Saturday, July 19, 2008

CLOWN ALLEY: Polack Bros. Circus, 1942

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

It looks to me like Gene Randow down in front, the two little people are the Dewsberrys, the Georgetti Brothers have the bells on, The whiteface in the middle is Dennis Stevens, the tramp to the right of him is Dime Wilson and the whiteface at the far right it looks to be Ed Raymond.

BEEKER: Ode to Joy

All the way back to "Sam and Friends", the Muppets have been responsible for some really great clowning.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Believe the hype, folks... because it's all true.


I was born shortly before the Batman TV series entered it's third and final year on ABC. I grew up with it running in constant syndication on WPIX channel 11 from New York. I taught myself to read by reading Batman comic books and collected them religiously well past the age that I probably should have.

I had to live through two pretty interesting movies from Tim Burton and two awful movies from Joel Schumacher before finally getting Batman Begins from Christopher Nolan.

I've spent the last 40 years with these characters.

The Dark Knight is, easily, the best Batman movie of all time. It is also, far and away, the best superhero movie of all time.

It's not just a "summer blockbuster". It's a really good film; Silence of the Lambs/Goodfellas/Godfather 2 kind of good.

Heath Ledger's brilliant performance as the Joker merits's first ever "scary clown" image.

BARRY LUBIN: Outdoor Festival in Germany

Thursday, July 17, 2008


20 more copies of the first volume of the official CLOWNALLEY.NET compilation DVD are being burned on Monday and will be ready to ship on July 25th.

Please click the title of this post to be taken to the eBay "Buy It Now" auction page.

This is a five day auction only and no more copies will be printed until Volume Two in the series becomes available this fall.


These were taken during the taping of a 1971 television special about the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. The show aired on WFLA Television in Tampa, FL.

The other two clowns look to be Clown College grads Johnny Peers and Jim Howle.


CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling, 1930s

Jojo Lewis, Paul Jung and Paul Jerome.


Teatro ZinZanni is a three-hour whirlwind of circus, comedy and cabaret featuring an international cast. The show, which includes a five-course feast, opened in Seattle in 1998 and is now running concurrently there and on San Francisco's Embarcadero.

The cast in Seattle includes Clown College grad Peter Pitofsky. The San Francisco cast now has Groucho impersonator extraordinaire Frank Ferrante as "Chef Caesar".

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

THE EOTVOS FAMILY: Festival International du Cirque de Monte Carlo Spectacular, 1979

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

The Eotvos family of musical clowns as they appeared in Feld Entertainment's first attepmt at a one-ring venture, Festival International du Cirque de Monte Carlo Spectacular that toured the U.S.A. in 1979.


George Footit, a circus artist (white clown, rider and acrobat) and actor born in Manchester in 1864, deceased in Paris in 1921.

Son of George Footit and Sarah Crockett, both circus artists, he began its career at the age of twelve. He worked for Sangers' Circus of London, which came to France in 1880. In 1886, Footit teamed for the first time with Chocolat at Medrano. They then appeared with l' Hippodrome de le Champ de Mars, then with the Cirque Nouvelle de Paris.

During their long career, they perfected the comic duet between an authoritative white clown and an Auguste scapegoat. The expression “I am Chocolat” was popularized by the dialogue of their entrees.

Their career reached it's apogee in 1905 but they had separated by 1910 so that Footit might work with his sons. His career in the ring was never again to know the heights that it had reached with Chocolat.

Footit later launched his own circus, then owned a bar, in Montaigne in Paris.

CLOWN ALLEY: Lou Jacobs and Paul Jerome

Photo courtesy of Rik Gern

Lou Jacobs and Paul Jerome in grotesque whiteface in the late 20s/early 30s.

MYSTERY CLOWNS: Boxing Gag, Undated

Unknown clowns, unknown show, no date.

ELMO GIBB: Professor Cheer's Comedy Rope Trick

Dean "Elmo Gibb" Chambers performing his contemporary update of Professor Charlie Cheer's classic comedy rope trick.

For those not familiar with Prof. Cheer...

From Elmo...
Here he is in a photo that I believe was taken in the early 60's on E.K.Fernandez in Hawaii. I suspect that Charlie, as evidenced by the dirty fingernails, may also have been the show's mechanic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ceilidh Ellen Manigrasso

Ceilidh Ellen Manigrasso

Born: 07/15/08

6 lbs, 2 oz

18 3/4 inches long

She's a lucky little lady who shares her birthday with the atomic bomb, first detonated in Los Alamos, NM July 15, 1945.

From Boing Boing...
J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, was under no illusions about what he and his fellow physicists had wrought. The effects of the blast, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, moved the intellectual Oppenheimer to quote from the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one. Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds."

She's only a few hours old and already she's got the kind of mad, phat goth cred that burns brighter and more intensely than 1,000 "Hot Topic" gift certificates.

ONIONHEAD: By Bill Payne

Photo courtesy of Bill Payne

Robert "Onionhead" Dunn in his dressing room on the Universoul Circus.

For more of Bill Payne's photos, please click here.

MILT TAYLOR: Al G. Barnes-Sells Floto Circus, April 24, 1938

CLOWN ALLEY: Sparks Circus, 1946

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

Neil Cockerline identifies them (L to R) as: Elmer Lingquist, Phil Keeler, Ernie Burch, Johnny White, one of the Hodginis, & Dime Wilson.


Excerpts from Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione de Paris' 2006/07 production "Artistes" featuring Fumagalli and Daris.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Our deepest sympathy goes out to Mr. Drougett's family. His grandfather, Michael "Coco" Polakovs, is headed down to Sarasota to attend the services.

From Bill Strong's blog YESTERDAY'S TOWNS...


A Memorial Service for Mauricio “Lit” Droguett will be held at 10:00am on Thursday,
July 17th, at St. Martha Catholic Church
200 N. Orange Avenue, Sarasota, Florida 34236
A Celebration of Lit’s Life will follow in the church's “Friendship Room”


To the living, I am gone
To the sorrowful, I will never return
To the angry, I was cheated
But to the happy, I am at peace
And to the faithful, I have never left
I cannot speak, but I can listen
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard
So as you stand upon the shore
Gazing at the beautiful sea, remember me
As you look in awe at a mighty forest
And in its grand majesty, remember me
Remember me in your hearts,
In your thoughts, and the memories of the
Times we loved, the times we cried,
the battle we fought and the times we laughed
For if you always think of me,
I will never have gone.

CLOWN COLLEGE: Lou and Frosty

Photo courtesy of Eric Heath

Lou Jacobs and Glen "Frosty" Little teaching at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College at the old Winter Quarters in Venice, FL.

CLOWN ALLEY: Al G. Barnes Alley at Children Hospital, 1920s

Clowns from the Al g> Barnes Circus performing for the Children Hospital, Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada.

SCOTT LAND MARIONETTES: Last Week at the Magic Castle

I must admit that I don't know much about Mr. Land other than that he studied with Frank Paris, Bill Baird and Bob Baker but his work here is amazing. He's got a new Carl Ballantine marionette that wow'ed them at the Magic Castle last week...


Excerpts from Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione de Paris 2005/06 production Audace.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

CLOWN COLLEGE: Steve Ashlee Video

Video courtesy of director Steve Ashlee

Because Steve Smith is absolutely right, "Clowning really is snow on Christmas and all day suckers and Never-Never Land..."

This is's 2,000th post.

See you at the reunion,