Thursday, August 4: Massillon, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Lot: Masonic Lodge
I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, so I was very tired for the jump this morning.
When we got to the lot, my plan was to find Dale Smith, aka Herky, and have breakfast.
Herky was a Kelly Miller clown back in the late 80s, and he and Tom Persell, a circus model builder, do a lot of work to bring the show to Massillon every year.
Anyway, my plan was to find Herky and have breakfast with him, but I was so beat that I ended up conking out on the couch for a couple of hours.
I woke up when Jeff Potts, our local clown friend, knocked on my door. Ryan and I visited with him for awhile and talked about props. Jeff carved the beehive prop we used last year, and he is going to help us make a new prop as well.
I finally got ahold of Herky, and we all went to visit with him on the midway. Ryan also got a chance to show Nico the calliope that Clark Haynam brought to the lot.
Jeff had Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I over to his house for lunch. His wife made a delicious pizza meal for us, and we got to meet his three sons and see the Potts' beautiful home.
Our favorite part was Jeff's work area downstairs where he has his clown museum and prop shop.
Jeff took me back to the lot just in time to give a tour to a family from Massillon. When we were in Charlestown, RI, Jim Royal called and put me in touch with a lady named Lori.
Last year I had talked with her and her son, Steven, backstage before the shows in Massillon, and she had called and told Jim how nice I was.
When I talked to her last month, she asked if I could give a tour for her family when we were in town because the same day was Steven's birthday.
So at 1:30 p.m. I gave Steven and his brothers, Brian and David, a tour of the circus.
I tried to be as thorough as possible, and I pulled out every interesting fact that I could think of.
We finished up the tour over at the Knights of Columbus hall where I showed them Tom Persell's model circus set up.
After the boys had left, I stuck around and talked with Herky and Tom some more.
The first show was almost full. Before opening Herky and Tom presented me and Ryan with plaques from the Massillon Circus Fans.
We were very touched by the nice gesture.
Unfortunately after that the show was a downward spiral for us. Opening was a train wreck, and we were trying new bits in the two main gags which were failures.
I was so discouraged after the show. I felt ashamed that Herky and Tom gave us such a nice recognition, and then we proceeded to suck up the joint.
Jeff Potts and his boys were at the first show, and he and Ryan discussed the artist gag a bit and Jeff had some nice suggestions for us.
We implemented them in the second show, while keeping closer in line with the usual version of the artist gag, and things went really well.
The second show was much better in general; there were a few less people in the crowd, but we still did great business.
After work Ryan and I went with Jeff to Buffalo Wild Wings, and then we took the food back to his house to eat and talk shop.
Ryan and I bought some great fabric from Jeff, and he offered us an awesome, HUGE, sit down trunk for free, but I just wasn't sure we'd have room for it in the back of my truck.