Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Joel Heidtman!

Happy Birthday wishes go out to Joel Heidtman who turn 67 years old this week but STILL gets carded trying to order anything stronger than a Shirley Temple. He is seen here at his birthday party being ex-communicated by a Catholic priest for juggling in Ren Faire garb, which was still punishable by stoning until Vatican II.

CLARK & MCCULLOUGH: Hey, Nanny Nanny 1

A wealthy scion's dinner party becomes a shambles when two window washers, masquerading as magicians, invade the place with their pet goat. Released 1/12/34, dir: Ben Holmes.

I've never seen any of C&M's Fox shorts (which I understand had much higher budgets) but these RKO shorts give the impression that the scripts and pacing may have been influenced by the success of the Three Stooges shorts at Columbia.

CLARK & MCCULLOUGH: Hey, Nanny Nanny 2

CLARK & MCCULLOUGH: Hey, Nanny Nanny 3


Photos courtesy of Aaron Neathery, recommended by Mr. Peare's great nephew, Gary Peare

Paul McCullough and Bobby Clark (in what appears to be an early photo of his painted on glasses) in clown tramp makeup very early in their vaudeville careers.

Bobby Clark looks quite a bit like the Belgiam wire walking clown Linon in the photo.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Garry O. Irvingwhite, Artistic Director of the Fern Street Circus, as Clown Otis.

For more info on the Fern Street Circus please click the title of this post.


Photos courtesy of Aaron Neathery, recommended by Mr. Peare's great nephew, Gary Peare

Ringling Bros., around 1911. Clark (middle), McCullough (right), and Hank Peare (left). The prop table shown here was used in their most famous circus act. The "chair and table" routine would later become the foundation of C&McC's vaudeville career.

Also circa 1911. L to R, Paul, Bobby, and Hank perform the "chair and table" routine. The beginnings of Bobby's famous greasepaint eyeglasses can be seen here for the first time.

For more info on Clark & McCullough, visit Mr. Neathery's album of photos from the scrapbook kept by Paul McCullough's mother by clicking the title of this post.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Photo and comments courtesy of Bill Strong

From Bill Strong...


Here is "Slivers" Johnson, Bill Kay Circus, Montgomery Ala. 1964

This was scanned from a program & the quality is not great.


Thanks Bill!

To visit Bill Strong's excellent circus history blog YESTERDAY'S TOWNS please click the title of this post.

And be sure to visit his eBay store THE GIBTOWN CIRCUS DIME'S STORE where I'm not just a shopper, I'm also on staff!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Photo courtesy of Ron Jarvis

Wearing a derby, with a fresh one ready on top of his trunk.

CLOWN ALLEY: Even More Ringling 1917

Another Alley shot, this time of the Clown Band, again featuring Herman Joseph and Paul Jerome.

This may or may not be the 1917 Ringling Clown Alley, in the Alley and out of makeup.

While it is certainly a group of circus performers of that era, without knowing what even one of these guys looked like out of makeup I have no way of being sure.

The two little people, the smiles, and the animated expression on the face of one of the men in the back, plus the fact that it is from the same collection as the other 1917, leads me to believe that it probably IS the 1917 Ringling Alley.

NY GOOFS: Ultimate Clown School

The comedy team of Tiffany Riley and Dick Monday, the nucleus of The New York Goofs.

I thought that I had mentioned this earlier and realized as I was looking through the archives last night that I hadn't.

There may still be time and space to register for the second week, I don't know. It's well worth finding out though...


Ninth Annual Ultimate Clown School
August 6 - August 18, 2007
New York City

Week One: August 6-11
Week Two: August 13-18

This two week session offers an intensive course of study in the art of clowning that is available nowhere else. Our faculty represents America's top guides in the art of Clowning. As always, we strive to bring you the best teachers in the art of physical comedy!

Jay Stewart
Former Boss Clown for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, teacher at Clown College, and founder of Seaside Clowns in Myrtle Beach, SC.

John Lepiarz
Also known as Mr. Fish, spent seven years performing in the Big Apple Circus, and is a Graduate of the Le Coq school of Mime and Clown in Paris.

Kim Winslow
National Creative and Educational Coordinator for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit, and has performed from Alaska to Bosnia and brings his unique talent to Goof school this year.

Our Core Faculty
Dick Monday - Clowning
Larry Pisoni - Character Development
Hovey Burgess - Skills/History
Barbara Karger - Movement
Tiffany Riley - Eccentric Dance
Evelyn Tuths - Bouffon

Week One: (August 6-11)
The first week will focus on finding, building and utilizing the
most crucial aspect of your clowning: CHARACTER.

Week Two: (August 13-18)
Week number two is a continuation of our work, or a stand alone session for
students who have previously attended our Goof School. The focus
will be on material development.

Classes will be held Monday through Saturday from 10am-6pm.
Several nights of each week we will also have Open Workshops where students can work one on one with teachers on material and character. The end of each week will culminate in a performance by the students for friends and family.


For more information on the NY Goofs Ultimate Clown School please click the title of this post.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


From Mark Evanier's blog NEWS FROM ME...


Fifty years ago today, the world lost Oliver Norvell Hardy, one half of the greatest comedy act of all time (imho) and maybe our greatest comic actor. Unless you've seen as many old comedy movies as I have, you may not realize how revolutionary and special he was. He was darn near the first film actor to be funny moving in human rhythms. Hardy's mannerisms and movements in silent film were overflowing with delight and personality. It was funny and fascinating just to watch him ring a doorbell or pick up a pen. Before him, a comic either played it deadpan like Keaton, frantic like Chaplin or had no visible style to his humor. It's impossible to imitate the gestures of Harold Lloyd or Snub Pollard or Ben Turpin...but everyone can "do" Hardy. He was a big reason the cameramen at his studio stopped undercranking the cameras and began filming at normal or near-normal speeds. Hardy's timing was so delicious that it needed no enhancement.

His partner, Mr. Laurel, matched his pace and they became a seamless whole. When talkies came in, the switch was effortless for the men. They both had stage backgrounds so they knew how to speak. More importantly, sound meant that motion pictures could no longer be undercranked and the change didn't affect Laurel and Hardy. Their comedy was already moving at real speed.


To view Mr. Evanier's blog, please click the title of this post.

Here's Laurel and Hardy (introduced by Jack Benny) in a wonderful display of their characters and timing, performing a comedy magic act in the film HOLLYWOOD REVUE OF 1929...

CLOWN ALLEY: More Ringling 1917

Again we can find Herman Joseph (5th from left) and Paul Jerome (front row, squatting on right) but can anyone identify anyone else here?

The 4th from the left looks as though it might be Poodles Hanneford, but his face is partially obscured by shadows so I can't be sure.

Does anyone have a copy of the 1917 Ringling program? Does it list the names of the clowns in The Alley?

BAILEY BROS: Jack Haines 1947

Autographed photo of Jack Haines on the Bailey Bros. Circus in 1947.

STEVE MARTIN: Fun Balloon Animals

I had the discussion the other night with someone and, while we agreed that it was amazing that people like Penn Gillette and Bill Irwin were graduates of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College it was suprising that, considering their early comedic styles, the program didn't attract the likes of Robin Williams, Andy Kaufman, Martin Short or Steve Martin.

As these videos will attest, Steve's early comedy was very silly and clownish.

Since Steve has a great reverence for the comedians who came before him, perhaps he'll take a cue from Buster Keaton or the Three Stooges and make some circus appearances late in his career. His "Flydini" routine would rock Lincoln Center with laughter and be the hit of Big Apple's 2017 40th Anniversary season.

STEVE MARTIN: Comedy for Dogs


Monday, August 06, 2007

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling 1917

The only clown that I recognize immediately is Paul Jerome, to the right of center, in his cartoonish, grotesque whiteface.

If Jerome was working on Ringling in 1917, and continued working into the 1950s...well, THAT'S quite an impressive career!


Photos and comments courtesy of Ron Jarvis

Ron Jarvis, Whiteface
Mark Buthman, Auguste

From Ron Jarvis...

A few pictures of a couple of 'Slap Happy Cali Kids' AKA the Ron and Mark show, circa 1975. We graduated high school together and we were living the life in New Port Beach CA when we were convinced to audition for the show by a local psychic. Now is that Left Coast or what?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

CLOWN COLLEGE: Class of 1972

Photo courtesy of Ron Jarvis

For having viewed this photo, you now owe Ron Jarvis $5.00.