Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Here we were in western Kentucky, First of May Clowns, away from the support of our clown alley in Florida and away from the mentors that adopted us after graduation. We wanted to clown at the local hospital and nursing home. What was it they told us at clown school? Oh yes, "Get a seasoned clown to to show you what to do and most important, what not to do!" Being in a state park and in a remote area with no phone signal, what is a clown to do? I know, we'll drive the 45 miles to get a signal on our cell phone and call our mentors.
Hey Fluffy, " Isn't that the Mississippi River?" "Oh, hi Red Bird and Kitty Kitty" "What you doing these days. Traveling!", you say. Well, you said "If we ever needed any help, you would help us, Right? What kind of help do we need? " We want to clown at the local hospital and nursing home and need to know what to expect and what to do and not do!"
"We are in a state park in western Kentucky and we will be here at least a week. There are 3 families here and they are doing their annual Gospel show this weekend. " Hey Fluffy, Red Bird and Kitty Kitty will be here in a couple days. They only have to drive through two states.

Wow, that's real mentoring!

Red Bird and Kitty Kitty arrived safely and we talked and planned our visit to the hospital the next day. T
hat night, we decided to practice twisting balloons as there would be a lot of children in the park this weekend. Well, we twisted and laughed and twisted and laughed and twisted and twisted and laughed until we filled the whole front end of our motorhome. Whoops! The next day. we put on our costumes and passed out the balloons throughout the park. Then we headed for the hospital. There were only two children patients in the hospital. After taking pictures with the kids and families we visited the rest of the patients. We said our goodbyes and headed for the nursing home.

Here, we received a hardy welcome from staff and residents. Red Bird and Kitty Kitty took one hallway and Fluffy and I took the other. There were smiles everywhere. Mr Peepers, my puppet, was a big hit too with the residents. This is where we experienced our very first emotional high. We stopped in one of the rooms where a worker was exchanging linens. I walked over to the gentleman in a wheelchair. He had very thick glasses and Mr. Peepers extended his hand for a handshake. The man pulled his hand back and I said "I'm sorry, I hope Mr. Peepers didn't scare you. He is a very friendly little fella and only wanted to shake your hand. Mr. Peepers wants to be your friend!" With that said, the man reached up and shook hands with Mr. Peepers. The worker in the room said, "That is amazing, he hasn't moved in over three months!"
WOW, I was speechless!

Our Mentors, our friends helping to bring smiles, love, laughter and happiness to others.

Thank you again Red Bird and Kitty Kitty. You're the greatest!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Clown School "The House of Ha Ha!!' (Part 3)

Graduation day had finally arrived !!

Ten weeks of clown boot camp went by so fast that our heads and brains were swimming. If it looks like a clown, walks like a clown, it must be a clown, right? Wrong! Hearts were pounding and now it was time to perform skits in front of a live audience on a stage. Many in our class had never performed on a stage especially in front of an audience of seasoned clowns. This was one of the largest classes and there was a very large audience of clowns, friends and family members.

Toby, our teacher and mentor acting as the Master of Ceremonies started to introduce the class.
"Ladies and Gentlemen and People Of All Ages, We proudly present one of our largest classes of clown graduates. This class is known as the "Class of Distinction" Please bring on the class with a round of applause. Our names were called out. . . . .Blue Bonnett. . . Ha Ha. . .Fluffy. . .Hon E Do. . . .La Lee. . .Mumbles. . . .Pixie. . . .Silly Willy. . . .Tap Happy. . . .and. . . .Twinkle


This skit was presented by Twinkle and Mumbles. Twinkle was the youngest member in our class. Mumbles and Silly Willy were the only males in the class.

Mumbles was very brave during the 10 weeks. We had to come to class dressed in clown attire. Mumbles had to attend city council meetings prior to coming to class. He was dressed in Hobo Clown attire. . . . .and . . . .he is the Chief of Police of Lake Placid, Florida.
And now you know the rest of the story !. . . . . .

This skit was performed by La Lee now known as "Pinky"

The graduation skits went very well with a few minor "flubs" which turned out very funny and the crowd loved it. Yes, they loved it because it has happened to them also. The show must go on! . . . .
After the diplomas were dispensed, Toby made a call to the seasoned clowns in the audience to be mentors to these "First of May Clowns" or in new terms "Newbies"

DID YOU KNOW. . . .Court Jesters have performed in China since 1818 B.C.
DID YOU KNOW. . . .Philip astley created what is considered the first circus in England in 1768. He also created the first circus act called Billy Buttons.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Clown School "The House of Ha Ha!!' (Part 2)

"Ladies, Gentlemen and Children of ALL Ages!" We wish to introduce you to the founder of Toby the Clown Foundation, Clown extraordinary, teacher and mentor to thousands of clowns. Many clown organizations have benefited from his clowning experiences and desire to bring smiles, laughter and happiness to everyone he meets. Among his many accomplishments is being one of the founding directors of Red Nose Response to catastrophic disasters. His dedication to excellence in clowning, ethical and proper conduct especially when dressed in clown attire, is of the utmost importance.

Our first class was a hilarious experience. First we covered the history of Clowning followed by the various types of clowns. These categories were white face, auguste, tramp or hobo.

DID YOU KNOW...The art of clowning has existed for thousands of years. A pygmy clown performed as a jester in the court of Pharaoh Dadkeri-Assi during Egypt's Fifth Dynasty about 2500 B.C.

DID YOU KNOW...William Shakespeare utilized clowns basically in theatrical artform during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

"The history of clowning is a history of creativity, evolution and change"

Each one of us had to determine what type of clown we wanted to be. Then we had to give our clown character an age. With this in mind, we were then separated into two rooms, white face clowns in one room and auguste and tramp clowns in the other. Once we started applying the makeup the laughter started and erupted into a small roar for the rest of the class period.

The following weeks we had to appear in makeup and one new part of our costume. This took careful planning on our part as we were working toward the building of a real clown character.
Fluffy decided to become whiteface and I decided to become auguste. When we found out that when whiteface clown and auguste clown appear together, the auguste clown bears the brunt of the jokes. I looked over at Fluffy and she had the biggest chessy cat grin on her face. Look out Silly Willy !!!!

The class time flew by and the laughter was infectious. We felt like kids again. The following classes will deal with making choices of nose, wig, giving your character a walk. Then we will learn how to trip and fall, walk into a wall or door. Class came to an end and it was time to go home. Guess what? We missed the first class where they told you how to take your makup off.
So off to Winn Dixie we went at 10:30 P.M.. Did we get the stares! There were a few grins but we wondered what was going through all those people's minds...........Good thing we didn't chose
7 Eleven.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Clown School "The House of Ha Ha!!! " (Part 1)

One of my supervisors once told me that I dress very well but that I needed a little more color in my ties and shirts. Well, "What do you think?" Not too drastic, Huh?

Fluffy and I found ourselves in Lake Placid, Florida. We had been doing site maps for RV parks. We went to the library to check our email. So, Fluffy said you do the email and I am going to see what was going on at the little clown building a block away. There was a large group of people involved in some activities.

I had finished the email when Fluffy returned. I asked her what was going on at the clown building? She said, "They were a bunch of clowns getting ready to dedicate the building for their Clown College in a week or so!" She said they were doing skits for the show and dedication. Come on, I want you to meet some of the people I met.

When we got back to the building, Fluffy introduced me to Big Al and Giggles his wife. They were officers in the Clown Alley. Then she introduced me to Toby the Clown, founder of Toby the Clown Foundation. He was the teacher and mentor to a few thousand clowns that had gone through the rigors of clowndom. Toby said if you're interested in becoming a clown, you can join this class. We have nine more weeks and you can only miss one class in your training. Since we started last monday, you have already missed a class and you cannot miss anymore. Fluffy said, "Well, what do you think, ya wanna do it?" Remembering our feelings about clowns, we said, "yes, we'll do it!" Toby said great, the class will be learning how to apply makeup on monday. He gave us a video of different types of clowns putting on their makeup in the correct way. We went home very excited and wondered did we bite off too much too soon? We were still working and now we are working and going to school! Sounds like something we did many years ago. The excitement was overwhelming!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jack Is Back !!!

Yes, "Jack is back! Clown Rushmore is back and up and running.
The new location is 1 1/2 miles south of the previous site. The address is 27994 Hwy 27, Dundee, Fl. 33838 and only a casual 45 minute drive from Disney World.

The "Clown Man", Jack Klein is the largest collector of clowns and memorabilia in the world. His private collection of clowns and paintings are also for sale.
He displays a large collection of Emmet Kellys, one of the most famous clowns known worldwide.
Emmet Kelly Jr. spent several months at Clown Rushmore meeting and greeting visitors and signing books, clowns and other memorabilia associated with his life. During this time, Silly Willy and Fluffy had the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with Emmet. He shared some of his life with us.

There are thousands of clowns at Clown Rushmore. Jack Klein is happy to share his clown experiences with the public. Ask him about his new Emmet Kelly area rug! If you have any questions of his stock or items for sale. Contact Jack at 863-439-8928 (Tel.) or Email

If Jack doesn't answer right away, he's probably unpacking another box of clowns!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Our Thoughts of Clowndom

"When did you decide to become a clown?" Often, many have asked this question as if it were a divine experience or calling.

As a young teenager, I belonged to the Kiwanis Y.M.C.A Club in Cleveland, Ohio. This was around 1950 or 1951. Every year we dressed in clown costumes and rode a float in Rocky River, Ohio. The excitement of throwing bags of peanuts to the crowds overwhelmed this easily influenced group of teenagers. We knew this was a yearly fund raising activity for the local Rocky River Kiwanis Organization. What wonderful services the Rocky River Kiwanis performed for their local and national projects and we were one small part of this great service. Were we proud to help? You bet we were.

Every time a circus came to town, My friend John Eckenrod and I went to the Cleveland Auditorium to witness the wonders of the Ringling Brothers Traveling Circus. The magnificent acts from exciting voice of the Ringmaster, the parades, The Flying Wallendas, Frank Buck and savage lions, the trapeze acts, horse, elephant and dog acts and the most fun was the zany antics of the clowns. Frosty Little, Lou Jacobs and many others dazzled us with their hilarious routines from overstuffed little cars, burning small buildings and the loud sounding bang when one clown would crack another clown with the loud paddle. The clowns were the attraction to us youngsters. This fascination for clowns would always stay with me.

LaVerne aka Fluffy the Clown also found a love of clowns when her mother took her to the Barnum and Baily, Ringling Bros. Circuses. She also found the clown shows to be her favorite part of the circus. Here is where she laughed the most and she laughed often!!

One day, as a nurse, LaVerne dressed in her sisters clown costume for halloween. Little did she know that she would have to take one of her charges to the hospital. People were tickled to see her in clown in the hospital. She received many compliments on how great she looked as a clown.