(Note :picture of Shrine clowns is unavailable at this time. Drawing is courtesy of the Shrine Clowns official website)
The Shrine Clowns are clowns for the right reason. Although they brighten up the lives of any child they meet (including the old ones), their primary reason for existence is to interact with hospitalized sick and physically afflicted children, and to bring smiles to their faces, joy to their hearts, and to replace "hospital boredom" with excitement and fun.
I will always cherish my association with this fine group; first as a patient and a recipient of their love; then as a semi-adopted son. I'm not a Shriner, hence cannot be an official Shrine Clown, but they have allowed me, as a clown and a former patient of Salt Lake City's Shriner's Hospital, to join them on several occasions in their fun and love-filled antics. Thanks Gus, Jimbo, Hambone, and countless others for the joy you bring to the world, the good name you bring to clowning, and for the opportunities you have given me to join you in your fine work.
By the way, most of us have been entertained by a Shrine Clown. Remember Red Skelton? Emmett "Weary Willie" Kelly, Sr. was also a Shrine Clown
Hugo understands the reasons for being a clown better than any clown that I have ever known.
I have watched this fine clown perform on many occasions, and always his heart is in his antics and his thoughts dwell only on entertaining children and making his corner of the world a happier place. To give an example: several years ago, I was asked by a local charity if I could arrange for some clowns to donate their time to a fund raiser by selling balloon animals. Hugo was the first to volunteer. After he got there, he could not stand to see a child without a balloon simply because the child couldn't pay for one, so he made balloon animals at no charge to the children, kept close count of the number of times he had done this, then donated the appropriate amount of money to the charity out of his own pocket.
Hugo, like me, is an old fashioned clown; one who believes that our Creator gave clowns their talents for the purpose of making the world a brighter and happier place for children of all ages. And just as he is always willing to to share his talents with others, he is just as willing to teach other clowns and to share with them what he has learned from many years in our fine profession. Thanks Hugo, for your caring heart, and for, by your example, teaching me and others what clowning is all about.
When Wheeler was still just an infant (in clowning terms), Wobblie had already been delighting audiences for many years. She taught me so much about clowning and how to turn just about every situation into a comedy routine. I have always enjoyed all of Wobblie's antics, but my favorite was at a parade long ago. Wobblie was marching down the parade route with a bunch of artificial flowers in her hand. Every time she happened upon a "horsey pile", she would stop, stick a flower in the middle of it, pretend to take a long satisfied sniff, and move on to her next target; leaving the local audience in stitches.
Wobblie, in every instance where I have been privileged to watch her, always captivates the children with her well rehearsed antics, jokes, and a genuine love for them. Wobblie and husband Willie the Classic Clown have left the Salt Lake area now, and their talents and big hearts are sorely missed. As professional clowns go, she is without an equal, and will always be #1 to me.
One of the few clowns I know whose talents come extremely close to rivalling those of Wobblie is her husband, Willie the Classic Clown. The title "classic clown" truly fits this enormously talented and big hearted jester. Willie is Willie both within and without the greasepaint. I have seen him launch into a professional and entertaining routine at a moment's notice. Willie was very helpful to me when I was starting out; giving me excellent advice and even arranging for some of my first gigs.
Willie is a "classic clown" in another way. His heart is always into using his clown talents to brighten the lives of others and making the world a better place. While in the Salt Lake area, he spearheaded such volunteer clown activities as annual Halloween safety and makeup seminars at local libraries, and monthly clown performances at the University of Utah Hospital's psychiatric unit.
Willie and his wife Wobblie have left the Salt Lake area now, and their talents and big hearts are sorely missed. Thanks Willie for being an example of what a clown should be.
Many years ago, I was a student in a "basic clownology" class taught by Willie the classic Clown and the man who was best known in Utah at that time as the Deeburger Clown. I was there introduced to a fellow student who, during the course of the clownology class, was transformed into Otto.
Like myself, Otto had some physical limitations to overcome. Additionally he was usually experiencing some degree of physical pain. None of this stopped Otto in his deep desire to become a clown and to ease the burdens around him with his antics. Everyone who watched him was enthralled by his large heart and dedication to Clowning.
I regret to say Otto passed away several years ago. While sorely missed on earth, I have little doubt that his antics and great spirit are cheering the angels to this very day.
Tootsie, over the past several years, has grown from a shy First of May Clown learning how to be Tootsie in and out of costume and makeup, into a highly professional and truly delightful clown who I would highly recommend to anybody who asked.
Tootsie is a very tall 41/2 year old, who thrills all she meets with her well developed childish character and antics. As four and a half year olds go, Tootsie is a very big girl, but not nearly as big as her heart, which is truly into clowning and bringing smiles to every child (of any age) that she meets. Tootsie is also a talented seamstress and has made costumes to fit a variety of situations, from jammies for slumber parties (of course she can't stay all night; her mommy says she is too young), to a witchy Halloween costume that is still very Tootsie. She has served in the leadership of her local clown alley many times, and she delights in the "freebies" that most of us do as much as in the paid gigs.
Tootsie is a true clown in every sense of the word and a credit to us all.
Since joining the Internet crowd, I have had the pleasure and opportunity (through online chatting) to "meet" several other clowns; one of these is MawBee, from Norman Oklahoma. After getting to know MawBee I could not help but feel that she belongs on this page. Although a fairly new clown, MawBee is already a leader of her peers in Oklahoma, and her favorite activity appears to be charitable clowning (i.e. hospitals, etc.) She has learned the true joy that only a clown with a big heart and a deep love for his/her fellow human can know. MawBee delights in clowning for the right reason; which is to interact with hospitalized sick and physically afflicted children (of all ages). I for one am very proud to call her my peer. Keep up the good work, MawBee.
Mo, from Raleigh, North Carolina, is one of the most incredible clowns I have ever had the privilege of knowing. (We met through online chatting on the Internet, as I have done with several other clowns).
Mo is a clown of multiple talents as shown by her many faces ( from left to right is Mo-Lite and Mo).
She also performs as Dandi, Nola Nurse, Ritzi D. Baglady, Fairy Godmother, Mrs. Claus, an elf, and I don't what else).
Mo keeps constantly busy as a clown, often with her significant other, Linny, and (like all the clowns featured in this section) delights in entertaining children and spending time brightening the lives of the sick and otherwise afflicted. Additionally Mo delights in sharing her talents and experience with other clowns (she has taught me a great deal, just over the Internet).
Check out my links page for a link to Mo and Linny's webpage
(Picture provided by Joe "Tex" Roberts)
You can check out my rodeo clown page for a detailed description of rodeo clowns, so I won't go into a big description here. Let me just say here that no rodeo clown is in the business strictly for money or glory; thrills and the adrenaline rush, maybe, but mostly they are there to save lives. After all the rodeo clown's primary job is to protect the fallen cowboy from an enraged bull weighing 800 pounds (more or less). And that, in and of itself, rates them a place in any clown Hall of Fame. Remember the slogan of the rodeo clown is "it's not will you get hurt, but when and how bad."
My hat's off to these bravest of the brave in clowndom.
Some of my internet rodeo clown pals are:
Tex (right) with his pal Scooter and Festus
Happy L'il Darling is one of the most fun loving, enthusiastic, and ethical clowns I have ever known. My old readers will remember the story of the grownup clown who "stole" my young son's clown name. Happy L'il Darling was involved in a similar situation, but with opposite results. She began her clowning career as Happy. A few months later, she found out that there was already a Happy in Utah, and he had a prior claim to the name; so she didn't hesitate to change her clown name to Happy L'il Darling. She is a little girl clown like Tootsie, but has been very careful to build her own unique character and costumes (yes costumes. . .she has several, depending on the event).
Happy L'il Darling loves children. When our local alley started to recognize the "junior joeys," Happy L'il Darling was instantly interested and ran for the new officer position of junior joey instructor. Happy L'il Darling is also very involved in the freebies that true clowns love. She is never happier (no pun intended) than when she is in costume, helping others or surrounded by children. Happy L'il Darling, has left Utah now, although she returned in 2004 for our Days of '47 celebration. She is sorely missed.
This site was designed and is owned by Wheeler the Clown & Company Clownfacts1@aol.com or WhlrClown@aol.com All rights reserved This Website was updated on: 07/27/2004