Saturday, August 02, 2008


In the next week or so I'll be auctioning off some props, costumes, shoes and a trunk on eBay to help finance a very large Felix Adler Awards related expense here at and to get my garage and office back into some kind of reasonable shape.

Those of you not interested in the auction items but who would still consider chipping in a few bucks towards covering such an expense, please contact me privately at


PETER SHUB: At the Apollo-Kino

CLOWN ALLEY: Betram Mills Circus at Olympia, Winter of 1921-22

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

Another great scan from Bill!

Bill has provided us with such great stuff over the years. If you appreciate his contributions to please take a moment to visit his wonderful circus blog and peruse all the treasures that can be found at his online store.

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling Red Unit, 1971

The 101st edition Red Unit Clown Alley of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus featuring such luminaries as Peggy Williams, Jim Howle, Billy Baker, Frosty Little, Mike Padilla, Keith Crary, Billy Ward, Danny Chapman, Zapata as well as Master Clowns Bobby Kay and Lou Jacobs.

Can anyone out there fill in the names of some of the others?


Longtime circus pro and early Clown College instructor, Chuck Sateja.


Peluza without his usual headpiece and looking a lot less like Jimmy Stewart in The Greatest Show on Earth; looking a lot more like a smaller TV market Bozo the Clown.


Friday, August 01, 2008

PROF. PAUL WENZEL: A Man and His Duck

A clever man whose clowning career spanned most of the 20th century, Prof. Paul Wenzel.

EMMETT KELLY: At the Plate

Emmett Kelly during his brief stint as the mascot for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

It would have been a great gig if the team hadn't announced in October of '57 that after 68 seasons in Brooklyn, the Dodgers would be moving to Los Angeles and would no longer be "Dem Bums".

JIMMY DOUGLAS: Must Like Gum A Lot

Longtime Shrine and Beatty-Cole Producing Clown, Jimmy Douglas.

KENNY DODD: Another Shot

Another publicity photo of Kenny Dodd from his long stint on the Beatty-Cole show.

AL ACKERMAN: Polack Bros. Circus, 1961

Former acrobat, wire-walker and tumbler, Al Ackerman on the Polack Bros. Circus in 1961 where he was billed as "America's Oldest Clown" at the age of 71.


I have to admit, I didn't get the whole Jigalov thing. Folks love him, folks rave about him, but the video that I'd seen just never did it for me.

This one does.

I get it now. This guy is brilliant!

And who is this playing the white role? He's really fantastic! I've seen video of Jigalov with a few partners since the loss of Eduard Alexeenko but this guy is my favorite. He's absolutely first-rate.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

ELMO GIBB: Elmo Gibb and the Fido Five

F.O.C. Dean "Elmo Gibb" Chambers and his comedy dog act, "Elmo Gibb and the Fido Five".

FELIX ADLER: "No, as a matter of fact I DON'T ever get tired of posting photos of Felix."

KENNY DODD: Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, undated

A 1960s-era photo of Beatty-Cole alley fixture, Kenny Dodd.

HAL HAVILAND: With Daschund

Perennial favorite, Mr. Hal Haviland.

PELUZA: With Miss Loni, undated

Javier Esparza Peluza with Miss Loni in an undated publicity photo from an unidentified Shrine circus.

MARCELINE: Hippodrome, 1910

Marceline Orbes from the program of the NY Hippodrome's 1910 production of "A Trip to Japan".

CLOWN ALLEY: Ernie Burch and Albert White


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BUSTER KEATON: Medrano Poster

A poster for one of Buster Keaton's appearances clowning at the Cirque Medrano.


These two guys are going to sound like a kid popping bubble wrap when they get out bed 20 years from now ; )

LINON: Poster

A poster for Belgian wire clown, Linon.

LOU NAGY: Taschen Book

A photo of Lou Nagy balancing a top hat (watch out there, Kris Kremo!) from the new Taschen book on the American circus.

CHUCK BURNES: Publicity Headshot

For those who asked for a better look at the well designed and very appealing makeup of Mr. Burnes.




Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CIRCUS OZ: Promo, 2008

One of life's truely great pleasures, Circus Oz.

Tell me again how circus doesn't work on a procenium stage?


Was ist dieses?

Wie kann dieses sein?

Charlie Rivel and Lou Jacobs (and Don Saunders) on the same bill at an international festival in September of 1972???

Someone out there must know SOMETHING about this one!

THE GUTIS: Ringling Press Photo, undated

One of the greatest slaptick knockabout comedy acts in history, The Gutis.

CLOWN ALLEY: Circus Vargas, undated

Looks like Scott Parker there in the straw hat.

Is that one of the Fornasaris in the center?

KARANDASH: Film Footage, undated

Monday, July 28, 2008


Does anyone out there know how to get in touch with Clown College grad and ex-Ringling clown, Christopher Bricker?


I had a wonderful conversation with F.O.C. (Friend of Mr. Jackie LeClaire last night. Jackie is well and doing fine in Sarasota, FL and continues to clown with Dolly Jacobs and Pedro Reiss' Circus Sarasota and it's outreach programs.

He sometimes gets frustrated with his memory, that some or other clown's name from yesteryear isn't right on the tip of his tongue, but we were talking about people that he might have worked with a just a few times maybe 40 or 50 years ago! I'd say his memory is doing just fine!

Regarding the photo, here's what Jackie had to say about it on the Clown History group...

This photo of me was taken in 1957. It was as "Richo" the Rich Plan Clown. It was taken in Roanoke, Va. by a dept store photographer that was doing photos of children for Christmas. The picture was distributed by the company and I had some black and white 8 x 10 's made up for my own use.

I worked two and a half years in PR work for them. About the best job I ever had salary and conditions wise. It unfortunately all went bust in 1959 as so many of the dealers of the frozen food plan wanted me and they could not spread me around. It was beginning to cause a negative, so they said I could either leave now with two weeks pay or work the two weeks. I took the leave now option.

I had saved what was for me, more money than I had ever had. They had paid all my motels, provided me with a car and gave me every 6th week off with salary and expenses. I just went to New York, took the Song Of Norway ship and went to Europe on a personal tour for 6 months, making 17 countries. I have never regretted that. I was only 32 at the time. Saw so many circuses there, never realizing that I would be touring Europe with a Ringling Bros. unit in 63 and 64. I still have a few of these old photos, plus the 8 x 10 's with the "Richo" the Rich Plan Clown signature already printed on them. Brings back a lot of memories.


Here's a poster for the Fratellinis featuring neither Francios, Paul nor Albert. Is this an earlier Fratellini trio? The poster looks too dated to me to be from the post-Albert period.

CHUCK BURNES: Ringling, undated

F.O.C., Mr. Chuck Burnes in a Ringling publicity picture from the late 50s/early 60s.


From F.O.C. Ron Yarborough...

Hi Pat,

Just a note to say "hi" and spread the joy of me meeting one of my all time clown heroes… Mr. Willard Scott!

I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago for a conference and he made a surprise appearance. He is just as pleasant, funny and enlightening in person as he is on TV.

Also as we all know, he was one of the early TV Bozos and the very first Ronald McDonald. Notice the sticker on his forehead...

"I Met Ronald”... that's me! Ronald Yarborough!

Take care and I’ll talk to you soon………………………………………Ron Yarborough

SEASAME STREET: Some, More & No Clowns

Normal speed/fast speed/slow speed

Steve Smith has stated previously that he remembers the group here to be:

1. Prince Paul
2. Sparky Washburn (?Maybe...not sure?)
3. Tim Torkildson
4. Ted "Zippo" Tutwiller
5. Don Debelli
6. Steve Smith (With HAIR!!!)
7. ? Not sure at all ?
8. Tim Holst
9. Ray "Anchor Face" Lesperance
10. Swede "H.C." Johnson



I tried to get clean copies of this segment as well as "10 Clowns" from the folks at Sesame Workshop WHO WERE JUST ABOUT AS RUDE AS COULD POSSIBLY BE!

I explained that we were hoping to get copies of the two segments for the Clown College reunion and that these segments were some of the ONLY available footage of some of these performers.

"Oh, I'm sure it's on Google, go get it from there. OK?... click."

The Sesame Workshop PR department could certainly use a lesson or two in courtesy, manners and c-o-o-p-e-r-a-t-i-o-n.

So today's posts are brought to you by the letters "F" and "U" and by the number "2".

Sunday, July 27, 2008


The first "true" appearance of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Elmer is a dimwitted hunter, "wooking for wabbits." Bugs is clever, smooth-talking character, who confuses Elmer with double-talk and misdirection. Elmer is no match for the wascally wabbit, even when he thinks Bugs is dead.

Directed by Tex Avery


Last Sunday we featured Frank's interpretation of some whitefaces, today we see Frank's salute to the augustes.

CHESTER SHERMAN: Shrine Circus, undated

Chester Sherman and Baby Kae in a publicity shot for a Shrine date, most likely the Polock Show, circa 1950s.

PRINCE PAUL ALPERT: Ringling, 1960s.

MILT TAYLOR: Ringling, undated


I said it before, dinosaurs.

Giant... arena filling... dinosaurs.

It would be even better if they jumped motorcycles over stuff, flew in jet packs and battled 40 foot steampunk elephants.