Below you'll find the clown-relevant snippets from a great article that I found on the Circus Historical Society website about the Clyde Beatty-Russell Bros. Circus tour of 1944 where "Rocco" was prominently featured...
Clyde Beatty and Russell Bros. Combined Circus, Season of 1944
By Chang Reynolds. Bandwagon, Vol. 13, No. 3 (May-Jun), 1969, pp. 10-19.
...The clowns handled their trunks and props and put up the clown dressing tent and tore it down.
..."It went along like this until we got to Pasadena," related Matthie, "when the clowns went on strike. We went to Jack Joyce and told him that we wouldn't move the trunks or put up the dressing top and tear it down anymore. He gave us a hard look and said it didn't make any difference whether we were on the show or not. So we went back to hauling the trunks and putting up the tent and tearing it down."
...In addition to the above, Matthie's work consisted of setting up the bandstand, calliope and its motor and compressor, the P.A. system (this included tw 6 ft. stakes), ticket sales downtown, cigars, candy, and cigarettes, work the matinee and night show, and then tear down and load all of the above. He was paid separately for all of those jobs. Putting up and tearing down the clown tent and handling the clown props was part of the clown act and was included in his pay for clowning.
Clown alley in San Diego. Dick Lewis is in the center with Walt Matthie at the upper left. Alva Evans is at the right front. Doc Hayden photo
(*I would add that it looks like Dennis Stevens kneeling to the right of Dick Lewis with Art Cooksey standing above him. ~PC)
...The clowns were introduced in Display No. 3. The Official Route Book for the season lists eighteen clowns, nine of whom were on the show for the road tour after the show left Los Angeles. The others were present only for the big 24-day stand; and one joined in Kansas to finish the tour. The nine who toured were Brownie Gudath, Rene Thezan, Dick Lewis, Walt Matthie, Alva Evans, Alex Lowande, Gus Lind, George Perkins (who left in Idaho), and Hughie Kyle.
...Following the web act, Albert Fleet presented Clyde Beatty's two chimpanzees, "Mickey" and "Minnie." "Mickey," the male, was a powerful ape who hated clowns and often went into a rage at the sight of anyone wearing white clothing. This even included Beatty who always wore a white uniform when working. Since the clown fire-house number frequently followed Fleet's act, "Mickey" had a great opportunity to unleash his vengeance upon the men in white-face. Chairs, props, and an occasional axle flew through the air as the men in white entered, and the chimps left, the arena. Alva Evans wore a white clown suit and a monkey mask in one number and "Mickey" seized the bars of his cage and rocked it furiously every time he spotted the clown in this attire. To show that he was truly impartial, he bit off the end of Albert Fleet's thumb during the Los Angeles stand.
...The Wild West concert was introduced and then Dick Lewis played the part of the frantic bride in the burning house. Brownie Gudath was inside with the fire pot and the rest of the poeys tried to put out the fire and catch the rather weighty Lewis as he leaped to safety. The fire pot, manned by Gudath, was constructed from a coffee pot which burned gasoline. Clouds of smoke were created by blowing through the tubing into the pot. Later, at Anacortes, Washington, the long grass inside the house caught fire from the torch and the clowns outside threw quantities of water into the enclosure to save Lewis and Gudath from being toasted. Upon emerging, these two smoked-up clowns berated the others for getting them wet!