Saturday, March 17, 2007


Lindley Armstrong "Spike" Jones (December 14, 1911, Long Beach, California -- May 1, 1965, Beverly Hills, California) and his band, The City Slickers (featuring talented musician/comedians including Georgie Rock, Freddie Morgan Earl Bennett as "Sir Frederick Gas", Dick Morgan, Joe Siracusa and Billy Barty) from their appearance in the 1954 Universal remake of FIREMAN, SAVE MY CHILD!

The film was originally designed as a vehicle for Abbott & Costello, who backed out due to illness (but can still be seen in some long shots) when Lou Costello came down with rheumatic fever. Or Costello turned down the script. Or the team decided to film Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde instead. Whatever the reason, when the film was finally released, Spike and the Slickers were instead sharing the silver screen with the immortal comedy team of Hugh O'Brien and Buddy "Shipoopi" Hackett.

While "The Poet & Peasant Overture" bit has always been one of my favorites, it's the Billy Barty headspin seen towards the end that really makes this clip!

Friday, March 16, 2007


Cirque Arlette Gruss' Andre & Frisco perform their Paper Hanger entree. I've seen Norman Wisdon do a very similar routine on an early 60s television special and I don't know if Wisdom was performing an old circus gag or the Euro-clowns adapted an old televison bit.

For more on Cirque Arlette Gruss, please click the title of this post.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

BOBBY KAYE on Queen For a Day

Extremely rare video from long before he became one of only four Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clowns to earn the title of "Master Clown", here we see Robert "Bobby Kaye" Smiley doing advance work for the circus by appearing on an episode of the daytime game show QUEEN FOR A DAY.

Bobby is partnered here with a woman identified only as "Larry". Despite the claim by the host, "Larry" was not a Ringling circus clown and doesn't seem to be a pro clown at all. Who is she? Why is she there? I don't know.

Beware the Ides of March!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


"The lady wants a B I G CAKE! Gimme da flour boys, gimme flour!"

Members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey 122nd edition Blue Unit Clown Alley performing the kind of great big, messy classic-style circus gag that I love to see but would hate to be in.

The gag is described here by Clown College director Steve Smith and features Producing Clown Greg DeSanto as the Head Baker, Kevin Carr, Marge Talavera and Cezary Skarzynski as his Assistant Bakers, Ceslee Conkling as the customer who gets pied (and takes the incredible high back fall) at the end and Laura Presley as the person popping up from the oven at the blow-off.

Mr. DeSanto himself tells us that Kevin Carr did the first year along with Marge, Cezary & Ceslee. The second year Dave Kiser and David Solove came in to replace Kevin & Marge who left that year. Cezary and Ceslee were always in it.

Sean Conklin would fill in for Greg when he'd be off teaching at Clown College (Kiser was his usual substitute). On the rare times Ceslee was out (she broke a rib somewhere along the line), Lara Heitman filled in.

How's that for a Pi Day video?

Today's Post 3/14


In light of the fact that today is "Pi Day", today's extremely appropriate video will be posted at exactly 1:59 PM EST.

Happy Pi Day!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mitch Freddes

Clown College class of '74 graduate and currently featured on the Ringling Gold Unit, Mr. Jonathan "Mitch" Freddes.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

"Another Happy Customer!"

Photo courtesy of circusbutterflygurl

Proof that well-meaning parents and grandparents have been traumatizing youngsters with the idea that toddlers would somehow like their picture taken with a gaggle of strangers in makeup since the invention of photography, comes this mid-forties photo (that "circusbutterflygurl" found "somewhere on the web" which may or may not originally be) from National Geographic.

I'm on the road right now and don't have my usual cheat sheets with me so I can only identify (bottom row starting at left) Prince Paul Alpert, Paul Jung and Jimmy Armstrong.

The man in the top row, far right, looks to be Art Cooksey.