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!


Anonymous said...

Why I love this blog-- you just never know what will turn up. Besides Dale and Billy, there's George (Captain Buddy) Clyatt in the yellow jacket and Bruce L. Warner (that would be me) in the yellow pants . . . Dale was the boss clown that year (1981), and he hired me to work what remains the premier event of my 20 year circus clown career. We also did a "Popeye" gag that year. Billy was Popeye, George was Bluto, I was Wimpy, and Dale? He was Olive Oyl!
Thanks for the memories, Pat! I am truly blessed in that I got to work with such funny and talented people . . .

Pat Cashin said...


Thank YOU for filling in the identities of the two other clowns!

Being an east coast guy, I am not as well versed on the Vargas show as some of the west coast folks here might be.

And I would agree, you truly were blessed to be able to be a part of a show where the producer was truly "in it to win it" and not produced by the usual American circus production team of Dewey, Cheatem, Dailey and Howe.

Aside from the McCloskey-era Beatty show, Vargas was the last gasp of the quality traditional three ring tented circus in America.


Anonymous said...

the mccloskey era IN NO WAY compared with the Cliff Vargas era of Circus Vargas...I worked for both and there is no comparison what so ever, Vargas was a spectacle with top quality acts all the way through, no fillers

GothamTomato said...

This TV movie was what inspired me to finally fill in that Clown College application, and send it in.

victor ruiz said...

i have recently found you web site

i enjoy it very much .

dale lonmire get well soon

victor ruiz

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon the sight after I googled my old clown name; what a treat to find that Capt. Buddy was still around. That year was my first year away from the family circus- Donnie & Gainer Johnson of Carden & Johnson Circus, I was terrified. I learned so much that year in more ways than one. It had to of been the ten happiest years of my life and I feel privilaged to have work under the last of the great big tops.