Wednesday, February 24, 2021

James "Tiny" Lambros

Photos courtesy of David Powell.

Tiny has had a life full of varied jobs, including circus clown. He performed with Culpepper Merriweather for the 2003 season and Kelly Miller for the 2004 season. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Ringling: Charivari 1980

Members of the 1980 Blue Unit Clown Alley perform an Olympics themed charivari for the 110th Edition's television special, hosted by Michael Landon.

I see Michael Goudeau, Andrea Waller, "Tuba" Heatherton, Tom and Tammy Parish, Lenny Ciaccio Dennis Struve, Gary Peare, Skip Lackey, Bob Kramer, Tom Dougherty, Joe Wesson, Jeff Darnell, and Peter Pitofsky.
There are two I'm not certain of. One might be Ron Quagiliata or Kelly Tansey, and the other is possibly Tommy Sheeter. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Obituary of Glenna "Polly" Chase

Thanks to Andrea Lynne Emeigh for the heads up. 

Glenna “Polly” Chase, passed away peacefully Sunday morning, Jan 31, 2021.

In a September 2020 interview with the Daily Sun, Chase said she had seen much in her 95 years, but she never expected to be counted as one of the world’s oldest living little people.

Growing up, Polly said she had wonderful parents, four brothers and two sisters, all of average height and all of whom she outlived.

She said she was never bullied or picked on but admitted having four brothers may have had something to do with it.

She graduated from Corsicana High School in 1944 and worked various jobs around town, as a secretary at Northside Baptist Church, in the offices at Sears, Roebuck and Collin Street Bakery and as a manicurist in a beauty salon.

She did not know any other little people until one fateful day when the circus came to town.

She met her future husband Clayton when he was working as a clown for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

“It was love at first sight,” she said.

The couple married in 1948 and there was a story and photo of the front page of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

Clayton got a job at Chance Vought Aircraft and they moved to Dallas for about five years until heart trouble forced him to retire.

They moved back to Corsicana and started Clayton Chase Grocery and Market at 403 S. 20th St.

Polly was a resident at Legacy Rehabilitation and Healthcare and said she enjoyed it there, but could have used a little more room.

She considered her former caregiver and CNA Shawnda Witherspoon as one of her best friends.

Polly and Clayton

Clayton Chase on Ringling 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Acromaniacs

The comedy acrobatics of the Acromaniacs featured on the very strangely conceptual television show The Slammer in 2006.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Grock: Circus Performance

An excerpt from the film Au Revoir Monsiuer Grock, made in 1950, showing him performing his entreé with his partner, Maïss, in a circus setting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Kelly Miller: Dead and Alive

Ted "Zippo" Tutwiler and.....maybe "Skippy" (?) performing that old circus clown chestnut, Dead and Alive, in the 1985 Kelly Miller Circus program.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Clown Karandash

Yes, I know this is in Russian......there's plenty of great footage to enjoy.

Clown Karandash, a documentary by Victor Golyvinov is a film dedicated to the outstanding Russian clown Rumyantsev Mikhail Nikolaevich - Karandash. When Karnadash was asked if he was happy with his fate on the arena, he smiled: "Never ask such a question to a man who for forty years I joked at the arena.  Every art form, every artist has his own way of knowing the truth. I chose the funny way."

Friday, February 05, 2021

Ringling: Tooth Fairy Gag

Danise Payne and Gregory Parks rehearsing their Tooth Fairy gag in Winter Quarters for the Blue Unit's 132nd Edition.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Bill Irwin: Tony Awards 1989

Bill Irwin and the cast of Largely New York (which included fellow clown Jeff "Gordoon" Gordon; however, I did not spot him in this video) performing an excerpt on the 1989 Tony Awards broadcast.

The show was nominated for several Tonys, including Best Play and Best Actor for Bill Irwin, and the show won a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. 

At the end of the video Bill Irwin has a brief exchange with Steve Martin, who he worked with in the film My Blue Heaven, and in a production of Waiting For Godot also starring Robin Williams. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Ringling Red Unit Girl Clowns 1990


The Girl Clown Alley of the second year of Gunther Gebel-Williams' Farewell Tour. Pam Leonard Ramirez, Julia Thudium, Lara Heidtman Smith, Peggy Pozdol Hudert, Sara Lehman Laskey, and Nicole Marsh Portwood.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Foottit et Chocolat: Six Short Films

Six silent short films of the famous French clowning duo, Foottit et Chocolat filmed by the Lumiere brothers. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Charlie Cairoli Appreciation Society

A BBC interview from 1994 with Charlie's wife, son, and renowned ringmaster, Norman Barrett, discuss the launch of the Charlie Cairoli Appreciation Society. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Clyde Beatty Clown Alley


From the collection of Ralph Pierce. I'm gonna guess this is from the 1970s. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Would love to hear more about John Block and Larry Lawrence, as I haven't heard of them before. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Tina Aguirre-Groff


Tina Aguirre-Groff, photographed by long time Ringling Blue Unit Clown Alley Wardrobe man, Bill Swift.

Tina graduated from Ringling's Clown College in 1995 and toured with both the Red and Blue Units from 1996-1999. This photo was most likely taken in 1997.

After Ringling Tina continued clowning, notably with the Kinoshita Circus in Japan and with a troupe of theater clowns from L.A. who called themselves The Funky Punks. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Dick Monday and Tiffany Riley: The Laughter League

From the Laughter League Website:

Dick Monday and Tiffany Riley have been life partners and performing partners for the past twenty years, during which time they have headlined at circuses and festivals worldwide including Circus Sarasota, The Big Apple Circus, The Lone Star Circus, Hanneford Circus, Circo Atayde and Ringling Bros., and Barnum & Bailey.

They created the clown troupe, The New York Goofs, Slappy’s Puppet Playhouse, and the Funnyatrics Clown Program. They have now brought all endeavors under the label, Laughter League, which is a non-profit organization. You can currently see Laughter League clowns at Boston Children’s Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, and at public schools and libraries across Texas.

They most recently co-produced The Petite Palace, Big Fun in a Tiny Tent on the banks of White Rock Lake in collaboration with the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas. You can often find them performing Goofballs Cabaret at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre, or you can listen to their podcast, This American Goofball on iTunes. Monday and Riley’s mission is to prove that not only is laughter the best medicine, but that clowns are one of the best ways to inspire laughter and help people’s health improve. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Piccolini Trio: Circus in a Trunk

Highlights of the Piccolini Trio's show, Circus In A Trunk, performed by Josh Shack, Joy Powers, and John Stork at the Canal Park Playhouse in New York City in the winter of 2012.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Karen Bell: The Red Skelton Follies

Karen Bell performing at the 2010 Red Skelton Clown School Follies in Vincennes, IN, the birthplace of Red. 

Karen graduated from Ringling Clown College in 1985 and performed for many years with the Ringling Red Unit, as well as a year with the Gold Unit in Japan.

In addition to being a wonderful prop builder, she is also currently the Outreach Education Manager for the Circus Arts Conservatory in Sarasota, FL.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Annie Fratellini: Cirque Medrano


Annie Fratellini sitting among the ruins of the Cirque Medrano building in Paris, France in 1972. Both the building (before demolition) and Annie (in a segment about her family) can be seen in the Fellini film, I Clowns, just a couple of years before this photo was taken.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Clown College: The Pigeon

Josh Zehner and Todd Obuchowski perform "The Pigeon" during the graduation performance of the 1997 class of Ringling's Clown College.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tommy Fossett: Great Yarmouth Hippodrome

I don't have much information on this video aside from it is Tommy Fossett as Professor Grimble. One of my guesses for the location is Blackpool Tower Circus since it is in a building, but I am open to the correct answer. 
The female announcer is his wife, Vera, but I do not know who the whiteface is.

Please help out with any details. You don't know what you don't know. Thanks!

Update from John Cooper: "It's Great Yarmouth Hippodrome rather than Blackpool Tower Circus. This video is from the 1972 summer season, at which Tommy and Vera did their juggling act too."

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Circus Vargas: Johnny Peers and Zapata

From the collection of Ralph Pierce. Zapata, Johnny Peers and Stephen Brennan on Circus Vargas in 1974.
Zapata and Johnny Peers met at Ringling Clown College in 1969 and performed together for several years on the Red Unit. Later in the 70s they became a renowned clowning duo on Circus Vargas and Gatti. They were in the midst of their season on Tihany when Zapata passed away way too young.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Yuri Nikulin

The extremely talented artist, Elena Zaïka, has had two of her paintings chosen to be used as celebratory stamps for the Monaco Principality. The first is of the well known Russian clown, Yuri Nikulin.

Born in Demidov in 1921, Yuri Nikulin is Russia's most famous clown. Demobilized in May 1946, with the rank of sergeant and several military decorations, he failed to enter several acting schools. He finally joined Clowns in the Moscow training studio graduating from 1950. He will work there for more than 50 years and from 1982 until his death in 1997 will be the Director of this circus which is named after it today. He also has a film career and offers remarkable performances both in Leonid Ga ddai comedies including Le Bras de Diamond (1969), a film that became cult for generations of Soviet people, and in the dramatic register like When Trees were Big ( 1962) by Andrei Roublev. TV man, he created and hosted the comedy show The White Parrot Club. His natural style, precision of his prestions and sense of timing have made Nikulin an outstanding artist whom some consider to be the best Russian actor of all time.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Clown College Audition 1985

Prospective students for the Ringling Clown College audition for Frosty Little on the Blue Unit in 1985.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Robin Eurich

Many of you that watched the Bozo Show in the late 90s until the show's end in 2001 will remember Robin Eurich, who played Bozo's sidekick, Rusty the Handyman.

Robin has had a long career of acting, clowning, and teaching, but due to recent health problems has fallen on hard times. Joey D'Auria, who played Bozo for the show's final seventeen years has set up a Go Fund Me page to help Robin during these tough times.

If you are able, please make a donation, or share this link on social media to help a man who has brought happiness to so many people. Thank you.

Link: Help Robin Eurich

Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy Lou Year!

Happy New Year from the International Clown Hall of Fame and Pat Cashin's Clown Alley! 

January 1st is not only the start of a new year, it is also the birthday of arguably the most recognized circus clown in the world, Mr. Lou Jacobs.

In honor of Lou's birthday and (hopefully) a much better year, we are proud to share with you some extremely rare photos generously sent to us by Gloria Wilkinson, long time Ringling Blue Unit head of wardrobe and friend of the clowns.

These photos were taken on Lou's birthday in 1990 when the Blue Unit was in Winter Quarters for the 120th Edition (the Flavio Togni show for you non edition-alists). Many thanks to Gloria for these wonderful moments from history, and many thanks to all of you who visit this blog and support the ICHOF.

And in honor of Mr. Jacobs, let there be no spaghetti served on this day!

Lou, Sean Conklin, and Ruthie Chaddock
Mike "Hillbilly" Weakley, Johnny Peers, Frosty Little, Dolly Jacobs, and Lou
Frosty, Dolly, and Lou