kids like to dream about...... like, running away and joining the circus!

What great memories your website has brought to mind. Thank you Pat.

Jeff Darnell


Thank you Jeff, for sharing your wonderful memories and photos and our deepest sympathies in the loss of your father.

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