Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I made a hell of a find on eBay a few weeks ago: two autographed Ringling programs.

The first was from 1969 and was signed by Jerry Bisbee (a graduate of the first Clown College class) as well as veteran clown, Billy Ward.

The second program was the true find. It is a 1970 Blue Show program and is signed by many of the old masters of clowning: Danny Chapman, Mark Anthony, Prince Paul, Lester and Stanley Janus, Dougie Ashton, Marcos Droguett, Swede Johnson, Duane Thorpe, and (the one I was most excited about) Otto Griebling!

New clowns such as Leon McBryde (who makes the clown noses that Ryan and I wear), and Levoie Hipps also signed.

Other famous circus personalities that laid down ink were Tito Gaona, Rogana, Evy Althoff, the Stephensons, and Antoinette Concello.

Supposedly Elvin Bale and Charley Baumann signed it as well, but if they did, I cannot decipher their scrawl.

The program belonged to Dale Six, who traveled with the show taking photographs. He also got to guest clown and is pictured here with Swede Johnson and Bumpsy Anthony.

Freakin' awesome!

And now for the boring stuff:

Monday, March 12: Primera, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 30
Lot: next to City Hall

We did average business for the first show, and there were less people at the second show.

Local cops, who I believe were sponsoring us, were in the back yard during the second show shining their flashlights everywhere, even looking in people's windows and checking their vehicle tags.
I wanted to be a smart aleck and ask, "Are you guys looking for the audience?"

There was a guy watching the second performance that seemed to think he was pretty big and tough. He was inside the tent, at night, wearing sunglasses!
During Intermission he walked up to Radar at the tiger picture stand and flashed a wad of $10 bills, which I guess is supposed to be impressive.
He then asked, "How much will it cost for my wife to pet a tiger?"
Radar, without missing a beat, said, "An arm and a leg."

Hooray for jokes that work on multiple levels!


Jack Ryan said...

This a book I wrote and edited. Glad it still exists out there in cyberland.

Alex Zaprudsky said...

Like yo fahts.

Jessica said...

I just saw this post. Some sad news. Jerry Bisbee passed away in January of this year.

Steve Copeland said...


I heard that, and I was very sorry to hear the news. Jerry saw this post himself and e-mailed me about it, but shortly after was when he passed away.