Saturday, January 16, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Not Yet Released!

The press release that we've been waiting for has been pushed back to Monday morning.

Keep checking back just in case we get clearance to post it early!!!


Please click the title of this post for an interesting Milwaukee Journal article from August 10, 1947 about Harry Dann teaching school on the Ringling show.


Friday, January 15, 2010


I believe that the big announcement that we've all been anticipating will be posted overnight tonight and will be waiting for you when you wake up.

I am just waiting for the finalized press release from the organization now.

CAMPUCHITO: Circo Vasquez Hnos


Please click the title of this post and see if it links you to a Google News archival article on clowning. This is a first attempt to add these links to and, if it works, it greatly increases the information from Google News that I can share here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Dale's memorial at Showfolks looked to be a wonderful remembrance and was very well attended yesterday. I will try to share photos from it as soon as I get clearance from those that posted them.

He is seen here with his dear friend Sue Lenz. Sue shared several very touching stories about Dale with me when I met her at the Robarts Arena.

We should all be so lucky as to have a friend like Sue.

CLOWN ALLEY: Ringling Blue Unit (1978)

Photo courtesy of Daniel Neil Rodgers

Danny "Taz" Rogers, Kevin "Roofus T. Goofus" Bickford, Billy " Elwood Smooch" Baker, Dean "Elmo Gibb" Chambers and Kenny "The Great Gumby" Columbo

MICHAEL BONGAR: At Circus World, Haines City, Fl. (1973)

Photo courtesy of Larry Allen Dean



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

CESLEE CONKLING: December 6, 1965 - January 13, 1994

Photos courtesy of the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center

A Graduate of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College Class of 1991, Ceslee was a clown on the Blue Unit from 1992-1994. Loved by everyone, she died tragically when the Blue Unit circus train derailed outside of Lakeland, Florida on the morning of January 13, 1994. Always helpful and concerned for her friends, Ceslee was killed enroute through the train to alert everyone of a broken wheel on the Clown Car. Always helpful, always concerned; that was our Ceslee.

~ Joel Heidtman

Pages from the program from Ceslee and Ted's memorial service

Ceslee's costume on display at the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center

Ceslee and Ethel
photo courtesy of Mike Weakley

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Courtesy of the International Clown Hall of Fame

LITTLE RED RIDING RABBIT: Merrie Melodies dir. Friz Freleng (1944)

Little Red Riding Rabbit is a 1944 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Friz Freleng, and starring Bugs Bunny. It is a sendup of the Little Red Riding Hood story, and is the first time in which Mel Blanc receives a credit. This cartoon was voted number 39 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.


Little Red Riding Hood is depicted as a typical 1940s teen-aged girl, a "bobby soxer" with an extremely loud and grating voice (inspired by screen and radio comedienne Cass Daley, provided by Bea Benaderet). After she sings "The Five O'Clock Whistle" in the opening to establish this fact, Bugs pops out of her basket to ask where she's going. She replies that she's going to "bring a little bunny rabbit to my grandma's. Ta HAVE, see?"

With this part of the story set up, the wolf is now introduced. The wolf switches a "Shortcut to Grandma's" sign, so that Red has to go through a long mountain path, while the wolf uses the real shortcut – a few short steps to the house. Seeing a note on the door that Grandma isn't home (apparently a "Rosie the Riveter" type who's working the "swing shift" at Lockheed), the wolf sneaks inside and dresses like grandma – only to find that a bunch of other wolves are similarly dressed and waiting in the bed for Red! The wolf (voiced by Billy Bletcher) growls for the others to "take a powder – this is MY racket!" Once in bed, the wolf waits for Red to come to the door. But in a twist, the wolf isn't interested in eating Red, but rather the rabbit she brought with her.

The wolf quickly shuffles Red out the door and tries looking for Bugs. Bugs, however, gets the better of the wolf and runs around the house, being 'chased' by the wolf. The wolf, however, is constantly interrupted by Red, who continues asking the questions from the story, such as "That's an awfully big nose for you – ta HAVE."

Towards the end of the cartoon, after eluding the wolf by distracting him into singing, "Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet (With the Blue Ribbons on It)", Bugs manages to get a glowing coal from the fireplace and sends the wolf to the ceiling by scorching his backside. When the wolf comes down, Bugs has a large shovelful of coals waiting to scorch the wolf. However, the wolf manages to catch his feet on the ends of two benches just in time, doing the "splits", facing the camera (see photo). Instead of simply kicking one of the benches away, Bugs proceeds to dump heavy weights into the wolf's arms. After clearing out just about everything in the house (except the kitchen sink), Bugs is about to apply the coup de grace on the wolf – by placing a flower on top of the mass of junk and furniture the wolf is holding – when Red comes back in, bellowing "Hey, GRANDMA!" (Since Red has by now already questioned the wolf on his big eyes, big nose, big ears, and sharp teeth, one wonders what she was planning to ask next.)

By this time, even Bugs has had enough of Red's interruptions, prompting him to say, "I'll do it, but I'll probably hate myself in the morning." He descends the ladder, out of frame, there's a shuffling of the furniture... and now RED is the one desperately trying to avoid getting scorched (doing the "splits" in her dress, but modestly facing away from the camera), while Bugs and the wolf, arms around each others' shoulders, share a carrot and self-satisfied looks, and await the inevitable.

Later Appearances


ANTONIO: Circus Renz, Berlin

Monday, January 11, 2010

EGGHEAD: My Favorite Cartoon Character of All Time


In 1937, Tex Avery introduced a new character in his cartoon short Egghead Rides Again. Egghead initially was depicted as having a bulbous nose, funny/eccentric clothing, a voice like Joe Penner, and an egg-shaped head (thus the moniker "Egghead"). Many cartoon historians believe that Egghead evolved into Elmer over a period of a couple of years. However, animation historian Michael Barrier asserts "The Egghead-Elmer story is actually a little messy, my sense being that most of the people involved, whether they were making the films or publicizing them, not only had trouble telling the characters apart but had no idea why they should bother trying."

Egghead made his second appearance in 1937's Little Red Walking Hood and then in 1938 teamed with Warner Bros.' newest cartoon star Daffy Duck in Daffy Duck and Egghead. In 1938 Egghead continued to make appearances in the Warner cartoons, including The Isle of Pingo Pongo, and A-Lad-In Bagdad. In A Feud There Was (1938) Egghead made his entrance riding a motorscooter with the words "Elmer Fudd, Peacemaker" displayed on the side, the first onscreen use of that name. Egghead shifts from having a Moe Howard haircut to being bald and wearing a brown derby, a baggy suit, and a high-collared shirt.

His voice, laugh, and mannerisms are very much like those of Joe Penner. In the same period, a Warner's publicity sheet for Cinderella Meets Fella refers to Elmer as Egghead's brother, which seems to argue that at least internally at the studio the characters were always viewed as distinct, even as Fudd emerged and Egghead receded into obscurity. Egghead himself returned decades later in the compilation film Daffy Duck's Quackbusters. More recently, he also made a cameo appearance at the end of Looney Tunes: Back in Action and was also given in his own story, which starred him alongside Pete Puma, in the Looney Tunes comic book.

Egghead has the distinction of being the very first recurring character created for Leon Schlesinger's Merrie Melodies series (to be followed by such characters as Sniffles, Inki, and even Bugs Bunny), which had previously contained only one-shot characters, although during the Harman-Ising era, Foxy, Goopy Geer, and Piggy each appeared in a few Merrie Melodies.

In the 1939 cartoon Dangerous Dan McFoo, a new voice actor Arthur Q. Bryan was hired to provide the voice of the hero dog-character and it was in this cartoon that the popular "milk-sop" voice of Elmer Fudd was created. Elmer Fudd has since been the chief antagonistic force in the majority of the Bugs Bunny cartoons, initiating one of the most famous rivalries in the history of American cinema.



Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, we LOVE you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


The International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center is trying to reach a fan page goal of 2,000 fans for their facebook page by midnight tonight with a very special surprise for the 2,000th fan from the hall's new prize closet.

If you have a facebook acoount, please click the title of this post to become a fan.

There might be big news on the horizon...


Please take a moment to click the title of this post and watch three videos of Jango Edwards and the faculty and students of the Nouveau Clown Institute. You're going to like what you see.