Saturday, May 01, 2010


Happy 1st of May 2010!

ICHOF: Thank You!

Thank you all who opened your heart and wallet to help keep the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center in good standing. We always knew clowns were gifted and giving, and when asked you rose to the occasion. We will post a total as soon as we get official numbers. Knowing we have such support in such far flung corners of this world makes everything we are trying to do so important and worthwhile. Thank you all again and Happy First of May!

-Greg DeSanto and the Board of Directors of the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center

ICHOF: Special Announcement!


Baraboo’s International Clown Hall of Fame & Research Center Opens For Funny Business On Friday, May 21, 2010

Baraboo, WI (April 29, 2010) -- The world’s foremost organization dedicated to the preservation of the art, craft and history of clowning will open its doors in Baraboo on Friday, May 21, 2010 at 10 am.

The International Clown Hall of Fame & Research Center is located at 102 4th Avenue in historic Downtown Baraboo, the city that gave birth to Ringling Bros. Circus.

“Over the past four months we've been involved in the happy task of sorting and cataloguing the world's largest archive of clown artifacts,” says Greg DeSanto, Executive Director of the Hall. “From the cash box built by August Ringling for his sons’ very first circus performance to the scrapbooks of legendary circus clowns such as Poodles Hanneford, Mark Anthony, the Sherman Brothers to authentic vaudeville contracts, personal effects, costumes, props and correspondence of some of the greatest funnymen on earth, it is our honor and privilege to preserve this priceless resource.”

“The clowns who left their professional lives in our care loved their work and their careers, opening their hearts to audiences on a daily basis. We are extremely excited to be able to share these artifacts and the fascinating stories behind them.”

In addition to the priceless archives, visitors will see a clowning “Wall of Fame,” honoring the exceptional group of international funny folk who have been enshrined in the Hall.

“The ICHOF has been embraced by the Baraboo community in every sense of the word,” DeSanto adds. “Without the support of downtown businesses, local government officials, circus fans and enthusiasts and friends, this opening would have never happened.”

The Clown Hall of Fame will be open six days a week from 10am to 5pm. Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for children and seniors. Rates for groups are also available. For further information, call (608-355-0321) or visit the Hall’s website at

“We are honored to join the Circus World Museum and the Al Ringling Theater as key spokes in Baraboo’s celebrated wheel of circus history,” DeSanto concludes. “We look forward to welcoming you to the legends of laughter.”

BOBO BARNETT: Even More Home Movies!


Friday, April 30, 2010

ICHOF: Closing Time and Last Call

OK, last call folks...

We've got a 40th Anniversary Clown College Reunion poster signed by approximately 80 CC grads who attended the reunion.

Do you know what is out there and signed by 80 Clown College alumni? Nothing. Absolutely nothing!

THIS window card is signed by some of the biggies.

Some? I mean MOST of the biggies.

The REAL biggies.

What is it going to take to get this one?

The very first donation of $250. (or else we put it on eBay) before midnight tonight wins a poster signed by the very first female graduate of Clown College Peggy Williams, by NPR bigwig Murray Horowitz, by Big Apple Circus stars Barry Lubin, Jeff Gordon, Greg & Karen DeSanto and by almsot EVERY living director of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in addition to 75 other famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College graduates.

Only 3 of these exist.

In the whole entire world.

ICHOF: The Kid Gloves Are Off!

OK, kids! I'm a little tired of stroking you people and you seem a little tired of being stroked. It's time to make this whole thing real...

Every donation of $75. during the 9:00 PM EST hour gets a copy of "Pit Stop", the very first ICHOF induction poster by Jim Howle.

The largest donation during the 9:00 PM EST hour gets a copy autographed by Otto Griebling's daughter Annie, by Felix Adler's nephew, Tim Dolan and LET ME MAKE THIS PERFECTLY CLEAR... the poster is also autographed by Mark Anthony... THE MARK ANTHONY and...


Mark Anthony and Lou Jacobs.

Mark Anthony and Lou Jacobs.

Mark Anthony and Lou Jacobs.

Mark Anthony and Lou Jacobs.

Mark Anthony and Lou Jacobs.

Let me say it again...

Mark Anthony and Lou Jacobs.

I don't want to have to pitch something at 11:00 PM

ICHOF: The 5:00 PM Grand Prize Game

Our Grand Prize Game for the 5:00 hour is...

Each donation over $50.00 between 5:00-6:00 PM EST gets a pristine copy of the 1999 ICHOF induction poster featuring Bill Irwin, Richard “Snowflake” Snowberg, Charlie Rivel, Bob “Hambone” Hamilton and Umberto “Antonet” Guillame.

The highest bidder of the hour will win a copy signed by Tony Award winner Bill Irwin, Richard Snowberg, Bob Hamilton and artist Jim Howle.

This is the very rarest of all the ICHOF posters. There were fewer signed copies of this induction poster than any other year so if you've always wanted Bill Irwin's autograph, NOW IS THE TIME TO GET IT!

Well, not right now. Wait until 5:00 PM EST.


ICHOF Director Greg DeSanto has just informed me that we have added a 3:00 PM Grand Prize Game:

The single largest donation over $50. in the 3:00-4:00 PM EST hour will receive a copy of the extremely rare, and much sought after, book Circus Stories by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' only living Master Clown, the one and only Glen "Frosty" Little.

If you've spent years searching eBay in vain, here it is, folks! Hotorini!

ICHOF: The 1:00 PM Grand Prize Game

Our 1:00 PM Grand Prize Game is for the 1994 ICHOF induction poster. Each and every donation of $50.00 or more wins you a pristine copy of this Maurice Porcelain poster featuring Nicolai "Coco" Poliakoffs, Bumpsey Anthony, Jim Howle, Joe Jackson and Annie Fratellini.

The largest donation in the 1:00 - 2:00PM EST hour wins a copy autographed by Jim Howle (with added caricature), Mike Coco, Bumpsey's daughter, Joe's Jackson's daughter Ruth Jackson, a relative of Annie Fratellini's as well as artist Maurice Porcelain.

Keep those donations coming!!!


ICHOF: First of Mayday Update

Hello and welcome to the final day of the ICHOF's "First of Mayday" fund raising event.

Let's kick things off with a very special "Grand Prize Game" offer. Each and every donation of $50. or more made between 10:00 and 11:00 AM EST will receive a pristine autographed poster of WGN's Roy "Cookie" Brown, a longtime fixture of WGN's Bozo's Circus.

To make a donation, simply click the PayPal button at the top of the right hand column on this page. You don't need a PayPal account to use the PayPal service but you DO need to make a PayPal donation to be in the running for the Grand Prize Game. In other words: You Have to Be In IT to Win It!

We will be running additional Grand Prize Games during the 1:00 and 5:00 hours as well as the mother-of-all biggies at 9:00 PM tonight.

And tomorrow morning we have a very special announcement about the ICHOF and the Grand Opening in our new home in Baraboo, WI.

Yesterday's Grand Prize Game winner was: Mr. Jack Painter!

Congratulations and thank you, Jack.

BOBO BARNETT: Even More Home Movies!

BOIARINOV: Le Plus Grande Cabaret du Monde

JOHN K: Chuck Jones' Barbary Coast Bunny (1956)

Please click the title of this post to read John (Ren & Stimpy) Kricfalusi's thoughtful analysis of Chuck Jones' 1956 Looney Tunes short Barabary Coast Bunny. This is one of my favorite blogs for animation history and never fails to amaze me just how many parallels there are between classic cartoon animation and good clowning.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

ICHOF: More First of Mayday Prizes

Today has been steady, but still not as big as Tuesday was so...

The very next donation of $100. or more after 9:00 PM EST wins a pristine signed 1998 ICHOF induction poster autographed by the lovely and talented Ms. Peggy Williams, Blinko & Maran Burch, a relative of Robert Armin and artist Mark Refro.

Keep 'em coming folks! We just received a large shipment of Clown College-era George Shellenberger clown props today that are going to need a little restoration work so they'll be ready for the Grand Opening!

ICHOF: First of Mayday Update

Wednesday was a little slower than Tuesday. We had several very generous donations but we still have a ways to go if we are going to meet our goal by midnight Friday, so...

Today's Drive Time Grand Prize is the ICHOF 1995 poster featuring the Sherman Bros, Don Burda, Jimmy "Happy" Williams, Dimitri and Poodles Hannedford. Any and all donations over $50. made during that hour will receive a pristine copy of the poster.

The largest donation made between 5:00 and 6:00 PM EST will receive a copy autographed by Joe Vani (Sherman), Don Burda, HappyWilliams, Masha Dimitri, Gracie Hannedford and artist Mark Renfro.

Good luck, thank you all and get ready tomorrow for more prizes and a very special announcement!

MILO & ROGER: Handbill

If you've never read Arthur "Milo" Brandon's autobiography Milo & Roger: A Magical Life then stop what you are doing right now, track down a copy (at any price) and read it. Now.


BOBO BARNETT: More Home Movies

SLAVA POLUNIN: Le Plus Grande Cabaret du Monde

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ICHOF: Today's Winner Is...

The winner of today's autographed poster is...


Congratulations Alex and thank you!

ICHOF: Wednesday's Drive Time Prize

Today's Drive Time gift is the rare ICHOF 1996 induction poster with Bob Bell, Boom Boom Baily, Jackie LeClaire and Bert Williams.

Every contribution of $50. or more between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM EST today will receive a pristine copy of the poster, suitable for framing.

The largest contribution of the hour will receive a copy of the poster signed by WGN-TV's longtime Bozo the Clown Bob Bell, Boom Boom Baily, a relative of the great Bert Williams, the legendary Jackie LeClaire and artist Mark Renfro.

Good luck!


I just checked the ICHOF "First of Mayday!" tote board and we are just shy of halfway to our stated goal.

So... it's time to sweeten the pot!

From 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM EST today EACH AND EVERY person who donates $50. or more will receive a rare ICHOF induction poster. The person who makes the LARGEST donation in that hour will receive a copy of that poster autographed by inductees, their heirs and the artist.

Check back at 4:00 PM to find out which year's induction poster will be our special Wednesday Drive Time gift and who's autographs are up for grabs. Then check back after 7:00 PM EST tonight to see who won!

SLIVERS OAKLEY: Obituary from The Bricklayer, Mason & Plasterer (April 1916)

BOBO BARNETT: Home Movie Footage

GEORGE CARL: Patrick Sébastien Show (May 16, 1992)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


We had a spectacular first day, not exactly on track to meet our anticipated goal but far better than we'd hoped for a first day!

Thank you, each and every one of you, who have made a donation so far. Each donation is greatly appreciated and some of you have been remarkably generous. Anything that you can send, large or small, will make a world of difference in these difficult final days before the Grand Opening in our new home in Baraboo, WI.

Some folks are having trouble getting to the PayPal site from the link here on I don't know why that is. It works for some and not for others. If the link isn't working for you, please go directly to PayPal and "send money" under the ID "". I'm not using the account for anything else this month so each and every donation is logged and every dime in the account will go directly to the International Clown Hall of Fame.

You do not need a PayPal account to send money via PayPal, just a credit card, a debit card or a checking account.

Some folks couldn't get through and have pledged to snail mail their checks directly to the ICHOF. That's great and we're extremely thankful, but time is of the essence and PayPal is the fastest way to meet (and possibly exceed) our stated goal with minimum impact on the environment. Save a tree, save a stamp, save the fossil fuels needed to get from here to there and send it electronically so we have it in hand ASAP : )


Pat Cashin
Member, Board of Directors
International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center

TOBY CIRCUS BALLANTINE: Out and About in Sarasota

Photo courtesy of Mike Naughton

SHIRLEY & DINO: Le Grande Illusion

LITO ITALIANO: Holiday on Ice (1980)

BOBO BARNETT: Television Appearance

Whenever I ask any older American circus performers the question "Who was the very best clown you've ever seen?" the answer always comes back one of two people: Otto Griebling or Bobo Barnett.

Monday, April 26, 2010


To quote the immortal Dr. Suess, “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

May 1st of this year will begin our sixth month of caretakers of the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center. It has been our privilege to collect, organize and hold in our hands the artifacts and history of this thing we do and love called clowning. To be in the same room with the props, scrapbooks, wardrobe, photo’s and books of some of the greatest funny people on earth has been a gift that we will never forget or stop appreciating. But it’s really the memories and life stories that these items hold that make them so special.

As we pick up steam in preparing for our opening weekend, we are continuing to deal with the other aspects of running a museum. As much as we need to be self-sufficient and strong in our business endeavors, we also inherited many financial challenges and past debts. Working alongside us are community leaders and some angels in the tax accounting and legal fields. Their work, all done pro-bono, has allowed us to begin to make our way right in all aspects of our business life. The road ahead is long, but we have created a positive business model and are working toward a conservative, professional future.

With little less than 4 weeks away from our grand opening, we come to you and ask for your help and support. Our physical space is nearly complete, but still needs funding for exhibits and restoration. Our goal is to create a base of stable exhibitions that will encompass all aspects of clowning and offer tribute to the finest professional performers of the clown arts. To showcase the artifacts and create the necessary presentations, we need funds to properly display these priceless parts of our clown history.

If you believe in what we are trying to do and would like to support us further, please consider donating any amount you feel comfortable with to this project. has generously offered to let us use their PayPal feature on the website, for financial contributions. We are a 501(3) C not for profit organization and all your contributions are 100% deductible as allowed by law. Checks can be mailed to ICHOF PO Box 204 Baraboo, WI 53913.

In closing, we’ve set a minimum goal of $5,000 by midnight Friday, April 30, 2010. Please consider helping build the future of the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center.

We thank you, but most of all the clowns thank you.

Greg DeSanto
Executive Director
International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center


THE BEATTYS: Holiday on Ice

Link courtesy of Mike Naughton


Ever wish that emergency walkarounds happened outside the circus, to cover real-life situations?