Wheeler the Clown       Wheeler Presents A                     Chronology of Clowndom

This Page Takes You from 1910 - 1919

New Material Added On 08/13/2004


Clown Hall of Fame inductee Paul Jung was born in Dayton, Ohio USA.


Seven year old Jacob "Lou Jacob" Ludwig made his acting debut as an alligator's hindquarters in a German vaudeville variety act, beginning a career in show business that would eventually lead to his induction into both the Circus Hall of Fame and the Clown Hall of Fame.

Fifteen year old Frank "Felix" Adler quit school and his job to pursue a career in show business, a career which led him to eventually become known as the King of Clowns and to his induction into both the Circus Hall of Fame and the Clown Hall of Fame.

Rafael "Chocolat" PadillaGeorge Footit Clown Hall of Fame inductees  George Footit (left) and Raphael "Chocolat" Padilla (right) split up as a team; each of them going solo as clowns. Neither  came close after that to the success they had achieved as the comedy clown duo of Footit and Chocolat.

Clown Hall of Fame inductee Bert Bert Austin Williams Williams joined the Ziegfield Follies with his tramp clown act.  (Picture courtesy of the International Clown Hall of Fame)

Coco Poliakov

At the age of  eleven, Clown Hall of Fame inductee Nikolai "Coco" Poliakov had already finished his circus apprenticeship and was a performing circus clown in Russia.


Fifteen year old Otto Griebling entered the United States and joined the circus, as an apprentice to a horse riding act, thus beginning a circus career that led to his induction into both the Clown and Circus Halls of Fame.


Fourteen year old JoJo Lewis, started performing as a clown at with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. He was a rodeo clown with a beat up derby.


Clown Hall of Fame inductee "Prince Paul" Alpert was born. He was one of the little people. (a circus name for dwarf or midget performers) 

Clown Hall of Fame inductee Richard "Red" Skelton, was born. The Freddie the Freeloaderson of a retired circus clown who died before he was born, Red decided early on to become a comedian and clown. Red created many characters, one of the best of which was tramp clown Freddie the Freeloader.

Hollywood clown / actor David Daniel "Danny Kaye" Kaminsky was born.

Mario Mareno "Cantinflas" Reyes was born in Mexico. Cantinflas made his name as a circus and bullfighting clown (not the same as a  rodeo clown, although both put themselves in front of bulls)  then turned to acting in movies. He is best known to American audiences as Passpartout in the classic 1956 movie Around World in 80 days.

JoJo LewisJoJo Lewis joined Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show with a comic trained mule act. A favorite routine of the audience involved JoJo ordering the mule to sit and stay then walking away. The mule, of course would get up and follow him, quickly sitting again as soon as JoJo turned to see if he was being followed.


While working for Mac Sennett's Keystone Cops, and while on his way Charlie Chaplinto wardrobe, Charlie Chaplin dreamed up the character that would shape his career from that day on: the Little Tramp. The costume came to him almost instantaneously, but the character of the Little Tramp was built, refined and polished over time.

Jacob "Lou Jacobs" Ludwig saw his first clown act and joined a small German circus as a clown.

Lazarenko Sr.Vitaly Lazarenko the elder was filmed performing an incredible somersaulting leap over the backs of three elephants. This film was later shown around the world, making him the first soviet clown seen in the free world.

Vitaly Vitalivich Lazarenko the younger was born. He would later become a clown like his father, famous for entertaining Soviet troops during World War II.


Clown Hall of Fame inductee Anthony Mark "Mark Anthony" Galkowski was born in Connecticut.

Frank "Slivers" OakleyClown Frank "Slivers" Oakley died of gas asphyxiation. (Born 1871 in Sweden). His death was ruled a suicide brought on at least partly by depression because the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was now only offering to pay him $50 a week to do walkarounds in place of the $750 - $1000 a week he had been paid in the past for his popular solo routine where he pantomimed several participants in a baseball game.

Edwin "Poodles" Hanneford

Clown and Circus Halls of Fame inductee Edwin "Poodles" Hanneford set the record for vaulting (jumping on and off a running horse); 26 consecutive jumps. That feat is recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records and still stands today.

Also that year Poodles and his family were brought to the United States by the Ringling Brothers to perform with the Barnum and Bailey Circus.


Anatoly Durov

Anatoly Durov, Soviet clown and half of the Durov Bothers  act, died. (born 1864).


Raphael "Chocolat" PadillaClown Hall of Fame inductee Raphael "Chocolat" Padilla, the auguste half of the team Footit and Chocolat, died (born in slavery in Cuba - birthdate unknown). Chocolat used no makeup and wore fancy clothes, in the style of the traditional auguste of that time period. Still, he brought a unique style to the his character, causing some to say that  there was a big difference between the auguste clown and the "chocolat" auguste clown.

Paul Jung joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, as a trapeze artist.


Cartoonist Max Fleischer created the cartoon series Out of the Inkwell, featuring Koko the Clown.

Jacob "Lou Jacobs" Ludwig appeared as a comic contortionist with partner and straight man, Michael Morris.


The Ringling Brothers merged their original cirucus with the Barnum & Bailey Circus The Ringling Brothers(which  they had bought out in 1907). The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been able to remain the undisputed Greatest Show On Earth ever since.

The circus was nationalized in the Soviet Union and was placed in the control of the central committee. Shortly thereafter, permanent circus buildings were being erected throughout the USSR.

Young Emmett Kelly Sr.Clown and Circus Halls of Fame inductee Emmett Kelly Sr. began purchasing props for his planned chalk talk stage act, including designing an easel out then hiring a plumber to build an it out of brass. Also that year, he entered an amateur theatre contest and won  first prize ($3). He used the prize money to purchase a used trapeze bar and crane from the new owner of the Western Show Property Exchange, Doc Grubbs. Also that year, Emmett Sr. went to work for his first show, Zieger's United Shows, painting the merry-go-round. Later he  was put in charge of a sideshow act called Spidora.

Emmett Sr. left Zieger's United Shows that same year after discovering a louse on his neck one day.

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   This Website was updated on: 08/13/2004