Friday, December 31, 2010


Just a reminder that Zirkers Matthew Pauli, Michael Rosman, Moira Lee and myself will be performing in Dover, DE this evening. The legendary Kohl & Co as well as many talented jugglers, facepainters, stilt walkers, balloon twisters magicians, musicians and others will be in town as well, all for one low price. If you are in the area, come on out!

CLOWN ALLEY: Circus Sarasota's Laughter Unlimited

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I believe that I may have discovered the single greatest contemporary American clown.

To view his work, click here.

RENALDO: Acrobats

CLOWN ALLEY: Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus (1978)

Photos of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus Clown Alley in Miami, FL December 1978 courtesy of Laura Levine

Jimmy James Plott preparing to take the ring under the World's Largest Big Top

Jimmy James, Sandy Kozik and Jim Marple in the Alley

Sandy Kozik: Portrait of the Artist as a Baby Clown

More to come

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ICHOF: RE: American Pickers

To help alleviate some of the phone calls to the International Clown Hall of Fame inquiring as to the price of various displays seen on American Pickers the other night: NOTHING IS FOR SALE!!!

I think that we've said it in every conceivable way but still there seems to be a misunderstanding that everything seen in the episode has a sale price. It does NOT. 

The items that were sold were part of the International Clown Hall of Fame's collection that has NOTHING to do with the Hall's stated mission of preserving and honoring the great clowns of the past. Often when someone donates a pair of shoes, a trunk or any other item of historical importance it comes to us along with several other pieces that have nothing to do with clowns or clowning. The Hall has acquired a sizable collection of things that have little or nothing to do with the ICHOF's mission. These things have not been discarded, ever, and take up a great amount of space and cost money to insure and store.

It is these items were made available to American Pickers as a way to raise awareness of the ICHOF's move to Baraboo, WI as well as to raise sorely needed funds for the Hall's continued operation.

The items that were sold were:

A carnival game
Some widely available reproduction circus posters (none with a clown image)
A toy elephant

The Dom DeLuise painting, the clown bike, the shoes and everything else featured in the segment are STILL on display at the Hall of Fame in Baraboo, WI. No clown items were ever for sale to the show and they are not for sale to anyone else. They are NOT for sale.

The ICHOF website will have a gift shop open soon with books, videos, t shirts and posters. These will be the only items that the International Clown Hall of Fame offers for sale to anyone. At any price.

If you are calling the Hall to purchase ANYTHING that you saw on TV the other night you can stop calling now.

Thank you ; )


Anyone in or near Dover, DE come on out New Year's Eve and catch Zirkers Matthew Pauli and myself performing our new material, Michael Rosman performing with his daughter Sophia and son Ethan and, last but not least, International Clown Hall of Fame "Lifetime of Laughter" recipients KOHL & CO!

That in addition to various magicians, musicians, balloon twisters, facepainters, games, rides... etc.

So come on out and ring in the New Year with more clowning than you can shake a slapstick at...


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FROM THE ICHOF: Re: American Pickers

From the desk of International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center Director, Mr. Greg DeSanto...

We were VERY happy with American Pickers! Frank & Mike were great to work with and the segment gives a peek into the museum and all the treasures it holds. For more info check out our website at and if you'd like to help continue our mission to preserve this great history of clowns. We accept PayPal and all gifts are very welcomed and greatly needed as we enter 2011.


NY GOOFS: NY and Dallas Intensive Workshops

These are the very best intensive courses in the country with some of the very best instructors in the world. Seriously, these are NOT to be missed...

new york: january 14th-16th          dallas: january 21st-23rd

New York welcomes special guest: THE ACROBUFFOS, Seth Bloom & Christina Gelsone They have trained with Ringling Bros., Dell 'Arte, London International School of Performing Arts, and Princeton University.They have performed and taught in Kabul, Afghanistan, Serbia, Kosova, China, Singapore, France, Venezuela, Japan and Holland to name a few. They were most recently named "one of the top acts" at the World Busker Festival in New Zealand. These two performers bring a whole new definition to performing with masks. They have taken this work beyond the classroom and into the world.

Dallas is proud to bring the incomparable Jay Stewart. Jay has made his career clowning in a variety venues. He started at Ringling Bros., became one of the stars of the Three Stooges Show in Vegas, and then went on to create his own comedy troupe called "The Seaside Clowns" in Myrtle Beach. Jay recently added hospitals to his roster, and is a member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care at Boston Childrens and in Providence. His teaching for this workshop will be based on his recently developed curriculum, using Classic Warner Bros. Cartoon Characters as Role Models for Clowns.

These great instructors will be joined by NY Goofs' founders Dick Monday and Tiffany Riley, who will also be teaching in both Dallas and New York. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot soon.

To reserve a spot in either workshop, please call or email us.
You can also reserve your spot with a $50 deposit via Pay Pal on our website.

New York Workshop $300   Dallas Workshop $225
(January 14 - 16)                    (January 21 - 23)
212.591.0028 or 972-513-0669
There are a few partial scholarships available


Dukie Andersen knew it, so did Harold Lloyd.

There was a time, not too long ago when circus clowning was built on a firm foundation of gunpowder, electric matches, and moxie not whistles, duck calls and audience volunteers.

Order this shirt here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

QUOTE: Mike Wolfe

"When we walked into the International Clown Hall of Fame I had no idea I was going to have so much fun!"

- Mike Wolfe, American Pickers


Big show under the Big Top: 'American Pickers' to highlight Baraboo on History Channel Monday


Brian D. Bridgeford, News Republic | Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 10:30 pm |

Baraboo's clown museum, and unique objects from its storerooms, will be featured on national television at 8 p.m. Monday.

The local flavor will be part of the newest episode of the popular antiques and artifacts show "American Pickers," televised on the History Channel - Channel 44 for those receiving Charter cable television.

Monday's "American Pickers" episode will feature an "amazing miniature automated carnival" from the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center, according to a press release from the History Channel's Heather DiRubba.

"American Pickers" follows hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz as they travel the country rummaging through attics, basements and junk piles looking for unique and unusual objects.

The episode stems from a June visit by Wolfe, Fritz and their television crew to Baraboo.

Greg DeSanto, a Baraboo clown and executive director of the museum, said the Hall of Fame was one of the highlights of the hosts' visit.

The TV hosts interviewed DeSanto, his wife and fellow clown Karen DeSanto, while looking over the exhibits and rummaging through the museum's storerooms of artifacts.

"They were looking for unique and interesting places and they found one here in Baraboo," DeSanto said. "They really thought a clown museum would be an interesting dig for them."

Exploring the Hall of Fame and searching for an artifact in Baraboo was fairly easy and comfortable for the show hosts, he added.

"They're used to climbing under theater stages and dusty, musty barns," DeSanto said. "They're archeologists of interesting objects."

In each episode, the pickers also explore small towns and introduce viewers to "quirky characters" they find during their search for interesting objects.

DeSanto said he and Karen dressed in clown make-up and costume while leading Wolfe and Fritz around the museum and conducting their interviews.

He expects that after being featured on a popular national show, the Hall of Fame and Baraboo will gain some attention, resulting in an increase in appeal for tourists.

"That's what's so great about having a national program that's so highly rated and seen by so many people," DeSanto said. "Not only will (the audience) get to see some fun stuff they got to pick, you'll get a sense of the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center (and) you'll get a sense of the town of Baraboo. Really, they fell in love with this little town and this circus lineage that goes with it."

The Clown Hall of Fame is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, and as such DeSanto said they were not free to sell off objects directly connected to their mission of preserving the history of clowning. However, he said, the museum has collected interesting and historic objects over the years that are not directly connected to clowning.

"People, when they donate a collection, they give us everything," he said. "Some things in the collection are not clown-related; they might be circus-related or carnival-related."

It was from among those items that Wolfe and Fritz picked a variety of things to buy, including the miniature carnival that will be featured Monday evening.

"We took them through our basement, our storage, our museum, our backrooms," DeSanto said. "They were fascinated by this stuff that is really different from anything they've encountered on a farm or in some storage locker."

Information about Baraboo's International Clown Hall of Fame can be found online at, while the "American Pickers" website, including video of episodes, can be found at


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Artist: Robert Lewis        Courtesy of the Laurel & Hardy Archives on Facebook

Friday, December 24, 2010


This year's video Christmas card was a joint venture between Shane, Jamie and myself. We hope you like it.

A very Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

Peace on Earth; Good Will to All,


Thursday, December 23, 2010

SANDY POWELL: Ventriloquist Act

Sandy Powell (30 January 1900 - 26 June 1982) was an English comedian best known for his radio work of the 1930s and for his catchphrase Can You Hear Me, Mother?

Life and career

Born Albert Arthur Powell in Rotherham, Yorkshire, England in 1900, he attended White's school in Mosborough where he helped his mother (Lily le Maine) to put on a marionette show. After he left school he became a music hall entertainer, often wearing a kilt in the guise of a Scottish comedian. During this part of his career he was associated with the singer Gracie Fields, and released several records where he collaborated with her.

He made a total of 85 78rpm records between 1929 and 1942 mostly double-sided sketches with him in various occupations. The first, The Lost Policeman on the cheap Broadcast label, sold almost half a million copies, and his subsequent recordings for Broadcast and Rex were extremely popular. He said in a 1982 interview that he used his stage work to advertise the records, rather than the other way about.

Sandy had a stooge in his act during the 1930s, the boy soprano, Jimmy Fletcher, father of the actor Gerard Fletcher, of Emmerdale, Coronation Street and other TV . From 1930 he took his own revue, Sandy Powell's Road Show, on tour - it ran for ten years and was extremely popular despite having only a handful of performers and two backdrops.

In the 1930s he began to work on the radio, always introducing his show with catchphrase Can You Hear Me, Mother? Powell said that the catchphrase originated on an occasion when he had dropped his script and was killing time at the microphone while rearranging the pages. It is also attributed to his mother's coercion and her Hardness of Hearing, during his early career. He also appeared in a number of films during the 1930s, usually as himself. A popular figure, he worked continuously on radio, television and pantomime through the 1940s and 1950s, and was still performing occasionally up to his death in 1982. Part of his act was a comedy ventriloquism act, where the dummy would fall apart. He was still well-known enough to have a pub named after him in 1970.

COLBERT REPORT: Stephen Colbert's New Lyrics to "Send In the Clowns"

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Sondheim
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>March to Keep Fear Alive

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BEN TURPIN: With Mystery Clowns (1934)

All we have to go on here is that the man in the center in silent film star Ben Turpin and that this was taken at a show in 1934. I suppose we can assume it's Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in Los Angeles but there is no guarantee of that.

Does anyone recognize the two clowns?



Congratulations go out today to clown, magician and circus arts instructor Doug Young and his partner Edgar Cordova who were married yesterday in a ceremony in Washington DC.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Tell me, if I posted this photo and said it was a video screen grab from a local TV kids show in 1965, that anyone would know that it was actually taken last Saturday?

This isn't a "lost art" yet. It may be down but it isn't over. There are still many talented people out there who know how to do this in the classic style. It's a shame show producers don't call them more often.


Photos courtesy of Barry Phillips and Penny Wilson Rodriguez

Dave Sheppard and Barry DeChant relaxing in the Alley.

Sherri Sheppard and Jackie LeClaire getting ready (with Sandy Kozik in the background).

Sandy, Toby Ballantine and Elmo Gibb going over some last minute details.

A partial Alley photo: Sandy, Elmo, Barry Phillips, Toby Ballantine and Graham "Coco Jr" Ahrhart.

Two Kings of the Ring: Jackie and Sandy (with Toby in the background).

Ace Producing Clown, Elmo Gibb

Elmo and Sandy showing off their customized Square Circles.

Barry Phillips considering a trim from Elmo's Atomic Hair Grower (performed at the request of Mr. Buckles Woodcock).

Elmo's Bakery oven with his Levitation props in the back.


THE FOSSETTS & LITTLE BILLY: Great Yarmouth (1976)

Photo courtesy of Sue Lenz

Jacko Fossett, Little Billy Merchant, Father David, Connie Fossett outside the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus in 1976.

TICKEY: With Lou (1982)

Monday, December 13, 2010


Photos courtesy of Barry Phillips

Jackie LeClaire, Barry Phillips & Graham "Coco Jr" Ahrhart

International Clown Hall of Fame inductees Steve Smith and Jackie Le Claire

The sign on the Alley door featuring images of Prince Paul, Mark Anthony, Peggy Williams and Lou Jacobs

Jackie and Barry "Bonzo" DeChant

There is not a word yet, for old friends who've just met: Jackie rehearsing with Sandy Kozik

I've been told by several people that Jackie and Sandy got along famously. I'm very glad to hear that as Sandy has wanted to meet Jackie for years and was greatly looking forward to working with him.

More to come...

MIGUELITO: Holiday Carnival (2010)

Miguelito... the chef... doing magic... with a puppet... dog.

I'm sold! Consider me a Miguelitist!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

SHOWFOLKS CIRCUS 2010: December 11th, 2010 2:00 & 7:00 PM

Toby Ballantine, Jackie LeClaire, Barry Phillips and Elmo Gibb will all be on hand!

The popcorn is popping, the cotton candy is being spun and right about now the clowns are arriving at the Robarts Arena in beautiful Sarasota and spotting their trunks as America's Largest Professional  (Spot Date) Clown Alley prepares to return for the all-new 2010 edition of the Showfolks Circus!

Showtimes are at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. 

Freerolls always gratefully accepted ; )

OTTO GRIEBLING: with Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

PRINCE PAUL: with Marilyn Monroe at Madison Square Garden

CLOWN ALLEY: Hotarini Construction Gag, Ringling Red Unit (1983/84)

Video courtesy of Nic Beery

Friday, December 10, 2010

SHOWFOLKS CIRCUS 2010: December 11th, 2010 2:00 & 7:00 PM

The Showfolks Circus is at the Robarts Arena in Sarasota, FL tomorrow. This year's Clown Alley includes Jackie Le Claire, Elmo Gibb, Sandy Kozik, Toby Ballantine, Robin Eurich, Barry Phillips, Barry DeChant and Dave & Sherri Sheppard.

I wish I could be there. 

If you are in the area, PLEASE go out and support the Showfolks and send me your pictures and video of the Alley. As always, the Alley gratefully accepts any and all coffee, donuts, water & Gatorade and other snacks so don't be shy ; )


Orlandito was also at last year's Showfolks Circus.

RYAN & STEVE: The Great American Circus (2010)

What are these kids still talking about during the encores? The clowns, that's what.

CLOWN ALLEY: Bobby Hunt; Breakaway Bike Gag, Ringling Red Unit (1983/84)

Video courtesy of Nic Beery

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Today marks the second anniversary of the passing of my friend, Jim Clark, one of the finest people that it has ever been my pleasure to know.

In all things, Jim's very thoughtful consideration and impeccable character were evident.

After two years, I am still not yet qualified to properly eulogize him. It is still too fresh, too painful, and nothing that I could say would do him the justice he deserves.

Suffice to say that my family and I continue to miss him terribly each and every day.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sunday, December 05, 2010