Friday, May 23, 2008

WHO'S ON FIRST? Costello Tiger, Hidden Abbott

A classic of the burlesque stage as presented by the Saturday Afternoon Kung-Fu Double-Feature Matinee Comedy Theater.

"Your Punchline Is Strong, But It Is No Match For My Spit-Take!"

JOHNNY WORTH: Greater European Olympia Circus, 1939

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong


Shane and I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull yesterday after school and I was surprised to learn about the ancient practice of skull modification.

The Peruvians would bind their infants' heads in order to stretch them out, making them "more pleasing to God".

Now who do we know who looks like that? Were these ancient Peruvians onto something? Might they have created a society extremely advanced in engineering and farming by gaining favor with their worship of midget cars and hunting gags?

Any expectant parents out there want to try this binding thing out? Possibly form a New Age cult of "Lou-therans"?

TOTO: Autographed Photo

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

MUSTAFIN & ABDIVKEEV: Pedestal, 1982

Pedestals. Ugh!

Good God, y'all.

What are they good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Say it again!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


More "loving tribute" and "hip, counter-culture parody" than yesterday's postmodern deconstruction of Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First", this one comes to us courtesy of Second City's Tony Rosato and Eugene Levy from SCTV.

YURI NIKULIN: Hat, Newspaper, Chair and Egg

Again, I am calling "dibs"; )

CLOWN ALLEY: Greater European Olympia Circus, 1939

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

although the text quotes Earl Shipley, I don't believe that Earl is either of the two clowns pictured.

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling-Barnum, undated

A photo of members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown Alley taken in Binghamton, NY not too long after those two huge shows combined. Pictured are: Herman Joseph (in moustache), John Slater, Frank McStay, Pauline, Spader Johnson, Danny McPride (with dog), Al Sylvester, George Hartzel, Murphy, Tom Hart, Roy Barrett and Everett Hart.

SLIVERS OAKLEY: Rachel Sage's "Veritgo" Video Shoot

Yesterday I had the opportunity to play Frank "Slivers" Oakley in the video for Rachel Sage's song "Vertigo" from her new album Chandelier.

The video isn't about Slivers himself and doesn't lyrically reference anything about him or his career, I just seized the opportunity to portray him when director Joshua Katcher chose a dream-like vision of turn-of-the-century circus and sideshow performers to help illustrate the song's lyrics about a dark love triangle.

If any other video directors out there would like to offer me the chance to play Otto Griebling, Lou Jacobs, Paul Jung, Felix Adler, Charlie Rivel, Grock, Joe Jackson, any of the Rastellis or Fratellinis, Yuri Nikulin, Mark Anthony or Dan Rice just click the link to the right for contact information ; )

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Have you ever watched inexperienced performers absolutely ruin comedy material that you know could be brilliant in the hands of a more seasoned pro?

This video best articulates how I feel when I watch some "clowns" steal a bit that they've seen someone else do, with neither the performance skills necessary to pull it off nor the basic understanding of the material that made it work so well for those other performers in the first place.


Photo courtesy of Wade Burck

A young Eric Burck with Chris Allison on the Ringling Blue Unit.

Chris just won as Audience Choice for Best Clown at Monday night's 2008 New York Downtown Clown Golden Nose Awards.

HORACE LAIRD: James E. Strates Shows

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

Longtime fixture of the Cole Bros. Circus Clown Alley, Horace Laird pictured here on the cover of a James E. Strates carnival program.

To see more of the wonders available at Bill's GIBTOWN CIRCUS DIME'S STORE on eBay, please click the title of this post.

CLOWN ALLEY: Al G. Barnes, 1920s

Al G. Barnes Circus April 3, 1926. The man in the back without a hat is heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. Standing to next to Mr. Dempsey is Tarzan and John Carter creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, ringmaster for the day.

Also pictured lower right is Herbert Rawlinson (film actor). Lawrence "America's Neatest Clown" Swalley is the clown sitting down on the lower left and Glen "Kinko" Sunberry is the one wearing a top hat in the upper right.

Does anyone else think that a young Larry Cross may be the clown seated between Smalley and Rawlinson?

MUSTAFIN & ABDIKEEV: Juggling, 1982

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NEW YORK DOWNTOWN CLOWN: 2008 Golden Nose Award Winners!

THE 2008 New York Downtown Clown GOLDEN NOSE AWARD Winners ARE:

Audience Choice Best Clown Film:
Retard Midget Get Out of My Life, by Happy Hour

Audience Choice Best Clown Act:
At The Opera, by Those In The Nose

Audience Choice Best Clown/Clown:

Chris Allison

Clown of The Year:
Keith "KInko" Nelson of The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.

Clown Achievement of The Year:
The Brick Theater, producers of the New York Clown Theatre Festival.

CONGRATULATIONS! Stephanie & Adam Gertsacov

Belated congratulations go out to Adam Gertsacov (of the Acme Clown Company) and his beautiful bride Stephanie on their April 5th wedding in Yonkers, NY.

Please click the title of this post to read an article about them that appeared in the New York Times as well as enjoy a video interview with the happy couple.


To visit Adam's CLOWNLINK.COM, please click here.

CLOWN ALLEY: Sells-Floto, 1921

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

Members of the Sells-Floto Clown Alley in 1921.

TONY GRICE JR: Influence on Pepito?

Photo and comments courtesy of Marcelo Melison

Hello Pat:
I scanned this photo from a Spanish book on circus. He is Tony Grice Jr. (actually, he was billed as Tony Grice II). He was performing in Spain and he died there sometime during the first World War (I mean, in those years, not in an actual battlefield!). Look at his hat, and his huge vest... It is possible that Pepito saw this artist and got inspired to recreate those items for his own character? Hummmm...

Marcelo PEPPO Melison.

ANTON & ANTOSHKA: Puppet, 1984

STEVE LOUGH: Kewpie Doll Gag

Carnival Plaza in Toyko, Japan 1993.

Monday, May 19, 2008

KELLY-MILLER: Me and Mr. Moss

Here's a shot of me blowing the Ringmaster's whistle, held by John Moss III, signalling the start of the 2008 edition of the Kelly-Miller Circus in Palmer, TX on March 28th.


I just got off the phone with Rex "Count De Boxcar" Young. We had a wonderful conversation about Rex's career and have plans to meet up in a few weeks when I head up his way for some dates in Milwaukee.

Some of the things that I learned...

Otto Griebling is again singled out as being the best of the best.

Otto and Freddie Freeman would have disagreements and not speak to each other for weeks, all the time doing their Boxing Gag together two or three times a day!

Poodles Hanneford and Joe Jackson were the best of friends.

Poodles would not accept a dime from Rex for working the car act with him. Rex eventually got Poodles to agree to being paid a box of cigars a week.

While in Berlin famous bicycle clown Joe Jackson gave his Hinderburg tickets to fellow comedian Ben Dover. Dover narrowly escaped dying in the crash by leaping to the ground and breaking both ankles. For the rest of his life Joe was deeply beholden to Ben for saving his life as there is no way that Joe would have been able to save himself from the horrible disaster that way.

Interesting stuff and I look forward to sitting down and meeting Rex face to face and getting his memories down on video.

BEV BERGERON: Honored in Orlando

Anyone who remembers Bev as TV's Rebo the Clown or his years with Disney World's Diamond Horseshoe Revue knows just how much he deserves to be panegyrized.

MONTE CARLO 2008: Clown Photos

Link suggested by Don Covington, Photos courtesy of AUCIRQUE.COM

The Martini Family

Scott the Magician and Muriel

Barry "Grandma" Lubin

GEORGE CARL: Strange Video

Another unusual video of the great George Carl.

Unusual for a few reasons...

It's narration is in Russian.

It uses the music of Uriah Heep in the background.

And my headshot appears in the lower left corner throughout.

Can anyone out the translate the narration for me?

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Jim Howle's masterful portrait of Mr. Frankie Saluto.

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling Construction Gag

Wanna know how many sweet board hits you can cram into one gag? Watch and learn from this Greg and Karen DeSanto directed gem!

WADE BURCK REMEMBERS: Jimmy and Brenda Graham and Kevin Thompson

Photos courtesy of Wade Burck

The Burck boys with Jimmy and Brenda Graham and Kevin "Nasty" Thompson who were recently seen with the Grahams' daughters in an episode of MTV's "True Life".