Thursday, May 08, 2008


Photo and comments courtesy of Jack Ryan


Hope you and yours are well.

While digging around for a few photos for Buckles, came across this shot of Danny Chapman and me. Think it was taken at the Venice winter quarters in the late 1960s. Maybe early 70s. We are just goofing and wasting the Ringling photographer's film as is quite obvious. (Yes, film! This was decades before digital photography.) Don't recall ever seeing Danny's photo on your blog so thought you might enjoy it.

Danny, as you likely know, was a major player in the first Clown College term. He also worked with Bill Ballantine in later sessions. Mel Miller, the original "dean" was a circus historian and museum guy. So it was Danny who really spearheaded the clowning instruction that first year. Worked a lot with the class to develop personal makeup too. The Felds sent various clowns down from the touring shows -- Lou, Otto, Bobby etc. -- to spend a week or so working one-on-one with the class. Remember that Lou only spent part of the day at what I called in news releases "the insane institute of higher hilarity." He always found time for an activity he loved just as much as clowing -- fishing!

I have heard some people say that the whole Clown College idea was Danny's and that he put that bug in Irvin Feld's ear. Can't confirm that but was there at the creation and do know Danny was very key in getting the College concept up and running.

Best wishes,

Jack Ryan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, Jack Ryan...Thank you both for remembering Danny, who was a good man and a very good clown (and teacher)...Whatever value the first year of the clown school provided I always felt was due in large measure to him...(And how are YOU doing, Jack Ryan???)

--Michael Karp