Friday, March 05, 2010



That's right! Ringling clowns munchin' down, goin' to town this Saturday crunchin' on PICKLES!

Edited, timestamped videos must be posted to YouTube with the title "Iron Clown Challenge"
no later than 9:00 AM EST on Monday to be eligible.

Good luck and may the best Alley win!



What is The Iron Clown Challenge?

The Iron Clown Challenge is a all-out battle between Ringling Alleys for ultimate supremacy.

Why only Ringling Alleys?

Because the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth is the only show with real Alleys who have to deal with real Performance Directors and other corporate types who could and would prevent or punish them for attempting to honorably complete the challenge.

What is the "challenge"?

To get as many members of the Alley to perform each challenge IN A SINGLE SHOW as possible and to provide timestamped video evidence, posted to YouTube.

Points are awarded thusly...

10 POINTS: Awarded to Alley members performing the challenge on the floor during pre-show.

100 POINTS: Awarded to Alley members performing the challenge during a gag within the performance.

500 POINTS: Awarded to Alley members performing the challenge during production numbers.

The Iron Clown Challenge will NEVER be something inappropriate that would damage the image of the show or the clowns, merely something unusual that could (and very well may) go completely unnoticed.

Thus, if the particular challenge is to be on the floor barefoot, an Alley would receive 10 points a piece for video evidence (with a timestamp) of each clown on the floor for pre-show without shoes or socks. 100 points would be awarded for each clown barefoot clown on the floor in a ring gag. 500 points would be awarded for video evidence of each barefoot clown on the floor during opening, spec or finale.

If, say, a 12 person Alley were to accept the Iron Clown Challenge to appear barefoot but none accepted the challenge to do it outside of pre-show, that 12 person Alley would be awarded 120 points.

Each clown may appear only once in the final video, thus Lance Brown appearing barefoot throughout the entire second show on Saturday will only net the Alley the 10 points for appearing barefoot in the pre-show. He is not awarded the full 610 points.

If Lance, for example, were to present timestamped video evidence of his appearing barefoot ALL DAY on Saturday he would still only be eligible for one show.

So the challenge is to work barefoot at some point?

No. That is just the example. This week's Iron Clown Ingredient will be revealed here at 9:00 PM EST.

Boss Clowns: Choose your show on Saturday, grab your video cameras and find your camera people. Your Alley's honor is at stake!

Any questions must be posted here before 9:00 PM EST. No further questions can be submitted or will be answered after that time.

For the rest of you: Buy your tickets for this weekend and possibly be there to witness the very first IRON CLOWN CHALLENGE!

CARTOONS: Witch Doctor

Link courtesy of Jerry Beck

Cartoons DK - Witch Doctor
Ever wonder what would happen if Bello Nock and Sylvester the Jester had babies and they grew up to be the New Monkees on an 80s themed episode of Lazytown? Ask no more...

SANDY BECKER'S CHRISTMAS CAROL: Recreated with the Original Puppets

For more information PLEASE click the title of this post!



THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH: Reviewed By Some Tired Old Queen



A. VEKSHIN, K. VASILEV & CO: Entry of the Gladiators (1972)

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Red and Blue Unit Ringling Boss Clowns (and a representative of the Caveagna Family): Grab a video camera and prepare for further instructions! Your alley's honor is at stake!




For those who never thought that they'd live to see Joe Biden and Sarah Palin work together, here they are. In Italian.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


This Friday begins the Iron Clown Challenge. The Red, the Blue and the Gold.

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Born: March 2, 1904
Springfield, Massachusetts
Died: September 24, 1991
La Jolla, California

American children's book author and illustrator

Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote the popular children's books The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hatches the Egg, and many more. As Dr. Seuss, Geisel brought a whimsical touch and a colorful imagination to the world of children's books.

Theodor Geisel. Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos.
Theodor Geisel.
Reproduced by permission of
AP/Wide World Photos

Childhood and early career

Theodor Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father owned a brewery until the onset of Prohibition, a time in the 1920s when buying and selling alcohol was made illegal. Geisel's father then took a job as superintendent of city parks, which included the local zoo. There, young Theodor spent many days drawing the animals and eventually developing his own unique style. Though Geisel would later gain fame because of his unique artistic style, he never once had an art lesson.

After graduating high school, Geisel went on to graduate from Dartmouth College in 1925, and later studied at the Lincoln College of Oxford University in England. After dropping out of Oxford, he traveled throughout Europe, mingling with émigrés (those living abroad) in Paris, including writer Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961). Eventually returning to New York, he spent fifteen years in advertising before joining the army and making two Oscar-winning documentaries, "Hitler Lives" and "Design for Death," which he made with his wife, Helen Parker Geisel. He would also win an Oscar for his animated cartoon "Gerald McBoing Boing"(1951). Also at this time Geisel began drawing and selling his cartoons to national magazines, including Vanity Fair and the Saturday Evening Post. Later he worked as an editorial cartoonist for PM newspaper in New York.

First books

Geisel began writing the verses of his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1936 during a rough sea passage. But success did not come easy for the young author, as Mulberry Street was rejected by twenty-nine different publishers before it was finally accepted. Published in 1937, the book won much praise, largely because of its unique drawings.

All of Geisel's books, in fact, feature crazy-looking creatures that are sometimes based on real animals, but which usually consist of such bizarre combinations of objects as a centipede and a horse and a camel with a feather duster on its head. Unlike many puppeteers and cartoonists who have capitalized on their creations by selling their most familiar images to big-time toy-makers, Dr. Seuss concentrated his efforts on creating interesting books.

In May 1954, after a string of successful books, Geisel published what would become his most famous book, The Cat in the Hat. Legend has it that The Cat in the Hat was created, in part, because of a bet Geisel made with a publisher who said he could not write a complete children's book with less than 250 words. The Cat in the Hat came in at 223 words. In 1960 Geisel published his second-most successful book, Green Eggs and Ham, which used only fifty words. In 1958, from the success of his children's books, Geisel founded Beginner Books, which eventually became part of Random House.

"Basically an educator"

Admired among fellow authors and editors for his honesty and hard work, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, according to Ruth MacDonald in the Chicago Tribune, "perfected the art of telling great stories with a vocabulary as small as sometimes fifty-two or fifty-three words."

"[Geisel] was not only a master of word and rhyme and an original and eccentric artist," Gerald Harrison, president of Random House's merchandise division, declared in Publisher's Weekly, "but down deep, I think he was basically an educator. He helped teach kids that reading was a joy and not a chore.… For those of us who worked with him, he taught us to strive for excellence in all the books we published."

Wrote for adults as well as children

Geisel's last two books spent several months on the bestseller lists and include themes that appealed to adults as well as children. "Finally I can say that I write not for kids but for people," he commented in the Los Angeles Times. Many of his readers were surprised to learn that Geisel had no children of his own, though he had stepchildren from his second marriage to Audrey Stone Dimond. To this fact he once said, "You make 'em, I amuse 'em," as quoted in the Chicago Tribune. According to the Los Angeles Times, the author also remarked, "I don't think spending your days surrounded by kids is necessary to write the kind of books I write.… Once a writer starts talking down to kids, he's lost. Kids can pick up on that kind of thing."

Before Geisel, juvenile books were largely pastel, predictable, and dominated by a didactic tone (a sense that the books were intended to instruct). Though Dr. Seuss books sometimes included morals, they sounded less like behavioral guidelines and more like, "listen to your feelings" and "take care of the environment," universal ideas that would win over the hearts of youngsters from around the world. Geisel's 47 books were translated into 20 languages and have sold more than 200 million copies. Of the ten bestselling hardcover children's books of all time, four were written by Geisel: The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and Hop on Pop.

Theodor Geisel died September 24, 1991, in La Jolla, California. To children of all ages, Dr. Suess remains the most famous and influential name in children's literature.

JOE JACKSON JR: A Classic Story (1940s)

Anyone familiar with the life of this great performer knows this classic story...

Joe Jackson, desperately ill, goes to an analyst and tells the doctor that he has lost his desire to live and that he is seriously considering suicide. The doctor listens to this tale of melancholia and then tells the patient that what he needs is a good belly laugh. He advises the unhappy man to go to the circus that night and spend the evening laughing at Tibor Sallai, the world's funniest clown.

Jackson is reported to have said, "Wait, what? Tibor who? That's not how this story goes! What the hell are you talking about?!?"

ROTMAN & MAKOVSKIY: Ballet from "Canival" (1972)

MYSTERY CLOWN: Toy Elephant; Shrine Circus

MAX WALL: 1908-1990



Monday, March 01, 2010

PAOLO (1954)

Does anyone have any info on Paolo?


TIBOR SALLAI: Note for Note, Beat for Beat

"Lucy, you have some 'splainin' to do..."

I'm going to give Tibor the benefit of the doubt and describe this as a extremely "loving tribute" but if I'd known that tribute acts made it into international circus festivals I'd have grabbed some pie plates and gone years ago.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


SYMPHONY OF SCIENCE: The Poetry of Reality

ABC-TV NY: Ringling Special

ABC-TV, Channel 7 in NY, did a 30 minute special on the new Ringling Blue Unit show last night, hosted by Bill Evans.

There was virtually NOTHING on the clowns.

I don't think that I have ever seen a television special on circus that so studiously avoided one of the very basic components of classical circus. I'm curious if the deletion was on the part of the circus or by choice of the television producers.

Either way, it's surprising to see Ringling clowning so obviously marginalized.


This man is pure genius; a wizard, a true star!

When your grandkids are watching The Exploding Banana Face Show on The Exploding Banana Face Channel (on Steve Jobs IV's IMAX-ready HD iGlasses) you'll be able to say that you saw it here first.