Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Quidam: Toto and Voki


    From Le Grand Chapiteau: In 2004, with subversive, crazy audience participation numbers, Toto (Guillermo Castineiras) and Voki (Voki Kalfayan) brought a contemporary North American vision of clowning to the show by bringing some of David Shiner's best acts. In the "Film Scene" (as seen in Nouvelle Experience) Voki plays an embittered film director who tries to guide four audience members through a few routines for a shocking scene in his film. The dictatorial director grows increasingly frustrated with his actors’ abilities (or inabilities), and hence the comedy. Another is the re-introduction into what has become a crowd-favorite in "The Car", in which Toto selects a female audience member to go on a drive-date with. {NOTE: Sometimes it's just Voki, sometimes it's just Toto; In 2006, Voki left and and others have played opposite Toto, such as: Ambrose Martos (2006), Eric Davis (2007-2008), and Fabio Esposito (2010) amongst others.}

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

More Clowns From Ralph Pierce

A couple more program scans from the collection of Ralph Pierce. In the first you can see a white faced Tom Sink, better known as "Popcorn", who performed on mud shows for many years. I know him best from his stint on Kelly Miller. Also a photo of Buck Nolan, long time Clyde Beatty clown, sporting a makeup that's new to me.

The second page.....that's anybody's guess. I'm guessing the pair in the upper left corner are Roberto & Eleazar....just rolls off the tongue.
Any info on any of those clowns (or the show they're on) would be most appreciated!

Additional info from Dan McCallum and Greg DeSanto: Also pictured in the first photo are Walt and Millie Stimax, who in addition to being clowns had a chimp act.
The first photo is most likely from a Hoxie Bros. program.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Jigalov & Morinov: Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde

Andrey Jigalov was born on April 21, 1966 in Chelyabinsk. He grew up on the CHP. From an early age he was engaged in music. At the age of 13 he composed his first song and since then, according to him, he has not parted with the guitar. "The courts still remember my "concerts,"" he said. 

After graduating from the eighth grade of school, he studied at the Chelyabinsk Vocational School, having received a specialty of welder. Then he worked at the Chelyabinsk tractor factory. 

In 1984-1986 he served in the Soviet Army and served in Shuya. In 1987 he entered the GUCEI (State School of Circus and Variety Art by M. Rumyantsev (Pencil). 

He became widely known in 1990, when he played the main role - Kolya - in the tragicomedy of Nikolai Dostal "Cloud-paradise". Thinking of the film "Cloud-paradise", Nikolai Dostal was looking for an actor similar to Yuri Nikulin in his youth. The candidacy of Andrei Jigalov was prompted by actress Alla Kluka. 

In the plot of the film loitering in the yard from idleness Kohl annoys neighbors with stupid conversations. Not finding interlocutors on the street, he goes to his friend Feda. Meet him tired and indifferent. Wanting to attract attention, Kolya says that he is supposedly going to go to a friend - the Far East. This decision finds universal support, Kolya becomes a local hero, all the neighbors participate in his gatherings and wires. Under the dictation of Fedi he writes a statement of dismissal, Valya collects his suitcase, enterprising neighbors buy his furniture. For the decision to leave boring monotonous life Kolya gets respect and even good envy of friends. And when he says that the story of leaving - just a fiction, no one believes him. Kolya is put on the bus, and he leaves his hometown and the people who became his closest for that day. 

According to a survey of film critics and journalists, "Cloud-Paradise" was recognized as the best film of the year, the role of Andrey Jigalov - the best male role. 

For his work in this film, he received the Prize "For breaking the barrier between films for the chosen and cinema for all" at the first film festival "Kinotavr" in 1991. In 1992 he was awarded the Golden Aries Prize. He was also awarded the "Silver Leopard" - a special grand prize of the jury and the second prize of the city of Locarno, the prize of the ecumenical jury, the prize of the youth jury, the prize of the International Confederation of Experimental Cinema in Locarno. He also won the Grand Prix II MFEC (France) and the Special Jury Prize for the Cast of the Young Actors Film Festival in Geneva. Andrey Jigalov in the film "Cloud-paradise" 

In the 1990s he played in several more films - "Body," "The Hermit," "Education of Cruelty in Women and Dogs," "It's Not Serious" and others. He worked as a clown with Eduard Alekseenko at the Center of The Eccentrics of Alexander Jerome. In 1992 he was awarded a gold medal at the prestigious circus festival "Circus of Tomorrow" in Paris. 

In 1993 he left under a circus contract for Germany, where he settled. With his variety-circus "Jigalov-show" performed in the best circuses in Europe. Recognized as one of the best clowns in the world. He received almost all the highest awards in the field of circus arts, including the "Chaplin Cup" at the international competition in Canada. In 2003 he received the highest award of the circus world - "Silver Clown" at the circus festival in Monte Carlo from the hands of Princess Stephanie. 

In 2005, he starred with Nikolai Dostal in the sequel to the film "Cloud-Paradise" - the picture "Kola-roll the field". This is a new story about the same heroes. Once accidentally thrown in front of witnesses phrase forced Kolya to leave his house and her girlfriend. Overcoming the seas and oceans, Kolya returns to his hometown, unaware of the changes that occurred in his absence. For fellow countrymen such a surprise - a complete surprise, splashed out a storm of emotions and escalated into panic, because the arrival of Kohli - the real threat of their measured life. Like ten years ago, Kolya invents a story that turns everything upside down. At the 2005 Window to Europe Film Festival, the film "The Rolling Field" was awarded the Special Jury Prize "Golden Rook". Andrey Jigalov in the film "Kola-roll-up field" 

In 2007, jigalov starred in the joint production of Kazakhstan, Germany, Russia and France "Songs of the Southern Seas." In 2011 he played the role of Vasi Skvortsov in the crime series "Comrades Cops". In 2016, he shot a video "Ranetki" about a Chelyabinsk guy. The text was composed by Yuri Kosintsev, his colleague by profession and countryman. 

Andrey Jigalov lives in Berlin,Germany, and continues to work as a clown. His performance of La Clown on the German NETWORK's GOP variety show for 15 years has been the leader in the number of viewers who have visited it. He performs with the Jigalov and Friends Show in well-known circuses and variety shows - Roncalli, Knie, variete Wintergarten, etc.

Thursday, December 24, 2020


A British Pathé film from 1961 entitled Girl Clown showing Valentina Rowland, Nicolai "Coco" Poliakoff's granddaughter, performing as an apprentice clown in the Bertram Mills Circus.

In addition to Coco, Jimmy Scott, Little Billy, and Little Nikki are featured. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Mike Snider: Mouth Chase

Photo credit: Paul Gutheil

Mike Snider backstage after performing the mouth chase on Vidbel's Olde Tyme Circus in the 1990s.

The mouth chase was first performed by Steve LaPorte and Teri Dryden on Ringling in the 1970s. Since then it has been performed again several times on the Ringling show, Vidbel, Shrine dates, Kelly Miller Circus, and even (for a very brief time) at Cirque D'Hiver Bouglione in Paris!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Clown College: Robin Hood Gag

Brad Leavitt, Matthew Pauli and David Solove performing in the 1991 Clown College graduation.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Clyde Beatty Clown Alley 1980

For the next few days I will be sharing some circus program scans from the collection of Ralph Pierce. First up, the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Clown Alley from the 1980 season. I'm 99% sure it's from 1980 because Tony Blanco graduated from Clown College in 1979 and was only on the road for a partial season, or so I've heard.

Jimmy James became Ringmaster that year and John Kennedy Kane aka Eggroll took his spot in the Alley. Not sure why he isn't pictured.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Mark Anthony: Bigger, Bigger

Mark Anthony performing that perennial favorite, "Bigger, Bigger". I'm not sure of the year or show; perhaps Showfolks in Sarasota, FL?

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Kelly Miller: Robleigh Majors


Robleigh Majors, a 1986 Clown College graduate, on the Kelly Miller Circus in 1987. Boy would I hate having that wardrobe on a mud show!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Spymonkey: Stairs

Stephan Kreiss milking every laugh out of the simple act of going up stairs. This is an excerpt from Spymonkey's production of Moby Dick performed at the Lyric Hammersmith in May 2010.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Don Saunders

Don Saunders performing in 1960. I would love any more info about him (John Cooper? Bobbo Roberts?) I've heard conflicting reports of him being British and Scottish.

I know he performed on many variety TV shows like Hollywood Palace, Ed Sullivan, and La Piste Aux Étoiles. 

Monday, December 07, 2020

Kellogg's Masks of Famous Clowns

Many thanks to Bobbo Roberts for sharing these masks of clowns who performed on British circuses that could be found on the backs of boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes.

If anyone has an extra Enrico Caroli mask lying around, feel free to send it to me. Christmas is coming, after all!

Percy Huxter of Bertram Mills Circus

Fiery Jack of Chipperfield's Circus

Alby Austin (sporing his Caesar Romero Joker mustache) of Bertram Mills

Harty of Billy Smart's New World Circus

Pimpo (Famous for his "Where's My Money?!" gag) of Lord George Sanger's Circus

Enrico Caroli of Les Francescos, from Tom Arnold's Harringay Circus. I wonder if Roseanne Barr was part owner?

Coco of Bertram Mills Circus

Friday, December 04, 2020

Franzen Bros. Circus: Randy Hill


Randy Hill, a graduate of the 1987 class of Ringling's Clown College, performing on the Franzen Bros. Circus, most likely in the late 80s.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Monte Carlo: The Wolf Bros.

Ryan and I had the pleasure of sharing the ring with David and Richard Wolf at Cirque D'Hiver Bouglione for the 2018/2019 season.
Here they are performing their table entrée at the 41st International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo in 2017.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Bernie Kallman


Long time Clyde Beatty clown Bernie Kallman, photographed on the show sometime in the 1970s.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Ringling: Door In The Floor

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving weekend! 

To kick things off again, here's Doug Rougeux, Jim Vogelgesang, and Glenn Dwyer performing that perennial favorite, Door In The Floor, on the 115th Edition of Ringling in 1985.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Lucy and Harpo: The Mirror

Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx recreate the mirror routine from the Marx Bros. film Duck Soup on an episode of I Love Lucy in 1955.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Circus World Museum: Mr. Bill and Happy

“Mr. Bill” Machtel and Jimmy Williams, aka “Happy”, perform at Circus World Museum in the summer of 1994.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Saturday, November 21, 2020

R.I.P Walter Galetti

I just heard from John Cooper that Walter Galetti passed away yesterday. I don't know any more than that but will update as soon as I do.

From Dominique Jando on Circopedia:

A popular figure in the European circus ring for twenty years, the clown and ropedancer Walter Galetti was born January 29, 1931 in Thayngent, in the canton of Schaffhausen in Switzerland. He was originally trained as a brick mason, but that was not the life he really wanted: At age twenty-one, he “ran away and joined the circus”—in his case, Switzerland’s premier circus, Circus Knie, where he found a job as an animal keeper.

His ambition, however, was to perform in the ring, and during his spare time, he trained on the bouncing rope. It was perhaps a little late for Walter to become a strong acrobat, but he had a cheerful nature, and he began to work as a clown. The very colorful costume and makeup he eventually developed would become as iconic as those of Lou Jacobs or Paul Jung, and the face of Galetti, the clown, would eventually grace anonymously many a circus poster!

In 1966, together with his wife Mary (who, like him, didn’t come from a circus family), Galetti developed a charming act, The Clown And The Ballerina, which was soon noticed by circus directors and agents. Thus Galetti (as he was billed, without first name) started a brilliant career that lasted two decades. He went on to work in practically every major European circus, and appeared many times on television shows. 

Galetti retired from the circus ring in 1986, but his performing career was not over. He settled in his wife’s hometown, Rankweil, in Austria, and developed a puppet show for children, which he still performs to this day (2013). In 2005, he published his autobiography, Ein Clown geht um die Welt. Walter and Mary Galetti have three children, Carmen, Maria, and Marco.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Winter Quarters: Clown Segment

The clown segment from the documentary Winter Quarters: The Circus Tradition featuring members of the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Clown Alley, Ann Coydel, and Bruce Warner.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Emmett Kelly: Keep Off The Grass

From Wikipedia: Keep Off the Grass is a musical revue with sketches by Mort Lewis, Parke LevyAlan LipscottS. Jay Kaufman, and Panama & Frank, lyrics by Al Dubin and Howard Dietz, and music by Jimmy McHugh. The choreography was by George Balanchine.

Produced by Lee Shubert and J. J. Shubert, the Broadway production, opened on May 23, 1940 at the Broadhurst Theatre and ran for a total of 44 performances. The cast included Jimmy Durante, Ray Bolger, Jane Froman, Virginia O'Brien, Emmett Kelly and Ilka Chase. O'Brien recorded four of the songs for Columbia Records in 1940 and they are included as bonus tracks on her CD "Virginia O'Brien Salutes the Great MGM Musicals". 

Man, oh man would I love to hear more about this show!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Circus Flora: Adam Kuchler


Photo credit: Maike Schulz

Adam Kuchler performing in Circus Flora's production The Pawn in 2014.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Clown College: Joe Wesson and Jeff Wirth

Joe Wesson and Jeff Wirth perform in the Ringling Clown College graduation of 1978. Joe and Jeff both went on the Blue Unit, where they performed this gag in Come In. When Jeff left the show, Joe and Tom Dougherty performed it together.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

George Carl: Hollywood Palace 1969

George Carl and his wife performing an early version of his act on Hollywood Palace in 1969.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Fumagalli: Le Miel

Fumagalli, his brother Darius, and Nico performing Le Miel (The Honey), which is commonly called Busy Bee in American clowning circles. Even some clowning squares!

This performance was on French television to promote the 2013/2014 Cirque D'Hiver Bouglione season, Phenoménal.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Ringling: Blue Unit Walkarounds 1978

Members of the Ringling Blue Unit’s 108th Edition Clown Alley perform walkarounds on the national television special in 1978.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Roberts Bros Circus: Brum

Brum performing that old chestnut, "You Can't Play That Here", on Roberts Bros. Circus in the UK.

More info from John Cooper: “ Brum was portrayed by Tommy Cook, his family going back several generations in English circus. I don't recognise the ringmaster. It looks like the clip is from a TV recording. Incidentally, "Brum" is an affectionate name for the city of Birmingham in central England.”

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Peter Pitofsky on Leno

Hey everyone, sorry for the sporadic posting. I had to run up to Wisconsin to take care of some business.

To get things going again, here's Peter Pitofsky doing what he does best.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Ringling: Lottery Gag


Hey guys, sorry for the couple day lapse of not posting. Had to come up to Wisconsin to work on some stuff.
I bought a Mega Millions ticket on the way up, and the drawing is tonight, so here's Mark Branner and Huel Speight performing the lottery track gag on the 121st Edition Red Unit in 1991 for good luck! 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Ringling: Lou Jacobs


A slide from Gary Cybul showing Lou Jacobs at Madison Square Garden on May 8, 1969.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Rest In Peace Kevin Ryan

Kevin Ryan passed away Wednesday morning from complications due to COVID-19.
Kevin was a graduate of the Clown College class of 1982 and toured with the Blue Unit of Ringling for two years.
He was an Advance Ambassador of the Ringling Readers program and also an instructor for Clown College Japan.
He spent many seasons with both Culpepper Merriweather Circus and Kelly Miller Circus making families around the country laugh.

Rest in peace, Kevin. Thank you for making the world a happier place.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Circus Vargas: Clown Walkaround

Members of the Circus Vargas Clown Alley perform walkarounds around 1987. I can spot George Clyatt, Scott Parker, Chris Green, Marty T. Clown, and Lorenzo (last name I don't know). Aside from that, I have no idea who the rest are. Heck, even people that were in the Alley couldn't ID them for me!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Ringling: Time Machine Clown Car 1982

Members of the Ringling Blue Unit Clown Alley perform the Time Machine themed clown car on the television special for the 112th Edition in 1982.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The International Clown Hall of Fame Needs Your Help!

From ICHOF Executive Director, Greg DeSanto:

Yesterday, October 24th, the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center experienced heavy water damage to the interior of the museum. We were able to move artifacts to safer locations and have begun assessing the damage. Clean up and restoration of the building and artifacts will tax our very limited resources at this time, and it is with deep respect that the Board of Directors of the ICHOF humbly ask for your assistance. 

Any size contribution is greatly appreciated and we are confident that 2021 will see a return to full operations and many new exhibits celebrating clowns all around the world! 
Thank you for your support.

From a man resembling a potato: 

If you enjoy the content of this blog, much of which comes from the ICHOF archives, please consider making a donation during this difficult time. No amount is too small, and if you don't have any money to give, please consider sharing the above link on social media.

Thank you, everyone!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Emmett Kelly and Jerry Lewis


Emmett Kelly sketching Jerry Lewis most likely in the late 1950s or 1960s. Any more information on this photo would be most welcome!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Les Rudi Llata Clowns- La Piste Aux Étoiles

Les Rudi Llata Clowns performing on the French television program, La Piste Aux Étoiles, filmed at the Cirque D'Hiver Bouglione in 1966.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Sandy Totman


The beautiful female tramp makeup of Sandy Totman, who graduated Clown College in 1972 and toured with the Red Unit in 1973.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Circus Smirkus: Josh Shack

Josh Shack performing his music act at the Circus Smirkus Alumni Show in 2007. Josh began performing with Circus Smirkus in 2000, and currently performs residencies with the company and acts as production manager when the show is on tour.
Josh is also a fantastic director and has directed multiple pantomimes, the clown show Out of Orbit for Dan Berkley, and two productions of Nothing But Nonsense for Steve & Ryan.

Sunday, October 18, 2020


For those of you paying attention, I mentioned Tandarica in yesterday's blog post about Los Calugas.

I did a little digging and found this info about him on an Argentinian website:

-Dear friends, first of all I thank you for everything shared and for having accompanied us throughout 2019. I also sought information about Alexandru Veterany and discovered that he was actually born in Bucharest on 16 January 1926 and died in Buenos Aires on 1 May 1995. He was a very popular comic actor and comedian of film, theatre and television and performed in Argentina during the 1980s. Tandarica was a great character with which he would adopt as his own stage name and label in two Argentine films and several television programs. He was a very clumsy and suspiciously drunk waiter who, with his silly acts and falls, caused discomfort and disasters around him. He was regarded as an Argentine Chaplin, an actor who was his great inspiration. He also performed in the circus of the Río de la Plata and in magazine theater. He went on to shoot a film in Hollywood with Silvester Stallone. In fact, I believe that the name of his artistic character comes from the Romanian T.D.R., a Puppet of Puppets of Bucharest, founded in 1945 (

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Los Calugas

Los Calugas performing the "Tandarica act" on El Gran Circ De Nadal De Girona in 2019.

I call it the "Tandarica act" because I always associate it with Alexandru Veterany, who performed comedy in Argentina under the stage name Tandarica.

I bet you can guess who tomorrow's post will be about!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Chase Culp


Chase Culp is an alumni of Circus Smirkus, and has performed on Ringling, Cirque Musica, Circus Gasser Olympia in Switzerland, and most recently the Venardos Circus.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Ringling: Sideshow Charivari

Photo courtesy of Gabor Hrisafis

Matt Morgan, Joel Jeske, Adam Kuchler, Thom Wheaton, Mark Myers, Steve Lough, Lance Brown, and Gabor Hrisafis dressed for the sideshow themed charivari in the Blue Unit's 128th Edition of Ringling in 1999.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Gardi Hutter


From Wikipedia:
Born on 5 March 1953 in Altstätten, Canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland, Gardi Hutter graduated at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zürich (Schauspiel-Akademie Zürich) from 1974 to 1977, where she absolved an induction and training in theatre education and theatre pedagogy. Gari Hutter gave lessons to the students, but she felt unhappy not to practice what she taught. At the Centro di ricerca per il teatro (CRT) in Milano Gardi Hutter graduated as maestros (master), being also her so-called Clownsgesellenzeit (literally: apprenticeship as a clown) of three years to become an approved member of the Clown community. Gardi Hutter was taught by Mario Gonzales, Pantalone of the Théatre du Soleil, Nani Colombaioni (I Colombaioni) and Ferruccio Cainero of the Teatro Ingenuo.,[1][2]

For the national "700-year anniversary" of Switzerland, Gardi Hutter played the women jester in the Federal Assembly Chamberof the Swiss Parliament in 1991. For the festival "700 years" of 1998 of her hometown, Gardi Hutter acted as co-writer. In the winter season 1997/98 she was starring in Romulus der Grosse at the Schauspielhaus Zürich.[2]

Since 1981, Gardi Hutter had more than 3,300 performances in 30 countries and four continents, including Andorra, Brazil, China, Russia, Spain, Sweden, USA and Switzerland. There were also recordings on TV stations of 17 countries and auditions in numerous radio programs.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Les Fratellini: Big Time Comedy


François, Paul, and Albert perform their explosive photography entrée. I REALLY wish I could have seen THIS act!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Clyde Beatty: Recycling Machine

Elmo Gibb, Larry Armstrong, Greg Long, Doug Keady, Mat Coes, James Houser, Jay D’Amico, and “Lil’ Dave” Williams perform the Recycling Machine gag on Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus in 1991.

The Recycling Machine and many other beautiful Clyde Beatty clown props of that time were built by Producing/Advance clown Elmo Gibb.

Saturday, October 10, 2020