Saturday, February 21, 2009

BOBBY KAY: and ?

Does anyone know who it is that Bobby is greeting so warmly in this Paul Tharpe photo?


"From one point of view we can say that we have human bodies and are practicing the Buddha's teachings and are thus much better than insects. But we can also say that insects are innocent and free from guile, whereas we often lie and misrepresent ourselves in devious ways in order to achive our ends and better ourselves. From this perspective, we are much worse than insects."

ALBERT ARSLANOV: Big Headed Love Story

"Well Jimmy, that's what a circus looks like... here on Living Island."

STEVE CAVEAGNA: Motorcycle Gag

ALAN ABEL IS ALWAYS FUNNIER THAN YOU: Abel Raises Cain Trailer (2005)


From Wikipedia...

"Bob" is a song and video by "Weird Al" Yankovic, from his 2003 album Poodle Hat, made up entirely of palindromes. The palindromes are arranged in rhyming verses such as the following:

Madam, I'm Adam
Too hot to hoot
No lemons no melon
Too bad I hid a boot
Lisa Bonet ate no basil
Warsaw was raw
Was it a car or a cat I saw?

"Bob" is a "style parody", performed in a style resembling that of Bob Dylan. The music resembles many of Dylan's twelve bar blues songs (particularly Bob Dylan's "115th Dream" and "Subterranean Homesick Blues"); each verse includes ten bars of singing followed by two instrumental bars, with no chorus. The title of the song, "Bob," is also a palindrome.

The song's video is a parody of Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" segment of the film Dont Look Back. In the video, Yankovic stands in an alleyway holding cards with the palindromic lyrics, and also one saying "(Harmonica solo)" (an allusion to the video for the INXS track "Mediate", itself a homage to "Subterranean Homesick Blues", in which the last cue card reads "Sax Solo"), and at the end holds one saying "???" (Dylan's last card in the original video was "What?").The film uses a grayscale color scheme. Yankovic wears a wig to look like Bob Dylan, and the only other characters are two men in the background without any dialogue. These men are played by band drummer Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz and Yankovic's manager Jay Levey (in Dylan's original, one of the two men in the background is poet Allen Ginsberg).

"Bob" is the only song on the Poodle Hat album with a video. After Eminem denied Yankovic permission to parody his song "Lose Yourself" with a video for "Couch Potato", the "Bob" music video was filmed for an Al TV special that aired on VH-1 ten days later.

Friday, February 20, 2009


The very happiest of 29th birthday wishes to the King of the Soap Gags, the Lord of the Ring and the Most Exhalted Mystic Ruler, Mr. Gregory DeSanto, the best pal a clown nerd ever had!

Happy Birthday, Brother Raccoon!

From the hallowed streets of Greenpernt,
To the shores of Sheepshead Bay, 
From the Verrazano Narrows, 
To Canarsie across the way... 
We have come together, one and all, 
In fellowship to commune, 
And to glorify the Grand Exalted 
Brotherhood of Raccoons. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BERT LAHR: Undated Photo

Bert Lahr, star of burlesque, vaudeville, film, television and Tony Award winner on Broadway, but most fondly remembered today as the Cowardly Lion in MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939).

There is no date on this photo, nor is there a production associated with it so I don't know if it's from a film or a TV appearance.



TOTO: (1927)

HAMID CIRCUS 2009: Congrats Greg and Karen DeSanto!

Congratulations to Greg and Karen DeSanto, who will be handling many of the dates for Hamid this season. Also doing Hamid dates this year are Mitch Freddes and Mike Smith.

Oh, and ...

Melha Shrine Circus
Springfield, MA April 30 - May 3rd

CIRCUS VIDBEL: 2009 Advance Clown


The new Advance Clown for the 2009 spring and fall tour of Circus Vidbel is...


"I myself feel, and also tell other Buddhists, that the question of Nirvana will come later. There is not much hurry. If in day-to-day life you lead a good life, honestly, with love, with compassion, with less selfishness, then automatically it will lead to Nirvana."

ZAPATA and PEERS: Circus Vargas

TRIO CAVEAGNA: X° International Circus Festival City of Latina

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Scans and comments courtesy of Cowboy Mike Keever

From Cowboy Mike...
I found this little treasure. It's a fond memory. At least one year, maybe more??? ...Ringling used this graphic for Promotions in Texas. This was the only one I is a t-shirt....they also had Cowboy Mike on posters (which they used for a few years for Clown College Audition Posters).....and even some billboards. I saw a couple in person, but it killed me that I didn't have a camera...and I don't know of anyone who took a snap shot of the billboards. That was exciting.

Take care my Friend...and keep up the good work!!!
God Bless
Your Friend,
Cowboy Mike Keever

PS. Here's the coloring contest Ringling did in conjuction with the chain of big Western Wear Stores , Shepler's, all over Texas. All of this was way back in 1979


Nicolai "Coco the Clown" Poliakoff (1900-1974) in 1935 with the Bertram Mills Circus.

Check out the guns on Coco!


"The main cause of suffering is egotistic
desire for one's own comfort and happiness."

FAY ALEXANDER: Al's Lemon-zine (1974)

Video courtesy of Greg DeSanto

Fay Alexander and "Al's Lemon-zine" on Circus America, Paul V. Kaye's massive all-star, never-to-be-repeated circus at the Capital Centre in Washington, D.C. in 1974.

This is the "original comedy car" and act that Fay purchased from Ernie Wiswell's widow.

Fay is assisted here by Gene Randow.

TRIO CAVEAGNA: Musical Entree

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Rex Kramer Cashin
Ted Striker Cashin


Belated Happy Birthday wishes go out to...

Yesterday's birthday boy, currently featured in the Big Apple Circus' Play On! (now in Atlanta, GA, tickets still available, please visit, Matthew Pauli

Yesterday's birthday girl, Jugglin' Jen Slaw

And today's birthday girl, my pal Ms. Noelle Stone.

There is almost no greater joy in my life than making a pretty girl laugh so hard that she does something really embarrassing. Noelle is very pretty, with an infectious laugh and a nose that just begs to have milk shot out through it.


Kids, do you have a special birthday song that you'd like to sing to Noelle ; )

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling (1923)

This looks to be members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown Alley performing at a children's hospital, May 1, 1923.

At the far right, Paul Jerome. To his left, Herman Joseph.

GEOFF DEWSBERRY: Ringling (1969)

Photo courtesy of Greg DeSanto



New title for this feature suggested by Shane Cashin

"Great compassion and wisdom are the chief qualities of the Buddha. Even in worldly terms, the more intelligent and knowledgeable a person is, the more the person commands respect. Similarly, the more compassionate, kind and gentle a person, the more he or she should be respected. So if you are able to develop that intelligence and altruism to their fullest extent, then you are truly admirable and deserve to be respected."

IMPROV EVERYWHERE: Frozen Grand Central Station




From Wikipedia...

Phil Silvers (May 11 1911 – November 1 1985) was an American entertainer and comedy actor. He is best known for starring in The Phil Silvers Show, a 1950s sitcom set on a U.S. Army post in which he played Sergeant Bilko.

Early life and career

Born Fischl Silver in Brooklyn, New York, Silvers was the youngest of eight children in a Russian Jewish family. His father was one of the workers on the early New York skyscrapers. Silvers started entertaining at age 11, when he would sing in theaters when the projector broke down (a common occurrence in those days). Two years later, he left school to sing professionally, before appearing in vaudeville as a stooge.

Silvers then landed work in short films for the Vitaphone studio, burlesque houses, and on Broadway, where he made his debut in the short-lived show Yokel Boy. Critics raved about Silvers, who was hailed as the bright spot in the mediocre play. He then wrote the revue High Kickers, until he went to Hollywood to star in films.

He made his film debut in Hit Parade of 1941 (1940) (his previous appearance as a pitch man in Strike Up the Band was cut). Over the next two decades, he appeared in character roles for MGM, Columbia, and 20th Century Fox, in such films as Lady Be Good, Coney Island, Cover Girl, and Summer Stock. When the studio system started collapsing, he returned to the stage.

Silvers wrote the lyrics for Frank Sinatra's "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)". Although he was not a songwriter, he wrote the lyrics on a whim while visiting Sinatra's home with composer Jimmy Van Heusen. The song became a popular hit in 1944 and was a staple in Sinatra's live performances.

Silvers scored a major triumph in Top Banana, a Broadway show of 1952. Silvers played Jerry Biffle, the egocentric, always-busy star of a major television show. (The character is said to have been based on Milton Berle.) Silvers dominated the show and won a Tony Award for his performance. He repeated the role in a 1954 film version that was originally released in 3-D.

1950s fame and later career

Silvers became a household name in 1955 when he starred as Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko in The Phil Silvers Show. The military comedy became a huge television hit, with the opportunistic Bilko fast-talking his way through one obstacle after another. Most episodes of the series were filmed in New York. The series ceased production in 1959, not owing to any decline in popularity but because of high production costs (the show had a huge ensemble cast; see the Wikipedia entry for The Phil Silvers Show).

Throughout the 1960s he appeared internationally in films such as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and 40 Pounds of Trouble. He was featured in Marilyn Monroe's last film, the unfinished Something's Got to Give. In the 1963-1964 television season, he appeared as Harry Grafton, a factory foreman interest in quick-rich-quick schemes, much like the previous Bilko character, in CBS's 30-episode The New Phil Silvers Show, with co-stars Stafford Repp, Herbie Faye, Buddy Lester, Elena Verdugo as his sister, Audrey, and her children, played by Ronnie Dapo and Sandy Descher. In 1967 he starred as a guest in one of the famed British Carry On films, Follow That Camel, a Foreign Legion spoof in which he played a variation of the "Sergeant Bilko" character. Producer Peter Rogers employed him to ensure the Carry On films' success in America. His salary was £30,000, the largest Carry On salary ever, only later met by the appearance of Elke Sommer in Carry On Behind. Silvers' presence did not ensure the film's success on either side of the Atlantic.

Silvers was offered the leading role of conniving Roman slave Pseudolus in the Broadway musical comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Silvers declined, and the role went instead to Zero Mostel, who was so successful in the role that he repeated the role in the 1966 film version. By this time Silvers realized his error, and agreed to appear in the film as a secondary character, flesh merchant Marcus Lycus. When actor-producer Larry Blyden mounted a Broadway revival of Forum in 1972, he wanted Phil Silvers to play the lead, and this time Silvers agreed. The revival was a big hit.

Silvers also guested on The Beverly Hillbillies, and various TV variety shows such as The Carol Burnett Show, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and The Dean Martin Show. Perhaps Silvers' most memorable guest appearance was as curmudgeonly Hollywood producer Harold Hecuba in an episode (titled "The Producer") of Gilligan's Island (Silvers's production company Gladasya - named after his catchphrase "Gladdaseeya!" - financed the show).

Illness and death

In 1972, Silvers suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. Despite his poor health, he continued working into the early 1980s including an appearance on Fantasy Island as an old comic trying to reunite with his old partner, and on Happy Days as the father of "Jenny Piccolo" (played by his real-life daughter Cathy Silvers). A frail Silvers, interviewed before his death, revealed one of his secrets: "I’m an impatient comedian. And I feel the audience is as impatient as me." Silvers ended his comedy career appearing in mostly blanked British films, which were usually pointed as the films which destroyed the BFI in the seventies.

Silvers died on November 1, 1985 in Century City, California at the age of 74. The cause of death was a heart attack. He was interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.

Personal life

Silvers was as compulsive a gambler in real life as his legendary comic character Sgt. Bilko. He suffered from depression on and off over the years. His memoirs were titled 'The Laughs were on Me'.

He was rumored to watch his own movies and television shows over and over while living in a nursing home.


In 2003, The Phil Silvers Show was voted Best Sitcom in the BBC guide to television comedy. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted #42 on the list of the top 50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.

Monday, February 16, 2009

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling, Early 60s

Photo courtesy of Sandy Weber

Hey Pat!

I found this picture I have of clowns from the Ringling Alley of the 60's (I can't remember where this came from, perhaps a magazine article. I don't think it came from a program).

Anyway, you can see Jackie Cooper in there as well as Coco (doing a balancing pose with someone I can't identify), Frankie Saluto, Prince Paul, Dennis Stevens, Duane Thorpe, Gene Lewis, Mark Anthony, Fred Freeman, and Owen McQuade (I believe), plus a couple of folks I don't know their names.

Thought it was interesting. Sorry about the crease in the middle of it (if I can find out where it came from I'd love to get a new copy of it!).

Take care!

Your Pal,

Sandy Weber


"Dreams are an idea of the mind. There are no tangible objects beneath these sole appearances. Similarly, self and others, Samsara and Nirvana, are designated by the name and the knowledge about them. Thus, there is no inherent existence of any object."



Sunday, February 15, 2009

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling (1967/68)

Photo courtesy of Elek Sebestyen

Before the Greatest Clown Alley on Earth was split in two:

Down front: Marcos Drougett

On the ring curb: Mark Anthony, Lazlo Donnert, Frankie Saluto

That looks like a Dewsberry there at the far left. I'm not sure of who's who until we get to Dale Evans and then we have Prof. Paul Wenzel with Miguel "Mike" Padilla in front, Lou Jacobs in his waterskiing outfit and Mike "Coco" Polikovs in his great "harlequin" suit.

If you look closely behind the trombone you'll see Prince Paul Alpert.

Conspicuously absent: Duane Thorpe, Kinko Sunberry, Bobby Kaye, Michael Karp, Dougie Ashton, and Otto Griebling.



"Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other."


One is a "Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible" the other is an astronomer, computer expert, and author.

Can you tell which is which???


A video tribute to Mikhail Chouidin, longtime comedy partner of Yuri Nikulin.

These two men were not romantically linked. I hope that I will not have to point that out for every performer that I post about here from now on. 

I hope that I have the translation correct for Mr. Shuidin's last name. Any help there would be greatly appreciated.