Saturday, June 30, 2007

SUPER CIRCUS: The Lopez Trio

It's always great to watch an episode of SUPER CIRCUS. In addition to ringmaster Claude Kirshner, the beautiful Mary Hartline and the clowns Cliffy Nicky and Scampy this episode features the Lopez Trio of trapeze artists, the comedian from which seems to have watched Charlie Rivel's Chaplin act once or twice.

Friday, June 29, 2007


An autographed photo of classic mid-century American grotesque auguste, Mr. Billie Burke.


Two unidentified clowns perform a Hawaiian themed audience partcipation scarf juggling gag at the Fifth Wuhan International Acrobatic Art Festival.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

GEORGE CARL: Home Movie Footage

George Carl around the mid-1950's playing in the yard with his wife and brother, somewhere in Ohio.

If you thought George Carl was amazing before, sit down and make yourself REALLY comfortable before you watch this.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Photo and news courtesy of Bill Strong

Maran Burch passed away at 9:00 AM last Monday morning, June 25, 2007.

No services will be held at her request, She will be laid to rest next to her husband and performing partner, Ernie "Blinko" Burch.


Just released yesterday is this 4 disc set of 30 live-action ½ hour full color Bozo's Big Top episodes starring Frank Avruch as Bozo from WHDH-TV in Boston. Each features a 5-minute Larry Harmon Bozo cartoon and are digitally re-mastered and transferred from Larry Harmon's original film masters.

These are NOT the WGN Chicago Bozo show featuring Bob Bell (and later Joey D'Auria) as Bozo, these are the syndication episodes shot at WHDH in 1966 during the run of their Bozo show (1959-1970).

Interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is that they feature a young puppeteer named Carroll Spinney as several characters. Mr. Spinney would soon leave the WHDH Bozo Show for the Children's Television Workshop and create the characters Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird for Sesame Street, two characters he continues to play today almost 40 years later.

These WHDH Bozo shows were the ones that I watched as a very small child and was what sparked my interest in clowns and clowning. I still find them very interesting for how Mr. Avruch deals with the small children in his live studio audience. Like Buffalo Bob Smith on the Howdy Doody Show, he is an absolute master at talking to children while in the difficult position of being both friend/fantasy figure as well as parent/authority figure.

Please click the title of this post to be taken to the Amazon page for the boxed set.

DON CHRISTIAN: Bell Ringing Gag

Don Christian, who we saw last week doing a variation on Cesar's Boxing Gag, doing a bell ringing routine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

BEATTY-COLE: Mark Lavender

Clown College graduate (Class of '75) and veteran of the RBBB Blue Unit Alley in 1976 and the CBCB Alley in 1978, Mr. Mark Lavender.

Mark sent me a message trying to find contact info for former Beatty-Cole Boss Clown Jimmy James and then show electrician Bernie Kallman. I've already forwarded Bernie's email to him but if someone out there has a phone number or email address for Jimmy, Mark would sure appreciate it.

From Mark...
When I was on Beatty in 1978, I met Nini and Ervin Hall, where Nini greenbroke her mixed breed female baboon act. She and brother Ervin, along their siblings Jimmy and Carmen were the Unicycling Whiz Kids of the 1950s and 1960s. Anyway, Nini and I grew to be good buds on the show and lost track of each other three years after that show. We found each other again about four years ago, and after two and half years of catch-up and courtship over the phone we then met, she moved to Nashville... and we got married this past April 28th... 29 years to the week from the very first time we'd met.... (short engagements, eh?)

Congratulations go out to you and Nini! What a great story!

Having had the pleasure of working alongside Jimmy, Teppa (sp?), Elaine (and her fiance Adam Burke) and Ervin these last few years I can say that you've certainly married into a large and wonderful family, and one that's about as "real circus" as they come.

Monday, June 25, 2007

VIDBEL'S: Mike Snider and Billy Vaughn

Ringmaster Danny McCallum introduces Mike Snider (whiteface) and Billy Vaughn (auguste), one of the great clown duos of late 20th century American circus clowning, seen here performing their Restaurant Gag on Vidbel's Olde Tyme Circus in 2000.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


More from Housch-ma-Housch.

I recognize the first song as "Pince Nez" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers (currently back on tour in the US after a long hiatus). Does anyone know the name and/or artist of the second song?


One of my favorite pieces from Rowan Atkinson's stage show and one that I imagine would very easily adapted to a one ring circus, were Mr. Atkinson so inclined.