Saturday, January 03, 2009



It may be impossible to predict how Barack Obama will fare as president, but The Amazing Kreskin, the famous mentalist, has some definite insights on what we may expect in 2009. Kreskin, who predicted in December 2007 that Obama would break out of the field of 12 Democratic candidates and be elected president, told us some very shocking political events we can expect in the next few years. 

The self-described “thought reader” (“I don’t consider myself a psychic,” he clarified), who made more than 190 appearances in 2008, said he “gets feelings” about what is going to happen in the new year, particularly how Obama will do as president. Kreskin believed that “Obama will effectively tune into the needs of the American people.” He threw in the caveat, however, that John McCain “would have achieved the same results,” owing to the recession boxing in the new commander in chief. Speaking of the recession, unfortunately Kreskin said it was going to last another “4 1/2 years.” 

Kreskin told us “the only chance Obama will not win a second term has to do with Hillary Clinton.” He hinted that he “doesn’t quite know how,” but Clinton will be elected in 2012. But in terms of the next four years, Kreskin said Clinton “will get along with Obama, but please, put ‘get along’ in quotes.” Consider it done.

As for Hillary’s husband, he will keep a “behind-the-scenes” position while his wife is secretary of state. 

One event people will not need worry about, especially us Washingtonians, is the inauguration. “I have great confidence there,” Kreskin said. “I wouldn’t feel nervous [about] terrorists. If anything happens, it will be from drinking participants.”

Kreskin didn’t stick to just politics, either. Some other unusual predictions we received were:

» the “rebirth” of traveling by trains

» “renewed importance in the clown”

» bartenders developing an important role in therapy

» cell phones banned from all restaurants

» increase in the popularity of shepherd’s pie

» fewer divorces because it’s too expensive

» sales of drapes will increase to save homes money from heating and cooling bills.

BOBBY ROBERTS: Bobby Roberts Super Circus

By special request here is a photo of my friend Bobby Roberts of the UK's Bobby Roberts Super Circus, which you can find out more about by clicking here.


This is exactly what a three ring American whiteface circus clown is supposed to look like.

Sadly, you will never see one again. Ever.

THE WASHER WOMAN GAG: Look What's Happened to Billy Barton and Bobby Davis

Photo courtesy of Bill Strong

Billy Barton as "Baby Jane" and Bobby Davis as "Blanche" in their Whatever Happened to Baby Jane themed version of the classic Washer Woman gag.

Mike Naughton tells me that the music used for the gag was "Look What's Happen to Mabel" from the musical Mack and Mabel.

This 8x10 is currently available from Bill Strong's Gibtown Dime's Store on eBay and can be accessed by clicking the title of this post.

PIC: Photographer Gag; Circus Roncalli, 2008

Berlin, 2008

CHARLIE CHAPLIN: Comedy Variety Act

Does anyone have any more information on this?

Friday, January 02, 2009

MARTINE: Not Great News, But Good News at Least!

From Sean Bresser...

Hi all,

Don't have a lot of news on Martine, but I've heard that she's home and resting. She's moving about and is tube free but she tires easily. There's some clown (literal) in Montreal sending around emails about Martine but she appears to be a bit of a harbinger of doom. Martine is doing better than expected and keep the positives coming.

Sean & Nath

CIRCUS RONCALLI: All You Need Is Laugh, 2008


I am extremely grateful to someone I met recently for reawakening my interest in the works of Samuel Beckett.

I'd like to have imbedded Beckett's "Act Without Words II" here but the person who posted it to YouTube has disabled it. So I will have to ask you to click the title of this post to view a filmed version of the play.

CLOWN COLLEGE REUNION 2007: Treasures From the Archives

Some photos courtesy of Mary Wise

When Greg and Karen DeSanto plan a Clown College Reunion you'd best believe it will be a serious opportunity to view a wealth of extremely rare American circus clown history artifacts...

In the Circus World Museum's basement: Felix Adler's 50's era shoes.
(Could these even have been worn? These look like they were just delivered by Griffin!)

Felix's trunk

Otto Griebling's trunk

Otto's shoes and Western Union hat

Otto's vest

From the Jim Parker Collection on display at Tim Tegge's house: 
Otto Griebling and Freddie Freeman's boxing gloves

RUDI-LLATA: Circus Pinder, 2008

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, January 01, 2009

MAHNA MAHNA: A Perfect Way to Start Off the New Year

I don't know why but I really love mechanical gags, gags where the characters engaged in some repetitive, mechanical action, become aware that something is wrong but find that they are powerless to stop it because they are bound to this mechanical action.

Ernie Kovacs' "Nairobi Trio" is a great example of a "mechanical gag".

Another is The Muppets' "Mahna-Mahna", which Shane and I spent New Year's Day studying and enjoying in several forms...

My favorite version of the gag from The Muppet Show, Episode 101 Host:Juliet Prowse, April 25, 1977.

The original Sesame Street version from 1969.

This was performed live on The Ed Sullivan Show three days after the debut of the Sesame Street version. This is fairly similar to the one they did eight years later on The Muppet Show, but this version has live audience reactions instead of a laugh track.

A call back with Sandra Bullock from Muppets Tonight, June 23, 1996.

My new favorite D.I.Y. version.

And a version from the UK version of The Office.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Video courtesy of Dale Bothun

Happy New Year to one and all.

"Don't cry because something has ended. Smile because it happened."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

JIM RUTHERFORD: Firehouse Gag, 1911

From the July 21, 1911 issue of The Player, a vaudeville trade magazine put out by The White Rats Actor's Union, comes an ad bought by Producing Clown extraordinaire, Jim Rutherford.

Mr. Rutherford created the Firehouse Gag, long a staple of the American three ring circus. This ad gives the origin of the gag as being 1911 on the Sells-Floto Circus and describes it as "The Biggest and Most Expensive Entree Ever Attempted".

Now if we just had a photograph of Mr. Rutherford in makeup...

BELLO NOCK: Festival Internacional de Pallasos Memorial Charlie Rivel de Cornella de Llobregat, Euroclowns '08

GASTON & ROLI: Circus Conelli, 2008

Photos courtesy of

Roli and Gaston

Gaston & Roli's Restaurant entree with Nadja and Pino

FREDDY MORGAN: Poet and Peasant Overture

How funny was Freddy Morgan? This funny.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

CLOWN ALLEY: Big Apple Circus, 2000

Video courtesy of

Tom Dougherty, Jeff Gordon, Valdis Yanovskis and company, The Baseball Match, in the Big Apple Circus production of Clown Around Town (2000).