Saturday, November 22, 2008

CLOWN ALLEY: "Clowns and Clowning", 1905

Photos courtesy of Gene Wolande

These photos come from a 1905 magazine article (mostly about Slivers) 
entitled "Clowns and Clowning".

I would argue that Slivers was anything but a "typical" circus clown of that, or any, era.

Slivers and Marceline performing their famous boxing act. Alright, Slivers and Marceline were performing this at the Hippodrome in NY. Montgomery and Stone were also performing a Boxing Gag on Broadway about this time. Does anyone know how similar these two gags were and if they bear much, if any, similarity to the Boxing Gag as Poodles Hanneford taught it to Otto Griebling?

"Cause every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man..."


Uploaded by ann60

Anyone know who or where this is?

I'm lovin' the padded slapstick.

Friday, November 21, 2008

GIANT ALUMINUM LADDERS: America's Silent Highway Killers

Yesterday afternoon as I drove over the Amboy bridge along the Garden State Parkway I was almost killed as a huge aluminum ladder, not unlike the one pictured above, flew out of the back of a contractor's pickup truck in front of me.

It sailed for a ways before hitting the ground and began tumbling end over end.

Had I been any closer it would have gone right through my windshield.

I was lucky enough to be far enough behind that I had time to change lanes (without looking) before the ladder hit the car.

If you are traveling with items in a pickup truck, please be sure to secure them properly. The life you save may be my own.

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling in Pomona, CA, 1958

Beautiful photos by Life magazine photographer Ralph Crane taken on an Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey outdoor date in Pomona, CA in 1958.

Thank you Dom Yodice for confirming the date!


The circus industry: where talent is always recognized and rewarded, innovation is essential and originality is paramount.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I've been working on updating my website for the last few days. Click the title of this post to check it out.

JOHNNY PEERS: Life Magazine Photo Shoot

A photo of Johnny Peers taken for the Life magazine article on Clown College that appeared in the February 20, 1970 issue.

EMMETT KELLY: What's My Line, March 11, 1956

Link suggested by Tommy Moore

Emmett Kelly on "What's My Line", an episode that is notable for being the last television appearance of the great Fred Allen who passed away the following week on March 17, 1956.

FRANCESCO: The Big Apple Circus, 2002

Video courtesy of

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


From Who's Who in Victorian Cinema:

George Footit

English clown Footit trained as an equestrian acrobat with his father's circus and, by 1880, his appearances with Sanger's Circus established him as a leading horseback clown. His partnership with Cuban Raphaël Padilla, known as Chocolat (1868-1917), began at the Cirque Médrano in 1886, flourishing throughout the 1890s and early 1900s at the most fashionable Parisian circus, the Noveau Cirque. Their slapstick antics, in which Chocolat was the perenial victim of the violent, but impassive Footit, were popular with all levels of society, attracting the attention of many intellectuals and artists. 

A Photoscenograph film of their sketch William Tell provided the basis for a painted picture band projected at Emile Reynaud's Théâtre Optique in August 1896, while their act was also filmed by the Lumière Cinématographe and for the Phono-Cinéma-Théâtre in 1900. 

Following the break up of the partnership in the 1900s Footit appeared on the stage and for a brief time ran his own circus.

HOUSCH MA HOUSCH: Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione, 2007

Monday, November 17, 2008

CHARLIE RIVEL: Akrobat Schoon, 1943

The last five minutes of Charlie Rivel's 1943 film Akrobat Schoon featuring the comedy trapeze act (but not the Chaplin impersonation) that made him famous.

ANDREI JIGALOV: Funambolika, 2008

Photo by Fabio Marino


From Alex Navarro...

The website of the Festival Internacional de Pallassos de Cornella - Memorial Charlie Rivel is
You can choose english after the home page.

You have there all the program and activities.

From Raffaele De Ritis...

This is the poster for the clown festival in Cornella.

It looks a good program this year: the theatre one-man shows of Peter Shub, mime Daniel and Housch-ma-Housch.

In the big top gala show there are, among others, Jigalov, Chabri and Bello Nock.

Click the title of this post to be taken to the festival's website.


FUMAGALLI AND DARIS: The Big Apple Circus, 2007