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!

Friday, December 21, 2007

FELIX ADLER AWARDS: The Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award 2007

Video courtesy of Andrew Scharff

Last night I had the great honor of presenting Barry "Grandma" Lubin with the first ever Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award, in the ring, at the Big Apple Circus in Lincoln Center.

I can think of no contemporary American circus clown more deserving.

The award was announced by the beautiful and extremely talented Ms. Carrie Harvey and we were joined in the ring by Big Apple Circus co-founder, Mr. Paul Binder.

Most of the folks on show were aware that the award was to be given, but the presentation came as a complete surprise to Mr. Lubin.

I'd like to thank Paul and Diane Guthiel for their offer to photograph the presentation, Mike Naughton for supplying the photo used on the award, Jeff Darnell for cleaning up that photo (and Kevin Brown for his offer of assistance), Rik Gern for creating the alternate photo (seen below), Andrew Scharff for assistance with the award speech, Greg DeSanto, Jay Stewart and Bill Ballantine for their assistance with the wording of the award plaque, Don Covington Of the Big Apple Circus for arranging all of the many details on the Big Apple Circus' side, Pedro Reiss for assistance in gaining the Jacobs family's permission to give the award in Lou's name and Lou Jacobs' wife, Jean and daughters, Lou Ann and Dolly for very graciously granting that permission.

And especially to everyone here at that voted and for their support for the 2007 awards.

Mr. Dougherty... we are coming for you next.

News concerning the 2008 Felix Adler Awards will be announced shortly.

Photoshopped photo courtesy of Rik Gern

Forwarded by Don Covington this morning...


Brian Liddicoat is a former General Manager of Big Apple Circus. He now works for MSG Entertainment and is in charge of the touring editions of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show.


Dear Barry and Friends,

Charmaine and I were teary-eyed this morning when we received the email and blog of your splendid and well-deserved award. Your persistence and longevity in the character of Grandma is beloved by so many of us close to your career, and to thousands you have entertained these so many years. Your place in circus history is preserved for the ages, and we salute you.

To those who chose you and made this possible, thank you for the well-placed efforts.

Most sincerely,
Charmaine & Brian

Thursday, December 20, 2007

SLIVERS OAKLEY: Barnum & Bailey 1904

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

Frank "Slivers" Oakley, Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth program, 1904.


Video recommended by Larry Clark, posted by "RedRedFlea"

Information from YouTube posting...

Circus Hawaii was filmed in 1978 & 1979 and finalized in 1981, featuring the Hawaii prop crew and the International 3-Ring Circus. Originally shot in 16mm, this version is a digital reproduction of a video made from the film.

Directors are Makoto Ishikawa and Richard Hamasaki; camera assistants include Shinichi Takahashi and H. Doug and Kiyo Matsuoka. "Circus" title art by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake; additional titles photographed by Mark Hamasaki.

This upload is dedicated to [circus] Promoter Ralph Yempuku of Papaikou, Hawaii, who passed away at the age of 88 in 2002; and to retired Kamehameha Schools teacher Jimmy Kalani Keanini of Papakolea, Oahu, Hawaii who passed away at the age of 55 in 2007; Jimmy's brother Barney Keanini was a member of the International 3-Ring Circus Prop Crew, 1978.

Mahalo to all involved in this collaborative effort.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Photo courtesy of Larry Clark

More character than you can shake a rubber chicken at, one of the best clown comedy duos in American today, Jay Stewart and Mike Smith.

For more of Larry's photos, please click the title of this post.

LOU JACOBS: With Chris Shelton

Photo courtesy of Chris Shelton...

From former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Red Unit Boss Clown, Chris Shelton...


Hey Pat,
Steve Copeland stayed at my house during a tour in this area. When I was showing him old circus photos, I came across this picture with Lou. This was taken during Lou’s, Pee Wee’s, and my last year on the road. When I became Boss, I was told I had to find someone to walk Lou from his dressing room to the back door for each of his routines. I instantly assigned myself to that honor! This shot was taken en route. I watched and enjoyed every time Lou worked. Take care!


Thank you for sharing Chris!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Photos courtesy of Tom Piccard

Michael "Coco" Polakovs was hired in the mid-1960s by McDonalds to revamp their Ronald McDonald character, originally developed and portrayed by Willard Scott. It has long been rumored that Mike also played Ronald in the first few national commercials featuring the new-look Ronald.

Here, from January 1967, is the proof...

I have also heard that the "Mr. Muscle" character pictured here was played a Ringling clown. Other early characters were played in the commercials by veteran clowns Bobby Kay and Albert White.

These photos were sent to me by Mr. Piccard from the personal collection of Mike Coco's son, Graham.

For more info on Mike Coco's life and career, please click the title of this post.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


For many years now Terry and I have owned the Playmobil Nativity set and putting it up each year has become a longstanding family tradition.

Since Shane has been old enough to walk he has always seemed to take great delight in adding historically inappropriate characters from some of his other Playmobil sets to the traditional Nativity scene. Last year the manger featured visits from Shepperds, Wise Men, Santa, Vikings, Pirates, Paparazzi, Police and a Mariachi Band.

This year he wanted to do away with the manger all together and thus we have what might best be politely described as "rather biblically inaccurate"... thus Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Cashin Family Circus Nativity 2007!

I must admit, the angel hanging from the trapeze was my idea.


There are several people doing similar bits, rarely with such clear character, motivation and charm.