Monday, December 31, 2007

ANDREW SCHARFF: With Pope John Paul II

My friend Andrew Scharff, during his tenure with Circo Americano, entertaining Pope John Paul II.

Andrew and I will be appearing at the Downtown Theater in State College, PA today at 3:00 and 8:00 PM as part of First Night State College.

CHARLIE CHEER: March 27, 1954

The story that accompanied this AP photo...

Victim of one of his own tricks, circus clown Charlie Cheer has a built-in expression of woe to go with the hand injury he suffered at the Shrine Circus in Indianapolis last night. He suffered a broken finger and burns when a blank cartridge in a trick mechanism on his accordion exploded accidentally. Nurse Judy Vandeiver gives first aid.

TOM DOUGHERTY: "Baby, It's You"

We close out 2007 with the winner of the Otto Griebling Award for Solo Clowning at this year's Felixes, Tom Dougherty.

Thank you all so very much for a truly wonderful 2007.

Let's make 2008 even better.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

SUNDAY MORNING ART GALLERY: Lou Jacobs by Cowboy Mike Keever

Photos and comments courtesy of Cowboy Mike Keever

Jean & Dolly Jacobs with Cowboy Mike Keever, Oct 2007 Sarasota Florida

I just thought I would finally get around to sending you this is my wedding gift to Dolly and Pedro....I made it down to Sarasota, thanks to Chuck Sidlow for the Circus Wedding of the Century...that of Dolly deliver it myself.

It is a figure of Dolly's Papa, Lou Jacobs, about 3 months of carving a block of basswood then hand-painted and to capture that special sparkle always in Lou's eye(s) I placed a diamond in one eye.

The piece is on a base with a plaque showing the title......."Lou Friend" 2007 by Cowboy Mike Keever.

(No it's not a lamp ...the light is just above it in this photo)

I hope this finds you well,my friend. Happy New Year!!!

Your Friend,
Cowboy Mike Keever

For more information on Mike's artwork, please click the title of this post.


BOZO AUDITIONS: Los Angeles, January 13, 1993

Larry Harmon conducting Bozo auditions at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, CA January 13, 1993.

Top photo: Bozo with Heidi Karp-Briggs

Middle photo: Larry Harmon with Tuba Heatherton in the background

Bottom photo: Harmon and Bozo (most likely portrayed here by Kevin "Roofus T. Goofus" Bickford) surrounded by Bozo hopefuls including Tuba, Heidi and Jimmy Graham (checkered nose).

CIRCUS CIRCUS: Huel Speight and Benny Schultz

It looks like this video starts off with Huel Speight and Benny Schultz performing their comedy juggling as a "come-in" at the Adventuredome at Circus Circus in Las Vegas to "Hot, Hot, Hot" by Buster Poindexter.

It then switches to Huel's solo skill act, accompanied by the Charlie Brown music of the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DU CIRQUE DE MONTE-CARLO: Larible, Popov, Princess Stephanie and Fumagalli

David Larible, Oleg Popov, Princess Stephanie of Monoco and Fumagalli at the 30th Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo.

The 32nd annual festival runs January 17th - 27th, 2008 and will feature recent Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievment Award Winner, Barry "Grandma" Lubin.

WASHER WOMEN: Jay Stewart and Mike Smith

Video courtesy of Captain Mike Heidtman (actually it comes to us courtesy of Lara Heidtman-Smith, but we'll just say it was Captain Mike so that he can feel like he's a part of things)

My favorite contemporary version of the classic Washer Women Gag, as performed by Jay Stewart and Mike Smith at the recent Happy Tiandu AEMI World Clown Festival.

The background music is Jackie Wilson's "Baby Workout" and "Am I the Man".

Friday, December 28, 2007


Baby photo and Christmas card courtesy of Larry Clark. Tiandu photos courtesy of Ray Grins, Erin Schmalls, The Mondays and Kevin Kraft.

From newborn baby to working alongside Mom in Tiandu, Ladies and Gentlemen let's all wish a very Happy Birthday to Ms. Amelia Jo Parish!


One of the best things about 2007 (a year in which a lot of "best things" happened) was attending Minifest and meeting Arsene Dupin.

He a wonderful guy, a funny clown and a very inspiring instructor.

Learn more about him by clicking on the title of this post.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Last year's holiday video showcased the Ringling Alleys of the 40s and 50s so this year we feature members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown Alleys of the 1960s.

With Peace on Earth,
Goodwill to All Men, Women and Children Everywhere

Seasons Greetings and Joyous Wishes for a very happy and safe holiday and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year to you and yours from "The Alley" and the Cashin Family.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Christmastime just isn't complete without listening to the kids singing about Frosty...

Frosty the Boss Clown
was a jolly, happy soul
with a neat whiteface and some stripey shoes
and a tooth made out of gold.

There must have been some magic
in that small red hat he found
for when he placed it on his head
he bossed everyone around!

Frosty the Boss Clown
had to hurry to the train
but he waved goodbye,
saying "Don't you cry!" and
"May All Your Days Be Circus Days!"

Frosty and Pat, have a Hotarini Christmas!

CIRCUS CIRCUS: Sophia Heidtman

Photos courtesy of Joel Heidtman

In the interest of full disclosure let me just say that I now have met, and am friends with, ALL of the performing Heidtman Family siblings (there is one non-performing brother, Zeppo Heidtman, that I have never met) and was very happy to receive these pictures and find that the proud Heidtman Family performing legacy looks to continue...

From Joel...


Sofia and I went to visit our friends at Circus Circus today, and she was invited up on the main stage with Huel Speight!

For those of you that haven't seen her recently, Sofia is the smallest of the three kids up there, wearing a red sweatshirt. (Sofia will be 5 next month).

Huel spun a ball on the first two kids fingers, starting with the biggest kid and then the middle one. Both kids kept the ball there for a few moments, then the ball fell to the ground and rolled away.

The crowd was really rooting for Sofia when it was her turn since she was the smallest, and not only did she manage to keep her hand steady enough for the ball to spin there for quite some time - she actually sensed when it was going to fall... AND SHE CAUGHT IT!!!

The crowd went NUTS!

So did I!

Unfortunately, my camera could not keep up with all the pictures I was trying to take, so I did not actually get a picture of her with the ball on her finger - but you can get the idea. In the last picture the crowd was cheering for her... and she loved it!

Thanks for letting me share.

Joel Heidtman

A very Merry Christmas to all the Heidtmans, the Smiths and the Heidtman-Smiths!

CLOWN ALLEY: Cole Bros. Circus, 1937

Photos courtesy of Bill Strong

For those out there who still have a problem telling them apart.

This program page may be the last time Otto's name was spelled correctly but Emmett's wasn't.

Thanks go out, as always, to Bill Strong. Please click the title of this post to be taken to Bill's circus history blog YESTERDAY'S TOWNS.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Video courtesy of Larry Clark

The circus scene from the made-for-TV movie LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING, directed by Jackie Cooper, which premiered on CBS April 29, 1981.

The film stars Mickey Rooney as Jack Thum, an actual Chicago area clown who, with his devoted wife Shirlee, cared for dozens of homeless children --37 of them over the years--in the Chicago area, all of whom come back to visit when they discover he's terminally ill.

This footage was shot at Circus Vargas, back during that show's heyday.

Featured in the scene is the Vargas Alley performing the traditional Funnel Gag with Billy McCabe, looking like a million bucks, as the straight man and Mr. Dale Longmire, currently recuperating from recent surgery at his home in Sarasota, FL, as the stooge.

We're all hoping that you're feeling better Dale! Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2007

FELIX ADLER AWARDS: The Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award 2007

Video courtesy of Andrew Scharff

Last night I had the great honor of presenting Barry "Grandma" Lubin with the first ever Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award, in the ring, at the Big Apple Circus in Lincoln Center.

I can think of no contemporary American circus clown more deserving.

The award was announced by the beautiful and extremely talented Ms. Carrie Harvey and we were joined in the ring by Big Apple Circus co-founder, Mr. Paul Binder.

Most of the folks on show were aware that the award was to be given, but the presentation came as a complete surprise to Mr. Lubin.

I'd like to thank Paul and Diane Guthiel for their offer to photograph the presentation, Mike Naughton for supplying the photo used on the award, Jeff Darnell for cleaning up that photo (and Kevin Brown for his offer of assistance), Rik Gern for creating the alternate photo (seen below), Andrew Scharff for assistance with the award speech, Greg DeSanto, Jay Stewart and Bill Ballantine for their assistance with the wording of the award plaque, Don Covington Of the Big Apple Circus for arranging all of the many details on the Big Apple Circus' side, Pedro Reiss for assistance in gaining the Jacobs family's permission to give the award in Lou's name and Lou Jacobs' wife, Jean and daughters, Lou Ann and Dolly for very graciously granting that permission.

And especially to everyone here at that voted and for their support for the 2007 awards.

Mr. Dougherty... we are coming for you next.

News concerning the 2008 Felix Adler Awards will be announced shortly.

Photoshopped photo courtesy of Rik Gern

Forwarded by Don Covington this morning...


Brian Liddicoat is a former General Manager of Big Apple Circus. He now works for MSG Entertainment and is in charge of the touring editions of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show.


Dear Barry and Friends,

Charmaine and I were teary-eyed this morning when we received the email and blog of your splendid and well-deserved award. Your persistence and longevity in the character of Grandma is beloved by so many of us close to your career, and to thousands you have entertained these so many years. Your place in circus history is preserved for the ages, and we salute you.

To those who chose you and made this possible, thank you for the well-placed efforts.

Most sincerely,
Charmaine & Brian

Thursday, December 20, 2007

SLIVERS OAKLEY: Barnum & Bailey 1904

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

Frank "Slivers" Oakley, Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth program, 1904.


Video recommended by Larry Clark, posted by "RedRedFlea"

Information from YouTube posting...

Circus Hawaii was filmed in 1978 & 1979 and finalized in 1981, featuring the Hawaii prop crew and the International 3-Ring Circus. Originally shot in 16mm, this version is a digital reproduction of a video made from the film.

Directors are Makoto Ishikawa and Richard Hamasaki; camera assistants include Shinichi Takahashi and H. Doug and Kiyo Matsuoka. "Circus" title art by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake; additional titles photographed by Mark Hamasaki.

This upload is dedicated to [circus] Promoter Ralph Yempuku of Papaikou, Hawaii, who passed away at the age of 88 in 2002; and to retired Kamehameha Schools teacher Jimmy Kalani Keanini of Papakolea, Oahu, Hawaii who passed away at the age of 55 in 2007; Jimmy's brother Barney Keanini was a member of the International 3-Ring Circus Prop Crew, 1978.

Mahalo to all involved in this collaborative effort.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Photo courtesy of Larry Clark

More character than you can shake a rubber chicken at, one of the best clown comedy duos in American today, Jay Stewart and Mike Smith.

For more of Larry's photos, please click the title of this post.

LOU JACOBS: With Chris Shelton

Photo courtesy of Chris Shelton...

From former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Red Unit Boss Clown, Chris Shelton...


Hey Pat,
Steve Copeland stayed at my house during a tour in this area. When I was showing him old circus photos, I came across this picture with Lou. This was taken during Lou’s, Pee Wee’s, and my last year on the road. When I became Boss, I was told I had to find someone to walk Lou from his dressing room to the back door for each of his routines. I instantly assigned myself to that honor! This shot was taken en route. I watched and enjoyed every time Lou worked. Take care!


Thank you for sharing Chris!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Photos courtesy of Tom Piccard

Michael "Coco" Polakovs was hired in the mid-1960s by McDonalds to revamp their Ronald McDonald character, originally developed and portrayed by Willard Scott. It has long been rumored that Mike also played Ronald in the first few national commercials featuring the new-look Ronald.

Here, from January 1967, is the proof...

I have also heard that the "Mr. Muscle" character pictured here was played a Ringling clown. Other early characters were played in the commercials by veteran clowns Bobby Kay and Albert White.

These photos were sent to me by Mr. Piccard from the personal collection of Mike Coco's son, Graham.

For more info on Mike Coco's life and career, please click the title of this post.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


For many years now Terry and I have owned the Playmobil Nativity set and putting it up each year has become a longstanding family tradition.

Since Shane has been old enough to walk he has always seemed to take great delight in adding historically inappropriate characters from some of his other Playmobil sets to the traditional Nativity scene. Last year the manger featured visits from Shepperds, Wise Men, Santa, Vikings, Pirates, Paparazzi, Police and a Mariachi Band.

This year he wanted to do away with the manger all together and thus we have what might best be politely described as "rather biblically inaccurate"... thus Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Cashin Family Circus Nativity 2007!

I must admit, the angel hanging from the trapeze was my idea.


There are several people doing similar bits, rarely with such clear character, motivation and charm.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Our thoughts and prayers today are with Dale Longmire (Ringling/Vargas/Walker Bros.) who is recovering from open heart surgery and valve replacement at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Lee Stevens spoke with Dale's sister and heard that all was going well. He should be out of intensive care by this morning.

Dale, get well soon!!!

"You've heard the expression, "ONE IN A MILLION", he's two of them!!!!"
~Bill Strong on Dale Longmire

Friday, December 14, 2007


Posted to YouTube by "patrickske"

After finding this the other night I was going to keep this to myself and use it as "inspiration" for the next series of shows in China, but it was just too good not to share.

For more on Milo (According to Mr. DeSanto it's pronounced "MEE-low") and Roger, please click the title of this post.


According to the back of this photo, the Fratellinis came to the United States in the mid 1920s?!?

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling-Barnum, 1943

Taken from the 1943 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Program. OK, that's Lou Jacobs and Chesty Mortimer up top, Felix Adler in the center and Paul Jerome in his tramp makeup in the lower left hand corner.

Who is the guy in the lower right? Paul Jung? In 1943?!?

How OLD was this? If it is Jung, was this even taken while Jung was on Ringling? It looks like an early 30s photo from Hagenbeck-Wallace!

Thursday, December 13, 2007