Bruce Johnson

Charlie The Juggling Clown

Creating Happy Memories that Last a Lifetime


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Two By Two 



by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

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1.  Leon "Buttons" McBryde and Steve "T J Tatters" Smith were both Advance Clowns for the RBB&B Circus in 1975.

2.  Richard Snowberg directed Clown Camp and Leon McBryde directs Advanced Studies in Clowning.

3.  Lou Jacobs is deservedly remembered for his excellent gas station version of the miniature car routine.  However, he was not the first to perform a miniature car routine, and other ICHOF Inductees performed their own versions. 

Chester "Bobo" Barnett would enter driving a miniature car.  After he exited the car, he would begin pulling dogs out of the car that he performed a dog act with.  The last animal that Bobo pulled out of the car was a live descented skunk. 

Mark Anthony performed a miniature car act.  After he exited the car, be began pulling skunk's carved out of foam rubber from the car until eventually the roof of the car was covered with skunks.  One of the skunk props was rigged with a fishing line to raise its tail.  The body of the skunk hid a bulb full of baby powder so when Mark squeezed it he was sprayed in the face.

4.  Bob Bell played Bozo on the local show produced in Chicago Roy Brown played his sidekick named Cooky.

5.  Chester Sherman and Joe Vanni appeared together as the Sherman Brothers although they weren't actually related.

6.  Robert Armin began performing as a clown in Shakespeare's original productions starting in 1600.  He replaced William Kemp, the original clown in Shakespeare's company.  Scholars believe that the shift in comic characters from country bumpkins to court jesters in 1600 was due to Shakespeare tailoring his productions to the styles performed by the clowns.  (Armin wrote a history of court jesters.)  Some scholars also believe the two clowns contributed lines to the plays.

Dan Rice was sometimes billed as a Shakespearean clown or jester.  He would answer questions from the audience by reciting an appropriate line from one of Shakespeare's plays.  He also performed parodies of monologues from Shakespeare's plays.

7.  Otto Griebling began his career as an equestrian clown.  When injuries suffered during a fall meant he could no longer withstand the pressure of daily equestrian performances he switched to general clowning. 

Poodles Hanneford is known as the greatest equestrian clown in history.  When Otto and Poodles were appearing in the same circus, Poodles fell ill.  Donning Poodles' make up and costume, Otto took his place in the equestrian act for a short period.  People did not realize that a substitution had taken place.  Poodles later remarked that he had to get well in a hurry because Otto was too funny in the role.  The only other person to ever successfully impersonate Poodles in the ring was his brother, George Hanneford.

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