Saturday, March 19, 2016

TOTO: Hollow Tree

Courtesy of Past Tense

Autographed photo of Toto the Clown, at the Hollow Tree, n.d.

Toto’s real name was Alfonso Novello. He was born in Genf, Switzerland in 1888. He starred in comedic shorts for filmmaker Hal Roach, and started in vaudeville in 1918. His act included a dog named Whiskey, who rode along with Toto in his clown car. Toto headlined at the New York Hippodrome and the Palace Theater. He died in 1938 while in the process of suing the New York Daily Mirror for mistakenly reporting his death.

Friday, March 18, 2016

HUNTING GAG: Los Angeles Herald (November 13, 1907)

Charlie Bell: Hunting Gag August 14, 1947


One of the cleverest acts in the Norrls & Rowe circus yesterday was that of Toto Ducro, clown. Ducro has a dog made up to represent a rabbit. The clown goes on a rabbit hunting trip and is followed by the rabbit dog; the clown sees the rabbit; it sits on its hind legs; the clown takes aim; fires an imaginary gun and the rabbit falls over as If shot.
The clown goes to the supposedly dead rabbit and picks it up and throws it carelessly down. The rabbit does not move from the position in which It falls, but as soon as the clown walks away the rabbit follows him again. It is a new and novel act and is the finest specimen of animal training seen in years.

Lou Jacobs and Knucklehead: Hunting Gag 1977

Thursday, March 17, 2016

PETE MARDO: Hopkinsville Kentuckian (October 20, 1914)

Pete Mardo, a Famous European Clown Coming

Ringling Bros. Shows.

Once each month the clowns of Ringling Brothers' circus, which is coming here Wednesday, Oct. 21, hold a meeting and elect a "joke editor." It becomes the duty of this official to buy all the newspapers procurable and to read them religiously. Whenever he comes upon a topic which, might serve for an up-to-date parody or humorous caricature,
he puts it aside.

Every afternoon at 
1 o'clock there is a meeting of what is known as the "sawdust senate." This is composed of a committee of twenty clowns selected from the entire army of jesters. The "editor" makes his report to this body and
they discuss it and select those ideas which may be turned to account on the hippodrome track.

This is the secret of the down-to-the-minute 
performances of the Ringling Brothers' skylarkers. There is not a fad of dress, dance or unusual innovation which they do not portray in some ludicrous manner.

They pantomime public and political 
events, but with so much good humor that the bitterest of factionists pound each other on the back and roar with laughter. The clowns do not fear to enter the land of invention, but introduce gaudy painted airships which skim around in the tent top and explode while in mid-air. They flit around the hippodrome track in queer looking racing cars, throw terrible looking but quite innocent bombs, and shoot each other
from big wooden cannons. They mimic everybody and everything.

Sandwiched between the gorgeous
ness of the new spectacle of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba with its cast
of 1.250 characters, and the daring of the areanic displays, these Merry Andrews temper the entire circus program with the rarest of comedy.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Art Borella

Shorty Flemm . Ernest LaDoux , Kid Kennard , Bill Hart , Joe "Koko" Coyle . Art Borella . Joe Gould , Friday Wright , Art Potter , John Potter , Bill Potter , Walter Goodenough . Earl Shipley . Ray McDonald , Louis Plamondln , Abe Arononson . Billy Henderson , Charlie West , Dick Pinckney , James Duggar . James Thomas , Chester "Bobo" Barnett and Wallace Cobb

Joe "Koko" Coyle

Sunday, March 13, 2016

THE NEW YORK PLAYER: Ringling Bros. Show Long On Joeys (May 16, 1913)


Clowns Attracted an Unusual Amount of Attention During Engagement at Philadelphia Last Week 

PHILADELPHIA, May 10 . —Although every number on the program of the Ringling Brothers Circus delighted our people this week , the clown contingent this year is made up of such a list of talented performers that it is worthy of special notice . Their mirth-provoking antics cannot help but convulse people in all parts of the United States the same as they did here all this week . Al . Ringling always had a soft spot in his heart for an accomplished Joey and , as he knows that the paying public love to see the clowns , he has secured the foremost in their line in this show . To describe the many big numbers put on by the clowns would be difficult for when they are given the hippodrome track to work on , every portion of it is covered by the funny men in new and novel side-splitting diversions . An individual list of the many clowns with the show this season will prove interesting and valuable . Their names and the individual characterizations they assume , follows : Al Miaco , the youngest old clown in the business , who has been amusing the people of the United States since he was a boy—and that was many , many years ago—is giving an effective picture of William Jennings Bryan this year , besides joining in the group fun-making ; Billy Carroll , another clown who dates back a number of years , uses his individual specialty , the Two Headed Policeman ; George Hartzell . the Beau Brummel of clowns ; Horace Webb , who does the effective aeroplane specialty ; Fred . Stelling , butterfly ; Jules Tournour , pantomime clown ; Max Delea , The Strap-Hangers Plight ; Ed . Allen , rag artist ; Louie Plamodon , The Ride on Mothers Back ; W . Baird , trained pig ; Bert Leo , trained goose ; Sam Roberts , suffragette ; Paul Minno , eccentric dude ; Billy Jamison , giant fire-cracker ; The Three Mardos , Morning After and bath-tub ; Mickey McDonald , big-headed man ; Ed . Walton ; parcel post carrier ; Rollie Wilson , alligator hunt ; Alex Brock , three-legged sailor ; Eddie Nemo , long-legged man ; Jimmy Sprigs , old policeman ; The Two Casinos ; racing horse and pigs , Denny McPride , Ed . Nathers , Johnny Tripp and Earl Bambard .