(Santa did not bring any BB because, of course, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!")
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Jamie is still sleeping. I'm surprised. He's usually awake by now.
Maybe I still have time to fix myself a bowl of oatmeal.
Shane has a half day of school today. Maybe we'll see Avatar and then watch some Christmas DVDs.
Born as William Oliver Wallace in Bangalore, India, where his father (also called William ) was serving as a Sergeant Major with the 1st Battalion of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, he spent his early years on a British station in Trimulgherry, Secunderabad, going to Britain with his mother Lillian at the age of seven.
After William Wallace senior had ended his army service, the family moved to Sutton Valence in Kent and young William won a scholarship to Sutton Valence School, leaving at 16 to begin his career as an entertainer. His time in the National Service was spent with the Royal Army Pay Corps. He worked for Harry Stanley's Unique Magic Studio and was manager of the magic department on Hamleys toy shop in London's Regent Street.
He created his Shriek of Araby character with a cod oriental costume (robes, golden curly-toed slippers, horn-rimmed spectacles and a headgear that incorporated a fez and a turban) and took the name Ali Bongo from a character he had created for a youth club pantomime he had co-written and appeared in while in his teens. The original character had sung a song which began: "My name is Ali Bongo and I come from Pongo, pong-tiddley-pongo land." Among his later magic catch-phrases were "Uju Buju Suck Another Juju", "Aldy Bority Phostico Formio", "Hocus Pocus Fishbones Chokus".
Ali Bongo wrote many books on magic, many containing tricks of his own. He also illustrated them in his instantly recognisable style. He acted as magic consultant for many plays, opera, ballets and TV shows including David Nixon's Magic Box, The David Nixon Magic Show for Thames Television and The Paul Daniels Magic Show for the BBC.
Ali Bongo was the presenter of the Ali Bongo’s Cartoon Carnival, which featured himself and his assistant Oscar. It aired on UK TV BBC1 on Saturdays between 23 October and 18 December 1971, a total of nine episodes.
Bongo was featured in an episode of Children's TV show Rainbow, appeared in the science-fiction show The Tomorrow People in the serial "Revenge of Jedikiah" and had a slot in Zokko. He also acted as the magical advisor on the TV show Dr Who and the 70s cult series, Ace of Wands. His legendary ability for devising tricks and illusions and solving magical problems inspired the TV writer, David Renwick, to create a character who was a magician's assistant and amateur sleuth in the series Jonathan Creek. Bongo was magical adviser to the series.
Bongo joined The Magic Circle in 1960 and, two years later was made a Member of The Inner Magic Circle. He won The Magic Circle Magician of the Year in 1972, the Carlton Comedy Award in 1983 and the David Berglas Award in 1991. He served twice as vice-president of The Magic Circle before being elected president on 8 September 2008.
At the beginning of February 2009, Bongo collapsed while giving a lecture in Paris. He was taken to hospital and, whilst there, suffered a stroke. Bongo was subsequently returned to the United Kingdom and cared for in St Thomas' Hospital, London, where he later died from complications arising from pneumonia on March 8.
Ali Bongo was cited in a song by the band Half Man Half Biscuit in the mid 1980s, reflecting his status in UK popular culture at that time:
"My story seems so tragic, Ali Bongo's good at contortionism. He's much better Than David Nixon ever was..."
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
(Shane, pictured above in his new Christmas Story "Ralphie" glasses)
In films, he played Sparrow in The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) with Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. In It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) he played Ray, who along with his partner Irwin (played by Marvin Kaplan), owns a gas station that is destroyed by Jonathan Winters. He appeared in Hello Down There (1969). In one of the oddest movie pairings, he partnered with Arnold Schwarzenegger (billed as "Arnold Strong") in the latter's first film, the camp classic Hercules in New York (1970).
As a voice actor for animated cartoons, Stang provided the voice for Popeye's pal Shorty (a caricature of Stang), Herman the mouse in a number of Famous Studios cartoons, Tubby Tompkins in a few Little Lulu shorts, the famous Hanna-Barbera lead character Top Cat (modeled explicitly on Phil Silvers's Sgt. Bilko), and Catfish on Misterjaw. He also provided many extra voices for the Cartoon Network series Courage the Cowardly Dog. On television, he appeared in commercials for the Chunky candy bar, where he would list all of its ingredients, smile and say, "Chunky, what a chunk of chocolate!" He provided the voice of the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee in the 1980s and was also a spokesman for Vicks Vapo-Rub.
Stang appeared on an episode of The Cosby Show with guest star Sammy Davis Jr. In one TV ad he played Luther Burbank, proudly showing off his newly-invented "square tomato" to fit neatly in typical square slices of commercial bread, then being informed that the advertising bakery had beat him to it by producing round loaves of bread. He played the photographer in the 1993 film Dennis the Menace.
Monday, December 21, 2009
"I'm loving all the Coco hats on everyone.
I didn't know him, but it was fun seeing him laugh at our slap stick routine in Baraboo last year at the reunion. I feel privileged to be doing many of the things that he did so well, stilt walking, performing all around the globe and adding my own skiing skills to the clown world.
Here are three photos that I took today on the mountain with the race team and in my Kinderkids class. This is my 20th season at Alpine Valley in . Alpinevalleyresort.com Then check out . I'm booked through March so between teaching 3rd grade in Milwaukee and Skiing all weekends and holidays I don't get a single day off until spring break when I take my family to Mexico for 10 days.
Let's hear a big Awwwwwww for Mr. Bill who is so busy working. Stinking skiing and getting paid to ski and clown? Not a bad gig!"
Sunday, December 20, 2009
(All the performers and crew at the Showfolks Circus volunteer their time and talents)
(This poor guy made the mistake of visiting the arena that morning and wound up stuffed in the clown car!)
(and not Shrine gag running either, running ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CURTAIN!)
(Batman has a yonger partner named Robin, Jackie has a
younger partner named Robin, ergo: Jackie LeClaire is Batman)
Barry Phillips, Elmo Gibb, Karen Bell & Barry DeChant)
MORE PHOTOS TO COME!
It's been a week since the show and, thanks to the storm, the pace here has settled enough to finally post some photos from it here...
Karen and Robin both work together at Circus Sarsota. We were very fortunate to have several performers who had previous experience working together.
to Graham Coco's tribute board out in the lobby for the second show.
largest gathering of professional clowns at the Showfolks show in decades.
You could pose just about question on just about any subject to this
group of four and one of them would know the exact answer.
Me talking with Carlos Swenson, a fellow survivor of the Ringling 129th.
Stepping out of the clown car with assistance from Jackie
Barry Phillips (who stands 11' 7") stepping out just before putting
on the top hat that makes him taller than most high stilt walkers.
Me, Mike Naughton, Elmo and Karen Bell at the Showfolks Club after the show.
I believe that is Elizabeth Naughton at the MacBook.
MORE TO COME!