Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CLOWN ALLEY: The Horse Race

A staple of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Clown Alley for many, many years and a personal favorite of John Pugh, here is "The Horse Race".

The first clip is of the gag being performed on the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1967, produced by Mark Anthony.

The second clip is from the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus in 1980 and produced by Jimmie Douglas. Look for Sandy Kaye at the beginning as the equestrian master with the whip, Mike Padilla on the ring curb and Mike Snider as the bookie.

The Beatty-Cole clip is announced by John Kennedy "Eggroll" Kane, currently appearing at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo.


Mike Naughton said...

OK---who first produced the Horse Race gag? I remember seeing it on RBBB when I was a kid at MSG and I though it was very funny. Of course, my family was sitting in the cheap seat so we had an excellent aerial view of the entire floor.

It was great to see all those home-grown clowns on the Beatty-Cole show, plus hearing the music of a real, honest-to-goodness circus band.

I don't care how advanced technology becomes, you can't replace the sound of a real live musician in a well conducted band.

Anonymous said...

Mark produced that gag for the 1968 edition of RBBB, and, although the routine is seen in one very very long shot, it is quite possible that I am the rider of the "winning" horse.

I say this because the gag's payoff is very sloppy! The middle horse (named after "Spark Plug"--the horse that belonged to the very popular newspaper cartoon character of the 1920's, "Barney Google") wins because his head juts out about 9 feet ahead of the other two horses at the last minute.

When Mark put me in that gag mid-season (he played the winning rider up to then) he rehearsed me and then let me go on.

Well, I couldn't get the timing of that gag for the longest time! I either shot the horse's head out too soon or to late!

Mark was frustrated, I know, but was ultimately patient with me and never replaced me. I finally got it...finally!

But the awkward timing seen in this clip suggests that it might be me during those performances when Sparkplug just wouldn't behave!

Anonymous said...

Michael Karp...please more early Clown College/Irvin Feld era clown stories. I've seen photo's of you in the Firehouse and a video of you and Billy Ward doing the saw in half gag with Prince & Mike Padilla...

Inquiring minds want to know more...


Mike Naughton said...

This is the way I remember it...and it has been a long time...the horses approach the finish line and STOP and for a solid second it looks like the race has ended in a three-way tie, then boom the horse's neck shoots out and is declared the winner. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Greg, for asking! I'd happily share any memories I have with you and any correspondent on this really wonderful website!

I'd love to see those firehouse pix! All my photos were lost in a fire and I'm trying to recover them (tough work!). I was remiss in not following up with Scott Bryan--a great guy to know and work with--as quickly as I wanted to due to an old friend's terminal illness earlier this year: He did the original "sawing-a-woman" gag with me (in fact, replaced me for a while when Prince Paul, the producing clown, got mad at me for overreacting to the payoff--the Prince thought I was upstaging him!)

I've got a copy of that video, too, and am trying to send the clip along to Mr. Cashin via YouTube!
Let me know if and how I can get a copy of the photos, if you would!