Saturday, February 02, 2008

JIMMY FOLCO: Circus Sarasota Opens!

Dolly Jacobs and Pedro Reis' CIRCUS SARASOTA opened their season last night with reprise clown Jimmy Folco providing the comedy this year.

Let me get this straight, Fumagalli and Jimmy Folco are in the States? Barry Lubin is in Europe? Wait just a cotton pickin' minute... JUST WHAT'S GOING ON HERE ?!?

Where is Frosty Little this season? Cirque d'Hiver?!?

; )


Photo and comment courtesy of Captain Mike Heidtman

Hey Pat,

It's your old pal Cap'n Mike here ... trust all is well with you and yours. As a followup to your posting of Charlie Frye & Co. I'm forwarding this photo from a couple weeks ago. It's Charlie, me and Sherry taken in Columbia, SC where Charlie was headliner for the SCAM Con's public show (South Carolina Association of Magicians Convention). What a strong act he presents and the magi were seriously blown away with his skills both as an object manipulator and as a magician.

All for now - keep up the good work with The Alley.

Cap'n Mike

BARRY LUBIN: The Reviews Are In!

Photo courtesy of Circus Scandanavia

From a Liz Aratoon's review of the 32nd annual Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo

The second night of competition opens with a repeat of Kid Bauer’s big cat act. This is followed by the first appearance of the famous American clown Grandma (Barry Lubin). Dressed in his trademark red shift, yellow stockings, grey wig and pearls, his comedy is gentle and beautifully observed. Entrees involving popcorn, a running machine and Nat ‘King’ Cole’s duet with daughter Natalie - sung with a man at ringside - are all masterpieces.


Friday, February 01, 2008

CHARLIE FRYE: Circa 1990

Clown College graduate and former Ringling circus clown, Charlie Frye and his partner in real life as well as on stages around the world, his wife Sherry.

The act is so good that you can deal with the poor sound quality.

Find out more about Charlie (and order his ECCENTRICKS videos) by clicking the title of this post.

OLEG POPOV: Programma Maximum, 2008

A very recent television segment on, and interview with, Oleg Popov.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

ROB TORRES: International Circus Festival of Budapest

Did I hear right???

Did Clown College grad and former Beatty-Cole circus clown Rob Torres really just take home the Bronze in Budapest???


DICK MONDAY & BARRY LUBIN: Disneyland Circus Fantasy 1986

Dick Monday and Barry Lubin at Disneyland Circus Fantasy, 1986.

I have a brief snippet of Dick's "Yard Sale" bit which he did on Main Street that I'll post if he's willing to tell the story about it.

GEORGE CARL: Stockholm Sweden, 1970s

While I certainly believe that this was shot at the same performance as the other clown footage from the Swedish television special CLOWNS (the one that features The Rastellis, Joe Jackson Jr, Eric Braun and Charlie Rivel), I have no way to confirm the date.

It looks to have been shot in the same building, by the same crew but features far more cutaway shots of the audience than the footage that I've seen of other acts shot during that taping.

The American TV special that I found this on gives the place as Stockholm, Sweden (the name of the show or the building is not given) and the year as 1979, which I believe is incorrect and only given to make the footage seem more current.

NORMAN WISDOM: Sunday Night at the London Palladium, 1961

Edited from the Wikipedia entry on "Sunday Night at the London Palladium"...

Sunday Night at the London Palladium was a British television variety show made by ATV for the ITV network, originally running from 1955 to 1967, with a brief revival in 1973 and 1974. The London Palladium is an actual theatre in London's West End.

Perhaps the most famous episode of all took place during a strike by the British acting union Equity, who refused to allow any of its performers to appear that week. Exempt from this, host Bruce Forsyth and comedian Norman Wisdom appeared in the entire show, improvising wildly on the live broadcast December 3, 1961.

The format was revived in the 1980s as Live From Her Majesty's, Live from the Piccadilly and Live From the Palladium with comedian Jimmy Tarbuck once again doing the hosting duties. Live from Her Majesty's is however mainly remembered as being the show on which comedian Tommy Cooper suffered a fatal heart attack, collapsing midway through his act on the popular program.

From John Cooper...

There is certainly a notable routine with Norman Wisdom and Bruce Forsyth doing this on "Sunday Night at The London Palladium" when there was some sort of strike so that the pair had to perform the entire show with just the two of them LIVE.

The paper-hanging sequence they did on that occasion was adapted from the routine used (if not devised) by Naughton and Gold (i.e. Charlie Naughton and Jimmy Gold) of The Crazy Gang.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

OLEG POPOV: Stirka, 1957

Oleg Popov in the ring, in some of the most appealing footage I've ever seen of him, from the 1957 film which was posted to YouTube with the title STIRKA but which IMDB lists as ARTISTRY TSIRKA and was released in the US under the title CIRCUS STARS.

OLEG POPOV: with Zviaginy, 1953

Oleg Popov with trampoline artist Zviaginy from the film ARENA SMELYKH (which was titled DARING YOUTH CIRCUS or RING OF DARING in the US) released in 1953.

OLEG POPOV: Goluboy Ogonek

Since I don't read or speak any Russian I can only guess that these are scenes from a Russian film called GOLUBOY OGONEK (which AltaVista BabelFish translated to mean "Goluboy Ogonek") which features Oleg Popov.

It isn't listed with IMDB so I'm not sure of the year of it's release...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Starting on March 1st we are going to start accepting nominees for the 2008 Felix Adler Awards which will be announced at 12:00 PM on April 1st.

That gives us one month to hash out a few questions that need to be resolved by "The Academy" but I'd like to gauge reader response to the following questions...

1) Do we keep it to the three awards given in 2007 (Otto Griebling Award for Solo Clowning, Paul Jung Award for Ensemble Clowning and Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award)? Do we add some? Subtract some?

2) The awards are for American circus clowning. They are open to all circus comedians who have performed in an American circus during the calendar year 2007. Does that exclude American circus clowns who performed in the three major festivals that took place in China in 2007? There was far more American circus clowning going on there than there was in the circus industry stateside!

3) In a given calendar year Big Apple has two productions, the one that premiered the previous fall and the one that premiers THAT fall. Are both, or only the new show, eligible for award?

We have a few more questions to resolve before the voting begins but let's start the discussion with those.



A killer, but unidentified, comedy acrobatic act from a Colgate Comedy Hour hosted by Abbott and Costello.


Anyone have any information on Les Bili-Bili?

HARRY ATWELL: Jerome, Lewis and Jung

Back when the world was younger, the sky was bluer, grass was greener and Paul Jung was a young upstart in the Alley of The Greatest Show on Earth...

Paul Jerome

Lewis, Jung and Jerome

Paul Jerome, Jojo Lewis and Paul Jung

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008